Finding Myself After Falling Apart

How Tarot cards helped me pick up the pieces after a breakup.


For the last four months, I’ve been dealing with one of the hardest turning points in my life. I’ve been constantly going back and forth from clear skies to cloudy days. Maybe in the larger scheme it’s probably nothing, but while in the midst of it all it seemed like the world was falling on top of me.

My boyfriend of two years broke up with me in late June. This was a person I counted on; the man I thought I would live the rest of my life with. The person I believed was my “one.” Someone I thought loved me unconditionally.

The day plays over in my head, sometimes like a really horrible movie.

There are days I think I’ve gotten over it, but then I have my downs and it seems as though I’m back to square one. It was hard, but the only thing that keeps me going is the hope that things will get better. And as weird as it may sound, tarot reading taught me to accept the situations I lived through.

It started as a curiosity with intuition. It’s a strange thing to feel something is going to happen before it happens, as if instincts have a power to predict the future. There have always been people who disregard comments that fortune telling and psychics are bougie and fakes, but I don’t think their talents are exclusive. The more I looked into it the more I found that having that sixth sense is a muscle we all have, but many don’t know how to use or understand it. It’s like the idea that everyone can be an Olympian — some people will be able to get there easier than others — but essentially, we all have the potential to do it. But we must be willing to put in the work and effort to get there, and most importantly, set our mind to it. Learning to read tarot was one way to become more in tuned with my intuition.

With each card that is drawn, there is a lesson. Seventy eight lessons to be exact. While 56 cards are used to describe the everyday situations, 22 of the cards are known as Major Arcana that depict important turning points or situation in our life journey. A reading can be done with just these 22 cards since by themselves can tell their own story from beginning of a new journey with the Fool to the end of cycle with the World card. I thought I’d share with you my tarot journey through these cards.

Throughout my learning experience, tarot not only taught me to see and understand the symbols that were present, but also the lesson that is learned from each of them. Each card in the deck represents a situation everyone goes through or will eventually experience. Learning to read them helped me understand what obstacles I needed to overcome. The first card, and the one that started my tarot journey (as cheesy at it may sound), is the Fool.

Associated with the number zero, the Fool represents the initial step to growth: knowing that something needs to change and not being afraid to do it. Most depictions of this card have a harlequin or a joker standing on top of a mountain or some sort of dangerous plane with an eager expression. He embraces the situation and goes through with it every step of the way. Many times we settle in our comfort zones and reject new opportunities that come up because we fear the unknown. This card pushes you to acknowledge those fears and take them at full strength.

“There is nothing to fear, but fear itself.” — FDR

A common theme in the cards is confidence and strength. Most cards encourage you to unleash the confidence that’s sometime is hidden by fear. I was a diver in college and there is one dive where you jump forward on the trampoline, but do a backwards rotation in the air: a reverse dive. This was one of the most difficult dives I had to learn because it is a blind dive. I’m jumping forward, but I have to throw my weight back, not knowing my distance from the board behind me. That was the scariest feeling for me. I spent a whole season just trying to land that dive, never really making the full rotation because I was afraid of flopping (yet I flopped more times because I didn’t fully commit to my dives). My confidence dropped each day that I went to practice, and the only thing on my mind was the fear of having to do that dive.

One day, my coach took me aside after seeing me sitting frustrated at the end of the steps of the 3 meter board on the verge of tears and tells me, “I don’t know what it is… if it’s your injury or something I’ve said, but I noticed that you lost something from the first time you stepped on the board last year. You lost that confidence in yourself.” My last day on the board I landed it.

The hardest part of diving wasn’t doing the trick on the board (physically, they’re actually pretty easy to do). It’s the mental stamina to overcome the limitations I would set in my mind. I’m extremely afraid of heights, but I did diving because I wanted to get over that fear. Just like the Fool, I learned to not let fear get in the way of my journey.

“I’ll tell you about the magic, and it’ll free your soul
But it’s like trying to tell a stranger ‘bout rock and roll” — The Lovin Spoonful

Like I said before, sometimes we limit ourselves with fear. Sometimes we also set our own obstacles because we don’t believe we can achieve a certain dream or goal. The next card is the Magician. Associated with the number 1, the Magician represents the mentality that anything can happen if you set your mind to it. Like a magician, you can turn your imagination into reality when you give youre self the freedom to believe it can happen.

After the breakup, I had serious anxiety issues, because not only was I afraid of the idea that a person that meant so much to me will never be in my life again, but I also thought he would never come back. This put me in a very uncomfortable position where I not only had to let go of the fear of losing someone, but also allow myself to let him in if he did return. Now, most would say that you shouldn’t let an ex back into your life, since they are an ex for a reason, but I felt that that mentality was making me build a wall for a situation that is going to knock it down the minute I crossed paths with him.

I wanted him to come back to me with a bouquet of roses and chocolates, apologizing for leaving me, but I knew that was never going to happen if I kept letting his actions become a reason for my own. The Magician does not have any expectations, but he opens himself to all possibility and manifest what he wants. If I want him to return, I’m not saying I should sit and wait for him to come knocking at my door, or worse, overwhelm him with my unwanted presence and text messages. On the contrary, I would need to give him something to want to return. I looked within myself to improve the areas I noticed I was lacking during our relationship. I started doing yoga to help me ground myself and look for healing within me, while at the same time, give me the physical and mental strength to take on my emotions. And even though at the beginning of my healing process, my desire was to win him back, but that also started to change as I began to see the world from a larger window.

The next card is actually one of my favorites and usually, when it appears in my readings, I see it as a sign to stop looking for answers and wait for them to come to me. The High Priestess is associated with the number 2: you and your higher-self. This card represents the connection to your intuition.

For the most part of our day, our mind is very active and our thoughts can get pretty noisy. This card tells you to quite those unnecessary thoughts and listen to the message your higher-self is trying to tell you and the direction she wants you to go.

The number 2 is also associated with a choice. You know when you’re put in a situation where you have to make a choice, but you don’t know which one to pick. I’m currently going through this situation. I have the choice between forgetting about my ex and moving on to a new partner or giving him and myself time to heal and see if we can start something new. Both these choices have similar paths. I have to heal from the break-up before I can consider which one it is I need to pick. While I’m still holding on to my past relationship, I can’t give someone new a chance and I can’t give him a chance either. Even though I don’t know which is the right decision, when I’m ready, I will know. That’s the energy of the High Priestess: the answer will come when your open to the response.

Despite “the answer is within you” is the most fucking annoying answer, it’s true. And many times, it’s not a matter whether you know or don’t, but if your in the right state of mind to accept the answer. Most times we’re not ready for the answer.

Well, I’m your Venus, I’m your fire, At your desire.” -Shocking Blue

The Empress is represented by the number 3 and it’s associated with the planet Venus, which just like the goddess, represent love, beauty, and fertility. She can represent pregnancy, birth, or motherly figure. In my journey, she’s represented the need to be nurturing to yourself. It is really easy to get in the habit of thinking negative thoughts, like criticizing your body. I got in the habit of feeling guilty for the break-up. I kept having thoughts of what I did wrong to push him away instead of thinking about the positive things I did and what I learned from the experience. To me the Empress is the nurturing mentally we need to have. We are our worst critics and sometimes we need to remember that we’re a working progress. Be kind to yourself.

I know that life isn’t always great. But you need the dark days in order to appreciate the real wonderful things in life. It’s really easy to fall into the pit of negative thoughts. Once you start, it’s like a never ending snowball rolling down a mountain that just get bigger and more destructive it becomes.