A question in the Tarot Geekery group is what brought this post about ‘When Tarot Cards Act as Triggers’ on. Someone had pulled the usually rather jolly 9 of Cups and realised that every time it showed up for her, it acted as a trigger. She wanted to know what to do about it. I countered with the usual ‘Have you tried reading on it?’ which I in hindsight realise was not the ideal advice to give out. When we are triggered is usually not the best time to do a Tarot reading… so what can you do if a Tarot card makes you feel triggered?
3 Ways to Work With a Tarot Card That Has Triggered You
Pinpoint the actual trigger in the Tarot card
Pinpoint if it you are being triggered by the card meaning or by the image. Sometimes a happy card can be triggering precisely because we are deeply unhappy about the situation we are reading on. If you are being triggered by the 10 of Swords or Death, it is more likely to directly relate to the card’s meaning. Sometimes, we can start feeling triggered by one of the ‘negative’ cards because it seems to almost be stalking us.
But let’s say, you can’t for the life of you understand how a card like the 9 of Cups is triggering you… Then you need to take a few deep breaths and look more closely. You are being triggered because something in the image (no matter how small or seemingly insignificant) reminds you of something your brain has worked really hard to repress. It could be that smug look on the guy’s face… or all the cups reminding you of the empties your alcoholic mother used to leave around.
Getting it out of your head and onto a piece of paper can be an important first step for the kind of understanding that leads to healing.
Journey with the symbol/image that has triggered you
It could be that you get what the visual trigger is but can’t make sense of how it relates to your life instantly. Journeying may be the way forward.
You can do this in a meditation where you step inside the card or you can set the intent to allow your subconscious mind deal with it while you dream. This is most likely a gradual process rather than something that you can do in one go, though there are no hard and fast rules. Write down what you get in your meditation and/or in your dreams and be OK with not understanding the full picture right away. You are a psychic detective gathering clues. Write all clues down and trust that all shall be revealed.
Do a Tarot reading around the card/symbol that triggered you
Rather than a first step, doing a reading on the trigger is something you can do after you have put some emotional distance between yourself and the trigger. Sometimes you just need to sleep on it and other times, you may need to allow a full lunar cycle to pass. Trust in divine timing. Having a sense of peace and almost excitement about the reading is a good sign that you ready to resolve this in your mind.
There are no quick and easy fixes for things that have burrowed deep into the psyche. If you realise that the symbolism of the Tarot has tapped into some deep and old wound, the best way forward may very well be to seek out a counsellor for some talk therapy. For others it may be enough to journal and/or talk to friends about it. Please always seek help if a memory surfaces that then keeps you up at night and makes you depressed or anxious in any way.
Have you been triggered by a Tarot card? How did you deal with it? Please share in the comments!
The 9 of Cups in the image above is from Lo Scarabeo’s Pamela Coleman Smith RWS Tarot.