Dear Oracle, after two years of this pandemic, I am exhausted and burnt out across the board. My brain feels fried, and emotionally, I feel like a raw nerve. I feel like all I need is “rest,” but no matter how many hours of sleep I get or hours spent vegging out, I’m still tired. So how can I feel rested and rejuvenated in the new year?—Fried in Florida
The Cups are also the suit of water, and the Queen of Cups has her throne on a beach.
Cards: Queen of Cups reversed, Seven of Cups, First Quarter, The Emperor
Dear Fried, as someone who recently found herself weeping at a Toyota commercial, I sympathize with feeling like a “raw nerve.” This little war is still raging, and I personally don’t know anyone who’s bopping through this pandemic completely unscathed. It’s a hard time, my dear, and I’m sorry that you’re struggling.
When I pulled your cards, I placed them as “what type of rest you need,” “how to get that rest,” “how to maintain,” and “what this rest will lead to.”
To start off, the type of rest you need is the Queen of Cups, and you’ve needed her for a long time. The Cups are a suit of emotions and relationships, and a reason you might be feeling drained is that you might be in a caretaking role for a lot of other people’s feelings. Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith talks about seven types of rest you need, and she writes about emotional and social rest as having the space to be your whole self without any people-pleasing.
If this rings true for you, see if there is a place where you feel like you can let loose. Do you have any friends you can be vulnerable with? Anyone that you can talk mad shit with? (Embrace your whole self!) That might help, especially if you feel like most of your relationships are one-sided.
If the above doesn’t ring true for you, the answer might be spiritual rest instead of social. The Cups are also a suit of mystery, the unconscious, and The Divine. The Queen of Cups is at the threshold between worlds, holding a grail—in some decks, it’s literally The Holy Grail—and it wouldn’t be out there to see this as a sign to examine your spiritual beliefs.
If you are a spiritual person, what does your practice look like? For example, could you make time in the morning for prayer or practice? Could you see yourself doing something immersive like a silent retreat? Joining a meditation circle? Becoming a nun?
Consider what you would like and become a bit rigorous with it. Because the over-sleeping and vegging out, while lovely, are not going to do it for you.
For “how to get that rest,” we have the Seven of Cups, which is an array of options, including ones that aren’t great for you. In this case, I think you might need the option for “self-control” over “self-indulgence.” While self-care seems to have become shorthand for bath bombs and sheet masks, it’s also about doing more challenging things, like taking care of your health and clawing your way out of a depressive episode. (Which this might be. If you can, consider checking in with a therapist or doctor about this.)
So be it spiritual or social, really consider what you need and set some boundaries around that. If it’s social, schedule in time where you don’t have to be anyone’s caretaker. If it’s spiritual, carve out time for your practice and do so daily.
Forgive the irony of this sentence, but in order to maintain your restful state, you need a plan of action. The First Quarter moon card is one of decision-making and taking on challenges. It’s pushing yourself for growth, and in this case, I think that means really examining what’s draining you and sticking to a plan to help heal that.
I know that is far easier to write than to do. We humans are, unfortunately, human, and sometimes we’ll go back to our old ways or fall out of our routine no matter how helpful or good it makes us feel. But try to be Zen about it, accept your humanity, and start again.
At the end of the “active rest” journey, we end up with The Emperor. This is a card of action and leadership, of rising to the height of your own power. Keeping in your practice of either social or spiritual rest and following that path you set will help you thrive. The Emperor is a character of self-control and authority; he’s diplomatic but not a people-pleaser.
If you’re on the social rest path, this is a call to be confident in your own authority. You don’t have to please everyone. You don’t have to be everyone’s dumping ground or sounding board. Instead, you can set those boundaries and know that those help you become your best self.
If you’re on the “spiritual rest” path, then consider what that would mean to be an authority in your faith. What does a spiritual vocation look like to you? Do you want to attend seminary? Do you want to make your faith a more central part of your life? Do you want to become a rabbi, a yoga teacher, or a nun?
Neither path has an easy answer, but I do hope that you are able to find some healing and some rest and allow yourself time to recuperate so that you may bloom.
For what it’s worth, The Cups are also the suit of water, and the Queen of Cups has her throne on a beach. So it might not hurt to take that image literally and spend some time around the water, be it the Gulf or a river or swimming hole. Of course, it won’t solve everything, but it might be a relaxing first step as you begin your journey.
Take care, my dear. May the next year bring you the rest you need.
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