As the years have gone by, I have become more and more worried about climate change. Now I’m just plain terrified of it. I feel like we’re all staring environmental collapse in the face, and I don’t know what to do about it. I’ve tried talking to my therapist about it, and while she says “eco-anxiety” is common, there’s nothing to do about it because it’s a real thing that’s happening. I try to do what I can, like biking or taking the bus or eating vegan, or buying secondhand, but I know it’s nothing compared to what corporations are doing. I guess my question is: how do I feel alright at the end of the world?
Cards: Five of Swords, King of Cups, Eight of Cups (reversed), The Magician
You should start a garden. If you have any spit of outdoor space, you can make it work, either with containers and potting soil or a patch of neglected sand in an alleyway. If you have a backyard, congratulations, you’ve struck gold.
To source seeds, I’d recommend Johnny’s Seeds, which has a wide selection of vegetables, flowers, and fruits. Pick a couple of things that are easy to grow if you’re new. You can grow radishes in a wicker basket, arugula in an old roasting pan, and both will be ready to harvest in less than a month. Zucchini grows quickly, too, though it’s a hungry plant that will take over the whole garden. Mint will do the same.
And I don’t want you to do this because I think it’s good prepper training but because there is something magical that happens when you learn how to grow a thing out of six inches of topsoil and if you have a little piece of earth to tend to, I think you will feel yourself apart of something larger.
Which I’m sure you need. Even if so many others share our fears, anxiety can be an incredibly isolating experience. With that Five of Swords, I have no doubt that you have felt alone in this and perhaps felt like you’re the only one noticing that the world is on fire while people carry on with their day-to-day lives. But you aren’t alone. Plenty of people are frightened of environmental collapse, including yours truly. But that fear cannot lead to paralysis, which may feel like the case for you.
The first step out of that fear is to dream of a future that is brighter, one where you will survive, and beauty will still exist, and people will help one another. That is the dream of the King of Cups: beauty, relationships, and hope.
We of the Western civilization have often worried about the apocalypse, and, in reality, we’ve seen the world end a few times over. We watched Rome fall so catastrophically that we got The Book of Revelations. We watched the Black Plague take over a third of the population and diphtheria and the Spanish Flu and AIDS and COVID come after the rest of us. We watched the world go to war twice and leave millions upon millions dead. Our world has ended before. Life as we know it has ceased to be multiple times over since we started walking upright (plus the five great extinctions that happened before that).
But for all of our faults as a species, we, the people of this dying rock, are motherfucking adaptable. We have found a way to skate through each changing of the cosmic guard. And you need to imagine what it would look like to not only survive in the future but to do so with hope.
Gardening is an exercise in hope. You plant seeds believing that something will grow—and it’s incredible when, after a few days, a wisp of green pops out of the soil. It can feel like a prayer being answered.
But when you garden, you aren’t just putting all your hope into nature. You have to tend to your plants. You have to make sure you water them enough and at the right time, that you feed the soil, that you prune and cut back when necessary in order for the plant to thrive in the future.
We have to work at our (humankind’s) future too. It’s an Eight of Cups path, one that hasn’t been taken yet but one that we need to venture down. On a personal level, this will be how you find your way to that hope and that vision you’ve dreamed of. This might look like working with a community; this might look like a completely different life. I’m not sure. It’s your dream.
The final card of the spread is The Magician, the manifestor, the one who can influence their destiny. You have to be the one that brings the change into your life. Whether this change is something personal or something more significant, I don’t know. But you are not powerless. I know you feel that way, but you have the ability to bring that hopeful dream of yours to fruition. It might look different in practice. But you do have the power to make it happen.
Like all feather’d things, hope can be fleeting. But you have to believe something can change in order to change it. To tend to the plant, you have to believe that the seed will grow.
If we are going to make it to the future, we cannot afford despair or nihilism. It’s a shit way to survive and a coward’s way out. There is strength in trying, strength in hope. As The Magician, you have the power, and as the King of Cups, you have that hope, and you can create change. But remember: you are not alone in this. Others will walk that Eight of Cups path with you. Find them. Together, you can watch your future grow.
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