Personal Stories

The New Year and a Walk Through The Valley of Tears

Hello to all my Tarot Friends around The World,

The World UprightWheel of Fortune UprightThe Sun UprightThe Fool (0) Upright

The Star Upright

And so we begin a New Year and a New Cycle. The Cards I have chosen above have been specially selected to symbolise or represent this. The World represents our Planet Earth and also the beginning of a New Cycle after the completion of an old one. The Wheel of Fortune often Represents Cycles and I have chosen it to Represent the Beginning of a New Cycle, A New Year.  I am also using it to symbolise the Earth as it begins its rotation around The Sun once more. The Sun represents itself and also Rebirth and Renewal.  The Fool is the Young Infant New Born Year, setting out with High Hopes and Great Intentions or Expectations. He does not know what The Wheel of Fortune/The Year/New Cycle has in store for him but is willing to give it a chance and hope for the best. The Star represents our collective hope, faith and trust in the Year ahead. It also stands for New Year Resolutions and the promises we make to ourselves of how we will make the coming year better than the last. The Star also symbolises those who are healing after any trauma or upheaval they endured in the Old Year. They hope that The New Year will bring them peace and calm after hardship and an end to their troubles. Like The Fool who is optimistic and positive about the New Cycle and the Journey ahead, we must also be prepared to take that Leap of Faith with him. As The Wheel of Fortune turns for us all once more, we do not know what The Fates have in store for us in the coming months. Some of us will be looking forward to the coming months, with great plans and possible special events scheduled. For others the year ahead is approached with fear and dread, with terrible challenges and worries to face. Some of the journey ahead is in our control, but a lot of it is defined by our Destiny. We must put our best foot forward and do our individual best. We cannot expect anything more of ourselves. 

I do hope that 2014 has got off to a good start for you and that you are looking forward to the coming Spring Months with their promise of rebirth and renewal of life in the natural world.  Already snowdrops are beginning to pop their heads up just to let us know that beneath the surface, new life is stirring once more. The Lambing Season will shortly be upon us and we pray that those little bundles of fluffy wool will not have to endure any harsh weather. So far in Ireland we have escaped the snow and yesterday morning was the first real frosty morning I have seen so far. We have endured terrible storms and flooding in Ireland over the past few weeks and pray that they are gone for good.  January and February however can still be hard, bitter cold months in Ireland, and it is during the coming weeks that we most generally see the worst of the cold weather with biting winds that chill to the bone, regardless of warm coats, boots, hats and scarves. We also stand a very good chance of seeing snow but nothing like the USA have experienced. Our snow tends to be wetter and rarely lasts too long.

In Ireland we never seem to be prepared for bad weather and even a few centimetres of snow can cause chaos and wreak havoc on our daily commutes and general comings and goings. Anything more than a few centimetres and the country almost grinds to a halt. It happens all the time. I myself look forward to brighter evenings and some heat coming back into sun once more. I also have big plans for my site and am motivated, enthusiastic and eager for  all the hard work that lies ahead. I am especially looking forward to seeing my site grow and expand with the re-working of more and more cards, the addition of more Lesson content and accompanying video tutorials.

There is a lot to do and one big positive aspect for me as I begin my journey in this New Cycle are the signs of the return of my health, vitality and stability. The past two years have been blighted with illness and the loss of my usual strong constitution. Hospital appointments or stays have dominated, along with panicked rushes to Accident and Emergency on many occasions. Many of us take our health for granted until it suddenly disappears. I took for granted that I could cycle up to 40km a day, climb mountains, walk for miles and dig out and level my own garden single-handedly . That is until my balance decided to vanish over night out of the blue and I became nervous of even crossing a road on my own. I stopped driving and became anxious about being left on my own in the supermarket while my partner looked for something in another aisle. I would hold onto the trolley for support until he reappeared. I developed various other conditions such as Sternocleidomastoid Disorder (very painful), Transmandibular Joint Disorder which resulted in my jaw becoming misaligned and slurred speech. I also discovered I had a large Uterine Fibroid which was causing even more pain. I underwent Embolisation and thankfully the tumour has shrunk considerably. Terror took over and I really thought I was not long for this world. Ongoing tests and scans revealed nothing sinister.  I was finally diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and put on medication. However, the real turn about in my health came after a serious of treatments with an Osteopath, Acupuncture and some Trigger Therapy Massage. I had tried every form of Alternative Therapy prior to this but these three I believe put me back on my feet and back out onto the street again.

As we enter the early stages of this year 2014, I feel that I have been given a second chance and am so relieved and grateful. I have some way to go yet but I am back exercising and can walk a straight line once more. As my body grows stronger I am determined to keep it that way and make the very most of life. I do not know what this year will result in for me and I have direct experience of how life can turn upside down and massively change just over a short period of time. I used to feel nervous each year taking down the decorations after December and putting them away into the attic until they would be needed once more. I would think to myself what would happen in that time, where would we all be, who would be gone?  I now want to grab hold of The Fool’s hand and take that leap of faith with him. I am ready for life once more and am prepared to take a chance on things working out for me. Fingers crossed for 2014. I know I have a lot of hard work ahead but have a gut feeling that this year, 2014, will be My Year. I do hope it is for you too.

Best of luck to one and all,



5 of Cups Upright

For my Partner and his Family, 2014 has got off to a very bad start. It has brought dreadful sadness into their lives with the terrible loss of his baby sister to cancer, a battle she bravely fought for five years. The tragedy of her death is heightened by the fact she has left behind her loving husband and two wonderful young teenagers who will feel the loss of their mother on a very deep level. It has been a very sorrowful time and a dreadful start to the New Year when tragedies and traumas seem extra distressing. The same applies to Christmas/The Holiday Season and any other time of the year that is marked as ‘Special’ or a time when we celebrate, are light-hearted and families come together. Forever more this time of the year and the Holiday Season will be a constant painful reminder of the distress and loss of the last few weeks. It will take a lot for the family to engage in celebrating in the future what was once an exciting and happy time for them. It may possibly be approached with dread and the desire to just get it over with as best as possible, or there may even be attempts to ignore it or get away from it by going away instead of staying at home. While the outside world appears to celebrate and be carefree, anniversaries will always occur at this time which will cause the family to reflect, remember, recall and re-experience those last few days of her life, her wake and funeral. They will find it difficult, if not impossible, to enter into the spirit of the festivities with the enthusiasm that those around them appear so readily to enjoy.

It is hard to move forward from such awfulness and find stability once more. For me it has been very hard to watch my Partner Billy and his family go through such a terrible ordeal. The loss of a young woman and mother is unnatural and very hard to accept. No words of comfort or spiritual slant will do anything to lessen their loss and deep, deep sadness. I can but offer my support and be there to comfort and listen when grief washes over in overwhelming waves, sometimes unexpectedly or out of the blue. A song or memory that evokes powerful emotions, seeing her name in the contacts folder of his mobile phone, a glimpse of someone in the supermarket who resembles her, the same big brown eyes in her daughter’s face. There will be many triggers to bring forth a torrent of grief in the coming months.  I will do my best to help my Partner through this time and stand by him as he mourns.

They say time heals, but at the moment, all involved will find it hard to believe this and can only see darkness stretch ahead of them. Time heals but not in the way that we would really desire it to. That is to make everything better again, to turn back the clock to a time prior to cancer. Everything has changed and nothing will ever be the same again for my Partner and his family. However, what time will do is hopefully bring acceptance and a gradual return not to normal, but to a new normal where they learn to live again and to smile and laugh, to even look forward to things such as outings and vacations. Time will help lift the awful heaviness in their hearts and minds by lightening it and making it more bearable. For my Partner’s sister, her dark journey is over and we pray that she has returned to her spiritual self, free from disease and pain. For those she has left behind, they must continue on this dark journey for some time to come and will have to find a way to individually deal with their loss.

There are few people who enjoy a life that has not been touched by loss or trauma in some shape or form. It may, like so many others, also be cancer related or it could be another form of tragedy such as car crash, heart failure, accident, homicide or suicide. It may be the loss of a sister, brother, child, mother, father or friend. It could also be a personal loss such as a disability after an accident or from illness. Those who appear to be free to celebrate and be happy during the Holiday Season or any other ‘Special Time’ of year may very well have their own story to tell of tears and sadness, but are now further along the journey of darkness than my Partner and his Family currently are. They too would be able to empathise and understand what the family are presently going through.

As I stood at the graveside last Saturday, I saw many people, some I knew, some I didn’t. Out of the people I knew, several, including myself had been forced to travel this same road, some on many occasions. One would wonder why some of them were still standing and had the stomach to face yet another funeral. Out of those I didn’t know or recognise, how many of them carried their own horror stories in their memory and hearts? Quite a few I would say. The tears flowed on Saturday from one and all, even the Priest mentioned that it was his own father’s anniversary that day. We all cried and not just for Billy’s sister. The tears that poured forth from those that gathered to escort this young woman to her final resting place came from all areas of their heart and memories. They cried for this woman, they cried for her husband and children, they cried for her siblings and parents but they also cried for their own losses and traumas, for funerals trigger such powerful memories in us all. Funerals allow us to grief openly, even those who generally do not allow their emotions to be put on public display can be seen mopping their faces with tissues, red eyed and distressed.  It is okay to cry, it is even expected of us, we can let it all out.

My sister cried not just for Billy’s sister but also at the sight of her son and daughter standing beside their mother’s coffin. She too has a boy and girl and she thought of them being in the same situation, losing her, their mother at a vulnerable age. The thought overwhelmed her with sadness and petrification. My neighbour and friend cried also for both her sister and brother who died tragically in separate incidents in the last two years, with only a year and day between their anniversaries. My daughter cried for her brother, also taken by cancer. I also cried for my son, my father and brother-in-law, the latter just over a year now, November 2012, again from cancer.

My partner’s sister was a brave girl, who for the last five years was determined to keep her life as normal as possible, she even worked up to just before The Holidays. She had a wicked sense of humour, quite black at times, which no doubt carried her through some dark times. She never let her cancer define who she was.  She carried on as normal and rarely complained. Five years of watching, wondering, scans, waiting for results, chemotherapy and radiation. What a constant stress that must have been? How it must have done it’s best to erode and break her spirit. She never let it though and I heard her talk to my partner on the phone a couple of weeks before she died. She knew that was all the time she had left yet she was cheerful on the phone and full of humour. My Partner cried and she laughed and made jokes. What it must have taken for her to be so courageous when she knew that she would not live long enough to see the spring come or to feel the heat of the summer once more, but most of all her children grow up?

I know myself from my own dark journey that we are stronger than we think we are and can survive or endure great hardship. Each and every one of us have reserves of incredible strength that can be called upon during times of trauma or tragedy. No one of us believe that we would be able to survive what we watch others go through, but those going through it, and indeed surviving it, no doubt at one time said the same thing. It is sometimes harder for those suddenly looking in the window than for those who have been standing in the room all this time. Billy’s sister’s journey with cancer was over, but on the day she died, how many were receiving their own first diagnosis of the disease, their frightening journey just beginning?  Knowing that we are  not alone in our grief and loss can sometimes help us through it. If we see others that we know still standing after terrible trauma has rocked their life, then there is hope for us all. If they can get through it, so can we.

I know my partner will use this personal experience and loss to cancer as a driving force to continue and expand on the fundraising and charity walks he has already done to support cancer sufferers over the last five years. Knowing that he is helping may be part of the healing process for him and open him to a whole new aspect of life that he may not have thought possible. Even at this stage, together as a couple, we are discussing what we can do to raise funds to help fight this dreadful disease that has so far taken my son, his sister and my brother-in-law. We have always wanted to do the Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage walk. 800 kms in total. It will take on a whole new meaning for us if we decide to approach it as a Fund Raising Pilgrimage instead of just a trip. It is something to plan for and to look forward to.

Often when cancer is terminal we feel so helpless and powerless. Cancer does not just affect the sufferer for it reaches its tentacles far out beyond the immediate family and into the surrounding community, neighbours, friends and work colleagues are all affected and feel dreadful for the sufferer and their family. All bear witness to the disease take over and change the life and personality of the person they know either on a close basis or possibly just as an acquaintance or even by occasional sight alone. The woman on the cash till in their local supermarket, the postman who delivers their post all feel sad and depressed when they hear the news of their diagnosis or death. We find ourselves saying ‘if there is anything we can do to help, please let us know’ yet all we can offer is practical help. We can’t offer a cure or wave a magic wand. By making this Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage walk together to raise funds to fight cancer then we are helping. One day someone will find a cure for cancer but until then we must keep battling on, fight for survival and do what we can to help that day come as soon as possible.

Until then let us all take inspiration from this wonderful young woman by living each day as if it is our last. Let us decide, like she did, to live until she died.


Below I have laid out some Cards to reflect on the past few weeks, and indeed the last five years of this young woman’s life and the impact her illness and death had on all who knew her. I have also selected some Cards that I hope will reflect the future for those she has left behind.

The Tower UprightThe Empress Reversed5 of Pentacles Upright6 of Pentacles Upright4 of Swords Upright

These Cards represent The Distant Past of Five Years ago with the shocking diagnosis (Tower) of Unnatural Growths (Reversed Empress) and ill health (Five of Pentacles). (The Six of Pentacles) represents medication and treatment while The Four of Swords suggests hospital stays.

Queen of Wands Reversed10 of Wands Upright9 of Swords Upright5 of Pentacles Upright

These Cards represent The Recent Past. The loss of natural vitality and lack of energy in one who had always been a dynamic and brilliant presence in the life of all her family (The Reversed Queen of Wands), the daily struggle to cope, yet continuing to carry on and the uphill battle with disease weighing down and sapping strength (Ten of Wands). The worry and fears setting in along with medication and treatment disturbing sleep and rest (The Nine of Swords). The ongoing illness persisting (The Five of Pentacles).

Queen of Swords UprightWheel of Fortune ReversedPage of Swords Reversed5 of Pentacles Upright7 of Wands Rx9 of Wands Reversed 10 of Wands Reversed8 of Swords Upright5 of Swords Upright

These Cards represent The Immediate Past. The Consultant (Queen of Swords) delivering the bad news (Reversed Page of Swords) that circumstances have deteriorated (Reversed Wheel of Fortune). Disease and illness (Five of Pentacles) taking over (Reversed Seven of Wands). Further Battle is futile (Reversed Nine of Wands). Unable to carry on (Reversed Ten of Wands). Hands are tied, no way out, trapped with the circumstances (Eight of Swords). Having to conceded defeat to cancer (Five of Swords).

5 of Pentacles Upright10 of Swords Upright4 of Swords Upright6 of Swords UprightDeath Upright The Tower Upright3 of Swords Upright

The disease (Five of Pentacles) takes over and health deteriorates further (Ten of Swords) requiring hospitalisation (Four of Swords). The gentle passing (Six of Swords) as Death takes over (Death). The shock for all that news of death brings (Tower) and the outpouring of mournful tears (Three of Swords).

The Empress Reversed10 of Cups ReversedThe Emperor UprightPage of Cups UprightPage of Wands Upright5 of Cups Upright10 of Pentacles Upright6 of Cups Upright3 of Cups Rx3 of Swords UprightThe Heirophant Upright5 of Swords Reversed

These Cards represent The Present. The Mother/Wife is gone (Empress Reversed) turning the family upside down (Reversed Ten of Cups). The Father/Husband (Emperor) left behind with two young teenagers (Page of Cups and Page of Wands) to grieve their loss. Sadness and mourning (Five of Cups). Family (Ten of Pentacles) returning home and gathering for funerals (Six of Cups). What should be a joyful occasion for family gatherings instead is sad, with nothing to be cheerful about (Reversed Three of Cups). Instead there is an outpouring of grief as all gather for the funeral (Three of Swords Heirophant and Reversed Five of Swords).

Strength UprightThe Chariot Upright8 of Cups UprightThe Moon UprightThe Hanged Man UprightTemperence UprightThe Star UprightWheel of Fortune Upright5 of Cups Reversed6 of Swords UprightThe Sun UprightThe Fool (0) Upright4 of WandsThe Empres Upright3 of Cups Upright

These Cards represent The Future for all involved. Finding the strength and courage to carry on (Strength and The Chariot) even after such a loss has left a void in everyone’s life (Eight of Cups). The road ahead is unnerving and at present very worrying as strong emotions overwhelm (The Moon). The process of grieving cannot be rushed but must be endured and may seem to go on forever (Hanged Man). In time a natural healing will set in for all as a sense of balance returns (Temperance). During this time, it is important to be gentle and kind with oneself. Slowly there will be a return of trust, faith and hope in life once more (The Star) as troubled minds and souls are soothed and healed. Circumstances will begin to improve (The Upright Wheel of Fortune) and the sharp pain of grief and mourning will ease as all are prepared to let go the mantle of sorrow they have been carrying with them (Five of Cups Reversed). Recovery will be a slow process but in time there will be a gradual move away from sadness into a calmer state of mind (Six of Swords). Light will enter lives again (The Sun) and there will be a desire to make new beginnings and to take a chance on life once more (The Fool). Stability will return on the home-front (The Four of Wands) and instead of mourning their loss, and remembering only with sadness the passing of their loved one, there will instead be a celebration of her life, with happy memories of the joy and love she shared with all (The Empress Upright and The Three of Cups)


Copyright © 2006-2014 Vivien Ní Dhuinn

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