That’s K (known alternately by many – largely uncomplimentary – monikers), a 7.5 year-old sheltie and our furry baby. He’s a Libran, whose background includes a fractured home and extreme puppyhood trauma. His favourite things include running, catching, fetching, barking, wrestling, snuggling and getting the bad box/snow/ball/blanket/turtle etc. He does not like baths. And men who smoke. He has a tendency to not look where he’s going and walks into walls (gets that from me.)
K is getting a reading today because he has a difficult time verbalising his needs, what with being a dog and all. Similarly, I have a difficult time fully understanding his attempts at communication, what with being human and not fully versed in *whuffs* and bunts and long bouts of moaning and groaning about things that upset him. Most of K’s problems can be solved by throwing something or feeding him, but sometimes we really have no idea how to get through to him.
In an attempt to get inside his tiny teaspoon-full of brain and expand my tarot skills at the same time, I whipped out a suitably adorable deck – the Tarot of the Magical Forest – and proceeded to freak K out by shuffling and encouraging him to choose cards. I managed to coerce him into indicating a Significator – 6 of Swords – and a card for me – Hermit. How appropriate. – but that’s all he was prepared to do before he skulked away to lie by the door, as far away from me and my scary cards as possible (while remaining in eye-shot). I took the liberty of drawing the rest of the cards on his behalf.
 What do I not understand about Captain Fuzzlebutt?
Ace of Wands
His birth; his beginnings. I think I know what happened, but I don’t understand the effect it had on him.
It is interesting to note that an additional meaning for this card in the RWS tradition is “Calamities of all kinds”. He was born on farm full of Shelties and I don’t know how long he was part of that extended pack before he was sold to his first owner. Life with her was good – presumably – ’til she got a new boyfriend who didn’t want a dog in his big, fancy house and his big, fancy yard. The boyfriend beat and kicked him ’til he couldn’t stand; couldn’t even pee or poop. (And I have invented a very special kind of hell for him to suffer in in the afterlife, don’t you worry about that at all.)
Needless to say, he was severely psychologically damaged when we got him. Traces remain; triggers we don’t understand and therefore can’t cure him of, though we love him regardless.
 How can I change this?
9 of Wands
The frog looks sad, and only has one of the wands in hand. I’ve only got the barest grasp on the situation? Keep trying, don’t give up; there are 8 more wands to work with. Or possibly, to take down?
 What improvement in our relationship will I see?
Knight of Pentacles
Moment of insight: our boy looks a little foxy. Here, a tiny fox rides a huge boar. By being patient and not giving up, I will help him conquer and tame his fear; his scary beast. He will be master of his reactions, rather than the other way ’round and our relationship will naturally improve because of it.
[1-b] Tell me more about his beginnings
6 of Swords, 5 of Cups, 6 of Wands
First off, his chosen significator shows up. He was taken on a journey and he didn’t know where he was going (veiled). Like all Swords cards, this is double-edged: he was taken away from his family, but he went to what was, initially, a happy home.
Then, the loss. The fear. The sadness. The betrayal. Just looking at this card, into the rabbit’s huge, frightened eyes makes me dream up whole new levels to my vision of Animal Abuser Hell. Fuck.
But then, victory! He was reunited with his pack (although he was the injured runt, it’s better than nothing) and then we came along. Hooray!
[1-c] What part of his abuse is he still recovering from?
8 of Cups
Leaving the past behind. I always see a Cup missing from this setting – does the journeyer carry it with them? Is it a good memory, or a bad one? The similarity to the 9 of Wands (one piece “missing”) makes me think that there’s a sticking point; something ingrained that maybe he can’t let go of. Some injuries are too deep.
How can I help?
Ace of Cups
Just love him, unconditionally. And don’t lose hope.
::pause for tear break::
[2-b] Tell me more about not giving up on finding a solution.
7 of Swords, King of Swords, 7 of Pentacles
Ugh, the 7/S is so confusing. Again, something has been removed, leaving something behind. Let’s see… “Design, attempt, wish, hope, confidence; also quarrelling, a plan that may fail, annoyance.” That’s a pretty accurate summary right there, I think. (Unrelatedly related: 7/S A Staged Performance?)
The King/S is a clear thinker, who doesn’t let emotions get in the way of a) finding a solution and b) making it work. He communicates with ease and can be relied on to make the best decision necessary. His way of thinking is very similar to Justice: honest, truthful and just. You can trust him.
And the 7/P reinforces the concept of patience and hard work paying off, eventually. On the other hand, failure results from not being prepared to commit to a natural process that occurs in its own time schedule.
[2-c] On my best days, who am I to him?
Queen of Cups
Most people will point to the Empress as the “Mother” archetype of the deck, but I think the Q/C is the true mother-as-a-person. She is patient and kind and peaceful, if a little dreamy; she sees all, even when she is not looking. Her decisions are wise and virtuous and she is a good communicator. I would also guess that she is pretty even-tempered when not Rx.
And on my worst?
10 of Pentacles
The “Wealth” card, as it relates to family. Confusing at first, until I actually “saw” the card: the mother fox has turned her back on the father fox and their child. The father appears to be consoling the child, who doesn’t understand why Mommy is leaving. Ouch. This applies both to my bad days – when I am short-tempered and cold – as well as to when I leave the house to go to work. It’s not just separation anxiety anymore; he wants me there.
What has he been sent to teach me?
3 of Swords
Let love in. That’s what my gut says. Love hurts (and I only have to count the years we’ve had with him and factor in the damage the abuse did to him, do the Math and realise the inevitable hurt that is coming…), but it is good. You have to get through the 3 to make it to 4 and his early days were very much this. Very difficult, with a lot of “why did I ever think I could handle this?” only to learn that I can and I did and I can’t even imagine life before he was in it. Even on the days I want to smother him with a pillow (which he will just think is a rousing game of “pillow fighting” anyway.)
Yep. Quell the beast within; the angry, angry, impatient, permanent thorn-in-paw beast. And, the terrible cycle of love, loss and the strength that comes from both. I have buried too many pets and strays and rejects and I will bury many more. It’s not just a tiny life lesson; it’s a bigger-picture lesson. Raging is unnecessary – life isn’t “fair” or “unfair” – and doesn’t change anything. Let the soft little sheep comfort it away with couch snuggles.
What am I not seeing? (shadow)
3 of Cups
I couldn’t help noticing the card on the underside of the deck when I packed the cards away: it mimics the number pattern in the other 3-card draws in this reading. The 3/C is pretty much the exact opposite of the 3/S, embodying all the joy and love and laughter life has to offer; and it’s all yours, if you’ll take it. This card is a reminder to live right now, like an animal does. Don’t regret yesterday (or 5 minutes ago); don’t worry about tomorrow (unless it’s in regards to the empty food bowl); just be happy now! Celebrate togetherness, preferably by throwing something down the hall :)
Reading for The Boy was very interesting and not a little upsetting, but helpful. It was also remarkably easy; uncomplicated. Given, I know his history, but I was also prevented from over-thinking things by getting out of my own head. I note that there are no Majors (until I ask about myself), which makes a certain sense if you consider Majors to relate to the Human Condition.
I also found the number pairings very interesting: 6’s, 7’s, 3’s. I wonder if the outer cards serve to point towards the centre card, marking its importance; a focus for the question. I’ll have to think about them some more, but for now, I will work on staying calm and being the Queen of Cups Mr No-Nuts needs to progress. Because he’s worth it.