Befriending the Void

Current perception of the void – Ace of Cups
A loving message to me from the void – 6 of Cups
What can I release into the void? – 2 of Wands
How can I cultivate my relationship with the void? – 5 of Swords

from the Befriending the Void spread by Moriah Simmons

The Void could be understood as the time and place before creation and after destruction, containing both all possibilities and none. It is the time and place between transitions, when one way of being no longer fits, but we have not yet stepped into another way of being. It is nothingness, it has no expectations, it does not seek to grow or contract because it is everything.

Interpreted through the Ace of Cups, the Void is acceptance and healing. It is sitting with what is and allowing uncertainty and nothingness to exist. It holds all of our ways of being, all of our messiness, in a dark, loving, nurturing womb. We are in a gestation period. We need to be here awhile before we are ready to birth new possibilities.

The Void wants to remind us that though times are difficult, the happiness we have felt in the past will happen again. We will be with our people again. We will not be the same when we do, and we may feel we have lost innocence in the trials of the past year, but the 6 of Cups reminds us of the good times we have had with others. Coming after the 5 of Cups representing loss, the 6 is a sign of hope for the future.

At the end of 2019, I had just come off a year of organizing a number of big events and peoples’ assemblies. It feels like ages ago that I had time together with fellow activists and organizers to strategize, build relationships, laugh, and re-commit ourselves to the work. I started a new job where I have yet to meet most of my colleagues in-person. In this kind of work where relationships are the glue for our movements it is incredibly challenging not to have these spaces. Combined with the immeasurable loss our communities have suffered, it can feel like happiness is out of reach. With the 6 of Cups we are reminded that our joy can exist alongside of, and despite of our suffering.

The Two of Wands shows up again this month (in this previous post as the Two of Feathers). Last month it appeared as a “primary obstacle” of indecision and pointed toward thinking outside the box to move forward. This month, the Void is asking us to release this obstacle into its warm, generative belly and try not to be prescriptive about the outcome. There is a lot in motion at the moment politically and socially. Our movements and organizations will need to adapt and be flexible. The answers may not be obvious, but it might help to release the stress of what to do next into the Void. Instead of checking all your notifications and emails maybe go take a shower, make some lunch, go for a walk. Yesterday I struggled all day with what to do next on a particular problem and was blocked from any insight until later when I took a bath. I was actually “getting work done” by relaxing instead of spinning my wheels.

If we interpret the Void as a transitional phase that is always available, first we need to understand that something has to change. The 5 of Swords could help us cultivate a relationship with the Void by surfacing when a boundary has been crossed and how we respond. This card represents intense conflict, the kind that brings up emotional triggers and trauma responses. When conflict arises, it may make sense to fight back, but it can also be wise to allow ourselves choice in how we do so instead of defaulting to our typical response. These are moments where we can think of who we’d like to be and shift into a response that gets us closer to that person. The Void is the bridge that allows change, where we can drop patterns and expectations that keep is where we are.

For the past several months I’ve been circling back on a theme that social movement work is a choice about what group of people you’d like to be in day-to-day conflict with. Yes, we are in political battle against corporations and white supremacists, but most of our inter-personal conflict is with our friends and colleagues, even if it’s lower-level stakes. To stay in it for the long-haul, you have to believe in the people you’re in the struggle with, and yourself. There is not a single organization that does not have problems and inter-personal challenges, but are you building something meaningful together and do the people have your back? We will do harm and be harmed by others, but will we allow ourselves to learn and transform while holding each other accountable? The 5 of Swords initiates us to the Void. Conflict is a key to identifying where healing needs to take place. Transformation and joy are possible.

For more on exploring an individual relationship with the Void for the purpose of change, check out this tool on Timeline Jumping to “become a new version of yourself” by Pea the Feary. It’s short and inspiring.


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