Messages from the cosmos.

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Cosmic Counsel: How to Deal With Difficult Family Members

Cosmic Counsel is my monthly feature where I ask the cards for advice on tough problems, relevant real-life issues, and existential questions.

While we’re on the topic of the Inner Child, let’s talk about how your Inner Child comes to be – family.  Some of us were lucky enough to be born into very happy families and so have much less to deal with and work through, but others weren’t so lucky.

Maybe you have severe conflict with one or both of your parents. Or maybe you just have that one sibling, cousin, aunt or uncle who always pushes your buttons. Because your family unit is the first set of people you’re born into, it’s really difficult to set boundaries without feeling guilty.

Navigating family relationships can be fraught with complications and difficult emotions, and many people are loath to cut a family member out of their life like they would if a friend or acquaintance was treating them the same way.

So how to deal? Let’s pull some cards.

This Month’s Question: How to deal with difficult family members.

(featured deck: Wild Unknown Tarot)

1. 6 of Pentacles

6 of pentacles wild unknown tarot

The 6 of Pentacles is a card of exchanges. One person who has more gives to the person who has less. I see this card as generosity and sharing what you have. The first line of defense against a difficult person is diplomacy. What motivates this particular family member? What do they want? When someone is being difficult or frustrating, it’s usually because they have some need that’s not getting met.

See if you can grease the wheels a bit by doing something that will make the person happy, and then maybe they will lay off of you. This doesn’t mean to bend over backwards and cross your own boundaries, but if there is something you genuinely can give freely to this person without resentment, then go ahead and do it. Make them happy and then perhaps they will reciprocate.

Do this without making demands or putting pressure on the person to give you want in return. This strategy most likely won’t yield immediate results, but the goal is to relieve some of the tension by taking on a charitable attitude. It’s also the gentlest approach and the least likely to backfire and cause even more problems.


2. Page of Swords

page of swords wild unknown tarot

I see the Page of Swords as honesty, frank discussion, and putting your feelings out in the open. When you’re dealing with someone toxic, the temptation is to walk on eggshells and keep your opinions to yourself in over to avoid the backlash of dealing with the person’s anger or retaliation.

However, suppressing your own thoughts and feelings is damaging to you. When you’re dealing with a difficult person, spell out very clearly in words what they are doing to hurt you, how you would like to be treated, and what your expectations are for the relationship. Be very forward and frank. This leaves no room for error or misunderstandings in the future.

Vague, unstated boundaries usually produce vague, nebulous relationships where people can take advantage of you and then claim they didn’t know how you felt.

In dealings with toxic people, leave no room for interpretation in how you feel about their behavior. Draw your line in the sand, either by talking to them directly, or if that’s too explosive, write them a letter or an email. Communicate and spell things out.


3. 5 of Swords

five of swords wild unknown tarot

If the above strategies don’t work, you can always admit defeat. The 5 of Swords is a difficult card, but the lesson in it is that some battles can’t be won. If engaging in negotiations, endless conversations, and even arguments with this person feels like the never-ending merry-go-round in hell, feel free to jump off. You don’t have to stay on the ride any longer than you have to.

Walking away may not feel good, because family members are usually people you have the deepest emotional investment in, but cutting your losses is preferable to suffering from abuse.

Recognize that not every person is a good person; not everyone can change or have empathy, and not everyone shares your values – even if you share the same blood. It’s a painful lesson for sure,but one better learned sooner rather than later.


4. Knight of Cups

knight of cups wild unknown tarot

As a final piece of advice, I see the Knight of Cups as someone dreamy and idealistic, someone who puts people on a pedestal. This one seems to be saying check your ideals at the door.

Do you have unrealistic expectations about who this person is? Are your ideas about family interfering with you seeing reality clearly for it is? Are you getting your hopes up in a situation only to be let down repeatedly? Are you selectively paying attention to only the good sides of this person without looking at the big picture?

Check to see how you are contributing to the unhealthy dynamic, not by being toxic and disruptive yourself, but by putting on rose-colored glasses about how this person is. Make sure that your attachments and emotional sensitivities are not running the show.

Seeking love, connection, understanding, and approval from someone who cannot give it to you is always bound to backfire.
That’s all I got for this round! Hopefully some piece of advice in here will help you navigate the thorny family relationships that so many of us got saddled with.





Cosmic Counsel: How To Find Love Online Without Losing Your Mind

Cosmic Counsel is my monthly feature where I ask the cards for advice on tough problems, relevant real-life issues, and existential questions.


Last year, after realizing I’d been single for going on two years, I decided to sign myself up on a dating site, fill out a profile, and see if I could meet someone. I was hoping that even if I didn’t meet a significant other, it could still be a way of meeting new people.

The results of this foray were frustrating, like banging my head against the wall repeatedly type frustrating.


After about two months of having my profile up, it went like so:

  • dozens of one-word messages from desperate guys.
  • several sexually explicit, harassing messages.
  • a girl that fizzled out after only three dates because we just didn’t click.
  • a total of 0 viable long-term romantic partners.

I’m sure lots of people have been in the same position of trying to date online and being met with disappointing, disheartening results.

I decided to consult the cards for advice on finding love in the digital age. Maybe they will have words of wisdom for us all.


The Fool

the fool starchild akashic tarot

Keep an open mind.

The Fool is a card of no preconceived notions. This means don’t expect too much out of dating online, and keep your expectations to a minimum. Take the pressure off of yourself, and the whole process will be a lot more fun. Maybe you’ll meet your next romantic partner, maybe you won’t.

The temptation with online dating is that so many stories circulate about people who met their significant others, fell in love, and found their spouses online.

But guess what? Lots of people don’t. Lots of people go online for a few months, get nothing, and then take their profile down because it’s a fruitless search.

The Fool here is saying to take a leap of faith, sure. You never know what could happen, but don’t be too attached to any specific outcomes. Online dating comes down to a lot of luck and serendipity, just like everything else in life.

Try not to stick to the specific type of person that you’re typically attracted to.

If you’re used to say, dating professional 9-5 types, try an artist or a traveler.

The beauty of dating online is that you have access to people wouldn’t normally encounter through your usual social circle. Refrain from being superficial or making snap judgments about people. Just because somebody seems like a person you wouldn’t normally be interested in romantically doesn’t mean they would be a bad match.

Date online as a way to experiment and explore new possibilities in your love life without calculated efforts or high expectations.


3 of Cups

three of cups - starchild akashic tarot

Look for friendship, not romance.

When I pull the 3 of Cups in a reading, it is usually an indicator of platonic friendships, fun hangouts, and non-monogamous relationships. Even if you are looking for a steady partner, this is interesting advice.

The cards are saying if someone doesn’t seem like a person you could be genuinely friends with, don’t date them.

Instead of boring dinners as a first date, go do a fun activity and see how you guys get along. When you interact with them, think about these questions – Are they fun? Do they make you laugh? Are you genuinely enjoying their company or is it a snooze-fest?

Essentially you should be thinking wow, this person is really cool outside of the physical attraction.

Hold off on getting sexually involved with someone too soon. Build a friendship first and figure out if the person is genuinely likeable before you get into bed with them.

Don’t commit to a single person off the bat. Shop around.

Talk to lots of different people at once, and go out on several dates before you settle on one person, if at all. Online dating means options, and you should be taking advantage of that. See who you genuinely click with, which can only be figured out through comparison.

Use online dating as a way to have fun, make friends, and get to know different kinds of people, not as a method of finding the love of your life.



justice - starchild akashic tarot

Be objective and do your due diligence.

Unfortunately, the reality of being on the Internet is that fakes, scammers, and weirdos abound. People lie about their jobs, their relationship status, drug habits, fudge their ages, and of course upload pictures that grossly misrepresent their appearance.

When dating online, keep your eyes and ears peeled for anything suspicious. Ask very direct questions, take nothing for granted. If someone seems even remotely “off,” even if you can’t put your finger on exactly what, it’s fine to get rid of them. Don’t let anything slide. There are more fish in the sea where they came from.

Red flags are red flags for a reason, do not ignore them!

Be honest and up-front about yourself.

On the flipside, make sure you are representing yourself accurately, too. Don’t play yourself up or over-exaggerate just to impress. And don’t downplay yourself because you’re insecure. Be honest!

The person you want to attract has to be attracted to the real you, not a fake persona. Stick to your core values, who you are as a person, and don’t compromise on that. Make it extremely clear who you are about. Conduct yourself with honesty and integrity and expect all your romantic interests to do the same.


That’s all the advice the Tarot has for dating online! If you have any funny or horrific online dating stories, I’d love to read them. Leave a comment below.