The Ten of Cups- Domestic Bliss as a Single Mother

I’m feeling it today. I’m really feeling this card. As I wrote about last week, sometimes the happier cards are hard for me to write about. An element of this is that in our more joyful moments, we don’t really need as much direction as when things are challenging. When there’s no direction, I find it hard to catch onto something I can dig myself into. But meditating on this card feels good. It feels warm, sweet, and pure. A rainbow in the sky with ten cups, lovers arm in arm greeting the sky with joy, two children skipping around merrily- this is the ultimate card of emotional harmony, the card of thing-are-well, the card of let’s-be-joyful, let us celebrate where we are right now, as a result of all of our past experiences. Maybe the wish we made on the Nine of Cups has come to fruition. Maybe we’ve just come to one of those perfect moments that life offers, when everything is great, when all you can do is smile and bask in the sweetness.

This card has an element of domesticity to it, and so meditating on it as a single mother, I feel the awkwardness. I think domesticity is often associated with the nuclear family- stay-at-home-moms, dads who work, two children and a dog. It feels strange but also liberating to say that my domestic life is truly one of bliss and harmony. The cultural narrative is one of hardship and martyrdom for single mothers. I see this card and I realize, I don’t feel that way at all. My family life truly does feel harmonious.

It has only been roughly 4 months since I ended my marriage. Before I ended it, I felt I was on the precipice of incredible growth and I knew I was being held back. Ending my marriage is one of the most painful decisions I have ever made. I put so much work into the relationship to try and make it grow. I have to say, I regret nothing. My experience was of immense pain and hardship, yes. I was incredibly unsafe emotionally, and sexually at times. Yet all of the personal growth I did in an attempt to make that marriage work springboarded me into where I am today. It did not save my marriage, but it opened me up to myself in a way I have never imagined.

As soon as I was on my own, I was scared- I faced a lot of very hard, overwhelming and intense emotions, but my self-work prepared me for this. Even though I had no appetite and all I wanted to do was lay nauseous in a ball on the floor, I forced myself to eat, to drink water, and to get enough sleep. When it was the last thing I could fathom doing, I would take a shower, I would wash my hair, I would let myself sit under the stream of warm water and show myself what it is like to care for yourself like you are caring for a beloved friend. I was truly learning to love myself.

The sense of danger that lurked around every corner dropped away. I was suddenly able to be fully present with my baby. I would sit on the ground with him and play, read him stories. I could look him in the eye and not have a flood of terror that he was peering into my soul, and that one day he would see how horrible I am- because that is what I was made to believe about myself. Instead, I could look him in the eye and connect to him, heart-to-heart, and think to myself, “We are here together, in this moment, two perfect beings growing and learning together.” The myths that had been instilled into the core of my being came into focus, and I could suddenly see the lies that had kept me feeling small and insignificant for so long.

I came to own the sacredness of my role as mother. In moments I would get swept up with joy and peace. I could allow myself to get lost in it. Before, I couldn’t do that. I was skeptical- always waiting for the other shoe to drop, and most of the time it did. But now, that danger had passed. And the best part? It was because I stood up for myself. I showed myself an act of love that not even my own parents could show me as a child. It truly was profound.

So I see the Ten of Cups, a picture of domestic bliss, and I still see myself there.

Adding depth to this, tens are a threshold. They represent the end of a journey and the beginning of a new one. That moment where you have reached completion- whether in failure or in success. You stand on the precipice of something new. Cups being about emotions and relationships, we have reached a pinnacle of experience, emotionally.

If I had any talent for drawing, I would draw my own Ten of Cups. It would be a single mother and her baby, lying in a hammock in the summer time. The baby reaches for vines and flowers that hang overhead, smiling and babbling in his mother’s arms. Learning what the color green looks like, feeling the softness of the foliage, learning his own strength as he pulled the leaves from their stem, learning the way green smells- freshly crushed in his tiny hands. His eyes look between his mother and his hand as she teaches him, “That is a green leaf! The leaf is green” (points to his torso) “like the stripes on your shirt. Greeeeen…”

The pair radiate joy. The moment is pure. Each of them is fully present in that moment of perfect connection.

This was my summer with my child. I had come to the end of a relationship’s journey, and in the ending, I was able to completely embrace the newness of my relationship with my child, and more importantly- my relationship with myself. There I stood in strength and in humility, grateful for where I had been, eager to go towards my destiny. The worries of hardship lingered nearby, and yet I could embrace the perfect harmony of those moments.

The Ten of Cups has a question for you- what does domestic harmony look like for you? In what ways can we challenge the traditional narrative of domesticity to see ourselves in this aspect of the card? Perhaps it is your cat purring on your chest while you are cozy in bed on a cold autumn morning. Maybe you live alone, and it is the small joy of tending to your plants and appreciating the freshness and beauty they bring into your space. Or maybe it is the joy and pride of queer family created and celebrated in a world that does not validate our truths.

Whatever it looks like- let us celebrate family and community in all its wondrous diversity. Let us celebrate the ways we have triumphed in finding home for ourselves.

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#cups #10 #ten #tenofcups #tarot #harmony #happiness

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