A story of a romance can flow a lot like a novel. First, there’s the beginning, in which two lovers meet. They can be from totally different walks of life and station, like the poor but determined governess Jane Eyre and her star-crossed employer (and eventual husband), Mr. Rochester–or they can be kids, like Cathy and Heathcliff in the much more tragic tale, Wuthering Heights, who’ve grown up next to one another, and one day, find themselves falling in love.
The ensuing chapters chronicle how the relationships between the two lovers grow as each learns more about the other, and deals with the challenges of fate that either throw them closer together or tear them apart. There’s the yearning, as they realize they love each other, and the momentum and anticipation as they work toward finding a way to be together, not only to consummate their passion, but to join their lives.
What comes at the conclusion of a novel is usually a tidy summation that chronicles either the “happily ever after,” or offers the sad reflections on a love that was not meant to be. Unlike real life, fiction brings the reader closure, one way or another. But have you ever felt that you’d been forced to put down the book, and walk away from a real-life romance before the story had a chance to conclude?
That’s what happened to Maria.
As a teenager, Maria’s family had moved around often, and she’d never had time to form a lasting relationship with anyone. When she was in her early twenties, and finally living on her own, she started dating an older man named Mike. He was her first real boyfriend, the first serious relationship in her life.
As their relationship progressed, and their feelings for one another began to deepen, Maria became more and more attached to Mike. But being 10 years older, Mike was a little more reserved with expressing his emotions. He was falling for Maria, but had been burned by love once too often, and wanted to proceed with caution.
Ironically, like many children who grow up in challenging circumstances, Maria had chosen a man who, like her own father, spent a lot of time on the road. He’d be home for a few weeks, gone for a few months, then back again. Although she told herself she should have been used to that, Maria couldn’t seem to adjust. “I felt like I was expected to just turn my feelings on and off, like I had some kind of emotional faucet,” she confided.
The alternating elation at Mike’s return and depression at his departure eventually got to be too much for her. “He was heading back out on the road again, and I got so wound up the last time we were together, I just blurted out that I didn’t want to see him anymore,” she told me. “And I never did.”
Years passed, and Maria eventually married. Her husband, Sam, was a good man, but eventually they drifted apart. After an amicable divorce, and a series of dead-end dates, Maria was feeling restless and at loose ends. She often found herself thinking about Mike, and wondered what happened to him. She even tried to Google him once or twice, but unfortunately, Mike’s last name was very common. It was like trying to find a needle in a haystack, but a little voice in her head kept insisting there might be a reason to keep looking.
When Maria and I sat down for a consultation, she told me she knew how crazy it might sound, but she wanted to find out if Mike still might still have feelings for her, and if she should keep up the search. “It’s not crazy,” I told her, “but not all love stories have a happy ending.” She said she was all right with that, so we went ahead.
“Let’s try something different,” I said. “I want you to go through the cards and pick one that reminds you the most of Mike, the way you best remember him.” After careful consideration, she chose the King of Pentacles. “All right, now shuffle the cards,” I said, handing her the deck, “and concentrate on what you think Mike has become. When you feel it’s right, give them back to me.” Maria did as I requested.
The Plot Thickens
The card she’d chosen to represent Mike, the King of Pentacles, indicated that she saw him as a loving father figure, who was both grounded and generous. He had a kind, nurturing nature that set him apart from other men. He was someone who not only created his own kingdom, but was able to carry it with him wherever he went.
I dealt out the card at the top of the deck face down. “This will represent how Mike felt about your relationship as it stood in the past,” I said. The Six of Cups revealed that Mike’s affection for Maria had been almost like a rebirth for him. Even though they’d been lovers, their romance held an aura of almost childlike innocence. He’d been more jaded about previous paramours, but as her first love, he’d felt protective and enchanted.
“The next card will tell us how the breakup impacted him,” I told her. In this context, The Four of Pentacles told me that Mike had in all likelihood simply shut down, like a turtle retreating into its shell in the face of perceived danger. “It’s a knee-jerk reaction to feeling out of control,” I explained. “He simply reeled in all his emotions as a way to protect himself from further pain.”
The next card would reveal how Mike had ultimately processed the experience and incorporated it into the man he’d become. The Eight of Cups shows a figure who’s turned his back and walked away from something dear to him. It’s something in which he has invested his all, and yet his all was not enough–there is still something missing. It’s a sad card, and yet it’s not without hope. There’s always a chance that when he’s out in the world, he may find that missing piece, and will possibly return to see if he can ever make things whole.
“For the last card, let’s see how he feels about you now,” I said.
“All right,” she answered, determined. “Let’s do it.”
It was The Knight of Cups. Here, I have to admit that I see other things in this card than is often described by standard texts, and as I am an intuitive, rather than a by-the-book type of reader, I went with the message the card was sending me. “I see this as a man who is coming out of the desert after a long ride. He’s finally heading toward the water, and seeks to fill his cup. The desert has not depleted him, it has made him stronger, and rather than being tired and worn out, he seems to shine with renewed hope and purpose.”
Long story short, I told her, if the river was love, Mike was ready for a drink. “I can’t promise you that you’re what he’s looking for,” I concluded, “but you might just be that missing piece he’s been trying to find all along. It’s worth a shot.”
We’re still waiting to read the final chapter, but at this point, Maria is fairly certain there’s more to this tale that remains to be told.
If you’re wondering if someone from your past might be trying to find their way back into your future, a KEEN advisor can help you get a better read on the situation.