Whenever I sit with the Six of Cups I'm brought back to my younger years, to teenage Imogen, prone as she was to reminiscing of times passed.
Not that I'd had a great deal of exciting life experience at the tender age of sixteen, I might add; more so that I was a bit of a hopeless romantic and viewed life as a heartfelt, heart-led adventure.
Aah, sweet Knight of Cups vibes! I doubt I'll ever lose such an outlook completely as I age.
The Pull of the Past
I'm still rather nostalgic now, twenty eight years young with life experience to boot, and when I look back to my childhood, Six of Cups style, certain memories flow forward with ease, memories that feel significant and alive still.
Placing a camp bed mattress along the steep stairs at my grandpa Jack's house before sliding down with my cousins over and over again.
Listening to The B52s' Comic Thing on the nighttime drive to Jack's cottage in Wales.
Playing in the church shop after Sunday mass during the summer holidays, admiring the little Mother Mary statues and gemstone rosary beads lining the wall.
Noodles with tomato sauce while watching Sesame Street after nursery on a Monday.
And, of course, plenty of memories from my teen years call to me, too.
Rollerblading to the park and back with Alice every evening after school.
Purchasing and applying copious amounts of peach flavoured roll-on lipgloss.
Holidaying with family in Greece and Newquay and Rome.
Sleeping with the shutters open under a full moon in Tuscany when I was twelve and just beginning to discover my cycles and the idea of ebb and flow.
Reading aloud horoscopes every morning at school before first period (just think what teenage life would have been like with a tarot deck in hand!)
Visiting my newborn baby brother in the hospital and bursting into great waves of tears at the overwhelming sense of awe that new life brings.
A gentle softening
All of this, as I retell it now, carries a strange mixture of colours and sensations to the surface - ineffable, magical.
Pinks and purples and yellows, sunshine, honeydew, the scrape of rollerblades against concrete, the scent of apple bubblegum on tongue.
I was so very fortunate in that I felt, for the most part, safe, held, cocooned while venturing into the wider world and discovering who I was and who I was in the process of becoming.
Of course, it wasn't always so sunny and there were difficult times, too.
But coexisting with such sadness and loss are these ethereal memories, elevated to the land of fairytale and children's book, softened through the lens of time.
I like that. I like the softening.
It acts as a gentle counter to the tough stuff.
Perhaps such Six of Cups nostalgia is so alluring, and so comforting, because it's tied into a time of soul-deep learning and discovery.
We're receptive when young, open to receiving knowledge and trusting those seeking to gift it to us.
Everything is new, exciting, alive.
Even learning to tie our shoelaces is cause for celebration!
We're naive, curious, hopeful as we experience life's simplicities and complexities for the very first time.
The Six of Cups asks us to trust, less naively that when younger, yet just as open-heartedly.
Retrieving + integrating long lost gifts
At times the Six of Cups can be intoxicating in her pull towards the past.
When afraid of the unknown, of an as yet undefined future, the past beckons as a safe place, a comfortable place, a familiar place.
I tripped myself up more than a few times as I reached early adulthood, too afraid to look forward or to be present, craving the familiarity of what I'd known so far at the expense of growing - even when what I'd known wasn't always the healthiest or most expansive thing to remain rooted into.
We learn, with time, that we must be present if we're truly going to live.
We cannot remain in what was forever.
And yet we don't necessarily have to cut ties with the past completely.
The Six of Cups can be an invitation to turn towards and to welcome younger us; a forgotten worldview, an abandoned interest, a hidden dream, a discarded strength or talent.
To reach for our favourite song, our favourite film, our favourite place and to embrace it once more.
To look through photographs and to acknowledge how far we've travelled, to reach out and connect with our inner child and to give ourselves the nurturing and nourishment Little Us needs.
And while modern life tells a tale of linear time, it might just be that the medicine, the clue, the pointer we're searching for is waiting patiently for us as we cycle our way back to times passed.
Holding hands with our inner child
And, of course, the Six of Cups invites us to have hope.
To hold faith in the castles we created when younger.
To sink into our imagination and to operate from within our glowing heart-space, a space we knew so well and so truly before we had our hearts broken for the first time.
Nostalgia can be a healer when blended with an appreciation of the present moment.
If I'm feeling lost or overwhelmed, blasting Say You'll Be There and re-reading A Little Princess works wonders in reconnecting me to a sense of childlike awe and wonder.
I taste hope, and life becomes less of a threat, more of a curious adventure.
Plus, Little Me often has really helpful advice should I ever feel in a pickle about pathways and possible choices.
She helps simplify things, peeling away layers of doubt and fear gathered over time.
Her intentions are heartfelt and true; her perspective simple and unclouded.
In return I give her space to play, to talk through her worries, to ask questions about our future.
Together we make a formidable team. She knows me like no other, just as I know her, and for that I am grateful.
Sure, it's tempting at times to get a little lost in the land of memory, but Little Me has a knack for encouraging Present Me to keep going, to tackle the things we long to experience together.
And I am kinder now, when looking back; kinder to who I was and to the mistakes I made.
All of it leading me to where I am now, hopefully a little wiser and willing to do better.
Embracing our inner Six of Cups enables us to marry past with present, connecting lost wisdom and fresh understanding with current awareness.
Revisiting, understanding, integrating in new ways with each return to what was and what is, holding hands across time and space.
Exploring softened and harsher edges, finding ways to make peace with both, honouring our story as it unfolds, love leading the way.
For at her core, the Six of Cups is such love. She offers us water from her well, and with each sip, our timeline nourished, we are renewed.