Tarot Reading: Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

seasonal affective disorder

Last week, I fell into the bottomless pit of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also known as winter depression. With almost two years into covid-19, a firm lack of sunshine, and hardly seeing real people, the firm ground on which I usually stand slowly disappeared from under my feet. I didn’t even notice it.

Looking back, I fall into the same pit every year, after the holidays are over. This year was no exception. I tried to keep myself busy, but suddenly I could not hide from the truth anymore.

Everything sucks

Covid sucks. Winter sucks. Loneliness sucks. It all sucks. Big time. This week, I admitted that I felt lonely and depressed and was far from doing well. I even had a major meltdown and cried until I fell asleep, only to cry again when I opened my eyes early the following day.

I struggle with the loneliness that this awful lockdown brings, and I pray that the government will lift the bans quickly because I need like-minded people around me. My workdays are spent at my desk at home, talking to people through Teams, hammering away on my laptop. Luckily the computer is in front of the window, or I wouldn’t even see people all day. My husband leaves at around 7 am and comes back around 5.30 pm. What is different for him is that he has an “essential shop” to still talk to customers or employees.

My Work In Progress

I keep myself busy on my days off – rewriting and translating my tarot book. I’ve just finished the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth drafts. I removed unnecessary exercises and added chapters, and invented new exercises. It is an excellent book for beginners and people who want to read intuitively. If there is one thing that shines brightly under the grey clouds of seasonal affective disorder, then that’s it. I love my book, and I feel so good about writing about tarot that I am sure more will follow.

But, I digress from the feeling that urged me to write this blog. I know I am not the only one who struggles with seasonal affective disorder. That is why I have created a tarot spread to understand the dark feelings we’re going through and find out how to conquer them courageously.

seasonal affective disorder tarot

Tarot Spread on Seasonal Affective Disease

  1. Where this feeling of SAD comes from
  2. The spark inside that helps me to overcome SAD
  3. What I need to build to prevent future SAD
  4. How to release the current symptoms
  5. How I can improve my self-care
  6. How to connect with myself better

Where this feeling comes from – Prince of Pentacles

seasonal affective disorder tarot

While the real cause of seasonal affective disease is unknown, many people notice the symptoms of low mood, loss of pleasure, guilt, and despair play up when there is less sunlight. The leading theory is that it has to do with a lack of serotonin which causes melatonin to become more dominant. As a result, your body’s internal clock gets disrupted, and you feel as if you haven’t slept for ages which makes you cranky and moody.

Related: read more information on SAD

The lack of sunlight is even shown on this card. The sky is dark, and there’s only sunlight just above the horizon. Other than that, it is dark. Maybe that is why this Knight stands still on his horse and protects himself with his shield. I mean, it is hard to look around you in the dark.

For me, this shield stands for the lockdown we’ve been in since a week before Christmas. At first, I felt fine. I was busy finishing my work, but I started to slide after the holidays. Nowhere I could not go, and all my fun and much-needed quality time appointments were canceled because of the lockdown. I wondered why I had planned this week off halfway through the week. I felt a bit wasteful to spend all those days doing nothing. On the other hand, after just about two months in my new job, I needed a bit of me-time.

Not your average fast guy

This Prince is not the fastest-moving Knight. Compared with the other knights, this one isn’t showing himself. I get the feeling as if he’s afraid of something, but the source of his anxiety isn’t visible.

When I project this toward myself, I feel like this Prince. I hide behind my shield as well, safely inside my home, and I often feel anxious. This is probably something I used to eat over, but now that I don’t do that anymore, I am more aware of it being prevalent.

The spark inside that helps me to overcome this feeling – Seven of Cups

seasonal affective disorder tarot

When you have a seasonal affective disorder, you slowly slide into a dark pit, which causes you not to see your solutions anymore, especially not the simple, obvious ones. This card shows me that I have a lot of solutions, but they also cause a bit of choice stress.

When you’re not feeling optimal, you can overlook the best opportunity, even when it is standing next to you. In a way, this card looks like the Four of Cups in the RWS deck where the person doesn’t see that one cup standing up while three have fallen over.

But when you don’t see any options on the surface, it is essential to look for options on a soul level. Ask yourself a question: “If this is not how I want to feel, how DO I want to feel instead? If my options are not what I want, which options DO I want?” Then visualize your next reality of what is more agreeable.

But it all starts with accepting where I am. This approach seems to be something I easily forget.

I am starting to see why I chose acceptance as my word of the year. At first, I wanted to go with Fresh because I longed so much for Spring and to make a new start. But acceptance is what I need to learn. Only through acceptance can I heal.

What I need to build to prevent future loneliness – King of Wands

seasonal affective disorder tarot

The King of Wands is the King of Inspiration and Energy. He can react rashly, but he also enforces leadership.

This card signifies that we need to build our desired reality proactively to prevent future seasonal affective disorder. It was not the first year I got hit by these feelings. I’ve had it for at least twenty years. But because of the pandemic, the feelings came earlier, and I wasn’t prepared.

It created a reactive attitude in me, and I easily isolated myself. This causes me to feel even worse because being around people is so important. For me, the ED also affected it, as did my anxiety. As I say: I’m pretty complicated 😉

Even though I don’t feel well, it still surprises me that it hasn’t been a reason to overeat. The therapy worked well. Overeating has ceased to be helpful, but as a result, I now feel more anxious and lonely. I will discuss it with my therapist in my upcoming evaluation session. The only thing is that I’m not sure how long I should wait to call.

I want to sit it out, but that may also be part of my habit of isolating myself and doing it myself. On the other hand, I want to see if I can help myself without relapsing into overeating.

Inspiration in this grayness

This may sound counterproductive to what this card signifies, but I am convinced that there must be an inspiration in this pool of greyness that I can use for myself and (in time) for others. I have found earlier that great desires come from inspiration and are input for what I want to manifest.

I’ll use my journal, daily and weekly evaluations, and card readings to keep an eye on it. I have also created this tool in Excel for daily evaluation to see when enough is enough and to ask for help with this. I don’t have to do this alone.

How to release the current greyness – Magician (1)

seasonal affective disorder tarot

With the Magician, daylight returns, and better days are ahead of me. Early daylight is on the horizon, and the rooster tells us this is a new day with lots of new opportunities. On the stone in front of him, there is a pentacle, a sword, and a cup. He holds the wand in his hand. It tells me that I have all tools available. As I said above, it starts with accepting the here and now.

I notice my desires and what I want in the here and now. I need to focus on my wants instead of what I don’t want. It is too easy to only focus on what I don’t want, but according to my personal Manifesting Blueprint, I need to focus on the first instead of the latter.

How I can improve my self-care – King of Swords

seasonal affective disorder tarot

Here we have Mr. Kick-in-the-ass himself. At least, that’s how this card feels for me, and it immediately shows me what is needed. I sometimes need a firm kick-in-the-ass so now and then. Especially with SAD, it is hard to stay on top of what is good for me, and I slowly spiral down. Because of that, I sometimes do not notice what is going on. One day I feel pretty good, and I am productive, and a week later, I’m down in the dumps. It shows me that I’m not very aware of what is going on.

This realization helped me see that I needed to evaluate my energetic state. I will evaluate on Sundays together with my other weekly evaluation. Hopefully, I will notice some patterns that will help me improve my current situation.

How to connect with myself better – Six of Cups

seasonal affective disorder tarot

This card is so interesting! Lately, I have come across the word joy so often. Whether it is in one of the groups I’m in on Facebook or cards that come up during the week, it all seems to revolve around creating joy.

This week, I pulled the Three of Cups at some point, and it signified for me that it is not only celebrating the things that go well in your life but when I wrote in my journal about this card, I noticed that it is more than that. It is about wanting to see the good things and to do things for the fun of it or because they create joy.

So often, I have done things triggered by coping strategies. They were always unauthentic. But when you choose to take an authentic route, things become so different. In my case, I had to leave the past behind and start over to allow my inner child to experience joy. Joy is more than celebrating; it is an inner void you want to fill with contentment, “good enough,” and “just fun” without an ulterior motive. Not everything has to have a higher goal or a goal at all. You can do things just for fun, notice a bird sing a song outside, have a cup of coffee with your face in the sun, listen to a beautiful song (Voila, sung by Julia Kuiper at the Blind Auditions of Voice of Holland 2022, chills!!!)

It all comes down to that I am okay even with seasonal affective disorder. Nothing terrible will happen when I’m a bit down, but I need to consider when to ask for help. The good thing that comes from it is that I will appreciate my good days even more.


Jolanda Bolt
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