The Oracle Of Ybor: Devil Of A Detail

Jan 9, 2024 at 1:42 pm | Updated on Jan 25, 2024 at 1:35 am
Welcome to the Oracle of Ybor.
Welcome to the Oracle of Ybor. Photo via Adobe Stock

Dear Oracle, 

After 50 years of working, I am starting off 2024 as retired. I’m looking forward to a few things, like traveling and spending time with my grandchildren, but It is a little daunting not knowing what my day-to-day will look like. How can I ease into this new stage of life? 

--Ready to retire

Cards: Two of Swords (rev.), Knight of Cups (rev.), Eight of Pentacles, Four of Wands (rev.)

Dear Ready,

Congratulations on your retirement! Fifty years is a long time to keep your nose to the grindstone, so I hope these years offer you all the rest and relaxation that you need and the joy that you want.

You aren’t the only one to be intimidated by the unknown after retirement. Traditionally, work offered structure: you had a schedule, you socialized with co-workers, you thought about your responsibilities. None of that is required in retirement. With enough money and lack of impulse control, you could very well spend the rest of your days drunk and naked on a boat, drifting aimlessly from port to port like some sort of boomer pirate.

But there might be more fulfilling ways to spend your new free time.

With the Two of Swords, it’s important to be intentional about your choices, particularly as they concern your mind. Without a set schedule, it’ll be thrilling to sleep in or spend hours watching TV without feeling guilty. And while that’s fine for a couple of weeks, it won’t offer much in the way of intellectual stimulation. You need to keep your mind sharp.

The Eight of Pentacles is often a “nose to the grindstone” type of card, but it doesn’t necessarily mean your job-job. You could throw yourself into a creative pursuit, take classes in a subject you’ve been interested in, or hone a hobby into a full-time endeavor. Maybe it’s volunteering or learning Mahjong. Whatever it is, have something to give your mind to.

With the Knight of Cups, I’d also encourage you to be social, investing more time in old friendships and trying to cultivate new ones. The Knight is charming and social but also vulnerable. He puts a great deal of love into his relationships, and they, in turn, fill him with purpose. Don’t second guess yourself when reaching out—they probably aren’t busy and do want to hear from you.

Finally, spending time with family will be incredibly rewarding for you. The Four of Wands can show familial bliss and stability. Now that you have more time, you might get to take on a larger role in your grandchildren’s lives, expand your relationship with your children, or deepen your relationship with your spouse.

With something to occupy your curious mind and relationships to fill your soul, I think you’ll have a wonderful retirement.

(And, you know, maybe take up pickleball for your health.)

Dear Oracle, 

I’ve recently moved house to a new city. It’s a great choice for me: very “artsy,” far more affordable, and the people don’t seem to take themselves too seriously. It’s going to be a refreshing change of pace. I am worried how this move will affect my friendships (both existing and new ones.) Any advice? 

--Social Life in The City? 

Cards: Knight of Swords, First Quarter, The Devil, The Fool (rev.)

Dear Social,

The first two cards of this spread offer some basic, expectant advice, while the last two throw the whole question into a different light. It’s difficult to bridge the two without knowing more, but I’ll try.

First, the conventional: As the Knight of Swords, you are a Romantic charging into the unknown. This makes sense: you moved to a new place based on the atmosphere. Very Romantic, very unknown. With the First Quarter moon card, it’s a time for action and getting out there. Fair.

With The Fool reversed, I’d also say that to make friends, you’ll have to go down a new path—but everything hinges on what on earth The Devil is doing here.

The Devil is a powerful card of passion, obsession, a bondage of our own making, or something that completely takes over our lives. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. A composer writing their magnum opus has Devil energy. So does a heroin addiction.

Illness can often appear as The Devil. If you have deep social anxiety, for example, that might be a challenge you would need to overcome—a path of healing led by The Fool. If you, perhaps, tend to meet people out partying but struggle with substance abuse, you might need to follow The Fool toward recovery and sobriety.

Or, The Devil might be a romantic partner, a toxic one that takes over your life and every waking thought and leads you to feeling ruined and wretchedly in love. (I hope not.)

I don’t know what your Devil is. I do know that it lurks in your new city, just as it lurked in the last, and you will have to confront it. But, the good news about The Devil is that he deals in deception. It might feel like you’re chained to this darkness—whatever it is—and there’s no escape, but that’s not true. You can slip them. It might not be easy, but it’s certainly possible.

This brings us back to The Fool. Standing on the cliff’s edge with a song in his heart and a little dog at his feet, The Fool is pure optimism, a beginner’s mind ready to start.

The Devil often robs us of a future. We can only see our situation. But The Fool is all future, all possibility, and taking chances and hope. A new path is open to you. It might take time to slip whatever chains you have, but again, it is possible.

I hope this new city offers a change in perspective and a path forward. Good luck walking it, my dear, wherever it may lead.