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TAROT TO DECODE IMPOSTOR SYNDROME

I had initially planned to pace myself more when it came to pulling cards for myself. Up until recently I had only drawn a single card at a time, so I thought my next step would be two or three cards, perhaps a kind of Past, Present, Future set up.


Well, that plan went out the window when I was at a bar waiting for my friend’s arrival and an awesome IG account I follow (@owlandbonestarot) posted a 7-card spread addressing the reader’s impostor syndrome.


The post called to me, and a few days later I drew my spread. In today’s blog I am going to talk through my findings.


(Note: For the sake of time I will simply be listing the keywords for each card as they appear on biddytarot.com, my go-to reference site. I highly recommend it!)



What makes you feel like a fraud? Nine of Pentacles (Reversed): self-worth, over-investment in work, hustling


The word ‘hustling’ stood out to me most when I looked up this card. Before I moved out on my own, I would not have even related to the word. In my old living situation, I didn’t have the spare energy required to hustle. But now, with blogging and YouTube becoming more consistent fixtures in my life, thinking more deeply about my novel, and developing my intuition, I can relate. I can see how hustling makes me feel like a fraud because I am so new to it. I’m just not accustomed to having so many dishes on the stove top at once. It feels ingenuine because I’m still getting used to it.


More importantly, though, hustling makes me feel like a fake because it requires some innate self-confidence— a belief that your work matters and that you can succeed. This is a mindset that, at this point, I feel awkward developing. I feel like right now I wear confidence like new boots that are stiff and uncomfortable. I believe in time I will break them in, but in the meantime, I kind of feel a blister forming.


Why do you think you’re faking it? The Star (Reversed): Lack of faith, despair, self-trust, disconnection


The first of three Major Arcana in my spread, the reversed Star seemed to slap me in the face. It told me flat-out, ‘You’re not a star’— you’re not note-worthy or deserving of attention. In an even more direct sense, it seemed to say, ‘Your work is not good enough to make you a star in the writing world’.


So, it was with a self-deprecating grin I read the phrase ‘lack of faith’ when I researched the meaning of this card. It is such a spot-on pull that it feels a bit ridiculous.

There’s not much to decipher here— I think I’m faking it because I don’t feel skilled enough. My belief in my ideas and voice in writing is shaky. I doubt the importance of my story.


Where are you being authentic? The Lovers (Reversed): Self-love, disharmony, imbalance, misalignment of values


The message of this draw is pretty damn universal, in my opinion. One of the keys to living an authentic life is to show yourself compassion. When you practice patience and kindness towards yourself, you’re freed from self-limiting thoughts based in fear and lack. Carrying self-hatred in your heart simply makes everything in life more difficult. It’s like wading through sludge— it slows you down and holds you back. The sooner you can accept yourself, the sooner you can reach your full potential.


When I pulled this card, I got an intuitive hit that the reversed Lovers card also signifies singlehood and independence. As a sort of side note, I gathered from this draw that living on my own and being unattached romantically were also important factors in my personal authenticity.


What are your best tools for standing in your own power? Temperance: balance, moderation, patience, purpose Ten of Swords (Reversed): recovery, regeneration, resisting an inevitable end


Basically every keyword for Temperance makes sense in response to this question, but the word that is highlighted in my mind’s eye is ‘patience’. Moving out on my own has truly freed up a ton of mental space and energy to pursue my goals whole-heartedly for basically the first time in my adult life. I need to remember that it hasn’t even been two months yet. I need to take note of and appreciate how much progress I’ve made, and have faith that this upswing is just beginning. Temperance calls on me to stay the course and trust that the Universe will reward my earnest hard work.


The Ten of Swords is an intense card depicting a figure laying on the ground with swords sticking out of his back— but upside-down, the swords are falling out of his body. This card tells me to be mindful of burnout and draining energies around me. I need to keep up with self-care and remember that breaks, fun, and vacations are essential to recharge and come back and tackle the tasks at hand with renewed vigor.

What will help boost your confidence? Two of Rods (Reversed): personal goals, inner alignment, fear of unknown, lack of planning


This card tells me to check in frequently with myself to make sure my goals are based in my own beliefs. I shouldn’t let myself be influenced by outside ideas of what I should be doing or how I should be doing it. Even if a goal could seem silly or pointless to some people (such as learning tarot or making YouTube videos), I should trust my intuitive pull to develop these areas of my life.


This is a very interesting pull to me, because in the context of the given question, I even read positivity in the latter two keywords. ‘Fear of unknown’ and ‘lack of planning’ remind me that going outside my comfort zone and following my gut could also be very effective in building up my self-confidence.

What genuine quality do you need to embrace? Seven of Swords: impostor syndrome, self-deceit, keeping secrets


Now, what are the freakin’ odds that the seventh and final card in this spread would signify impostor syndrome itself? Geez, that’s wild to me.


Anyway, this card creates a circle backwards and tells me to ‘lean into’ what makes me feel like a fraud, which, as denoted by the reversed Nine of Pentacles earlier, means hustling. To me, it exemplifies the idea of ‘fake it til you make it’. In an echo of what I got from Temperance, the Seven of Swords encourages me to keep doing what I’m doing.


In the Seven of Swords, a figure is stealing weapons from a military camp in the cover of darkness, so I gather from this draw that I also need to embrace the calculating and strategic side of my personality as I continue work on my YouTube channel, novel, and blog. I should take advantage of my tendency to plan ahead for future efficiency. In another nod to Temperance, this last card emphasizes the healthy balance of intuition/fluidity and intention/methodical action that will lead to the accomplishment of my goals.


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© 2020 by Lee Dobecka