Meeting Nemesis

I don’t have an especially transactional relationship with Nemesis, but she is important to me. Here is a little about how she got that way.

If you’ve been following me for a little while, you remember me looking into the goddess Nemesis. ( What I don’t think I ever elaborated on was why and how she popped up on my radar (or I on hers, who knows).

I was doing a curse-breaking work a friend helped me set up, and the candle flame was behaving pretty wildly. Flickery, splitting, jumping, flaring, just all over the place doing its thing. My friend said that that means something is trying to reach out to me, and it’d be a good time to try to make contact and see who it is and/or what they’re here for.

So I pulled out a deck of tarot cards and started just… making up a reading as I went, asking questions and then pulling cards, shuffling when it felt right. Asking more questions based on the answers to the previous ones. Here’s what came up. I’m going to include the specifics on the readings themselves, along with some of my thought process. This is going to be a little messy and scattered, but I hope if you are interested in Nemesis that you will be willing to humor me.

Reading One: Introduction

Me: 3W, reversed

Who is this? 1S, reversed

What called you? 9S, reversed

What do you think I should do? Sun

This is a lot of reversals and half swords, so I put the cards back and did a follow-up. I like to have a signifier in each new spread just so that I can keep things in a context, so you’ll see that multiple times.

Me: KnW

You: Sun

What do you want to tell me? 1C

What I need to do: 1P

Another spread:

Me: 4W, reversed

You: Magician

What can I do for you? World, reversed (So the world is fucked up and broken. Agreed. What can I offer YOU? 8S, reversed. So, nothing personally? Just bigger world-fixy things.)

What would make you proud? 2S

What would disappoint you? 5S. Balance my own fight with other people’s needs.

Where else can I look for help? 7C, reversed. People and orgs doing actual concrete things, not just hoping/dreaming. Briefly: praxis.

What can they do for me? KiC

What should I watch out for? 10P, reversed. People I can build relationship with by being proactive. Don’t count on just assuming I’ll have enough. Comfort and coasting aren’t safe yet.

What I haven’t tried: Tower

How do I call back when I want to talk? Is that something you want? Wheel of Fortune. So they’ll be by when they come back, just whenever.

The conclusions I came up with: I think I’m supposed to break something that’s fucking over me and others, instead of leveraging it in ways that make it stronger. So activist orgs versus going through the legal system, which does in fact make it stronger.

But who identifies THEMSELF as the reversed Ace of Swords? Either someone who got close to my goal but didn’t quite get there? Or someone who makes people fumble their own rules, ideas, or power. Someone who helps cause accidents.

They’re not willing to be relied upon if they can’t be, so they made no promises there. That’s actually super reassuring for me.

Sabotaging others is clearly a bridge too far, especially if they’re just fellow victims of this same problem. Either that or it’s just not something I specifically should be doing. Rather, I should build and invest with other people who are into that, and let people who fuck over others just fail on their own. Don’t drop them from the roof; just don’t catch them when they’re falling.

A common theme for me in my witchy work is figures who turn rules intended to restrict them into their own power and authority. (See also: Hel.) The rules imposed upon them are also their weapons. When I went looking for entities associated with misfortune, I found Tyche, and slid straight into Nemesis and Themis.

Reading Two: Reaching Back

I dug up a spread that I thought might help me dig a little deeper into what I’d found. ( This was a really interesting one, and guided much of how I interact with Nemesis (to the extent that I do).

Spirit: 2W, taking responsibility for your power. Controlling power, not letting it control you.

Past Activities: Wheel of Fortune, turning the wheel if someone has stuck where they shouldn’t.

Past Influences/Experiences: PP, reversed. An opportunity for growth that never came.

Personality/How they Think: Hanged Man. Growth isn’t free. Knowledge requires focus and willingness.

Present Status: 5W, reversed. Things have been calm. A lack of (perhaps necessary) conflict.

Their Situation/Their Why: 9S, reversed. Paralysis by guilt or fear, unwillingness to move forward because it means going through a trial.

Their Health: 2C, reversed. Lack of counterpart, of a necessary intergrown partner.

Mental Health/Mood: 5S, reversed. Not interested in zero sum games.

Physical Health/Manifestation: KiC, reversed. Nobody to connect with? Maybe this just means Not Poseidon.

Things they Like to Do: PW, reversed. Ruining orchestrations, separating agents from their tools.

What to Know: Temperence. Big value on balance, especially by keeping opposing things in balance.

What do Avoid: Hierophant. Don’t do things just for the sake of tradition. Or! Don’t look to her for spiritual teaching or authority. Or maybe just don’t listen to traditions about her.

What Can I Do to Help/What Are Others Doing? 1S. Keep hold of it. Don’t drop it or elsewise be careless. Try something new, but responsibly.

What’s Not Helping Them? Strength. Being restrained by someone stronger even if that someone isn’t aggressive about it.

Conscious Desires: 2P, reversed. Tired of juggling, especially of doing it alone. Or do they feel they’ve dropped what they used to juggle? Maybe they just want one to finally win, but they also know what would be lost if it did. It’d be down to the Ace instead of forward to Three. Nothing to build on.

Unconscious Desires: 7W, reversed. Tired of fighting and being fought. Just want to enjoy what they’re protecting.

Hopes: 6P, reversed. Wants back what they give. Reciprocity. Ability to lean on what they’ve built, to be held by it.

Fears: 7C. Someone good falling because they were focused on wishes and not their real situation. Or! Possibly of someone getting so stuck on their suggested (assumed?) path that they miss the opportunity to find someplace new, someplace that isn’t on the map (yet). Choice paralysis.


She reeeaaally doesn’t seem to want to talk about herself here. I asked, “What do you need our relationship to look like?” and the reversed 10W fell out of the deck. Maybe… to not bear her burden alone? A break that she’s afraid to take because what if everything falls? Lots of reversals too. Maybe it’s easier for her to say what she doesn’t want than what she does. Does she have a clear sense of how else things could be? Or is she still at the diagnosis stage of observing problems?

A major question I was left with: Is Nemesis alone? Where is Themis? Worship of Nemesis seems to have outlived devotion to Themis, which is concerning. Does Nemesis have anyone like her, anymore? Maybe Themis did more for Nemesis than either of them realized. Does Nemesis have someone good and trustworthy to love her back?

I don’t know how to help with that but I’d like to try. I’ve been a What that was left alone to become a Who, and I hated it. How do you know what to do, how to even think, without a purpose? Without a worthy team? Without an easy objective reason? What if Nemesis doesn’t have to feel like I did? How do you allocate support to the god of allocating things?

I think all of this is why I find it concerning when other people immediately momzone Nemesis. For one thing, from what we know about her, she doesn’t leap onto anyone’s “side.” She has standards, and people who meet them and people who don’t. There is no need to take “sides.” Just because she may judge that land should be redistributed doesn’t mean she’s on the side of the recipient. This is why I find her trustworthy. She doesn’t pick a few people and say, “this is my ride or die mortal, this is mine and I will protect them from everything even if they are a colossal tool.” She has standards and people who are currently meeting them and people who are not. That’s trustworthy to me. That’s someone reliable.

Further….. not every powerful woman has to be related to as a mother, and if I am reading these signs correctly… what she needs is not yet another dependent to supervise and babysit and impart perspective and ethics to. What she needs is a peer, someone she can turn her back on for two seconds. Maybe even someone who helps with her work to lighten the load. I don’t know if I can be that, obviously, but I do very much feel like that’d be most helpful for her to get from someone somewhere. The best I can probably do as such a small fragment of the universe is to just… try my best not to add work to her queue. And if I can cross off a couple of minor things before she gets to them, even better.

Because she doesn’t necessarily need another child. The solution to all womanly discontent is not “Sad lady? Give babby.” What if some women just need to be able to rely on what they built for everyone else? I can’t fundamentally change how Nemesis is in the universe, but maybe I can pull out a small human-scale fork or two while I’m here.

Shadowscapes Reading

This spread is my usual comprehension cross.

Swords show up a lot here, so note that going forward.

I don’t know who needs to read this but your honesty and willingness to question yourself and others is screwing you over. Are you frantically scrambling to figure out everything about a situation so that you’ll feel in control of its descent into bullshit? Because you aren’t going to find the perfect idea, the perfect explanation, the perfect argument, to prevent what you are worried about.

Since the problem is going to get worse, start saving up the energy you’ve been spending on keeping everything in order. You can’t, so decide how much energy you want to have wasted when it actually comes time to pick up the pieces. Do you want to reach that task in a place of desperation and exhaustion? Probably not. So take a rest on whatever ways you can, if only to make the rebuilding less horrific for your future self.

Tarot del Toro Reading

Hey you, reading this right now. You should know that unless you know what your next step needs to be, unless you know how things need to go for you, keeping a death grip on everything in your life won’t actually give you the control you’re hoping for.

I know you want to feel safe. But if you don’t know the difference between a surprise and the total dissolution of your life, you are going to continue feeling stuck and unsatisfied. And then you will feel even more desperate for control. It’s a trap.