Heart’s blood flows no more
Swords of betrayal withdrawn
Move forward and heal
I turned 50 back in July. I have to say it’s been more of a shock than I expected. I figured all the hype about becoming a Crone or 50 being a big transition age was just that – hype. Once again I have been proven wrong.
The biggest shock I had upon turning 50 is the realization that I have somehow manage to shed almost 30+ years of civilizing. I joke that the women in my family don’t domesticate well but it’s kind of true. None of us has ever been a “traditional” female. Quite possibly because most of us have had the unluck to marry men who have proven to be abysmal partners for one reason or other. Clearly this is some type of familial pattern; a cycle that needs to be addressed and changed. Anyway, I’ve gotten off point here. The point is that apparently 50 year old me has a lot in common with 13 year old me. Now that I no longer need to “dress for success” or anyone else’s approval, I have gone back to my favorite look – jeans, boots and plaid shirts. How ironic that I loved this look long before Supernatural became popular.
I’ve also experienced a shift in attitude. Not that I was ever shy about expressing my opinions but I did occasionally manage to tone things down depending upon the company. Now I just don’t give a shit. It’s as though that poor, weak, fragile filter that prevented me from being completely unrated was demolished, destroyed, damaged beyond repair. Don’t misunderstand, I rarely intend to be insulting, rude or obnoxious but somehow I’m sure I come off that way when my mouth gets ahead of my brain. At the same time I realize this is the result of not having to worry that I’ll offend someone who good opinion I might need later on. The truth is I am a lousy diplomat.
For many years I felt as though I identified most with the energies of the Queen of Swords and Queen of Wands. Now I realize that Queen of Swords persona was exactly that – a mask I donned when the occasion called for it. Now I fully embrace my Queen of Wands energy but it means that sometimes I bash people into submission (or as my mother likes to say, I use “truth” as a weapon). What I have also discovered is my connection to the Queen of Pentacles. I can be a caregiver. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not my favorite role but when I have to make a choice between doing what might be sensible and/or more convenient or doing what I believe is right, then I’m willing and able to make sacrifices.
So, turning 50 has proven to be quite a mind-blowing experience all around. I’ve realized that I don’t need things to be happy (in fact, much to my shock, I’ve realized too many things just makes me feel overwhelmed). I’ve learned that I don’t want to bend to the wills of others. I want to run my own life and follow my own passions. I’ve learned that I’m tired of letting the perfect get in the way of the good. I’m sure there are lots more things I’ve learned but this was a good starting point.
Just to make it interesting for any readers out there I decided to ask the Tarot what message I can offer to any others going through a similar experience. I drew the Page of Swords from the Tarot of the Secret Forest. At first I thought the youth was playing a cello or similar instrument but looking closer I realized he is holding a sword and shield. The minute I saw this card I heard the phrase “relearn your own mind; stay true to your inner music”. I’m interpreting this to mean that turning 50 gives us a chance to reconnect to who we really are without the obligations of motherhood, career, marriage and societal expectations. We’ve been able to moved beyond all that and now we can pick up our instruments and learn how to dance and sing our true songs, our soul songs, again.
Clear seeing arrow
Flight true, bulls-eye, goal achieved
Painful truths revealed
The other day I had a dark and demoralizing battle with shame. I was surprised at how deeply and quickly I sank into the much and mire that is shame. The journey began innocently enough – browsing Facebook and chatting with a friend. By it’s end I was a babbling mess who was convinced she had irreparably damaged several valued relationships.
Without going into too many extraneous details, while not in full control of my faculties I managed to carry on a number of Facebook chats as well as one phone conversation with little memory of any of them. When I logged onto Facebook the next day and realized what I had done, I was horrified. I felt my soul shrivel up inside because I was afraid I had said something that might offend or insult one of my friends. Upon reviewing the messages I will say there were some that were completely nonsensical, a few that were moronic and some that were perfectly fine I didn’t notice any of the victims of my idiocy unfriending me. I received no infuriated messages insisting that I never bother the or darken their doorway again. Unfortunately this knowledge did nothing to alleviate my shame. Instead I spent the next three days in solitude and isolation, avoiding Facebook on the off chance that my appearance might remind one of my victims that they preferred a life without exposure to me and my immature shenanigans.
Coincidentally I had a stomach problem over the weekend. I felt nauseous, dizzy and an awful pain in my stomach. I couldn’t figure out the cause. My hubby insisted it was some shrimp I had eaten. I thought maybe it was the lingering effects of what had caused my obnoxious behavior the night before. I’ve experienced lingering after-effects of both these things before but they usually clear up in a few hours and after a dose or two of antacids. This time it lasted for days. In fact as I’m writing this I can feel the knot starting up in my stomach again. It’s a physical pain but I’ve finally realized it’s cause is not.
It wasn’t until I compared the pain to the knots I used to get in my stomach as a child awaiting punishment for some misdeed. My father was a harsh, unyielding disciplinarian so even the most minor infraction usually resulted in corporal punishment. So there is an element of fear twined through this pain as well as shame. I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop; for the punishment to be delivered. I broke a rule, violated an implied contract and I felt I deserved to be punished. As no one was taking me to task (my friends were either ignoring my faux pas, understanding of my flaws or tolerant of my screw-ups – or perhaps a combination), I was doing it to myself.
I have never experienced such a powerful, clear connection between my inner critic and physical ramifications. In fact had someone told me about something like this, I would have dismissed it as New Age claptrap. Feeling those inner demons roiling around in my stomach has been quite a wake-up call. I never would have believed that I could internalize shame, fear and criticism in such a visceral way. It’s eye-opening and infuriating. I like to see myself as invincible; not permanently scarred by the dysfunction that was my childhood. Clearly I’ve been fooling myself.
To help me move forward, I asked Sekhmet for some assistance in being less harsh and unforgiving of myself. She sent me Athena – the goddess of wisdom and strategy, clear-sightedness and rational thought. Her advice to me (as channeled through the Pearls of Wisdom Tarot) is 7 of Swords Rx and 7 of Cups. At first their message was confusing to me. Upon further reflection and exploring the images more, I began to see a clearer message.
The 7 of Swords was reminding me that I’m out on a bridge fighting an internal battle against attackers that are not real – they are inner demons; ephemera that are no less deadly despite their incorporeal nature. The face in the clouds blows wind against the figures back suggesting the winds of fate are pushing him against his will. Two green, feminine faces occupy opposite corners of the card. Their eyes may be closed or may be crystalline – either way they seem somewhat inhuman and unsympathetic. They have no interest in the fate of the man on the bridge. Being reversed, this card suggests that this is all being done within my on psyche; by me and to me. The truth is that people do care but many are probably unaware of this internal battle to defeat these devastating inner demons.
The 7 of Cups is showing me that I can choose; I can let the healing energy of love and inner joy pour over me and wash away all those inner demons. There is a centeredness and sense of peace and calm about the figure in the center of the 7 Cups. Her eyes are closed and she is undistracted by the cups surrounding her. The Sun swirling brightly above her head suggests that she is blessed by its radiance and warming rays. The rainbow above the sun connects the energies of this card to Temperance and suggests that the powerful energies of the Sun and Temperance can be tapped to aid in the healing process. All of these options are available to me, all I have to do is reach out and accept their help.
I might not be the complete cure but it’s certainly a good start. The best option is to reduce the opportunities for situations in which I am not in control of my faculties. If such a situation does occur, then I need to be more diligent about avoiding making phone calls or browsing Facebook. The most important thing for me to do is accept that I will screw up. With or without external aids, I will manage to say and do things that will offend. These actions are rarely intentional but that doesn’t make them any less embarrassing. From now on if I realize I’ve insulted or offended a friend, I will apologize for my behavior and move forward. If that person chooses to disassociate with me, I will respect that decision.
So here’s the truth folks – we all screw up. We all have times when we offend and insult friends and loved ones. We can only hope that they care for us and are tolerant of our quirks and embarrassing moments. We can take steps to reduce the amount of times such incidences occur. The most important facet of getting through these types of situations, as I have learned from painful experience, is to slay those damned inner demons that keep beating you up about your mistakes. Mistakes are learning opportunities and approaching them that way can help alleviate the anxiety, shame and fear. Of course, one should probably try to avoid making a recurring habit of such mistakes but I would hope that our friends can forgive our foibles and not hold them against us.