Oh my do I feel like the figure on the Blue Rose 10 of Swords. Taken from a Salvador Dali work, this figure looks as though it is not only being pierce but that pieces are being taken out of her. I know that feeling. There are days when I feel like the Universe is slicing pieces of my skin and there is nothing I can do but bleed. Like the hunched figure on the Infinite Visions 10 of Swords, I feel a sense of impending doom. Even the dog seems to sense his mistress’ distress and despair. What I’m unsure of is whether the doom is for me personally or merely reflecting how I’ve been feeling lately.
The weather also contributed to this sense of gloom and doom I have been having. Between the devastating storms and the lingering gray and gloomy landscape outside my window, it’s been difficult to be positive and cheerful. It’s as though the sword of Damocles dangles overhead and the least movement will bring its sharp point in contact with my head – not a pleasant sensation.
I had to take a break while writing this to clear my thoughts – I was starting to depress myself. While pondering these cards anew I was struck by something; how often have I been the swords in another’s 10 of Swords experience? I am the first to acknowledge that I have a wicked wit and vicious tongue. Comments that I might consider witty and humorous can and often are taken by those at whom they are aimed as daggers stabbing at them. That is often not my intent (although sometimes it is) but I sometimes go for that kind of sharp-tongued repartee that is usually more humorous to those listening than to the one at whom it is aimed.
This card is reminding me that I need to be more judicious in how I apply my wits and tongue to various situations. Mocking others or humiliating them with alleged witty “jokes” is often just mean and not well done of me. Just as I prefer not to be the butt of someone else’s jokes or snide remarks, so most people do not enjoy being the butt of mine. I need to use my wicked wit and vicious tongue for more worthwhile pursuits and try to avoid causing pain to others. I may never achieve perfection in this area but I think it’s worth the effort.
The Blue Rose Page of Wands embodies passion and energy – a young dancer just starting to master her craft but full of the conviction and drive to succeed. I remember being that young, enthusiastic and arrogant. It’s almost as though in order to survive adolescent and early adulthood we need a touch of arrogance because without it the criticisms of others will cause us to shrivel and die. It’s almost amusing to look back at who I was at that age and laugh at my confident assertions that I knew more than my elders. It was that pure essence of fire and confidence, of passion and creativity. My goal was not to make my elders feel threatened or no respected (although that was often an unfortunate side effect) but to shine and dazzle them with my potential, my talent and my drive. Sometimes I was fortunate enough to have a supervisor who understood this and was able to nurture me beyond my arrogance. Other supervisors found me too cocky and found ways to get rid of me. Lessons were learned but that didn’t kill that inner flame.
The Infinite Visions Page of Wands shows a young man riding through the forest with two dogs. In the distance we see a beautiful white hart with a magnificent rack. He stands majestic, unafraid and lovely; the master of his surroundings. The young man has a halo of light around him suggesting that he has a purity of spirit that has not yet been tainted by the world. The question is will he keep that purity and let the hart go free or will his ego dominate and allow his pride to demand he kill this magnificent beast for his own glory? Haven’t we all been there – in a situation where we are forced to choose between our inner desires and knowledge of what is right and impressing our contemporaries and meeting their expectations. We are torn and not sure which option is the right one. Surviving that experience and learning from it is part of the maturation process.
Having drawn this card reversed today, I think one of my challenges is to reconnect with that sense of being inspired. For too long I’ve allowed myself to take a very practical, logical approach to life. That can be very useful and beneficial in many ways but I’ve been neglecting my spiritual needs. I need to feel as though what I do makes a difference in some way; that I’ve been inspired and connected to others. The current situation in my life has left me feeling a bit isolated. I need to find ways to reconnect to that side of myself that felt inspired and magical. I have to see beyond the current day to day tasks and allow my spirit to soar; to nurture my inner flame and tend it carefully so it’s light does not die out. It’s not about the outside world and what it gives me or what I give it. This card is about my giving to myself – not always as easy and one would think.
Hmm, interesting that I drew this card in response to my query today. Both the maiden on the Blue Rose Page of Pentacles and the lad sitting by the fire reading on the Infinite Vision card give a sense of contemplated and studying the situation. The maiden sits at the waters edge holding a bundle of twigs and watching rabbits and fishes drift by below. Seems seems to be considering the water flowing beneath her feet as though it holds the answers she seek or insight into something bothering her. The studious lad on the Infinite Vision Page of Pentacles sits by a fire trying to keep the light on the book he is reading. He seems determined and eager to keep reading despite the darkness surrounding him. In both cases the figures on the cards seem deeply introspective and tuning in to other energies to manifest their desires.
The maiden on the Blue Rose Page is grounded and practical but still seeks answers within the depths of herself. She does not dive into the depths but is comfortable and content to gaze below the surface and see the mysteries that lie beneath. The eager student on the Infinite Vision Page of Pentacles willingly places himself as near to the fire as he can get. His body strains towards the light it provides so that he can continue to read, learn, and explore new territory. He is finding insights into himself through his studies. Both of these images resonate with me. For many years I was like the studious lad, seeking my answers in books and burning to learn more and study the world. As I grow older I realize many of the answers I seek are not in books but are in myself. Deep within my soul, my inner self knows the answers to all the questions that pester me. I think my challenge is to be open to hearing those answers the way youth is open to learning new things and gaining new experiences. In a sense, I’m exploring previously uncharted territory – myself.
The Vision Tarot card has the keyword Solitude. This is not something I would usually associate with this card. In the companion guide, Dirk Gillabel offers this insight into the card “The world of humans can be hectic, chaotic and sometimes even destructive. A spiritual person will find a growing need for solitude, a necessity to be by oneself, be it in a cave, a basement, or in nature. It is a time to calm one’s mind and to reconnect with the life forces all around us.” Looking at the image on the card I was struck by how much it reminds me of Andrew Wyeth’s painting “Christina’s World”. In it, Christina sits looking at the landscape before her with a farmhouse in the distance. Despite the fact that she’s obviously part of this world, she is also distant and separate from it.
So this made me wonder how solitude connects with one of the traditionally associations of this card with victory. At first there doesn’t seem to be much overlap. Solitude and victory actually seem to be almost as opposite ends of the spectrum. Then I really considered it – the times when I have been victorious or highly successful at something have also been somewhat isolating. Yes, people might crowd around to bask in the glow of victory of experience the thrill of success, but at the end of the day once the parades are over and the trumpets have stopped blaring (and yes, this happens to me every time I’m victorious at something), they disperse and you’re left alone. Sometimes it even serves to isolate you from your peers. Who can remember being the champion at something in school and then finding that the other kids tease, avoid or even torment you? You have managed to stand out from the pack and cast their lack of success into stark relief. This rarely endears one to those who have not been victorious or successful. In fact, it can sometimes breed serious hostility.
Perhaps the solitude is a necessary adjunct to success. It is what allows us to stay humble and grounded. How many celebrities, sports figures and rock stars have we seen crash and burn because their egos got too big for their talents? How many times have we seen child prodigies burn out by the time they reach adulthood because the pressure to succeed was relentless and wore them out? It’s an all to familiar story – those that fly to high and lose touch with reality, like Icarus, often end up with singed wings or even crash and burn. Not a very positive or hopeful outcome. Considering this has given me a greater appreciation for how solitude and victory do work together. The help us stay balanced, grounded and focused because as long as we can see the bigger picture and our part in it, we can avoid suffering from inflated ego syndrome.
I am feeling a bit restless and antsy lately. My energies have been extremely under-utilized and it’s starting to show. I’m feeling defensive, as though I need to explain myself to people and I’m not sure why. Well okay, full disclosure – I do know why. When one has two masters degrees and is not actively seeking employment in a traditional job, one feels the need to justify this decision. Of course this says more about me than about the people who might dare to ask me that kind of question. Added to this is the fact that I’ve been avoiding taking any steps to advance the field in which I’d like to make a living. Most of that is due to my own insecurities and feelings of inadequacy.
This past weekend at the Goshen Psychic Fair, I was chatting with fellow Tarot readers and the brilliant Sasha Graham, the Tarot Diva, said something so simple an so profound that it blew me away. She said (and I’m paraphrasing) that you can’t give a bad Tarot reading as long as you keep the focus on the querent. Everyone loves to hear about themselves. In my 7 of Wands defensiveness, I’ve often felt the need to show my knowledge and skills so that they’ll understand I know what I’m talking about. In reality, especially for many people coming to a psychic fair or getting their first reading, they can’t be sure whether I know anything or not. And quite a number of them probably don’t care. They want to feel that I’ve given them some insight into themselves or helped them find an answer. That can be done without a lot of the explanatory stuff I have tended to include. I think I was boring them with bullshit instead of dazzling them with my brilliance. Realizing that was a very freeing moment for me. And I think this card is a reminder that I don’t need to feel so defensive about my skills. I’m good and the key for me is accepting that within myself.
How can I not loved drawing this card? After all who doesn’t really believe (deep down inside of course) they he or she is not the center of the known Universe? I admit this about myself. Even when things seem bleak and overwhelming, it’s still all about me. The world revolves around me and what I do and feel and think affects everyone in it. Now if I truly lived my life as though everyone in the world is impacted by my choices and beliefs and decisions, I’d probably be diagnosed with a case of narcissistic personality disorder at best. However, if we consider the Butterfly Effect theory then isn’t it just as likely that our actions and attitudes create ripple effects that do indeed influence the lives of others. That’s a bit frightening on some level. That means my temper tantrum today might create some sort of negative repercussion for someone else further down the road. Yikes!
On the other hand, the reality is that all of us are the center of our own universes. How can we not be? On the Vision Tarot World card, Dirk Gillabel uses The Star Gate to represent this Arcana. What a fabulous concept! And quite eye-opening too! I saw the original Stargate movie (Kurt Russell was in it, how could I not see it) and thought it raised an interesting premise – what if there was a portal that allowed us access to other worlds and other civilizations? The series certainly fleshed out this concept in much more depth, offering both the positive and negative results from such access. On a personal level it points out that even if we cannot actually leave the world in which we were born via a time/space portal, we do have the ability to manipulate and control certain aspects of our lives.
Some of the things I can control – how I react to various situations, how I treat others, how I spend my resources, how it use my energies and an infinite number of other choices. I think sometimes, especially in this chaotic and economically charged environment, we become overwhelmed by what is being done and begin to feel helpless and out of control. However, if we refuse to give up that control to others and take charge, be responsible for out lives and our choices (both good and bad), it will empower us and allow us to feel that we can control our small portion of the world. Don’t allow anyone, especially yourself, to take this power away from you.
I had an “aha” moment yesterday. I have been woefully remiss in updating my blog, for a variety of reasons. The primary reason is that I just haven’t felt inspired. In fact, I’ve felt rather stifled and blocked lately. Yesterday while I was at the psychic fair in Goshen I decided to pull additional cards to clarify an issue. On Thursday I asked “What is wrong with me?” to determine why I have been feeling this way. I drew the King of Swords. Usually I understand when the King of Swords appears for me but this time I was stymied. When I mentioned this to a Tarot buddy she asked if I had pulled more cards for clarification and my response was “D’oh – I never thought of that!”
So while waiting for some curious and adventurous customers to wander into the fair, I decided to pull additional cards for clarification. I drew The Hanged Man reversed, the Princess of Swords and the 4 of Swords. The final card, in response to my query “where do I need to be now”, was the King of Pentacles. I laid the cards out so the King of Swords was the first card, followed by the next three in a row with the King of Pentacles below them forming a cross. This enabled me to look at the cards across in a row and down in a column. Seeing them this way clarified a number of things for me. One of my biggest challenges in life and especially when it comes to Tarot is that I live in my head. I approach things from a very cerebral, intellectual, left-brained approach. I live in my head and tend to think about things for a long time before actually doing them. As one might imagine, this tripe me up every time. I end up spending so much time in pursuit of “credentials” and legitimacy that I end up not spending time doing what I actually enjoy. I think that is what this reading was telling me. It’s time to stop thinking about it so much and start doing things; to be more right-brained and less left-brained.
I used the fabulous Transformational Tarot by Arnell Ando for my initial reading and then decided to pull the matching cards from my newly acquired Vision Tarot by Dirk Gillabel. Both of these decks gave me insights from a different perspective and combined they helped me clarify a number of issues. One of the things I realized is that in my efforts to actually work with a wide number of the different decks I own, I find myself working with decks that don’t resonate with me. I can appreciate and enjoy the different perspectives and views that different decks provide but sometimes a deck just doesn’t work for me. Instead of accepting that and moving forward, I would try to force myself to work with a deck. As a result my Tarot work would stall. Instead of learning something new from the deck, I would just avoid using it at all. So it occurred to me that this was my King of Swords desire to approach such things from a rational and logical perspective trying to force things into a paradigm which didn’t’ work with my soul. So I will continue to work with different decks but rather than creating a list and rigidly following it, I will allow myself to select decks based on what I feel drawn to and want to work with for that month.
It’s a small step but at least I feel I’m moving in the right direction. Of course now I need to weed through all those Tarot decks and find new homes for the ones that really don’t resonate with me. It’s not fair to me and it’s not fair to them. My acquisitive nature needs to reined in a bit and I’m running out of space.