The first thing that struck me while looking at these cards today was to wonder whether I’m giving enough to myself. I think I’m fairly generous to others (within my means) and I’ve learned to be able to accept help from others (although that can still prove to be a bit of a sore point). What I’m not sure I’m very good at is giving to myself. All of the family obligations and responsibilities I’ve been dealing with have taken up a considerably amount of my time and energy, leaving little for me. I don’t mean this in a selfish way (although I certainly have my moments), I mean that down time, that “me” time we need to recharge the batteries. Like a lot of caregivers, I seem to have lost sight of this fact.
I don’t have a martyr complex and I’m not so giving I just can’t help myself. Sometimes it’s just easier to flow along following the same pattern day to day. It requires no thought and causes no ripples. If I have to make alterative arrangements or plans it mucks up the works and then it takes a while to get things flowing smoothly again. Of course that also means there are days when I feel as though I’m suffocating under these responsibilities. I wonder what happened to me? What happened to that person who used to spend so much energy focusing on “dressing for success” and completing tasks in a manner that would find favor with supervisors? What happened to the me who would spend hours roaming through libraries and bookstores (of course the fact that bookstores are going the way of the dinosaur and 8-track tape does not help this situation)? I don’t know anymore. On some level I know that me is never coming back. I’ve become so liberated by not having a standard 9-5 job that I truly feel no desire to ever return to that state. However I would like to find time to spend just exploring things I enjoy – museums, bookstores, libraries, etc.
Even if I cannot leave the house, I need to find ways to give myself a break; to take a time out. Otherwise I’ll end up fried and resentful. I don’t want to become that way. So I need to look into meditation, reconnecting to my spiritual practices and just carving out some alone time. Right now I’m finding solace in sweets and junk food – that’s a bad choice on many levels.
Something about these cards also reminded me of A Christmas Carol, perhaps because of the time of year and because I go on Scrooge overload. I love watching the various versions of this classic tale ranging from the Seymour Hicks 1935 version to Scrooged with Bill Murray. They bring to life the concept that it is better to give than to receive and that if we hoard what we have instead of sharing it with others, we deny ourselves one of life’s joys. I spoke with a friend today who was able to play “Secret Santa” and pay off someone’s outstanding lay-a-way balance at a local K-Mart and she was so full of joy about it that I was caught up in it with her. It’s a wonderful gift, to know that you have done something that will help others enjoy the holidays. As so many holiday movies, books and songs remind us – the important thing at this time of year is to remember that it doesn’t matter what you buy or get as gifts, it matters how you share your heart and love.
Whimsical Knight of Swords R Haiku:
Clever little fox
Planning each step carefully
But showing no one
Victorian Trade Card Knight of Swords R Haiku
Fearlessly facing self-doubts
Inner demons flee
I often view the 8 of Pentacles as the journeyman card, symbolizing someone who has spend years and much time and effort in achieving a level of expertise in his/her chosen field. Today I got a different insight into this card or perhaps better said I found another layer to its meaning.
For the past three years, the majority of my time has been consumed caring for my elderly mother-in-law and deaf and retarded brother=in-law. My hubby and I both lost our jobs in March 2009. The more time we spent with my in-law’s the more we realized that they are no longer able to live a completely independent life. They don’t require constant supervision but they do need someone to check on them several times a day, make sure they take their meds and eat. This is not an especially horrific responsibility but it can be exhausting and grinding. There are days when I find it impossible to get out of bed because the sheer repetition of these tasks and the fact that they seem never-ending just wears me out.
While looking at the different depictions of the 8 of Pentacles I drew today, I was struck by something. Had we not put all the time and effort into building our resources over the past few years, we would not have been able to be there for my in-laws now. We worked very hard and tried to be disciplined about putting money into our savings account. Right now those savings are being eroded but at least we are not broke or homeless. We have drastically cut back on some expenses but I do not feel deprived (most of the time). This has given me the opportunity to mother my mother-in-law. It has given me a lot of insight in the aging process, my issues dealing with needy, dependent people, and my own attitudes towards obligation and personal responsibility. I am very happy that I am able to be there for my in-law’s at this time even though I deplore that fact that she is in this condition. It is infuriating that anyone human being should spend the “golden years” of their life this way. However that would take me off on a different tangent.
Drawing the 8 of Pentacles today allowed me to realize that my efforts and hard-work have given me this gift. It is something for which I am profoundly and deeply grateful. Even though I am not able to pursue and manifest my other goals and dreams at this time, I feel more confident that when the time is right I will be able to that. If I can create enough of a nest egg and gather enough resources to allow me to live through this, then I can achieve any goal upon which I set my mind. I am powerful and my magic is powerful.
Whispering 8 of Pentacles Haiku
Counting my blessings
Infinity surrounds me
My goals are in reach
Art Post Card 8 of Pentacles Haiku
Focus on my work
Will reap benefits, while Dog
Watches and guides me
The Soul (Fool) shows a young traveler sleeping on his side near a standing stone. A pale blue cosmic light pours from the young traveler through a hole in the center of the stone. On the other side we see the spirit of the young traveler going forth on a dream visit to see the immensities of the Celtic cosmos contained withing the cauldron which is etched above his head. A triple spiral hovering above the traveler’s head is a symbol of his physical vitality, his vocational commitment and his intelligence: in Celtic bardic lore, these are the three essential receptors for all inspirational wisdom.
The Book says: The Soul was understood to continue after death, passing into different shapes or life forms upon its tiurigini or “circuit of births”. The Soul could enter into animal, plant, and elemental shapes, not just human ones.
Keywords: A new phase or fresh start, having vision or faith in oneself, opportunity, enthusiasm, playfulness, trust, a sense of protection.
Reversed: Halting or hesitation, unable to heed instincts, a bad decision, sloth irresponsibility, immaturity, carelessness.
Soul-Wisdom: Having respect for our Soul’s purpose may look like foolishness to other. The power and vision of our Soul can only empower us when we acknowledge and manifest them. What is calling you to seek wisdom now?
My turn: This card speaks of a mystical, new journey – perhaps to find our soul mission in life. It’s about being willing to take that chance and tread an unfamiliar path. The traveler is sleeping in the middle of the forest and it that doesn’t show a certain amount of faith, and foolishness, then I don’t know what does. This card speaks of that part of us which transcends physical boundaries and yet which is still part of them. The traveler cannot learn his soul journey in his physical form – he must let his spirit go forth in search of the answer. To me The Soul is reminding us that we may need to be willing to leave behind the trappings of our mundane life and move forth unburdened to explore new areas and new experiences.
Bound and blindfolded
Surrounded by swords of doubt
And yet I glow white
Art Postcard Haiku
Almost free; watching
For those who tried to bind me
Unless it was me?
Victorian Trade Card Haiku
My window shattered
I’m vulnerable, exposed
Nothing blocks my view
The fall cracks his shell
Revealing what was hidden
Can I recover?
Damn that Peter Pan!
Leaving me with nothing but
My ship and my gold
My cart fell over
The goose is squawking at me
At least I’m okay
Many moons ago, I belonged to the Comparative Tarot Yahoo group. As part of the group I would focus on the card of the month and write an essay using one of the decks which I moderated (at one point I was up to 8). I thought I would share some of these essays with anyone who might be interested so each Sunday I will post another essay.
This month I’m starting with The Fool. I hope you enjoy the essays.
The Fool shows a man dressed in an old fashioned style of clothes (it reminds me of the illustrations I’ve seen for the Pied Piper) with his feet resting on a small red fox. The man’s right hand is on his cap and his left hand holds a small dagger or instrument. He seems to be riding the fox (or attempting to do so). Right above his head we see a fox’s face looking out at us and right next to it is another image of the man’s face, looking towards the fox. At the top of the card we see a red fox walking towards the right side of the card. His face is turned back as though he has heard something and is investigating the sound.
The Author says: Unaware of the danger behind him all eyes are upon the Fool. Choice of paths.
Bee’s Buzz: This card seem to focus more on the less savory aspects of the Fool. The Fool is not so much innocent and naive as genuinely foolish. The man reminding me of the Pied Piper fits with this theme. After all wasn’t the Pied Piper somewhat foolish – he truly thought the townsfolk would pay their debt. And weren’t the people of the town the ultimate fools (in its most negative connotation) thinking they could get away with not paying him. And the fox looks young, perhaps a pup. This might connect the card with innocence and youth, starting down a new path. The young fox might be nervous and hesitant but it will continue down the road. Even the man seems to be charging ahead, reckless and not sure where he is headed. If he is riding the fox then he also has no control over his destination. He is trusting the fox to take him where he needs to go (perhaps fleeing the angry townsfolk). I can see it all now – he took his revenge in a fit of anger and with no thought to the consequences. Now he must run away and find a new beginning for himself. He knows that he needs to start over in order to avoid repercussions. This Fool is not as naive and innocent as some versions of the card. The one thing that throws me about this cards is the inclusion of the fox. I’m guessing that he is a replacement for the more traditional dog or cat. But to me the fox symbolizes cunning, quick wittedness and trickiness making him more appropriate to the Magician/Trickster than to the Fool, at least in my opinion.
Ah, the Queen of Cups, my old adversary. She and I have come a long way over the last two years or so. I have come to appreciate her gentle strength and loving, supportive nature. Growing up I associated her type of energy with emotional manipulation, weakness and neediness. I was unable to see her nurturing and loving energies in a positive light. It is only as I’ve come to need these energies in my own life that I’ve begun to appreciate and embrace her.
Looking at the Art Postcard Queen of Cups I was struck by the sense that she is telling “Cry on my shoulder. It’s okay. I’ll comfort you and help you through this.” Her outfit even looks as though its collar would serve as a creditable napkin with which to dry one’s tears. She seems supportive but not one easily overwhelmed by emotions. She understands and realizes that every so often, we all need a good cry. It enables us to cleanse and purge the pain that might otherwise paralyze us.
The Whispering Queen of Cups offers a different perspective. She bobs in the water, beneath a full moon, holding a chalice in one hand and a white orb in the other. She seems to be offering us the key to our intuition, our inner wisdom and our emotional nature. She shows that we can be part of that world without being subsumed in it. We have the ability to tap into our deep, vast emotional wisdom without allowing ourselves to get swept away by it. At the same time the water surrounding her reminds us that sometimes it’s easy to allow ourselves to drift along on the tides of our emotions, eventually losing our way because we let ourselves lose control.
I think these lovely ladies are telling me that my lesson today is that sometimes it’s okay to let myself be emotional about the things I’m dealing with in my life. Sometimes being stoic, strong and silent is helpful but sometimes it just bottles up things that need to be expressed. Right now I could certainly use the Queen of Cups shoulder to cry on but I find it difficult to let go and cry. Partly because what I’m dealing with is tough but a lot of people are dealing with difficult situations in their lives. I feel as though my issues and problems are just not that serious. And perhaps that is my biggest challenge – believing that my feelings are valid and deserve to be recognized. At least I do have my hubby, mother, sister to provide emotional support. My friends are supportive too – the issue is that I still feel guilty crying to them. Perhaps that is what the Queen of Cups reversed is reminded me of today – that if my friends cannot provide some emotional support when I need it they are close enough to let me know that. It’s not a sign of weakness on my part and I would hope they feel able to ask the same of me if the occasion ever calls for it. Another lesson I am learning to integrate into my life.