The Legacy of the Divine King of Cups shows a regal looking man dressed in regal deep turquoise robes holing a golden chalice. He stands before a pool of water and is flanked by statues of seahorses. I get the sense that he is offering me a draught from the pool before him and that he will help me learn how to process whatever I find after drinking the waters. On the Tarot of the Crone card, which is called Shadow of Cups – Drowning, there is the outline of a female figure floating in the middle of a purple body of water. She does not appear to be struggling or swimming, simple hanging there as if in mute acceptance of what is happening to her.
It is interesting that this is the second time in the past few days this card has appeared for me – once upright and once reversed. So that tells me it is trying to give me a message which I haven’t fully comprehended yet. I have been reading books about dreamwork and lucid dreaming. I get the sense that this card is addressing that interest. I think it’s offering me a message of support and encouragement; showing that I can dive into the waters of my unconscious without fear or dread. For many years I have only remember dreams that were rather terrifying – such as being surrounded and overwhelmed by zombies. I’m sure I have other dreams but remembering them has been tricky for me.
I’d like to pursue dreamwork further both from an internal, self-healing perspective and from a shamanic perspective. I realize that I’ve ignored my shamanic work for a number of years and now might be the right time to pursue it further. Dreamwork is a part of that exploration for me. I think the King of Cups reversed is reminding me that I need to nurture, counsel and heal myself as well as trying to offer healing to others. As the proverb says, “Physician, heal thyself”. I think part of the healing process for me is diving deep into my unconscious, via dreamwork, and exploring what awaits. The King of Cups is offering to be my companion, guide and protector on this journey. And the Shadow of Cups is a reminder that sometimes in dreams it is better to surrender and see where it leads and what can be uncovered rather than struggle to free myself and end up awake and unaware.
I had an interesting experience this week. While doing a reading about prosperity, I drew 3 cards that appeared for me at various points this month. All 3 also appeared during Readers Studio – 2 in a reading for me and 1 in a reading for my foundation partner. The next day I asked the cards what I was ignoring about prosperity and drew The World (Gaia) which also appeared for me at Readers Studio. That made me explore the deeper message these cards might have for me.
The three cards that appeared in a reading for me were the King of Wands, Knight of Cups and The World. I drew them as part of my Whole Person Profile Reading during James Wanless’ workshop at Readers Studio. In fact they were the only cards I drew in their respective suits. I was using Joanna Powell Colbert’s Gaian Tarot at the time so they were portrayed as the Elder of Fire, Explorer of Water and Gaia. This makes me think that part of who I am right now is impacting by prosperity and my relationship to it.
Like a lot of people who come from a poor family, I have a very complicated relationship with money and prosperity. On the one hand I try to act like I’m above such mercenary, mundane concerns and that I don’t need a lot of money to be happy. I tend to have what Richard Dreyfus’ character in Jaws referred to as “that working class hero crap”. On the other hand, I like having some extra money. The past few years have shown me that I don’t need as much money as I once thought I did. However, it is obvious that some source of income is always needed.
Considering that during the Whole Person Profile Reading, these cards were connected with enlightenment, emotional nature and Yin energies I wonder if these are the pathway through which I will discover prosperity and what it means to me? Of course this is a fairly rhetorical question because I’m the only one who can truly answer it but I often find if I put the questions out there to the Universe, I will draw the cards or find insights that provide the answers I seek. I do think there is a connection between who I am as a Whole Person and my relationship to prosperity. I also think these cards are guideposts along the way. It will be fun to see where they take me next.
Liberation is how Arnell Ando titled this card in the Transformational Tarot. It’s Awakening in the Gaian Tarot. Both seem so appropriate to the transformation I’ve been experiencing lately. I do feel as though I’ve come back into the light after a long time in the dark. I’ve been freed, changed and re-born. I really do feel like dancing in the sunlight (which is ironic considering how cloudy it’s been for the last few days).
I’m not sure where this is going and I don’t know how long it will take but it’s given me a sense of hope and lightness that I’ve been missing in my life. I actually feel lighter – spiritually and emotionally. It’s as if I finally let go of baggage that has been weighing me down for years; baggage I didn’t realize I had. It’s wonderful and scary at the same time. I’m still not sure how to handle it. I’m like someone who has been in dark for so long that it takes a while to adjust to the light. The temporary blindness is frustrating but I know it will soon clear.
Healing is a scary process and I guess it’s not for the faint of heart. Picking at wounds that have been scabbed over for years hurts but ultimately frees up the wounded area to continue healing. Sometimes scars are left behind but in the end it was a necessary part of the healing process. That’s how I feel right now – I may be a bit scarred and scabbed but I’m healing. That gives me hope and makes me feel rejuvenated and cleansed. It’s such an odd feeling that I’m not sure how to handle it just yet. It’s the continuation of a journey that is not close to its end just yet.
This card had a very significant meaning for me today in light of some of my lightning bolt moment/epiphany a few days ago. Several years ago while attending one of Rachel Pollack’s amazing Tarot get-togethers/classes in NYC I pulled this card in answer to a question about how I behave in relationships. It was eye-opening for me because it visually encapsulates how I often feel – defensive and fighting off all comers. There have been times when I’ve described myself in almost mythical terms – as the valkyrie Brunnhilde who was put under in an enchanted sleep by Odin and surrounded by a protective ring of fire so that only a worthy man could make it through and reach her. If the man was willing to take those chances then he was a worth match and mate for Brunnhilde. In my words I have often joked that I could only be with a man who could take a punch because I’m well aware of my proclivity for defensiveness.
Over the last few days I have had some amazing insights into some of my issues. I’ve come to realize that so many things I believed were issues need to be looked at from a new perspective. The 7 of Wands reversed is a reminder that I can let some of my defenses down. Now that I can see some of the patterns that have woven themselves through my life, I don’t need to be so quick to attack. I can be selective and cautious about who I let get close to me but I can let people get close.
Perhaps now all the energy that I’ve used to maintain my protective defenses can be unleash into more creative endeavors. Once I am able to put that staff down, who knows what I can accomplish. Considering how effective I’ve been up to this point at defending and protecting myself, I have to feel that I’ve got a good chance at manifesting my creative energies into something positive and transforming. I’ve been successful at facing adversity and managing to triumph so hopefully I can now channel that energy in a way that will spark my creative juices and allow me move in a more healing and beneficial path.
I realize I’m sort of babbling a bit here. I’m still riding on the high I experienced from my “a-ha” moment and I haven’t quite come down yet. I just know that this revelation is the key to major changes in my life as well as to healing and allowing myself to move forward and focus on my passions and being creative rather than feeling defensive. I can expand rather than contract and that feels amazing. I can forge the future I want and stop worrying about someone or something dangerous breaching my defenses.
I was browsing television channels today and saw a scene in a movie the perfectly illustrated the energy of The Lovers card (at least for me). In a movie called Into the Blue (which I’ve never seen and probably never will watch in full). In this scene, Jessica Alba is speaking to her boyfriend (Paul Walker) who has just agreed to deep sea dive to retrieve cocaine for some drug lord. Scott Caan and another character are on the boat waiting for him while Jessica Alba is chastising him, saying that a few days before he had too much integrity to work for another scuba company and now he’s working for a drug lord. She walks away.
He rushes after her and tries to convince her that it’s one time and then they’ll be able to do what they want. She looks at him sadly and tells him it’s already too late before walking away. Paul Walker stands on the pier watching Jessica Alba walk away, clearly torn between following her (and thus his higher self) or returning to the boat with his friends and following his lower self.
That moment encapsulated the energy of The Lovers card for me – a choice between lover and friends, between our noblest, highest self and our lowest self, between a connection with the Divine or the mundane.
Hmm, The Hermit. This is a card with which I am not very well acquainted. As I’ve often joked, introspection is not one of my better skills and that certainly seems to be one of the meanings of this card. In fact it is called Introspection in the Transformational Tarot. This is one of those cards that I have a relatively neutral attitude towards. I appreciate the benefits of solitude and introspection. I can also understand that the Hermit is also able to bring back these gifts to help others find their way through the darkness. Who knows, maybe whatever insights I gain from my introspection might help others as well.
This card really ties in beautifully with some other messages I’ve received from the Tarot lately. My first epiphany was when I realized that at the core of some of my issues is not self-esteem (I’m sure I have some self-esteem issues, but then again who doesn’t). My issues stem from trust. I didn’t realize this until I was reviewing some of the questions Sasha Graham asks in her 10 of Swords exercise in Tarot Diva. The questions revolved around negative images we developed based on things people have said to us over the years (“you’re too fat”, “too ugly”, etc.). As I was reading the questions I realized that I can’t point to a specific incidence of that type of insult that stuck in my psyche. It wasn’t resonating with me.
As I pondered this a bit further I realized that most of the experiences in my life that caused damage to my psyche were the result of people praising me with an ulterior motive, their own agenda. I could often sense the resentment or envy underlying the compliment and it bothered me. I began to mistrust any positive feedback I got from people because I began to assume that there was something mean-spirited or negative underlying it. For example I had a friend in school who would always ask what score I had gotten on a test or on my report card. If my grades were better than hers, she would be envious. In various ways I experienced situations where older men would flatter me, calling me beautiful or sexy or whatever and then hit on me. At the time I was about 15 and although I found such attentions flattering I was in o way emotionally able to handle them.
I think The Hermit is going to be my guide to look within myself and help me decide how to process this new insight and where to go with it. It’s interesting that I haven’t realize this before. Something just clicked in my brain when I realized this fact. It also explains why I have a low tolerance for hypocrisy or lying. Honesty is a huge issue for me. In fact sometimes it’s a real problem because even marketing (which smacks a bit of lying to me) can become a problem for me. It makes so much sense why I’ve always felt an affinity for the Queen of Swords and Swords suit in general. To me they have always represented cutting through the bullshit; getting to the truth of the matter. My aversion to Cups is the result of the fact that people claimed to love me while abusing me in some way. I’m a bit of a slow learner (possibly because I’ve avoided introspection) but not that I realize it, I know myself well enough to know I will continue poking at this sore spot until I let all the pus and gore out. Then the healing can begin and ultimately I think that’s what this is about for me – healing.
To me the Knight or Prince of Swords is one of the most dangerous adversaries in the Tarot. He has the swords gifts for planning, strategizing and being coldly logical combined with the fiery qualities of passion, creativity and fearlessness. He will charge into the fray and defeat his enemies but not before planning a brilliant and creative strategy to help him attain this goal. I have a real fondness for the Swords suit especially the court cards, so drawing this dynamic yet thoughtful character is wonderful.
The fact that this intense and sharp witted personality is reversed suggests that, as Clarice Starling once asked Hannibal Lector “are you strong enough to point that high-powered perception at yourself?” I think this Prince of Swords is aiming his fiery, creative, perceptive and sharp intellect straight at me and asking “What’s holding you back?” If I’m honest, I’m holding me back (isn’t that often the case?). My own fears, self-doubts and damn laziness will trip me up every time. However today I’m feeling a bit more hopeful.
Last night while reading the fabulous Sasha Graham’s book Tarot Diva (which I highly recommend BTW – it’s a fresh, fun and yet deep look at new ways to explore the Tarot and learn about yourself), I came across her exercise for the 10 of Swords. It involved recalling the negative things that have been said to you over the years that stuck and still wound you today. Comments such as “you’re too fat (or stupid or ugly)”. As I was reading this section I had an epiphany – my issues do not involve such comments for the most part. I’m not claiming that I never felt ugly or fat or whatever but it was usually because of some idea I developed by comparing myself to someone else. I wasn’t as pretty as her or as skinny as this one or as popular as that one. Of course I experienced the typical childhood/teen heartbreak and drama of liking a boy who didn’t like me or friends who actions left me feeling betrayed but I don’t think that left lasting scars. As I was reading Sasha’s exercise it hit me like a ton of bricks that my issues developed from the positive things people told me.
Before you start thinking I’m crazy, let me explain. It was the disconnect between what was being said and what was being done that created the conflict. For example a parent who tells you how pretty you are before molesting you. Or a parent who tells you how smart and independent you are before beating you because you questioned or disobeyed. Or an older man (a friend of your parents) who tells you how beautiful and mature you are before trying too pick you up (when he knows your only about 15). These are the things that left damaging and disfiguring scars that still hurt. I often wondered why typical self-help books didn’t help me and now I realize it’s because the ones I’ve read have tended to focus on those inner critics who told you that you weren’t good enough. How do you deal with it when you’ve been told you’re so good that your success or talents or looks create envy and uncontrollable behavior in those that should know better or are supposed to protect you. That’s a different kettle of fish.
Now that I’ve finally brought this into my consciousness I can begin working on healing from it and moving forward. It makes more sense to me now why I avoid success – in the past it’s resulted in dramatically damaging rewards. Why would I want to be beautiful when that has garnered unwanted and often predatory behavior from men? Why would I want to be smart and successful when that has resulted in resentment and envy from friends and family? These are all questions for which I have no answer yet, but at least I’m pointing myself in the right direction. And I think the Prince of Swords is the perfect companion/protector for the journey ahead.
Arnell Ando calls this card Karma in the Transformational Tarot and one of the things this brings to mind for me is that what goes around comes around. The Gaian Tarot shows me that there are cycles to life and those cycles continue on whether we want them to or not. This card ties in nicely with the message I got from the Moon reversed yesterday that suppressing cycles in life creates internal conflict and even depression. Seeing this card I think of the song by Blood, Sweat and Tears “Spinning Wheel” – “what goes up must come down, spinning wheel got to go ’round”. Or “Turn, Turn, Turn” by The Birds, “To everything there is a season”. Right now this is a comforting message to me. Yes things are tough right now – for me personally, for the country and for the world. However things will eventually improve and the wheel will begin moving us towards the top again.
On a more personal level, the other day I asked the cards a question about my psychic abilities because I have always had an issue identifying myself this way. I see myself as a Tarot reader but I often view my skills more in the nature of an interpreter – “I coalesce the vapors of human experience into a viable and meaningful comprehension” (Mel Brooks in History of the World, Part I). Or (as Bea Arthur replies to this statement) “a bullshit artist”> And therein lies the problem. On some level I’ve felt like I’m faking it or lying or bullshitting my clients. I don’t know more than they do. Who the hell am I to set up a shingle and offer Tarot counseling or whatever.
I drew Karma in response to my query. I interpreted that in a few ways. I think on one level it was letting me know that I’ve put enough time and effort into studying and learning and now it’s time to move onto a new phase and put that knowledge into practice. I think it was also reminding me that I do have an ability to see patterns in life. Perhaps this ability is what does/will make me an effective Tarot reader. Later in the day I asked a similar question and drew Karma reversed. I think this was Tarot’s way of telling me to stop being a smart ass. It already answered my question.
Today while I was walking I was thinking about some things. At Readers Studio, Nancy Antenucci was my partner during the Foundation Reading. At one point while we were reading for each other, Nancy turned to me and said “You know you’re an R-rated psychic. You should probably let people know that up front”. I laughed it off at first but then it really began to grab hold of me. That is my niche! I have a somewhat colorful approach to expressing myself which sometimes includes profanity or almost dirty words. I also have a “cut through the bullshit” approach to life. I don’t have the patience for overly elaborate rituals. It’s not me. I admire readers who have a kinder, gentler approach to readings. They seem to embody a more Earthy or Cups energy. It appears that my gift it to bring a more Wands and Swords energy to readings. There’s nothing wrong with it, but it seems that I will always be an acquired taste. Now the trick is how to approach clients who can appreciate that approach.
I often have a difficult time connecting with the energy of this card. I’m sure it’s connection to my general resistance to anything watery, emotional and “cuppish” in nature. It may also be related to the fact that I’m not a very “lunar” female. I’ve heard many women of my acquaintance discuss how the Moon’s energies influence their lives but I appear to be rather immune to its effects. I could pontificate for hours upon why I think this is the case but it’s fairly irrelevant here. The bottom line is that when I saw this card I blanked. I had no idea what it was trying to tell me.
So I decided to take a “me” approach to the situation and looked up the associations with this card in various tomes of Tarot wisdom. Some were interesting. Some were dramatic. Few felt right. Then I actually looked in the companion books to the decks I am using right now and had a bit of a “click” moment. In the Transformational Tarot’s little white book there was mention of listlessness and depression possibly resulting from ignoring natural cycles and a need to pay attention to my emotional state. Joanna Powell Colbert’s Gaian Tarot companion book also speaks of cycles and how the Moon is faithful to her changes.
Now the Tarot knows that if there is one thing I resist with all my might, it’s change. I am apparently a fairly fixed personality and any change (even ones that have ultimately proven to be for the best) send me screaming from the room. Once again, I can probably discourse for hours about why this is the case but it doesn’t really matter why I became this way. What I need to focus on is how and if I want to change this attitude. Which I suppose is ultimately what the Moon is trying to tell me.
So that is my challenge for today (should I choose to accept it) – focus on how I deal with change, why I resist it so vehemently and how I can improve my relationship with this card and its energies. Good times!
When I first drew this card I wasn’t sure what it was telling me. I toyed with the traditional meanings involving nightmares, inner demons, etc. but none felt right. Then at some point during the day when I was doing something else a thought flashed in my brain – the piercing light of hope. That was this card was reminding me – that even in the darkest, most frightening times of our lives there is a piercing ray of hope which lights a path through the darkness and allows us to continue moving forward.
Looking at the image on Arnell Ando’s Transformational 9 of Swords I can see it represented by the sword-like object held in the man’s hand which seems poised above the blindfolded maiden’s throat. On Joanna Powell Colbert’s Gaian 9 of Air I can see it in the eyes of the wise face that is hovering above the seemingly frightened woman. In both cases these objects offer a sense that hope is near if we are able to open our eyes and face the reality around us. In some ways it reminds me of a mini Tower experience. It is perhaps not so earth-shattering but still offers insight and illumination.
Lately I have been feeling as though my life has been one long 9 of Swords experience. Things have seemed rather hopeless and depressing. On some occasions I have mourned the loss of my life. Due to circumstances beyond my control, my full-time job has become caring for my elderly mother-in-law and disabled brother-in-law. On the one hand I am glad that I am able to do this for them – putting them in a facility would be extremely detrimental to both of them. However it is relentlessly exhausting and has no end in sight. There are days when getting up is a huge chore. All of this is certainly reflected in the 9 of Swords.
However what I sometimes lose sight of is that piercing ray of hope – family and friends who do offer support and help when possible. Unfortunately some of the people who perhaps should have stepped up to help have not but we do have family and friends who are there for us.
What I have come to realize is that if I allow myself to focus on the situation it depresses my spirit and causes a sense of gloom and oppression. Focusing on those piercing rays of hope and light allow me to see there is help available and that the darkness is not permanent or irrevocable. It might not be an easy process but as long as I keep moving forward and don’t let myself get sucked into that sense of darkness and hopelessness, I can make it through. Perhaps we all need to spend more time focusing on those rays of hope and light in our lives. It may not diminish the fact that there is darkness and gloom around us but it can lessen its impact on our spirits.