Hermit reversed as dementia
Today, while working with my Dark Goddess and Deviant Moon Tarot decks, I had an insight into how dementia might feel from the inside. I pulled my card of the day from the Dark Goddess Tarot. It was Persephone/Judgement. Using this card as a guide, I asked the Deviant Moon Tarot “How can I integrate what is dying in my life with what is living and growing?” I drew The Hermit reversed and The Star in response.
At first I rather shrugged it off thinking that the Hermit reflected my current social isolation. However the longer I looked at this card the more convinced I became that it was about my mother-in-law. The expression on this Hermit’s face and her body posture suggest fear if not outright terror. The more I looked at this pathetic figure hunched in on herself the more I became convinced this card is a visual depiction of how my mother-in-law feels every day.
My mother-in-law is suffering from some type of dementia. She is not always able to connect with us when we speak to her. She often speaks to inanimate objects or people who are not there. She has forgotten how to care of the basics such as bathing or feeding herself. And yet every so often we get a glimpse of the woman she used to be. She will often cry softly to herself because she realizes this is not how it’s supposed to be. We are convinced that a part of the woman she once was is trapped inside her mind and horrified by what is happening to her. That is what I see conveyed on the Deviant Moon’s Hermit card, especially reversed.
The Hermit reversed reminds me that my mother-in-law is traveling a road that I cannot fathom and she’s doing it alone. No one, regardless of how well intentioned, can help her with this. It is an internal journey that can only end with death. All I can do for her right now is be there and help her where I can. It breaks my heart to see her deterioration. She still recognizes me even if she has no cognitive idea who I am. She will hug me or tell me she loves me but cannot tell you my name. It’s awful to witness but it must be so much worse to experience. Whenever I become frustrated or angry with her I’ll remember the expression of fear and confusion on this Hermit’s face and hopefully it will help me be more compassionate.
I love when I have epiphanies while doing something Tarot related. The other day I was reading a post on a FaceBook group about spirituality and Tarot. For some reason my brain clicked into overdrive and I suddenly realized something – one of the reasons I’ve been so resistant to establishing myself as a professional Tarot reading is because I do see Tarot as a spiritual tool. Charging money for spiritual work has always seem vaguely wrong to me, as though I’m prostituting a gift (just my opinion and no comment on anyone else’s choices). Or at least this is what I’ve often told myself.
While thinking about it I realized that I have invested as much time and effort into improving my Tarot skills and knowledge base as I did into completing both my masters degrees. Investing that much time, effort and money into something and then not using it is ridiculous. However this has been my pattern in the past, but no more! I feel a new determination to change my mindset about this issue. It’s time to at least make an attempt to create a successful career for myself as a professional, paid Tarot reader.
So instead of struggling with feelings of inadequacy as a reader or feeling that charging for readings is somehow sacrilegious, I’m going to start working on a plan. Right now I think email readings are the best option for me. It allows me flexibility to do readings when it’s convenient for me (usually late at night or early in the morning). I also don’t have to worry about one of the in-laws having a freak-out moment in the middle of things. Phone, instant message or Skype readings would be problematic for that very reason. I can do this, I know I can. My focus now will be on revamping my web site so that I have a page from which potential clients can learn a little about me and order a reading if they’re so inclined. It’s a baby step in the right direction.
Wheel of Change Tarot
created by Alexandra Gennetti
Published by Destiny Books, 1997
The Book says: The image of the Hanged Man shows the solar king turned on his head, ready to being the journey back to the darkness he has come from. The Hanged Man symbolizes the sacrifice of the sun’s light at midsummer, when the long hours of daylight are beginning to slip away. When interpreting this card in a reading, think first about the aspect of reversal in this card. The sun has turned the corner and is beginning the downhill part of his travels. You may have reached a turning point in your life or in one particular aspect of it. However, the appearance of this cad in a reading does no mean that you are “over the hill”. After examining this aspect of the card, look also at the sacrifice required to make the turning, for no transformation will occur without this sacrifice. Examine the nature of sacrifice in your life: what kinds of sacrifices have you made of your own time or energy in order to make changes? Perhaps by giving up something at this time you may be able to take the downhill path towards the change you have been wanting. This card implies such a crossroads; you are at a point of change, but you must let go of something or this change will not take you to the retuning path. Focus clearly on the turning point; the journey and the sacrifice will seem like a clear and unavoidable choice.
TarotBroad’s Buzz: The Hanged Man is naked and exposed, stretching towards whatever awaits him. He is calm and centered, understanding the necessity of this sacrifice and appreciating the fact that this is part of the cycle – sacrifice and rebirth, release and regeneration. He accepts and embraces his role in the cycle. This card is a reminder that we all go through these types of phases in our life. But in addition, the Hanged Man forces us to stop long enough to consider our options and reflect upon our life up to now.
He is fully connected to the natural cycles of the cosmos and appreciates his importance in this cycle. But he has voluntarily put himself in this position; he can release himself at any time.
To me this card speaks of leashed power and strength, the ability to subsume our own personal desires and goals for the greater good of our world. It is the contained energy present in the seed just before it bursts and begins sprouting. Yes, this card is about sacrifice but it is also about untapped potential and unlimited possibilities. All we need to remember is that we can achieve our goals and our potential as long we are willing to release ourselves and drop the past behind us like a discarded skin. Like a snake, now is the time to shed the useless things we’ve been carrying and allow ourselves to move forward in our new, fresh skin.
Created by by Arnell Ando
Published by US Games ISBN:1572815396
The Book Says: The need to weigh decisions, judgments, and find rational solutions. The need for a balanced mind. In this instance, reason and thought should override emotions, although sometimes justice needs to be tempered with compassion and empathy. It can also mean standing up for one’s rights and beliefs. Poetic justice. In it’s reverse this card can denote the seeker dealing with issues of injustice, bigotry, inequality, vengeance, or intolerance.
TarotBroad’s Buzz: This card deliberately evokes the Statue of Liberty and all she idealistically represents. She is the hope of peace, of freedom – to be whatever one desires and believe whatever one wants. This Justice is the dream we all share of having the opportunity to be treated equally regardless of race, religion or socio-economic level. And it is an ideal. We are bombarded on a daily basis by times when justice seems to have been thwarted or perverted but Justice can never be. Justice is the ideal, the goal. She holds out the dove as a sign of hope and promise – we can reach this goal if that is our desire. And as the people behind her represent, all people are offered the same opportunity.
The brilliant white sun is almost blinding in its radiance. A reminder that it has the ability to burn away all the falseness and illusions we surround ourselves with, and get down to the core of the matter. Justice forces us to look at ourselves and see if we are as just, compassionate and empathic as we like to claim. She forces us to face our inner prejudices and bring them out into the light of day so they can be revealed and rendered powerless. I would love to send this card to politicians right now and see if they can recognize the message.
As I was re-reading my earlier post about external validation I realized I have a kink in my nature. My policy of keeping the boss happy only worked with female bosses. I was more than happy to find ways to accomplish whatever goals my female supervisors set for me. We often bonded so that we became friends or at least friendly outside the office as well as during work hours. However this practice has never been effective with male supervisors.
Whenever I’ve worked with male supervisors I find myself become more assertive, even aggressive. I find that very often the way male bosses spoke to me or acted towards me triggered negative responses. Apparently I don’t react well to traditional male supervisory tactics of being told what to do and treated like a grunt and not a team member. Bumping heads with male bosses has rarely proved beneficial to me and yet I cannot seem to help it. So apparently my quest for external validation and approval is not as all-encompassing as I previously believed.
For the last two weeks during my card of the day readings I drew the Sun reversed five times. I was using the Sacred Bridges Tarot so the card is title The Daughter and as I looked at the image of a small child sprouting forth from the earth under the benevolent, radiant rays of the sun I was struck by its message. The Sun reversed is telling me that I need to find ways to be the sun in my own life; to find ways to validate myself for what I accomplish.
This is an interesting message because for much of my life my quest was for external validation. In fact I sometimes thing that I pursued the approval of others to such a degree that I sublimated my own desires and dreams. Without conscious thought I shift my priorities to ensure that I would receive the external validation I craved. In elementary and high school I was the kind of student who learned to give the teachers what they wanted from me. I never (or rarely) stirred up controversy (although one time in history class I do recall asking a male teacher why male sluts got societal approval while female sluts were condemned – he has no answer). I sometimes tailored assignments and papers to cater to the teachers’ preferences and egos. I was quite good at it. Don’t get me wrong, I still had to do the work but I can’t say that I blazed any new trails.
Then I met my husband. This man and Bugs Bunny taught me everything I know about being a smart ass ball-buster. So by time I got to college I wasn’t as focused on pleasing the instructors or catering to their preferences but I still craved external validation and approval. I also have an almost overwhelming need to avoid feeling ignorant that just feeds into this pattern. Once I graduated and began working full-time I quickly learned that the way to positive performance evaluations, promotions and raises is by keeping the boss happy. Once again – external validation and approval. This pattern continued throughout my career and proved fairly successful for me.
Now I’m at a phase in my life where external validations, approval and recognition are rare. The only way to feed my ego (and like everyone else’s it does require regular tending and feeding) I need to find alternative, creative ways to validate myself. I can’t rely on positive feedback or even appreciation from any else. The two family members I car for certainly can’t do it. So getting this message (repeatedly) from the Universe got to me (although it did take a while).
Now I just have to remember that I can be my own sun, I can find ways to nurture and encourage myself. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t seek external validation, simply that I don’t need to exclusively rely on them. I just need to remind myself that my opinion counts too. If I feel I’m doing a good job or deserve praise for something, that is just as validating as getting it from someone else. I just need to remind myself that I’m the only one who can truly let the sun go down on me.
Blue Rose Tarot
Created by Paula Gibby
Published by Soul Guidance
The Author says: The Fool stands, takes a deep breath and reaches one of the items he has carried for so long. Familiar, safe. He hates the very idea of letting any of them go. He turns toward the golden scale encased in its bubble of crystal. He gazes one more time at this treasure that he has carried for so long. And then he closes his eyes. In response, he feels the soft gossamer wings of the white butterfly settle upon his lids and discovers that he can see things with a clarity and “crystality” of vision he has never before experienced. It is enough…the crystal bubble yields to the pressure of his hand as he places his treasure upon the scale.
He watches the tilting of the scale, balancing his cargo again a counterweight manufactured out of his sense of spirituality, inner purpose and his assessment of the obstacles and ultimate goals that lie ahead. He reaches behind him and clasps his hand around the heavy crystal hilt of the Great Sword of Justice. The sword of discernment and discrimination…the sword which severs the wheat from the chaff. He sees what he wants to keep…and what he wants to let go. Taking careful aim, he raises that great sword high above his head. And brings it flashing down.
So, what does the Fool decide to keep and what does he cut away? What does it matter to you, oh fellow Fool? For such determinations and assessments are different for every Fool. Each of us is a unique being. At this time, it is wise to remember a few lines from the discussion of the High Priestess; namely, that there are many paths to spiritual evolution. As many as are needed.
TarotBroad’s Buzz: This is the blind yet all-seeing eye of justice which looks at us, weighs our lives and uses the gold sword to cut away the dross that we need to release. She is pitiless and compassionate, harsh and loving. She knows that if we don’t impartially review our lives at this point and rid ourselves of what is useless, then we won’t be open to new growth and new opportunities. She also forces us to accept that we have now reached a point in our lives where can handle this type of process and learn from it.
The checkerboard pattern on the floor reminds me that now matter how we like to rationalize things, life is sometimes black and white, right and wrong. This is what Justice forces us to see and confront. As we get older it becomes easier to lose ourselves in shades of gray, justifying what we do and how we behave. We lose the clarity and pristineness of youth, the ability to see life in simplistic terms. Justice helps us regain connection with that simplicity but to do in more mature terms and learn how to apply it in our lives in a way that will help us move forward along our path.
For the last few months I’ve been working my way through the Dark Goddess Tarot Majors, spending two weeks with each card before moving on to the next. Right now I’m working with Brigid/Temperance’s energy. I asked Brigid for guidance to help me forge a path towards better health and she gifted me with Maeve/7 of Cups.
I took this to mean that the best way to achieve my desire for improved health is to make better, smarter choices. So I asked Maeve how to achieve this? While focusing on this question I drew two cards from the Sacred Bridges Tarot – 10 of Wheels and 6 of Wheels reversed.
Looking at these cards I was struck by the message that I need to seek support from my community and not get to focused on weighing, measuring and doling out portions. As a friend put it “the Perfect is the enemy of the Good.” I know that feeling. I can get so caught up in doing things the “right” way and I end up frustrated and defeated. This time I’ll try taking baby steps instead of diving into the deep end and almost drowning.
I think this is another reason I decided to rejoin FaceBook. I’m feeling much too isolated right now. I don’t have the flexibility to physically connect with friends. I have spent some time on the phone with a few and will continue to do so but the truth is that FB makes it a lot easier. There are still things about it that irritate me but for now it will be a helpful too. I realized at this year’s Readers’ Studio that I miss connecting with my Tarot friends. To quote Elton John – “it’s lonely out in space” and right now that where I feel as though I’m living – outer space. I feel so disconnected from what is going on in the world around me that it’s not funny. So to keep my sanity and feed my desire for social connections – back on FB I go.
Mansions of the Moon Tarot
Traditional Meaning: Balance, harmony and equilibrium; finding your path through clear-sightedness and being objective rather than relying on emotions and instinct
TarotBroad’s Buzz: The youth of the Bird Girl and her blindfold reminds me of the clearness of youth, that time when we see no gray – everything is black and white, right or wrong. There is no in-between. The scales are currently balanced but the rug with the Celtic knotwork pattern reminds us that things will get complicated soon enough. We manage to become lost in a maze where the line between right and wrong, black and white blur and become less distinct. Perhaps this is part of maturing – everything becomes less clear and simple. But the Bird Girl still watches and measures our motives and our behaviors. The sword nearby is available when she needs to cut through to the heart of the matter. The Sun and Moon in the sky are reminders that sometimes our motivations will stand up to the scrutiny of the harsh light of day and sometimes we prefer the gentler more forgiving light of the Moon.
But Justice is a reminder that either way we must face the ramifications of our choices and our decisions and that sometimes even the best of intentions do not excuse the actions we may take. And that sometimes our actions have repercussions we had not originally planned. The concept of Justice is not easy and it is not always fair. This is something we deal with daily when we watch court cases and see how the legal maneuvering of lawyers sometimes cause guilty people to go free or innocent people to go to jail. Is this just? Is it fair? If we work with someone we know is “evil” for a positive benefit is that just? If we take steps we believe are right but which have negative ramifications, is that just? There are no easy answers. And trying to figure our answers makes me yearn for the simple black and white approach of youth.
For the last few days I’ve found myself thinking about the concepts of tribal shaming and the mother wound. Both are instances where our familial or peer group try to shame or control us because we are not following accepted norms. Both are insidious and subversive ways of keeping us in line. Sometimes they are well-meant, subtle and unconscious; sometimes they are manipulative and intentional. In my experience many times these instances of shaming are thoughtless, an instinctive reaction to our own feelings of low self-worth or jealousy.
I never realized that there was a name for what I experienced with my mother and sister. I know both of them love me but I’ve also had occasions where I felt resentment from them and a sense of schadenfreude when I was having hard times. In their defense, I can often be irritatingly pompous and arrogant which I am sure is not a joy to deal with on a regular basis. So what came first – the shaming or the arrogance? I’m not sure. If truth be told I can’t remember a time when I didn’t suffer from “know-it-all-itis”. So did I (unintentionally, I assure you) shame my mother and sister? Quite possibly.
What is the point of this little post? Quite simple actually – although I do believe there are genuine instances of tribal and familial shaming, I also believe that payback is a bitch. So there may have been occasions when I experienced tribal or familial shaming they may also have been instances of people getting even with me for times when my know-it-all-itis irritated the crap out of them. I get it. I’m not innocent in the shaming or putting down of others. It may not be intentional but I’m sure that doesn’t make it any less hurtful.
So the next time you believe you’ve been the victim of tribal or familial shaming stop a moment before reacting. Think about it – is it possible you may have done something in the past to trigger some of these responses? I’m not claiming it’s all your fault or that there aren’t instances of truly hurtful and underserved shaming, simply that I think we can all unconsciously shame, embarrass or put down each other. Instead of pointing fingers let’s pause and take responsibility for our own behaviors. Maybe if we’re just a bit nicer to others they’ll respond in kind. And if not, you can always take a more assertive, no tolerance stance. Or maybe this is simply my experience and doesn’t apply to anyone else – your mileage may vary.