​I fight Authority, Authority always wins

So, I have noticed my pattern of butting heads with authority figures.  It’s not that I don’t respect people in positions of authority, it’s simply that I refuse to respect them merely because they’re in a position of authority.  In fact when I run into “authority figures” that assume they’re entitled to respect because of position and/or money, I tend to get confrontational.  It brings out the worst in me.  In fact I’d had incidences where I’ll run into an authority figure (usually an alpha male type) who raises my hackles so much I feel the urge to growl and bare my teeth at him.  I can’t necessarily pinpoint why I react this way.  It tends to occur exclusively with male authority figures.  I get along quite well with most female authority figures – especially those labeled ball busters.  So that clues me in that one of my issues has to do with gender power dynamics too.


I decided to use Tarot to ask the universe “What is my relationship to authority?”  I drew the 2 of Cups from the Pearls of Wisdom Tarot.  Looking at the image I was struck by the way both figures in the card seem to be equals.  They are both grasping a chalice in one hand and touching their partner intimately with the other.  They each gaze into each other’s eyes and are approximately the same size and height.  Each figure has a flower behind them and a tree beside them.  Both figures are framed by a fish, necklace and chalice.  There is a balance present in this card, a sense of equality and true partnership.  The power and authority in this relationship go both ways.  Perhaps their powers are not identical but they are equal.

That suggests my issues with authority flare up when things are not equal.  I have no problem with authority figures who treat others with the respect and courtesy they expect.  I also prefer the give and take with an authority figure who is as open to listening as she/he is to talking.  Perhaps there is truth to the fact that most women’s management styles are more inclusive than many male managers’.  Those are broad stroke generalizations but in my experience they’ve proven true.  


My next question to the Universe was “Why is my relationship to authority this way?”  I drew the Ace of Swords.  My immediate reaction was that my relationship to authority causes me to feel the urge to cut through the bullshit when faced with one of those negative authority figures.  I feel the urge to confront and puncture their egos.  It’s not necessarily the most mature response but it’s true.  Maybe on some level I also hope that confronting them on their behaviors might open their eyes and allow them to explore new ideas and beliefs about power and authority.  I suppose one can always hope (and keep on fighting!).

#TarotCotD – 10 of Wands (Pearls of Wisdom)

TarotHunter’s Silver Bullets:

  • Although you carry a heavy load, the end is in sight and you are experiencing a sense of accomplishment and personal satisfaction in your endeavor
  • Don’t forget to unleash that bright, energetic light into the world.  Your radiance shouldn’t be denied to others.
  • Your fire has burned brightly and helped you find your way through dark times.  Now you can move on to a new creative endeavor, explore new experiences to utilize your energies and skills.  You are at a turning point in your life, use it to your best advantage.

 

#TarotCotD – The Fool Rx (Pearls of Wisdom)

TarotHunter’s Salt Rounds:

  • Butterflies are free but your spirit might not be.  Why?  What is holding you back?  Avoiding new experiences and taking a leap into the unknown can lead to stagnation.  
  • Having faith is one thing, recklessness is another.  It might be helpful to recognize the difference.  
  • It’s a beautiful day outside today (at least here in the Northeastern US).  Why are you indoors?  Go outside and jump in the water; walk in the woods; talk to nature!!

Before writing this blog post I asked the universe how I should approach this topic; where should my focus be? I drew the Page of Wands Rx – all sorts of potential creative and dynamic energy being blocked or channeled in wrong directions. Hmm, so is writing about the dark nooks and crannies of my soul focusing in the wrong direction or is are the dark nooks and crannies of my soul created when I channel my energies in inappropriate or unhealthy directions? I’m choosing to interpret the Page of Wands Rx as indicating the latter – blocking my creative energies creates the dark nooks & crannies.

So, now that I’ve established that where am I going with it? I’m doing to dive right in the deep end. Reality is that I’m not an especially introspective person – at least not on a daily basis. I tend to be more of a doer than a planner. I can plan but it’s not my first instinct. My tendency is to dive into the deep end of any endeavor and then just figure my way out. It’s been relatively successful so I’ve had little incentive to change this pattern. Which also explains the reversed Page of Wands – when I take on a new project or creative impulse I tend to jump right in to things. Poking around in my dark places is rather counter-intuitive to me.

I will say that using Tarot has been a great way to sneak into my subconscious. I can be quite good at rationalizing and intellectualizing my actions. Deflection and denial can be quite powerful so the only way for me to subvert them is a tool like Tarot cards. Tarot forces me to hold a mirror up to myself and address what I see. It often takes more than one attempt but eventually even my stubbornness cannot hold out against the slaps upside the head that Tarot offers. Each deck offers different insights and perspectives.

I realize now that I’ve used Tarot as a therapeutic tool. Despite my MA in forensic psychology, I have a resistance to therapy. I resist believing that I need another person’s input to my therapeutic process. I hate being told what to do, even when I know the suggestions might be useful. I am one of those people who has to stumble through the jungle on my own. I don’t value the experience unless it’s first hand. It’s the same reason I rarely find self-help books helpful – I may be glad that others have found their way to healing and wholeness but I need to forge my own path. I also have no interest in mentoring others. If you find something useful in these musings then I’m thrilled. If not, that’s okay too because it helped me.

Over the next few months I’ll probably share more specific tales of this journey through the wilds of my own mind. I don’t know if it will be especially interesting or edifying but I’ll guess time will tell. What I do know is that for some reason I’m compelled to share. Maybe just knowing that they’re not alone out there will help others who have similar experiences. Maybe at the end of the day that’s what helps us all stay a little saner – the knowledge that we are not alone.

 

#TarotCotD – Death Rx (Pearls if Wisdom)

TarotHunter’s Salt Rounds:

  • Death is liminal space.  You are poised on a boundary between two realities.  Instead of avoiding, why not use this opportunity to open yourself up and learn from the experience?
  • Day destroys the night, night divides the day – you can try to resist the changes but you can’t stop them. Death or transformation – only you can decide but remember, whichever view you choose, it’s inevitable.
  • Death forces us to strip off our masks and face who we really are.  Are you afraid to face your true self?  Trying to postpone or avoid a necessary part of your journey is pointless and will only lead to frustration and stagnation.

TarotHunter’s Salt Rounds:

  • So much creative energy and new ideas are available to you but you’re not tapping into it
  • Be cautious not to get so distracted by the pretty lights that you don’t access and utilize the energies they provide
  • If you don’t find a channel for these ideas and energies they’ll explode all over in inappropriate ways and make a mess in your life.

Now that I’ve completed the Comparative Tarot essays for the Major Arcana, I’ve decided to try some different Tarot focused blog posts before attacking the Minors (if I decided to do that). I’ve been inspired by James Ricklef’s wonderful KnightHawk readings that focused on 3 card readings for fictional characters. I hope I can do this technique justice.

Three card reading for Mary Winchester of Supernatural

Dear Tarot Hunter,

I have recently reconnected with my two grown sons after a 30 + year absence. I have no idea how to communicate with them; how to interact with them. They don’t need me they way they did the last time I saw them. What would be my best way to repair this broken bond?

Mary, thank you so much for entrusting me to do a reading for you on such a sensitive topic. I cannot provide any insight into your sons’ thoughts or feelings but perhaps we can look at the current state of this relationship and see if it can be healed. I will pull three cards and see what the universe has to say.

The current state of this relationship? Page of Cup Rx – Your sons are still those broken-hearted boys devastated by the loss of their mother. You are a mother devastated at what you missed in your sons’ lives. All three of you are relative neophytes when it comes to expressing and dealing with your emotions. I get the sense that none of you are especially comfortable with introspection and examining your motivations.  This reluctance for addressing emotional issues underpins this relationship even if you never acknowledge it.

Issues that fester or harm this relationship? 10 of Wands – There are a lot of burdens still being carried by members of this family. Considering that you mention not having seen your sons in over 30 years, I’ll guess that guilt is part of this burden – you missed their childhoods. How did they cope? Perhaps there are things in their past that haunt and weigh them down too. 30 years is a lot of history – both good and bad.

How can this relationship start to heal? 7 of Pentacles Rx – Upon seeing this card the first thing that popped into my head is you all need to stop revisiting the past, harvesting that guilt, and instead work to build a new future together. Although the past will always impact your lives, if that’s all you focus on then it will taint your future together. I’m not saying to ignore the past, perhaps discussing it will bring some closure, but don’t allow it to linger between you. It could create a toxic environment that will prevent anything new and healthy from growing.

The overall message from this reading seems to be that you can repair this relationship but it will be a slow process and will require understanding and honesty. You will need to look within yourself and be honest about the emotions this situation brings up for you as well as trying to understand what it brings up for your sons. You’re almost strangers to each other but a willingness to stick it out may go a long way towards repair this fractured relationship.

As fans of Supernatural know, Mary Winchester not only disappeared from the boys lives 34 years ago, she died. Her death became the catalyst for the story arc for the first five years of the show. The boy’s father, John, devastated by the death of his beloved wife, becomes a hunter to discover what killed Mary and cursed their youngest son, Sam. John Winchester trains and raises his sons to be hunters, sometimes acting more as a drill sergeant than a father.

Mary Winchester is brought back from the dead at the end of season 11 by Amara, God’s sister, as a gift for Dean Winchester. Over the course of season 12, we watch as Mary, unsure how to deal with her rebirth and her adult sons, distances herself from the boys, but this reading takes place early in the season before any of those conflicts have arisen. It’s interesting to interpret this reading knowing both the backstory and its ultimate resolution.

If you’d like to learn more about the show visit the Supernatural Wiki

You can also watch all 12 seasons of the show on Netflix.  

Sheila O’Malley also offers some amazing recaps on episodes from the first three seasons (well she’s working on Season 3).  I highly recommend reading them!!.

 

Misjudging Relationships

Have you ever observed relationships of people and initially perceived them one way but then had your eyes opened and realized you were totally off base?  I have.  It’s been quite an interesting experience too and one that has reinforced the concept of not judging books by their covers.

It usually happens when I come across what I would describe as a solar/lunar (or almost stereotypical male-dominated relationship).  You know the type I mean – the male/yang/alpha partner appears to be the dominant one while the female/yin/beta partner seems to cater, kowtow and reflect the alpha partner’s glory.  Now, I also have to admit that my life experiences have primed me to recognize these types of relationships because they’re the ones with which I’m most familiar.  They were the type most common in the blue collar neighborhood in which I grew up.  Unfortunately, they were also the ones I saw become abusive (although let me be clear, I’m not saying all of these types of relationships become abusive).  It is the kind of relationship I was determined to avoid,

Of course, one’s perceptions as a child and those as an adult are quite different.  Watching these types of relationships now I have come to realize that the power dynamic is not as imbalanced as I once believed.  I have learned that a more yin/beta partner can be just as controlling and domineering as a yang/alpha partner. They just use different techniques to ensure their goals are met. For example, I’ve watched the “passive” partner use subtle and sometimes not so subtle behaviors to influence their partners. The most frequent one I’ve noticed is almost a temper tantrum. The more passive partner will become upset because something is not to their liking (for example their food is not prepared correctly). Instead of addressing it with the wait staff, the beta partner will complain to the alpha partner. This will cause the more assertive partner to take up the banner and charge into the fray to ensure things are corrected to the beta partner’s liking. Or the passive/beta partner will push buttons that will result in the outcomes they desire but allow them to look blameless. Things turned out this way because of the alpha/assertive partner’s insistence. It can be fascinating to watch.

It’s an interesting dynamic and requires a subtly of which I’m not capable. I can admire it and acknowledge its effectiveness while accepting that it’s beyond my capabilities. The major realization I’ve taken away from these observations is that I’ve misread these relationships. Due to my own blinders and prejudices, I didn’t realize that just because the passive/beta partner is assertively challenging situations or fighting whenever their partner did something insulting, domineering or just not to their liking, that doesn’t mean they’re not handling it. They simply use a less confrontational (and possibly more effective) approach.

 

I’m being deliberately provocative with the title of this blog post. I am a female and, as such, I was a girl when I was younger. However, I was not raised to think of myself as “just a girl”. I decided to write this post after reading an article a woman wrote about gender expectations and American Gods. This got me to thinking, pondering if you will. Why have I never felt the weight of gender expectations? In fact, I clearly remember a very vehement argument I once had with a former friend about sexism and gender in the workplace. It’s entirely possible that I have been denied promotions or suffered a lower salary because I am female, but if that’s the case I was as oblivious to it as I was to the Stations of the Cross in my childhood church. I simply plowed forward and did my job. If my behaviors upset or offended supervisors because I didn’t act in a typically female way, I either addressed it head on, was oblivious to it, or ignored it.

I have never been told that I could not achieve something because I’m “a girl”. I was never discouraged from trying or accomplishing something because “girls don’t do that”. Sure my parents tried to civilize me and teach me to behave but they also encouraged me to be independent and strong-willed. They regularly gave me the “would you (fill in the blank) just because everyone else does?” speech. I was never encouraged to downplay my intelligence because boys don’t like smart girls. I was never told I was too aggressive for a girl and should tone it down (in fact my father preferred to teach me the correct way to throw a punch). When boys touched me in ways I did not want, I punched them or kicked them in the balls. My nickname as an adolescent was “the Nutcracker”. At the same time, I accepted that if I was going to hit others I might get hit back. I couldn’t use the “I’m a girl” excuse. I was fine with this. Looking back, I was truly blessed to have two parents who never, ever fell victim to gender roles and stereotypes – at least not when it came to me. I remember one Easter my grandmother bought my sister and me matching outfits – they were royal blue pantsuits (think polyester button-down shirts and pants) with T-shirts that proclaimed “Anything boys can do, girls can do better” and a graphic of a girl in a baseball outfit getting ready to swing her bat. We LOVED those shirts and proudly wore them every chance we got. In fact, that saying became our unofficial motto throughout childhood.

I was also influenced by Greco-Roman and Norse mythology as a child. I identified with Athena, the wise virgin who owed nothing to a man (okay, I’m oversimplifying because that’s what I believed as a child). I loved Freya who was the leader of the Valkyries and free to sleep with whom she chose, even if they were dwarves. It wasn’t just independent female goddesses that appealed to me – they had to have a fierceness to them, a martial aspect as well. I loved goddesses who bowed down to no man or god. As I grew older and learned about Irish goddesses I felt a strong connection to many of them too. Once again, fierce feminine figures who were not bound to a male.

Looking back, I am also a product of my generation. I grew up in the 70s and clearly remember the hoopla that following the tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs. I remember how excited I was when Charlie’s Angels premiered! Yes, in retrospect it was a T&A show but as a young girl, all I saw were these tough, independent women who took on bad guys every week and triumphed. I was a fan of both Wonder Woman with Lynda Carter, Isis, and Electra Woman & Dyna Girl. I read Wonder Woman and Supergirl comic books. I remember being vaguely disappointed when the ERA was defeated. I didn’t fully understand what it was or why I wanted it but I knew that its failure was not a good thing for me. I remember having an epiphany during a religious class in Catholic high school when our teacher while conducting a cakes & wine ritual, informed us that ancient frescoes showed that women administered the sacraments in the early Christian church. I was floored! It never occurred to me that women could serve as priests. I often think that this was the pivotal moment that ultimately led me to pursue Paganism.

So, it occurs to me that if we don’t want to raise our daughters to be “just girls” we need to reinforce that message. We need to support them when they show interest in traditionally “ungirly” things or behave in non-girly ways. We also need to let them know that if they choose to pursue traditionally feminine pursuits, that is wonderful too. It’s so easy to denigrate traditional feminine pursuits, interests, and behaviors but that’s just as damaging as only allowing them to pursue these things. Some girls want to be fairy princesses and some want to be G.I. Joe. Some want to play with dolls and some want to play with toy guns. Some will do both and all of that is great and should be encouraged. For that matter, we should use the same approach with boys. I guess the important thing is to focus on what the child wants and needs and make sure to nurture and support them. Sounds easy and yet somehow we make it so complicated.

TarotHunter’s Silver Bullets:

  • As you seek our answers to your questions and pursue new ideas and ways of thinking, remember that new isn’t always better and “old” isn’t always useless.
  • Be cautious that your rational, intellectual approach to life doesn’t leave you isolated, unemotional, and cold.  Even Mr. Spock had feelings, he just did not allow them to rule his behaviors.
  • Share your passion and enthusiasm for intellectual challenges and new ideas with others.  Perhaps they will become excited too and join you or support you in your journey.
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