TarotHunter’s Salt Rounds:

  • You’ve been so busy nurturing and caring for others that you’ve burnt yourself out. It’s time to take a break and take care of yourself.
  • You’ve exhausted all of your energies and have nothing left to give. You’ve tried a variety of options and nothing has produced the desired results. Maybe it’s time to appeal to a higher power, seek assistance from a non-traditional source.
  • Despite the fact that you have many options to express your creativity and feel productive, you haven’t really done much. Your creative energies have dipped so low that you have nothing left. This would be a good time to treat yourself to some nurturing. Arrange a staycation or an at-home personal retreat for yourself.

TarotHunter’s Silver Bullets:

  • The seed has been planted; nourish it, tend it well so it grows but be careful not to let it consume your life. Don’t let who you are and want to be get lost in caring for others or an overabundance of “stuff”. You are not your things and you are so much more than a list of accomplishments.
  • Capture your dreams, those desires you want to manifest in your life, and write them down, record them in some way so the Universe is put on notice. Then work towards it; determine that you will achieve these goals and stay focused until you achieve them.
  • Right now things are in a nascent stage, vulnerable but hopeful. If you work hard enough and believe in your goals they can manifest into something glorious!

TarotHunter’s Salt Rounds:

  • Your creative, nurturing, fecund energy is being ignored in favor of stability and power. This may come back to bite you in the ass.
  • You have stirred up your creative juices; cooked up a cauldron full of abundant, vibrant stuff. Now it’s time to move forward and discover what you can build with it; how you can share it with the world.
  • Right now masculine power dynamics and structures are dominant. Losing sight of how essential female power and energy are makes us unhealthy and imbalanced. We need to honor and reconnect with that nurturing, creative wildness.

TarotHunter’s Salt Rounds:

  • You may find your creative juices depleted if you put off nurturing and cultivating them in favor of making others happy. Stay juicy!!
  • Sometimes family obligations and tending to their needs leaves little time for tending to our own. Try to make some time each day dedicated to sharpening your creative saw.
  • As the song goes ” you can’t please everyone so you’ve got to please yourself “. Perhaps this isn’t a viable option all the time, but your needs and passions should certainly be given priority once in a while.

I ask myself this question a lot. The other day I drew the Ace of Cups Rx and The Empress Rx and they seemed to be addressing this issue for me. I’m one of those people who have loads of advice for everyone – ways to improve their lives, their health, whatever. Unfortunately, I am notorious for not applying such advice to my own life. I can be stubborn and hard-headed, or as my mother likes to call it – thick. I am a relatively intelligent person – or I at least have book smarts and know the answers to a number of Jeopardy questions. Common sense, however, does not appear to be on of my innate skills. Of course, life loves to throw us curve balls and I was finally thrown one that forced me to face a few issues that I’ve been trying to avoid.

I have Type II diabetes and until a few years ago I had it fairly well controlled. Once things got more challenging dealing with my mother-in-law, caring for myself was one of the things that fell by the wayside. Short-sighted and stressed, I chose to live in denial that this behavior would come back to bite me in the ass. Fast forward to July of this year (the day after my 51st birthday, in fact) and my chickens had come home to roost. I visited my doctor and got a call from his office the next day informing me that he wanted to up my medications adding an additional pill for diabetes, Lipitor and a prescription Omega 3 supplement. Now I hate taking more pills than is absolutely necessary but I also don’t want to suffer from complications due to diabetes later in my life. So I bitched and moaned and bitched some more. Then I talked with my hubby and we came up with a plan. I would give myself a specific time period to change my behaviors – eat healthier and exercise more. If there was no improvement at the end of this time then I’d have to start taking the additional pills.

It was difficult at first and I became discouraged and almost gave up a few times but I knew that if I began taking these additional pills I’d be psychologically giving up and I didn’t want to do that. So I hung in there. I’m finally seeing an improvement in my glucose levels and am definitely making healthier food choices. So I’m making progress but this made me wonder why I did this to myself? Why do so many of this do this to ourselves?

We bend over backward to care for others but ignore our own needs. We put off our own needs and try to ignore or avoid the potentially negative repercussions of these choices. Is this something we’re acculturated to accept? Are we programmed to think that our needs come last? I can’t claim to have all the answers but I will say that in my case it was simply a matter of not making myself a priority. I was programmed early on in life to do what was expected of me – to be the good student, the good daughter, the good employee. I craved the positive reinforcement and external validation. It was exhausting.

It took a long time but I think I’m finally reaching a place where my needs count too. They’re not necessarily more important than the needs of loved ones but they are as important. If I don’t take care of myself then I can’t care for them either. It’s a pretty simple concept but one that I traveled a long, winding road to reach. I’m sure I’ll still have days when I backslide but I feel more positive that I’m moving in the right direction.

 

Blue Rose Tarot EmpressHave you ever found yourself looking at the Empress card and feeling irritated and resentful? I have. I often receive gentle (and not so gentle) nudges from her reminding me that I need to care for myself as well as others in my life; that sometimes I need mothering too. That triggers a host of negative associations – I actively resist being mothered.

I suppose I can lay the blame on my familial dysfunction (isn’t that always the easiest answer). My mother could be passive-aggressive and veer between smothering and deliberate obtuseness. My father was just aggressive, demanding and harsh. Let me be clear – I knew they both loved and supported me but on their bad days they could each be quite awful in their different ways. My father set a high academic standard for me and I rose to the occasion. Unfortunately, while quick to criticize if I didn’t do well, he was not so quick with positive feedback when I did. My mother preferred to stay out of that quagmire altogether. If I complained to her about the unfairness of my father’s expectations and treatment (he once gave my sister $10 for getting a B average report card while my A- average was criticized – “why the minus?”), Mom would shrug and comment that’s how my father was. I’m sharing this to explain why I find criticism or punishment easier to accept than nurturing kindness – it’s just what I became acclimated to receiving.

Mythic Empress

One of my biggest struggles has been learning to accept kindness, support and praise without brushing it aside or downplaying my accomplishments. It’s an uphill battle. I still find it very difficult to accept kind words from friends. I brush it off, make light of it. Accepting that I may be worthy of praise or comfort sits awkwardly in my psyche. I’m no one special – anyone in my place could do this. Maybe that’s true and maybe isn’t. I’m not sure. What I do know is that it’s still a part of myself that needs work. I’m not criticising or denigrating myself, simply acknowledging a truth. Even the Tarot has pointed out that this is an area that could “use improvement”.

So if you ever find yourself in a similar situation, know that you’re not alone. I will bet there are plenty more of us out there resisting praise the way toddlers resist nap time. We can change, improve our self-image so we feel deserving of praise and kind words, but for now we’ll probably keep squirming a bit. For those who have friends & loved ones like me, be gentle with your praise and positive feedback. We’re more used to cruel than kind and there can be quite a learning curve.

Fear & Loathing in La TarotBroad

I am a huge fan of the TV show Supernatural (I might have mentioned this before) and while watching a recent episode it occurred to me that even after 11 years of taking on all matter of supernatural creatures (including angels and demons) and emerging victorious, the two main characters (the Winchester brothers) still see themselves as worthless. They willingly sacrifice themselves for the greater good because they truly believe their only value is in their ability to save people. It’s heart-breaking and tragic to watch them fight their inner demons and try to convince each other they have value and worth.

Of course as I watched it I realized that I have the same tendency (as do many others I know). We all seem to willing to believe the worst about ourselves; to see ourselves are petty, venal and rather pathetic. We incorporate all the criticism, self-doubt and negativity aimed at us by the world but neglect the positive traits we possess, the good we do for others and benefits we bring to those in our lives. Why? Why do we all seem so willing to wallow in a trough of self-loathing? I have no idea. I’m sure psychologist and healers have been trying to answer that question for decades if not centuries. Sometimes it seems to me that the more free time we have, the more ways we find to fill our minds with negative attitudes and self-loathing. The human capacity for self-doubt and self-hatred is mind blowing.

So, if I can’t tell you why we’re like this then why am I writing this post? Because I am determined to wage a battle to stop or at least reduce this behavior in my own life & mind. How? Well, I do not have any clear answers to that so I decided to ask the Tarot. Using Arnell Ando’s wonderful Transformational Tarot, I asked “How can I release the self-doubt, self-loathing and inner demons that populate my psyche?”

I drew the 6 of Swords R, 3 of Cups + 4 of Wands.

The 6 of Swords tells me no one else can save me, this is something I must do for myself. No knight in shining armor will sweep me up and carry me away. This is a only I can steer my way through.

The 3 of Cups tells me that friendship, camaraderie and joy will help in this endeavor. Finding emotional support and people who can serve as sounding boards when things get bad; caring people who can counteract those negative voices we all hear inside our own heads.

The 4 of Wands suggests that I need to find stable and exiting creative outlets and support networks. Just as knitters love to talk to others knitters, we may all find our creative juices enhanced by interacting with folks of a like mind. It also helps to have a support network to guide and advise us when something gets screwed up.

So it would seem that the key to overcoming and releasing all those self-doubts and self-loathing; to slaying those inner demons is accepting responsibility for yourself and then making sure you surround yourself with supporting nurturing people who appreciate you for who you are and who enhance and appreciate your creative endeavors rather than tearing them down. We also need to make sure that we offer this same support and appreciation to friends and loved ones. I speak from experience – “positive criticism” can often come across as an effort to shred someone’s confidence and to sound superior. No one likes a know-it-all (trust me on this, I know of what I speak). It sounds so simple and yet I know so many who still allow this energy into their lives and continue to behave this way towards others. My goal is to call myself on this behavior when I am exposed to it and when I subject others to it. (Did that come off sounding know-it-all-ish and superior? I hope not!)

Tsonokwa

 

Somehow, like a lot of people, I behave as though receiving help from others is a sign of weakness or failure. The current circumstances in my life have forced me to become better at accepting and asking for assistance from others. It’s still a struggle but one I think I’m starting to win. That isn’t my focus today. What has struck me when pondering this card and her message is that the one person I am lousy at giving to is myself. Oh don’t get me wrong – I can indulge myself with things like books, music and other possessions as fast as anyone else in our consumerist society. What I’m not good at giving to myself are the things I really need – time to myself, time to focus on my spirituality and health, and time to relax. It’s as though taking time off from my responsibilities is slacking. How the hell did this happen?

I used to be one of the more selfish people I knew. I had no responsibilities other than those to myself, my hubby and family, and maybe to my job. Not having kids left me a lot more free time than most to do whatever the hell I wanted. Of course I usually filled that free time with brain-draining TV binges and frequent nights out after work with co-workers. Mindless, enjoyable and ultimately unsatisfying pursuits to be sure. I was busy, sometimes frantic and stressed but I would have told you I was having fun. In retrospect I think I was trying to numb myself. What I needed wasn’t more things it was a sense of meaning and fulfillment in my life. That is what I was not giving to myself.

I have drawn Tsonokwa several times since working with the Dark Goddess Tarot. Clearly she is trying to give me a message which I haven’t been hearing – at least not clearly. Then yesterday I finally realized why she kept pushing me. Thanks to a wonderful mother who agreed to elder-sit for the in-laws, I was able to get away for a while and spend some time socializing with a friend. We didn’t do anything special – had lunch, chatted, shopped a bit, but I came home feeling rejuvenated and relaxed for the first time in a long time. It was wonderfully refreshing. Of course my mother was exhausted but she can head home and relax.

It’s been such a long time since I’ve been free of this vise that squeezes me on a daily basis that I didn’t really how much pressure it was putting on me. I thought I was doing okay but in reality I was draining the battery almost beyond repair. It took Tsonokwa appearing to me several times before the message finally sank in. Next tie I won’t wait so long before finding activities to help relieve the pressure and help me revive and rejuvenate myself. It’s not taking anything away from my in-law’s and it’s giving me the break I need to let me come back with a more positive attitude. Otherwise we’re all miserable.

This made me wonder why we do this to ourselves. I am under no illusions that I am the only person who deprives herself this way. Nor am I a saint or martyr. I am a cranky, stressed out, caring, occasionally deranged person who wants to do what’s right for my in-laws. Somehow what is right for me never came into the equation. It’s as though I just don’t matter and that’s certainly not the way I have ever seen myself. Clearly this is an issue that requires more than a blog post to resolve. I just wanted to put it out there for others who find themselves in a similar boat. It’s important for all of us, but especially for caretakers, to realize that caring for ourselvs is just as important as caring for loved ones. Otherwise we wake up one day and realize our head is in a vice and about to pop like a pimple. Let’s have no more of that!  We deserve better for ourselves.

As are so many of you, I am shocked, saddened and bewildered by Robin Williams’ suicide.  It is so tragic that a man of such comic genius who could bring so much joy and laughter to other’s was in such a state of hopelessness and despair that he felt there was no other solution.  It made me wonder what demons drove him to do this.

I’m sure many recall the “Golden Rule” – treat others as you wish to be treated.  I’ve often thought that is a very powerful and simple way to deal with others (even if I often fail at it myself).  Then a recent Tarot reading I did for myself made me wonder if perhaps this is backwards.  Treating others as you want to be treated might actually be more common that we think. I think the truth is that we are much harsher on ourselves than anyone else could possibly be but it’s a trait we hide from others.

We often assume other people think they are amazing and wonderful but treat the rest of us as subhuman chud. In reality I think many of us are so filled with varying levels of self-loathing, self-doubt and vicious inner criticisms that it’s all we can do to be polite to others.  Those inner voices that criticize, harangue and dog us on a daily basis create a cacophony from which there is not escape.  They may quiet down for periods of time but at our weakest moment they come roaring back to life.  I think that’s why so many people either self-medicate or seek psychiatric meds – to deal with these feelings of inadequacy and incompetence.  I’m not trying to downplay the seriousness of depression but I think there are lesser levels of “the blues” that might be caused by this type of inner self-flagellation.

Perhaps the real key is to treat ourselves the way we wish to treat others. It might lead to us being gentler, more forgiving and kinder to ourselves.  I know I’m often much more willing to grant some latitude to people who have “wronged” me than I am when I feel I’ve screwed up. My anger at others may be fierce and loud but it’s usually quickly gone. When I’m disappointed or angry with myself it goes bone deep and seeps into every aspect of my being. It rears its ugly head when I least expect it and undermines many of my good efforts. Silencing those inner critics and self-doubts is probably one of the most challenging things I’ve every tried. I think that’s the message this reading offered to me – keep trying and working on that process.

Transformational Tarot Empress

The Sorceress
Transformation Tarot
Created by by Arnell Ando
Published by US Games ISBN:1572815396

The LWB says: The divine mother, anima or feminine principle. Fruitfulness, fertility, growth, universal love, passion, nurturance and happiness. A deep connection to nature. For the artist, realization of creative projects. It can also mean a level-headed, intuitive businesswoman or politicial activist for human rights and the preservation of our natural resources.
Reversed: An artistic void. The oppressive, controlling aspect of the mother persona.

TarotBroad’s Buzz: Looking at this image I am struck by its seeming portrayal of Eve eating a piece of fruit while a snake slithers along the tree trunk next to her. At first it seems to symbolize the Biblical story of man’s fall. However it can symbolize something else as well – woman’s choice to take control of her life and grasp her future with both hands. The Biblical story always makes it seem as though Eve was naive and simple, falling prey to the snake’s sibilantly seductive words. What if Eve realized that if she ever wanted to be independent and have control over her life she needed to take this step. Perhaps the snake simply reaffirmed what Eve already suspected.

For me, this card symbolizes a woman claiming her power, becoming the woman she was meant to be. Whether she is mother and wife or single, independent career woman or some combination, she is at home in her skin. She owes no one any explanations and feels no urge to explain her choices or apologize for who she is. This Empress grabbed the fruit from tree and took a bite, knowing it would change her forever but welcoming the opportunity to acquire knowledge, wisdom and self-awareness. Instead of abject fear this Eve seems serene and confident in her decision.

This Empress offers a glimpse of a different type of feminine power. She may be a wife and mother but capture in this moment in time she is alone, independent and confident. She is willing to accept the consequences of her decision and knows that sometimes in order to acquire knowledge and experience, sacrifices must be made. Instead of Adam’s obedient wife, I see a goddess. She is fiercely free and enthusiastically embraces her path in life. Maybe she has more in common with Lilith than previously suspected.

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