Celtic Wisdom The Challenger

Celtic Wisdom Challenger

Celtic Wisdom Tarot
Text by Caitlin Matthews, art by Olivia Raynor
Destiny Books, 1999
ISBN 0-89281-720-8

The Book says: The Challenger of Will makes the soul question what is accepted and find true release from fear. He speaks words of liberation and wisdom to those who can hear them. Those who hear only what they want to hear, and demand that others obey them, petrify the living stream of tradition into dead formulas. How are you listening to yourself?
Fear, bondage, extreme challenge, misery, obsession, resentment, role-playing for effect, dependence, manipulation, humorlessness, self-sabotage, inability to realize goals.
REVERSED: Understanding, release, breaking the spell, respite from fears, obsessions or worries, recognition of the true self, challenges are opportunities for growth.

TarotBroad’s Buzz: It’s interesting but when I see this card the first thing that crosses my mind is the phrase “dialing for destiny”. The Cernunnos figure seems to be frozen, trapped for all eternity in his familiar pose. While above him the larger figure – human or god, seems to be working a cosmic telephone and dialing some sort of code. Will the code offer freedom to Cernunnos, freeing him from his frozen state? Why is he holding onto the serpent and the torc? If he releases them will he be able to free himself from his prison. Or perhaps Cernunnos is the guide, leading us through the hedge of leaves in into the heart of yourself. Maybe he knows the code for the larger figure to dial to free himself from his familial bondage, his ancestral expectations.

It brings to mind the adage about the “sins of the father”.  Are they the chains that bind this figure – the “sins” of his ancestors? Certainly we have all experienced the prison that is our family’s hopes and expectations for us. How much more prevalent was this attitude in earlier societies? Everyone had a place and a task. But what if you didn’t wish to follow other’s plans for you? Then they became an oppressive prison, a burden and an obstacle. So the challenge to us may be to break free of these expectations and obligations and listen to our own desires and dreams.

Transformational Challenge

Transformational Tarot
Created by Arnell Ando
Published by Ink Well Publishing
ISBN #0-9649386-3-4

The Book says: A time of challenge. Victory over obstacles. The first cycle complete and a new confidence is born out of this coming full circle. A desire to balance the left and right brain, the creative and the logical, and/or the physical and spiritual forces within. This card stands for progress, strong will taking action, self-discipline and inner direction. It can also suggest a struggle with a conflict of interests (such as, moving on or staying with the present situation).

TarotBroad’s Buzz: To me this card represents being willing to take on authority, defying conventional wisdom to find your own path. It is about being willing to take risks in order to stay true to yourself. It does have a somewhat adolescent energy – that absolute conviction, which borders on arroagance, that you are always right and that you will live forever. The belief that danger is really only a transient thing and charging forward in search of new and more exciting experiences. In my former job, I worked with a lot of teenagers. Some could be quite rude about their infallibility while others were a bit more tolerant because how can a grown up understand what they are going through. And as I watched them I realized that I might be able to slow their chariot down for a brief moment but I couldn’t stop it or change its course. I could only try to help pad the chariot so that if they crash it won’t be too devastating. But this phase is definitely part of growing up.

I still occasionally cringe when I hear my adolescent voice in my mind. It reeks with the assurance that I am so much smarter than anyone else in my life and that I am always right. Whew! I give my mother credit – I would have sold me to a pack of vagabonds if I were her. But the Chariot reminds us that sometimes we need to just ahead and shake up the status quo – otherwise we miss opportunities for growth and learning.

COTD – 8 of Swords (Dreams & Ferret)

 

The number 8 represents balance, systems, regeneration and structure.  Swords represent reason, thought, logic, will, courage, verbal skill, matters pertaining to the mind and survival in the world and the element of air.  This card can often suggests that the querent is trapped by her own fears but has the ability to free herself.

“You’re actively organizing or reworking something you’ve said or written.  You’re looking at your lifestyle and activities and finding ways to re-prioritize what you’re doing so that your schedule more closely matches your values.  You’re examining your communication patterns and making some decisions about which patterns you prefer.” – Gail Fairfield

The Tarot of Dreams 8 of Swords shows a nude woman encased in a clear sphere hovering above 8 upright swords.  Her back is to us and she seems to be touching the edge of the sphere but whether she is trying to free herself or test the limits of her captivity is unclear.  On the Ferret 8 of Swords, a ferret is struggling ferociously to free herself from a leash.  Despite the fact that it symbolizes a certain amount of safety and security, it also signifies domesticity and captivity.  Obviously the ferret is not willing to sacrifice her freedom for security.  Of course she also doesn’t realize that is she relaxed a bit more, she might find it easier to free herself from the leash.

I completely understand that feeling – trapped and yet unwilling or unable to free myself.  My entrapment is not because of external bonds but internal ones.  My own inner demons and self-doubts keep me encased in this prison.  It feels somewhat more secure but that’s because I already know its limitations and it gives the illusion of safety.  Limitations can serve a purpose, especially when one is still learning a craft or skill because it can prevent you from harming yourself or others.  But when we impose those limitations on ourselves, then we risk stunting our growth.  I think that is how I feel right now – stunted.  A variety of factors have consolidated in such a way that I’ve let myself become entrapped and leashed.

Now I’m tired of feeling that way.  I need to start challenging those beliefs that are holding me back.  I need to create some structure and establish new priorities for myself.  One of the benefit of having my “world” fall apart when I was laid off is that I was able to move beyond the edge of my world into dragon territory.  Things I did not believe I could live without, I now realize are not essential to my life.  I no longer want to work at a 9-5 job for someone else.  I don’t need that kind of security anymore.  So I have broken beyond some of my previously self-imposed barriers.  Now it’s time to break down some more.

 

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