The other day while listening to a favorite song from the 70s, Love is the Answer by England Dan & John Ford Coley, I was struck by what a simple concept that is and what if it’s true? What if love is the answer? What if love is the key to a more peaceful and satisfying life? Can love give us the strength to live with conviction and stick to our morals and ethics? Can love be the secret we have long sought? The simple, powerful and amazing truth that makes the world and our lives better? I don’t know, I truly don’t but it certainly is something to consider.
I realize this isn’t a new idea – major religions have been built upon this core belief, but it’s something I’ve only recently begun to think about in some depth. I’ve spent a lot of time and energy resisting, disliking and even hating situations, things and even people. Sometimes I’ve convinced myself that I had good reasons but the reality is that it’s a waste of time and effort and poisons me much more than it causes any damage to those at which my hate is aimed. Even if it could somehow impact their lives, is that the legacy I want to leave? Do I want to be a venomous stream of negativity and hatred? I’d rather do more positive and beneficial things with my time and energy. Of course sometimes that’s easier said than done.
I don’t see myself becoming a pacifist or calm and gentle spirit any time soon but I do believe I can be more peaceful, calm and gentler than I am right now. I have seen examples of people who are strong but gentle. They don’t need to be cruel or aggressive to show their strength. I admire that trait but it’s one that has always seemed out of my grasp. I often claimed it just wasn’t in my nature but I realize that’s only because I’ve never tried to make it so. It’s never been a priority because I rather enjoyed being an outrageous curmudgeon. I’m beginning to understand that I can still be both those things I just don’t need to be loud, abrasive and pushy in order to do so.
If I truly want to embody Strength (and I’ve felt a connection to this card as my sun sign is Leo) then I need to remember it’s symbolizes a gentle, spiritual strength not physical force. Can I gently tame the beast that is my temperament and persona, my big mouth and often thoughtless approach to communication. I’m not expecting dramatic changes overnight but if I take baby steps I hope to see some slow but steady progress. I suppose time will tell but if I do manage this transformation it will certainly prove that love is the answer. Loving myself, loving others and loving the amazing, diverse and chaotic tapestry that is life and humanity.
Today I found myself thinking about my marriage (possibly because my hubby reminds me a bit of Thor – well except for the hair color). Hubby and I have been together for 31 years. As most couples do, we’ve had our ups and downs. There have been times when I’m sure one of us might have gladly killed the other. Yet somehow we manage to stay together. We gone through tragedies and triumphs together. We been financially stable and broke together. Now we’re dealing with the situation with his mother and brother together. None of it has been easy and I often think that we’re both just too stubborn to admit we might have made a mistake staying together. To quote The Twilight Zone episode “The Hunt”, “we have endured.”
Sometimes I have no idea how we’ve managed this. I can’t say that I have any tips to offer to anyone. No words of wisdom that might give insight to others. We just keep plugging along together. When we have issues we fight. I have to admit that I’m a lancer. If I know there is an issue simmering beneath the surface I keep trying to lance it so that all the ickiness comes out and we address it. Hubby is more of a brooder who would prefer to simmer and let it eventually evaporate. However I know him and if he doesn’t get it out of his system it will come up again, and worse, sometime in the future. This way at least we get it all out while there is a possibility of actually healing. I’m the explosive type. I can blow up about minor things (often because I’m really upset about something else that I didn’t address) which can often result in hubby staring at me with a befuddled expression on his face because he has no idea what brought this on. Sometimes he defuses things by making me laugh. Other times it triggers him and then we’re off on a battle. At the end of the day we try to work things out.
One thing we both know (and I’m convinced this is what has enabled us to stay together) is that we love each other. Sometimes we show it in minor ways (remembering a favorite TV show is one or picking up a treat the other likes) and other times it’s big things (hubby totally understands my need to replace my laptop if it dies). I sometimes think one of the reasons so many marriages fall apart is because people aren’t willing to do the work. I’ve seen many relationships implode because they never address the underlying issues that cause their fights. They break up and reunite but nothing actually changes and it eventually falls apart. I also think for some couples children become the glue and once the children are gone so is the relationship. Children were never a issue with hubby and me so we had to be sure we wanted to be with each other – there were no distractions.
The Ace of Wands reminds me that one factor in our continuing relationship is that we’re both passionate about keeping it alive. We’re willing to fight, to charge ahead and to try to keep the spark alive. In our cores, we both know we’re meant to be together. We try to keep things exciting (which can be very difficult with things the way they are now). I think the one thing I never want to do is take my hubby or this relationship for granted. If we don’t tend to it, it will die and neither of us want that to happen.
Sometimes I am amazed at the answers Tarot gives me to certain questions. I decided to ask this one after watching a classic In Search Of episode about great lovers. It focused on the fictional tale of Don Juan and the (possibly somewhat fictionalized) life of Giacomo Casanova. In both cases these men are viewed as legendary lovers but when you listen to the tales of Don Juan’s conquests he seems more victimizer than lover. He lies, cheats and steals to have his way with women. No trick is too devious or to low. When he is finished the women are often embittered and furious. Casanova, on the other hand, seems to be a scoundrel and con artist in many ways but his lovers are left with fond memories and seem to bear him so ill-will.
Considering the very different styles and personalities of these two legendary lovers, I decided to ask Tarot what is love? At it’s core, what does love truly mean? Drawing Judgement in response to this question was surprising. The card shows a winged angel with a determined expression in the foreground. Behind him are several coffins that have been opened and their inhabits are beginning to emerge. Three additional angels hover in the background offering their assistance. Not exactly the visual I was expecting in response to a question about love.
Upon further reflection it started to make more sense. Love, true love not the initial passion and attraction that we often claim is love, is about seeing our partners for who they really are and loving them anyway. Real love is about constantly working to revive the relationship; to bring it back from the dead, and not lose sight of the fact that untended it will wither and die. Real love may experience dormant periods but that doesn’t mean it’s dead, merely hibernating. Real love is about accepting that sometimes we go through dark patches in our lives and when we emerge into the light we might need the support and love of a partner.
Romantic love is often portrayed as unconditional and never-changing. In my experience real love is very conditional and constantly changing. It morphs and expands and grows. Sometimes we may think it has died but then something will reignite it and it comes roaring back in a wave of memory and joy. I have found that sometimes those we love and who love us can be very judgemental, weighing and evaluating our behaviors and failure but loving us anyway. Rather than wrapping relationships in rose-tinted gauze, real love accepts our flaws and screw ups. Perhaps Shakespeare said it best – love is not love which alters when it alteration finds. Real love is not perfect and flawless. It is riddled with cracks and flaws but it endures; it is strong enough to face any judgments made of it. In fact that may be part of the message here too – real love makes us strong enough to face Judgement together, powerful and enduring and not wilting under pressure.
There is a wonderful Twilight Zone episode called The Hunt about an elderly country man who loves hunting with his dog. Before leaving he has a conversation with his wife, whom he clearly loves. Their every interaction speaks of that love but they never say the words. Instead they have this conversation:
Old Woman: “Old man I never said this to you but we have endured powerful well over the years together.”
Old Man: “Hmm? Nearly 50 years we’ve been married, eh? Come October 16.”
Old Woman: “Long time to travel together.”
Old Man: “Well, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.”
To me, that is real love.
This is the third time this card has appeared for me this month – once upright and twice reversed. Obviously she has a message that I need to hear. Looking at the image on Ciro’s Legacy of the Divine I see the image of the lovely Natashia, a lady I’ve had the pleasure at meeting at several past Readers Studios. Knowing the story behind this card, it speaks to me of joy, love and healing; washing away the past so that the future can be full of happiness and laughter not pain and anger.
Ellen Lorenzi-Prince calls her Grandmother of Cups Godmother. Another concept with interesting connotations to me. My godmother is my mother’s aunt. I’m very fond of her and we chat on the phone occasionally but our relationship has never been very close. She had seven sons to raise and once my grandmother (her sister) passed away, our contact with that side of the family became minimal. I always knew my godmother loved me, but we just didn’t get the chance to connect very often. When we are together, my godmother is warm, funny and loving.
What I find these two cards have in common is a sense of joy, happiness and love. They both offer a sense of knowing that life isn’t always fun and games but managing to keep a smile anyway. She represents knowing the darkest sides of human nature but being able to focus on the light. She speaks of washing clean those festering wounds that we carry within ourselves so that we can heal and become whole again. It’s about being able to love and embrace the people in our lives and the world, even when they’re not especially lovable.
This is a sorely atrophied part of my nature. It’s something I’m working on but before I could love most of the world, I had to learn to love and embrace myself. It’s been a slow process but I’m getting there. I think the Queen of Cups is reminding me that every so often it’s okay to focus on myself a bit. She’s also reminding me that I might find it beneficial to reconnect with some of these loving, laughing women in my life. I can probably learn a thing or two from them.