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!)

Dark Carnival 5 of Duckets

This is the second time I’ve drawn this card this week.  I guess I need to listen to its message more closely.  Looking at the two “ghetto smurfs” (I love this phrase from the Gone in 60 Seconds movie) on this card the one thing that strikes me is that they’re together but not together.  They aren’t touching each other.  The girl has her arms wrapped around herself and the guy, with his foot wrapped in a bandage, is reading what appears to be an arrest warrant.  A 40-ounce bottle rests in the snow alone with other pieces of litter.  The girl seems to be glancing hopefully at a closed door nearby while the guy seems wrapped up in himself.  There is a loneliness and sadness to this card that goes beyond their apparent poverty.  They seem so isolated and disconnected from their world and from each other.  All one would need to do is reach and touch the other and offer comfort but their body language suggests that not going to happen.

It seems that as a society we are more disconnected and isolated.  Although we have perpetual access to each other via cell phones, text messaging and online social media sites, we rarely connect on a physical and human level.  How many people have hundreds of Facebook friends and yet would consider themselves lonely?  How many times do we yearn for a simple hug or comforting touch on the arm and instead we are offered a plethora of platitudes on Facebook?  I think this card serves as a reminder that all we really need to do is reach out and touch somebody’s hand (to quote the song).

I’ve recently found myself pondering this tendency in myself.  Over the years I’ve lost contact with many friends.  Some of this is simply the natural process we often go through as we grow and change, realizing we no longer share interests.  Some of if is because I feel as though I no longer have anything to offer in a relationship.  My world is so narrow that all I have to talk about is caring for the in-laws (okay, that’s a bit of an overstatement but not much).  I also have a tendency to feel as though I’m interrupted people’s lives when I call them. I think I need to make more of an effort to keep connected with friends and loved ones.  If they can’t talk to me then I have to hope they’ll feel comfortable enough to let me know.  Of course this says more about me than anything else.

On another level I think the reversed nature of this card is telling me that even though finances are tight and we are in a physically restrictive environment (we just don’t have the freedom to come and goes as we’d like), hubby and I do have each other.  We do support each other.  We try to give each other much needed breaks and work through our frustrations.  It’s not easy but we manage.  We may not be in the best shape financially but at least we are there for each other and care for each other.  Our shared experiences, even the miserable ones, have created a strong, enduring bond.  That’s the important thing right now.

Hidden Realm 6 of CupsHidden Realm 4 of Wands

The woman on the 6 of Cups is up to her breasts in dark blue water.  She seems calm and at ease.  She is obviously there by choice and in no danger of drowning.  Flowers float atop the water all around her.  She seems contemplative as though pondering deep issues.

The 4 of Wands shows a quartet of rather rag-tag musicians.  They seem to be engaged in an impromptu jam sessions for flute and violin.  I get a sense of untamed, enthusiasm.  They are channeling their creativity and in the process drawing us into this magical energy.

I was struck by two things as I looked at these cards.  The first is that the reversed 6 of Cups is reminding me not to get overwhelmed by the past; don’t let the negative emotions still lingering drown my dreams.  I need to gain some distance, the ability to view them as learning experiences but not let them still hurt me.  I need to be able to keep my head above the water and not feel like the water will soon be over my head.  What’s past is past and it’s time to move forward.

The 4 of Wands reminds me that I need to improve my networking skills.  The 4 musicians remind me that playing with others is always more fun than playing alone.  It’s a great way to improve my skills, trade ideas and build a support network.  In the past I’ve found it difficult to network.  It often required me to act more outgoing than I felt at the time.  I do love attending events such as Readers Studio but sometimes in smaller venues I have a hard time feeling comfortable.

My friend E-M has been hosting a gathering of like minded women at her house every few months.  The women share ideas, create vision boards and things like that.  They support each other and apparently have a lot of laughs.  I’ve manage to miss them so far.  Perhaps this is telling me that I need to cut it out and find ways to create this kind of energy for myself.

I think the difficulty is in letting my guard down and trusting.  In the past when I’ve created what I thought were support networks with friends (or at least friendly colleagues), I’ve learned that when the chips were down I could not count on them.  That hurt more than anything else about my firing from my last job.  I felt abandoned and as though once my usefulness to these folks ended so did our network.  That left a bad taste in my mouth.  I can use that experience as a lesson and find ways to be cautious without being cut off completely.  Otherwise I’m making things more difficult for myself than they need to be.

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