This is the third time I’ve drawn Strength from this deck. Twice she has been reversed which suggests that while I have the inner strength to endure and survive a variety of experiences, sometimes that strength is too much. It holds me back and prevents me from seeking or accepting advice, aid or support. I get very caught up in standing on my own two feet. I’ve always been proud of the fact that no one has ever handed me anything. I’ve had to work for everything I’ve achieved. That’s part of what makes it so difficult for me to admit I need help now. The reality is that I do need help – I’m just not clear what type of help I need or maybe I just don’t know where to begin looking for it.
The Empress speaks to me of nurturing, prosperity, abundance and mothering. It’s an amalgam of needing to be mothered myself and needing the financial resources to make some of this easier to handle. I am The Empress to my in-laws right now and I hate it. I never, never wanted to be anyone’s mother. I know my limitations; the temperament, traits and skills necessary to be a mother are not in my repertoire. Hell, I didn’t even like baby dolls when I was a child. I have the utmost respect for women who stay home to raise their children, but I feel as though I’m slowly suffocating. I have no time or energy for my own interests. I don’t have the money to meet friends for lunch and even when I manage to find the cash I feel rushed and don’t enjoy myself. I’m selfish and jealous of my time. Having to devote myself to the care and nurturing of an ailing mother-in-law is something I feel that I need to and should do but it’s not something I enjoy.
So then what the hell are these two cards trying to tell me? Strength reversed I rather think I know already – stop trying to be so strong on my own. The Empress in this deck is the Black Madonna, a rather radical version of the Virgin Mary. So her message to me might be that I need to take a radical approach towards nurturing and caretaking. In some ways what I am doing is similar to raising a toddler however my mother-in-law will not improve and will never get better. All I can do now is try to ensure she is comfortable and ease the years that remain to her while trying to maintain my own sanity. I don’t know the answer to how I can achieve this but if I focus my energies on the issue perhaps I’ll find a solution. Or maybe I can brainstorm with some friends and see what they suggest.