The first thought that struck me looking at the black pig on the Beast of Disks I heard the phrase “the Cutty Black Sow” in my head. I wasn’t sure what that meant so I looked it up. The primary reference is to an old Tales from the Darkside episode. There are also some indications that it was a mythical creature used to scare children in Wales on Halloween. I’m sure it has its roots in older legends of wild boars and dangerous pigs but the majority of references using this specific term refer back to the old TV show. And how appropriate to draw this image on the night of a full moon. I seems symbolic – as though I’m giving birth to new dreams.
Looking at the Shadow of Swords the phrase “shattered self” drifted through my mind. This was a concept I learned about in psychology class. It occurs when someone who has experienced a traumatic experience manages to cope for many years but the psyche eventually shatters because the trauma was never healed. I also get a sense of someone who has become crystallized in an effort to separate from the pain and isolate the emotions. That is one way to survive and make it through traumatic experiences but eventually it can cause a split from one’s emotional nature that results in deeper trauma. It reminds me a bit of what Voldemort must do to his soul in the creation of Horcruxes. Eventually what is left is barely human.
So with these two rather bleak images in my head, what do I think these cards are telling me? That I need to allow myself to devour and destroy those areas in my life that are unhealthy and no longer useful so that I can give birth to new possibilities. Yes, the Cutty Black Sow devours what she catches but sows are also quite prolific breeders. Sows may eat almost anything including their young but they also produce litters larger than most mammals. The potential to manifest something amazing is unlimited. The Shadow of Swords is reminding me that I have to stop living in my head. I need to interact with people and start picking away at those shards of crystal forming on my skin.
It’s ironic that as I was reading The Dark Goddess: Dancing with the Shadow by Marcia Starck and Gynne Stern I connected with something Gynne wrote about her experience meeting Inanna. She describes how she felt more of a connection to Erishkigel because she always saw herself as an outsider. She writes about avoiding participating in group activities and then regretting it because she ends up creating the very situation she dreads.
How many times have I done this very thing? I talk myself out of participating in group activities unless I know all the participants. Then I have regrets because it sounds like everyone had a wonderful time. That is the Shadow of Swords manifesting itself. It keeps me isolated and safe behind crystal walls. I need to shatter those crystal walls and allow myself to wallow in every experience like the black sow. Sounds a little gross but maybe I’ll learn more that way than by thinking everything through to the point that I’m mentally paralyzed.