So, my ancestors were unexpectedly charitable today. Instead of the usual smack upside the head (in a loving, concerned manner of course), I got a bit of an “attagirl”. They’re reminding me that I’ve learned a lot over the years. In fact, I’ve learned enough that I could teach certain things if I chose to do so. I just need to maintain confidence in myself; keep my expertise, enthusiasm, and ability to engage others in the forefront. I also need to make sure I enjoy what I’m doing. At the end of the day what I know and how I convey that is only beneficial if I enjoy doing it. Otherwise, it becomes just one more chore over the course of my life.
Today while sharing a cuppa tea with my #ancestors. I asked for some advice & guidance. This was their reply:
I heard “You’re wasting time, hoping for the perfect opportunity. Stop futzing around and move forward. Trust that the direction in which you’re moving is the way you’re meant to go. You’ve done a lot of hard work; sown a lot of seeds; honed your skills. Now it’s time to real the benefits and embrace your achievements.”
Over my afternoon cuppa @HarneyTea’s wondrous Viennese Earl Grey blend, I had my chat with the Divine (today it felt rather like Grandma Burke, my paternal grandmother, decided to pay a call). Her message to me:
What I heard, “Enough already! I get it, you’re feeling frustrated and stifled because life right now requires you to focus on being nurturing and somewhat maternal – not your favorite thing. You think your creative juices are drying up from lack of use. I call bullshit! You aren’t looking at things clearly. Open up you damn eyes and see what’s really going on. See how you can change things so your creative energies find expression. Stop waiting for things to change and make it happen! Stop letting self-pity hold you down. You already know the answer so trust your instincts.”
So, regular card of the day readings aren’t working for me. So I decided to take a slightly different approach and have a daily chat with my Tarot deck.
I got the idea during Rana George’s session on Lenormand at this year’s Divination Day prior to Readers’ Studio. She said she would never do a one card Lenormand reading because a Lenormand reading is like a sentence requiring a subject, verb and object or like a conversation. It needs more than just one card. So I took that concept and applied it to my daily readings for myself. It helps put me in a different frame of mind.
So I sat down with a cuppa tea, pulled three cards and this is the message I received:
Her message:. “Stop resisting change, moving on to the next phase. You’re fighting too hard to maintain the status quo; defending yourself from imaginary threats. The only demons are in your head and if you look at things clearly you’ll realize they don’t exist. Right now the only thing you need to defend yourself from are your own doubts.”
Have you ever heard of the Scottish myth of the Selkie? It’s a tale of a mythical, shapeshifting seal woman who sheds her skin and turns into a beautiful woman. A man becomes enamored of her and steals her skin, hiding it where she cannot find it. As long as he possesses her skin, the seal woman cannot leave. They often live as a married couple, having children and seemingly content. Eventually, the seal woman’s yearning for the sea becomes too much and either the husband, who truly loves her, restores her skin to her so she can return to the sea or she finds it herself and leaves him and their children behind.
I find these stories and the dynamics they express are still present in modern relationships, both interpersonal and communal; as above, so below.
Have you ever observed or found yourself in a relationship in which you feel your spirit is being held, hostage? Perhaps you initially agreed to the dynamics of the relationship but over time they shifted or your needs did and you find yourself unable to break free? I often note this dynamic in relationships where one partner is financially dependant upon another – often whichever is the stay at home parent raising the children or engaging in other traditionally feminine roles. I’m not referring to a SAHM or SAHD who feel this is their life purpose and who are treated as equal partners in the relationship. I’m referring to those in which the stay at home partner is treated unequally and told things like “It’s my money and I’ll decide how it’s spent” (you know what I’m talking about). Or relationships in which the more financially secure and established partner threatens to take away the children or the home if the other partner leaves. Some wonder how a woman can leave her children behind but if she has been forced to bear these children and their father and society determine they are “his”, then perhaps they are really a symbol of her imprisonment. How awful must it be to find yourself forced to bear children for someone who is imprisoning you?
I see this dynamic on a national scale in the US since the attacks on Sept 11th. So many are willing to give up their autonomy, right to privacy and independence for the illusion of safety and security Some have given up their skins in pursuit of the illusion of being cared for by the government and as a result those of us who were not willing to give up our freedom is being forced to anyway. Our skins have been stolen by those in charge. That is such a risky proposition. I think it’s what has to lead us to the situation in which we currently find ourselves and if we don’t fight to reclaim our skins we may find we are never able to return to that place of autonomy and independence and that way lies dictatorship.
So I asked the Divine via the Tarot:
Where am I a Selkie in my own life? 9 of Sword
How is Selkie energy being expressed in people’s lives? Page of Swords
How can we reclaim our skins? Knight of Pentacles
What can the Selkie teach us? 8 of Wands
So, my take on this reading. The first thing I noticed is that there are no Majors present. That suggests that changing this situation is entirely within our control. It’s about using our wits, our minds backed by groundedness and passion. This isn’t a time to appeal to hearts because people’s hearts (in many instances) are filled with fear.
In my own life, I think it’s more a fear of finding myself in a Selkie-type situation rather than a reality. The truth is that I’ll never willingly give up my skin and, in fact, would fight to the death to reclaim it. I’m also not in a relationship with a man who feels the need to dominate me in any way. In fact, he values and supports my independence and snarkiness.
The Page of Swords suggests that Selkie energy is the result of insecurity and an inability to trust in ourselves. We’re not sure we can protect ourselves and are trusting in others to do it for us. It seems logical to trust in the government to put our best interest first but history has proven that is risky and often unrealistic. Especially if the reality is that we’re being terrified into abandoning our skins. We’re not children (well most of us) and need to take responsibility for ourselves and our safety. If we allow anyone else to take away our freedom, we doom ourselves to losing autonomy over our lives. Can we really trust someone who has either captured, imprisoned or brainwashed us to ensure our rights won’t be violated?
The Knight of Pentacles offers the hopeful message that we can reclaim our skins but it will be an uphill battle. We will need to be stubborn, determined and focused. We can’t lose our heads or allow ourselves to be distracted by extraneous matters. Whether this is at a national or personal level, we need to stay the course and be willing to make the sacrifices and take the risks necessary to achieve this goal.
The Selkie teaches us that nothing is stagnant. New ideas and beliefs, new inspiration and energy are constantly entering our lives. Even if certain circumstances fit our needs right now, that may not be the case down the road and we need to be willing to fight for ourselves, for our autonomy and for our ability to breathe free. We need to seize the moment and be willing to burn down the house if all other options are exhausted.
So, today while drawing my two cards I asked where I need to focus my energy; what needs my attention? I drew the Ace of Wands Rx and 2 of Wands Rx. I immediately thought of creative energy being stifled; of incomplete, unfulfilled projects. Then, while browsing through Christine Jette’s Tarot for the Healing Heart I read a passage focusing on clearing blockages and connecting with our divine spark in order to facilitate healing and felt like a lightning bolt struck me. This was my message!
It’s time to clear away all those damned blockages I’ve allowed to build up that prevent me from fully healing. It’s time to embrace that divine spark and re-experience the magic and wonder all around me. So I’m going to start working my way through this book and see where it leads. I have a feeling it will be an enlightening journey!
Today I wondered what lesson I need to learn? Where should I be focusing my energy? I drew:
I need to learn to balance my energy and focus more effectively; blend what I must do with what I want to do. It would also help if I listened to my institution, trusted my inner voice. The truth is I know what to do and how to do it but I need to listen and trust in my inner wisdom; the self-knowledge woven through my soul.
I’ve been reading Alice Miller’s “The Body Never Lies” I felt it resonate within me. In the book, Miller addresses the damage abusive parenting can cause in our lives. Specifically, she connects diseases in adulthood, ranging from asthma to mental illness, to harsh, cruel parenting styles. Miller uses the histories of well-known writers to support her theories and, while I think she makes some overly enthusiastic leaps of logic, her premise rings true.
One of the points Miller makes that I find intriguing is that we block these abuses from our memories because adherence to the 4th Commandment (honor thy father and mother) is so prevalent in our society that we don’t even realize its impact. We can’t reconcile our need to honor our parents with the realities of the abuses we experience and this manifests in physical and mental ailments. Our souls and psyches are broken on the wheel of obedience to our parents’ wills and societal demands that we honor our abusers.
I know in my own life I was frequently told not to speak ill of my parents; that I didn’t’ understand what they had gone through. Depending upon my age and attitude at the time I might ignore the comments or I might choose to unleash a rage-filled diatribe against the offender, explaining to him or her that they were talking out their ass. In some respects I consider myself blessed because I seem to lack that personality trait that requires me to absolve my parents of their sins against me. I may have learned to forgive my parents but it doesn’t ameliorate the abuses to which they subjected me. However, my goal here is not to revisit these abuses or even to explore Miller’s theories. Instead, I want to use Tarot to explore my own responses to this childhood abuse and how I can heal from it.
So my question is: How have childhood traumas impacted me:
Physically? Dancer of Money & the Material World
Emotionally? Muse of Self
Psychologically? Sage of Money & the Material World Rx
How can I move forward and heal this damage? Muse of Money & the Material World Rx
Looking at these cards the initial message I receive is that as a result of my childhood experiences I have a chip on my shoulders; always struggling not to lose myself beneath the weight of those experiences. I can also be emotionally closed off and protective of my heart. At the same time, I am willing to keep struggling uphill and I’m comfortable exploring those dark places within myself; to explore my shadow side. I’ve also put a lot of time and effort into mastering and exploring my psyche so the damage has been exposed, explored and expunged.
Moving forward, I think the key to dealing with this is to remember that it is in the past, it can’t hurt me anymore. I know how to balance the anger and betrayal I feel towards my parents because of those traumas against the love I genuinely do bear them. I can understand some of what damaged them and lead to this abuse but that doesn’t exonerate them. I think the primary difference between my experience and those Alice Miller writes about is that I never accepted it was okay. I never forgot or tried to downplay those memories. I was also fortunate enough to have a husband who bore witness and reinforced that I had every right to hate my parents for what they did to me. So, although I am certainly damaged by my childhood trauma I have also healed and learned to move forward.
Lately, I have been feeling rather uninspired and lackluster. Usually, I would write this off as a touch of post Readers’ Studio deflation. After spending so many days with friends and fellow Tarot enthusiasts, returning to the real world causes some culture shock. This year, after the interesting Peter Pan reading we did during George Khoury’s workshop, it feels a bit worse. Perhaps this is because I focused on things I enjoyed as a child, and things I still enjoy as an adult, but which I’ve been ignoring. This was further supported by reading one of SARK’s daily inspirations from her Living Juicy book which reinforced the benefits of play. So I figured I would ask my tried and true tool, the Tarot how I can feel juicier.
What will help me feel juicier, more fun? Knight of Cups
What challenges or supports me? Ace of Pentacles Rx
Of course! Why am I not entirely surprised by this response? Because I am once again asking the Tarot something for which I really already know the answer. I suppose I needed the positive reinforcement. I need to find my heart’s desire and actually do it instead of being a lazy lump.
Sometimes I can get so caught up in adding more stuff to my collections, that I forget to actually use them. I have coloring books, colored pencils, markers, rubber stamps, different types of paper and yet instead of playing with them, I keep scouring online sources for additional materials. My hoarding tendencies are kicking into overdrive. I think this reading is the Universe reminding me that the joy comes from actually playing with my supplies, not merely adding more stuff to the cache.
As I was shuffling my deck I asked where I should focus my energies today. I laughed a bit as I drew the 9 and 8 of Coins. Looking at them I was reminded of a line spoken by Mr. Spock in the classic Star Trek episode Amok Time. Mr. Spock believes he has just killed Captain Kirk in a battle over Spock’s wife T-Pring. When questioning her about her motives for demanding a challenge T-Pring explains that she was tired of being the consort of a legend and wished to be the wife of Stonn, her companion. Spock admires her logic in pursuing her goals and explains to Stonn that he may find that having is not so great a thing as wanting. This line has always stayed with me because it feels like a profound truth; something of which we all seem to lose sight. To be fair, I have always felt that Gene Roddenberry (and Rod Serling for that matter) was a genius and visionary so I shouldn’t be surprised.
As positive as the 9 of Coins is often considered to be, I often find myself thinking about becoming imprisoned by your possessions; becoming like a dragon sitting atop its hoard, unable to move forward. I have found myself falling into this scenario on quite a few occasions. I become so focused and obsessed with acquiring things that I forget to have fun with them. This has resulted in a larger than necessary collection of cookbooks, dolls and Tarot decks (I know, I know – how can one ever have to many Tarot decks?). I have learned that there comes a point when having too many things prevents you from enjoying them because you become overwhelmed.
I also think many humans are hardwired to pursue; to need goals to work towards. My hubby and I often talk about when we were kids saving money up for some toy or electronic device and how much sweeter it was to get once we’d finally saved the money. With credit cards, few people experience that anymore. It’s so easy to instantly gratify our ever whim and desire and then repent when it’s too late.
These two cards remind me to take time to “shop my closet”; to enjoy what I already own and spend less time lusting after new “pretty shinies”. As lovely as each deck might be, do I really need 5 different animal themed decks or 20 RWS variations? I own numerous decks that are lovely to look at but which don’t really speak to me. Maybe now is a good time to release them into the wild. This is my opportunity to begin working with my decks again rather than petting and gloating over them like Gollum with his “Precious”.
Am I the only one who finds herself in this situation? Somehow I doubt it. If it’s one thing I’ve learned in my years in the Tarot community it’s that we’re all collectors, acquirers and hoarders on some level. It doesn’t take much to quickly find yourself in possession of more decks than you ever dreamed possible. Online communities contribute to this by generating buzz for new decks and creating a “must have it now” mentality that often leaves us with more decks than we want, need or can use. Moving forward I plan to resist these urges and begin purging the decks I already possess so that I pare my collection down to more manageable levels. It turns out Mr. Spock was quite correct about the difference between having and wanting.