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.
“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”
― C.S. Lewis
“Books are like Tarot decks. They provide answers and guidance but more importantly, they are doorways and portals to the otherworld and the imagination. They leave their imprint and keep whispering to us long after we close the pages or shuffle the deck.” ― Sasha Graham, Tarot Fundamentals
Earlier, I was reading @SusanAkaSARK’s book Living Juicy and was inspired by the entries for yesterday and today. Her focus is on believing – in miracles, in magic, in ourselves. As I read the entries I realized how important that is right now – belief. When the world seems to be determined to go to Hell in a handbasket, when it seems gloomy & hopeless on the best of days it can be difficult to simply believe. I do, despite my bitching, cynicism and occasional pontificating rants, I believe.
I believe that, despite how mind bogglingly insane America seems right now, we will find our way again. I believe in the goodness, kindness and decency of people as individuals. I believe that things can and will get better. Imagine my shock in realizing I’m a closet optimist! 😵 Who’d have thunk it? 😜
So, to share that sense of belief, hopefulness and optimism, here are two songs I hope will cheer you up.
As I look at this image I keep hearing Pink Floyd’s lyric playing in my head – “Tear down the wall”. Let’s face it, on many levels our nation has become calcified. We’ve lost that progressive, rebellious edge that made us so creative and independent. Instead, we mourn what we perceive as lost or give up our civil liberties in pursuit of the illusion of security. I’m stuck in this same loop in my own life. I may not like all the changes going on right now, but change is inevitable. It’s time to move past that on both a personal and national level.
Focusing on what has been lost and looking down or backward prevents us from seeing the opportunities that await up ahead. Before new structures can arise, the old, outdated ones must be demolished. Let it go.
Once the outdated, the useless, the unhealthy has been cleared away we are given the chance to see what remains and start over with healthy stock. Farmers and ranchers know that sometimes culling is necessary to improve the overall health of the herd or fields. Maybe it’s time for some culling in our own lives. Get rid of the weeds so the healthy plants can flourish.
Passion, excitement, enthusiasm, joy. The other day I realized how absent these emotions have been in my life lately. While chatting with a friend about hobbies it hit me that I haven’t lost myself in any of my hobbies for quite some time. I collect and play with Barbies and similar fashion dolls but I haven’t redressed a doll in over a year. I collect and use Tarot decks but I haven’t really played with my decks the way I once did. I have more books in my TBR pile than I can possibly finish in this lifetime. I have a list of recipes I want to try but instead, default to the same 10 What the hell is wrong with me? I’m not sure but I do have a few ideas.
During the conversation with my friend, I realized that I’ve suppressed my excitement and passion because it became painful. Seeing others who shared my passions being able to explore and enjoy theirs while I was stuck in caregiver mode sucked. It made me envious and bitter so I must have decided on some level that if I didn’t want to become a bitter, bitchy (okay, more bitchy) person then I needed to distance myself from online groups and boards or else my envy would chew me up and spit me out.
Unfortunately, that also meant that I dampened my affect across the board. I stayed in a middle position to avoid letting the negative stuff overwhelm me but it meant I didn’t really enjoy the positive stuff either. I think in clinical terms it might be considered depression. Luckily I realized that it’s a situation depression and not due to anything major. That means I could treat it on my own – because gods forbid I should see help for anything. I’m kinda stubborn that way. I like to blame it on my Capricorn Moon.
So what is my solution? Nothing especially groundbreaking. I made myself a promise that I would consciously choose to engage in some of my hobbies. For example – I re-committed myself to posting my daily Tarot card pulls at least 4 times each week. I promised myself I would post something to my blog once a week. I am determined to journal at least once a week (but preferably more). There are small, simple and doable steps that I know I can achieve. Once I’ve consistently done these for a few weeks I’ll add more or change them. I also want to start reading books on journaling and finding your life purpose but I’m not making that part of this commitment. I have also promised myself that I won’t spend money on hobbies/crafts for which I already have a wide range of materials that I have not used yet (such as my coloring books and composition notebooks).
None of this is especially innovative or mind-blowing. It might not be amazing, impactful or especially transformative for anyone else. For me, this was quite an epiphany. Sometimes it the small wake up calls in life that have the most long-lasting and beneficial results.
Clinging to the status quo, refusing to be open to change can mean you’re robbing yourself of the potential for embracing your true self and finding new ideas to explore.
Letting someone steal your ideas, allowing yourself to be disempowered can prevent you from transforming your life into who and what you truly wish it to be.
Transformation and change can be frightening but clinging too tightly to the past, or to current circumstances can ultimately cause more harm than good. It can lead to stagnation and a stultifying existence. There is a beauty in death and transformation. Embrace it rather than trying to escape it.
Choosing to focus on your craft may limit you in other ways but may ultimately be satisfying in a deep, soulful way.
Our skills and talents can be enriched and enhanced by working with and learning from others. I’ve learned the most while teaching others.
Is pursuing this skill is your best option? Explore the choices and paths available to you. Think about what can be gained by following each. Then select the one you believe will satisfy you on an emotional and spiritual level. Ask yourself if this choice will help you continue on your life path. Although you might have invested much time and effort into this project, does it still provide the same sense of fulfillment and joy? If not, perhaps it’s time to move forward.
Your emotions may be leading the way on certain issues but you can remove yourself from a situation physically but emotionally the issues may still haunt you. Instead of letting your emotions guide you, try looking at the situation logically and rationally first.
You may be pursuing Mastery of a certain situation but for the wrong reasons. Instead of doing it because you want that sense of achievement and accomplishment and to acquire the knowledge, you’re haunted by emotional issues in your past. Perhaps you felt you never measured up and now you’re pursuing this Mastery in an attempt to prove your critics wrong. You might want to consider whether this is the best path for you right now.
Perhaps you already possess this Mastery, this level of accomplishment and achievement, but self-doubts and inner demons are preventing you from realizing it. What is haunting you and preventing you from appreciating all that you’ve achieved in your life?