#ChattingwithTarot – Queen of Hats Rx, Knight of Oysters Rx + 4 of Oysters (#Wonderland #Tarot)

Today, over a cuppa @HarneyTea Elyse Blend, I had a chat with my ancestors asking for insight and guidance. Here are their words of wisdom:

“Stop talking through your hat and plodding around in circles. No matter how hard you try, you can’t keep things in stasis. Life is all about change and you can’t prevent it, only control how it impacts your life. So listen to your heart, plot a course that allows you to feel comfortable and grounded, and get moving!”

On being an outlier

I’m an outlier, an outsider, an oddball. I often don’t fit in even with groups to which I feel I belong. There is just something under my skin that become itchy when I try to fit in; be part of the group. I often joke that my motto is “Whatever it is, I’m against it” (thank you, Groucho Marx). In reality, it isn’t a joke. Even when it comes to opinions and stances which I share, I can’t help but argue the opposite position if I feel too many have jumped on the bandwagon. I don’t like to feel that I’m part of the majority opinion.  As Groucho also once said, “I wouldn’t want to join a club that would have me as a member.”

I’m not sure why I am this way but I tend to put it down to my parents exhorting me when I was a child not to do things simply because everyone else did. They encouraged me to trust my own opinions and not to be a follower. I may carry this a bit too far. This is both a blessing and a curse, allowing me to defend my positions despite others’ attitudes but also isolating me.

In order to get some clarity about this, I did a reading for myself.

Using the Wizards Tarot, I asked:

How does being an outlier serve me? Knight of Pentacles Rx
How does it hinder me? 2 of Cups Rx
What can I do with this information going forward? The Hierophant Rx

Being an outlier has been a way of protecting myself, of isolating myself before others could exile me. Of course, this also says a lot about some of the earlier relationships I had in my life. I did have occasions where those I believed were “friends” betrayed me or mocked me. It created a very weird dynamic and made me mistrustful and extremely cautious.

This mistrust and caution have also prevented me from forming closer friendships and emotional bonds. I do have friends but they are a small, select group. I don’t really do casual friendships which may explain why Facebook made me so twitchy. To paraphrase a friend of my hubby’s, if you haven’t seen me make a complete ass of myself at least once, you aren’t really my friend.

So, going forward I need to learn from these experiences; to be willing to use it as a learning opportunity. That doesn’t mean I have to change the way I am, simply that I should be more mindful and conscious of what I’m doing and why. Perhaps this will also serve as a tool for helping others who have similar issues.

#TarotDaily – Magician + 8 of Pentacles Rx (#WizardsTarot)

QotD: How can I feel more confident and comfortable in my own skin?  The Magician
What will challenge or support me in this?  8 if Pentacles Rx

I was watching a YouTube clip of the amazing Kelly Bishop performing “At the Ballet” from A Chorus Line. Watching her burlesque before the singing struck a chord with me. Sheila (Bishop’s character) is brash, ballsy and clearly terrified. She projects a confident, almost arrogant persona which is soon revealed to be a costume; an act. As I watched her I was struck by the thought that’s how I appear to people. I may try to portray myself as cocky and confident with a “don’t give a shit” attitude but the truth is I’m far from that.

I learned to don that persona as an adolescent as a way to protect myself from the teasing and petty cruelties of other children. I won’t say that I was bullied but kids are kids and I was different. I was not good at fitting in simply because it didn’t occur to me. The end result was that I was often teased and mocked which made me defensive and aggressive. Over time I learned to laugh at myself but deep down I’m still that confused child who doesn’t understand how to fit in and why I’m different. So I burlesque; I create a stage persona and don her as needed.

At Readers Studio I’m considered a charter member of the “bad girls’ table” (a term I hate because it implies we’re misbehaving children when in reality we’re simply doing our own thing. I prefer the “wild women’s table but what can you do?). I can often feel myself slip into performance mode when interacting with people I don’t know. I’m uncomfortable in large groups so the protective coating feels necessary. Unfortunately, I also slip into character when I’m with friends. I think sometimes it’s become second nature to play the role. I’ve gotten better at realizing it but it’s still a work in progress. So I decided to ask the Tarot for some tips on working through this.

I had to smile when I saw these two cards appear. The message was at once simple and deep.  The only way I will feel more confident and comfortable in my own skin is if I will it to be so.  I am the Magician of my own reality; creator of my own magic.  The only thing blocking me is me.  All the training, experience and hard work I’ve invested in myself in the past will support me now.  I simply have to remember the lessons I’ve learned and not let the inner demons of self-doubt sidetrack me.  I’m not a child anymore.  All that past petty schoolyard cruelty can’t hurt me anymore unless I allow it.

#TarotDaily – Ace of Swords Rx + Ace of Cups (#WizardsTarot)

QotD: What is the best use of my time & energy today? Ace of Swords Rx
What challenge or supports me in this? Ace of Cups

How fun! So I need to not get so lost in my head, seeking answers in an intellectual, rational way. Instead, it’s time to listen to the wisdom of the heart; trust my intuition.

I think in a very real way this message is to stop resisting any psychic, intuitive abilities I have and instead embrace them.

I am Nobody

I am Nobody. Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there’s a pair of us — don’t tell!
They’d banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

Since first reading it, I have been drawn to Emily Dickinson’s poem “I am Nobody”. It speaks to me because I have often felt like a nobody. So I decided to pull a few Tarot cards to gain some insight. I decided to use the Allison M. Garcia Illustrated Blind Person Tarot that I discovered on Etsy.

Why do I feel like nobody? Queen of Cups Rx
How does being a nobody serve me? 10 of Wands
How does it hinder me? Knight of Wands
What would happen if I became somebody? 3 of Cups Rx

I love when Tarot does this, calls me on my bullshit. I feel like nobody because I don’t love myself or trust my insights and intuition. I’m afraid to connect to my deep, emotional nature because it leaves me feeling vulnerable and at risk.

Being nobody serves me by giving me something to grumble about; a burden to carry. It allows me to feel unfairly treated while allowing me to appear sacrificing and long-suffering.

It hinders me because as long as I cling to this delusion it will prevent me from finding my creative spark, my life calling. I’m meant to be active and charging forward. If I can’t channel it in creative, healthy, productive ways then it will find less beneficial ways to express itself.

If I became somebody then I will truly find people with whom to celebrate this joy, in a quiet, non-public way of course. I might alienate some but the odds are the are folks with whom I wouldn’t be simpatico anyway. Being somebody would allow me the freedom to celebrate my weirdness and quirkiness with fellow oddballs – like the Addams Family!

Curious that I drew two reversed Cups and two upright Wands for this reading. Considering how long it has taken me to appreciate Cups energy, I can’t say I’m thrilled to see them but clearly that attitude is part of the issue. Obviously my heart & spirit, my soul and spark are intertwined and if I can’t find the way to embrace both equally I’ll always feel like nobody.

#ComparativeTarot – The Devil (Bohemian Gothic, RWS, Transformational & Whimsical)

The Devil – quite a scary concept isn’t it. How often over the years have humans blamed their aggressive, inappropriate, unhealthy behaviors on some external construct? “The Devil made me do it” is often claimed in a joking manner but perhaps there is some truth to our belief that the evil, wicked things we do are because of the influence of some otherworldly entity but is this true? Does human belief in such an evil figure give it power and strengthen its hold on our psyches? Did we create “The Devil” so we could fob off the blame on something or someone else; a scapegoat? Are we so unwilling to face the darkness in our own souls that we would prefer to allow “The Devil” to claim it instead? These are probably much deeper questions than I can answer right now. Who knows, over the course of my Tarot After Dark blog posts I’ll probably express my opinion on some of these issues but that’s all it will be – my opinion. I have no expertise or additional insight and knowledge that grants me the power to find the answers for anyone but myself. I’m curious to learn where it will lead me.

So, I’ve been missing my Comparative Tarot essays and decided that I’d commit to writing one each week to share with any and all interested readers. Each week I will randomly select a card and then pull matching ones from three other decks. My goal is to include one RWS clone, one deck with a darker sensibility, one lighter more approachable deck and one collage or less traditional deck. This week I’ve decided to use the Bohemian Gothic, classic RWS, Transformational and Whimsical Tarot decks. Let’s explore what insights these diverse decks can offer into one of everyone’s favorite “bad” card.

The first thing that struck me looking at these cards is that one figure appears to be dominating or controlling the other(s). The black-winged figure in the Bohemian Gothic Devil is administering something in a syringe to the other. The recipient is resting against the “devil” and even hugging her close. The “victim” fully embraces her victimization or is she even a victim? The reality is that we can easily blame drug dealers for a loved one’s addiction but what caused them to take that first step? Very few are forcibly addicted to drugs or alcohol. In my experience, they seek them out in an effort to escape the reality of their lives. So is the drug use a cause or an effect? Self-medicating is quite a common extra-curricular activity in the US.

The RWS and Whimsical Devils both show figures that are physically chained or manipulated. They appear to be at the beck and call of whoever is at the other end of their chains.  However, a closer look reveals that those restraints can be easily removed. How fascinating because it implies that, once again, the “victim” is complicity in their enslavement. They could easily take control and free themselves from the restraints but chose not to do so. It makes me wonder about the allure of giving up control to another; to be void of responsibility for one’s actions. We see the reverse quite often when followers seek out rigid and strict religious movements. There is no need to consider what behaviors are acceptable or unacceptable – the church leaders will clearly define that for you. The bound people on the Devil cards show us the flip side of that scenario.  They can indulge in whatever depravity or “debased” behavior they desire because their master told them to do it. Quite a bit of psychological research has been done in this area and the results reveal that in most cases people are willing to do cruel, inhumane things as long as an authority figure told them to do it. Clearly being truly independent and free thinking is a rarity.

The Transformation Devil is quite a bit different in imagery but similar in message.  It shows a woman in a black dress standing behind a web, framed in red-orange flames.  Outside the frame are black & white figures, some being restrained by horned demons. Is the woman a prisoner of the web or the ruler of it?  Is she trapped or the entrapper? Perhaps she’s both.  Let’s face it, nothing in life is as black and white as we would like.  Perhaps she was trapped by her own addictions and indulgences and now seeks to trap others because misery loves company.  Or is she the only truly free figure in the card?  She may be framed by the web and flames but does not appear to be part of them or imprisoned by them. Could she be like a Crossroads Demon in the TV show Supernatural – not necessarily seeking out victims but coming when called and promising to fulfill one’s desires at the cost of one’s soul?  Sometimes I get the sense we do not value our souls as much as we should and as a result are willing to lightly trade it away for the promise of materials possessions.

Although the images on these four cards are very different their messages are similar. They remind us that in most instances our enslavement is the result of our continued choices. We have the ability to break free and move forward but that requires a strength of will and willingness to take responsibility for one’s life that many do not truly want. We may prefer the blame self-destructive, addictive and violent behaviors on some external devil but the truth is that human’s need so external influence to engage in atrocious behavior. What The Devil in the Tarot reminds us is that we do not have to remain enslaved. We have the ability to free ourselves if we also possess the desire and will to do so. It may not be easy. Let’s face it, regardless of how or why we became enslaved or addicted once we become so it can be almost impossible to free ourselves without some assistance. Even if you can’t cut those strings or pull away from that addictive devil by yourself, you can seek help once you realize that you want to free yourself. The Devil is frightening and seductive but it’s also a wake-up call. If you want to take those chains from around your neck you need to do whatever it takes to be truly free. That message is clear throughout these four very different takes on this intimidating card.

#TarotDaily – 10 of Swords Rx + 9 of Cups Rx (#BohemianGothic)

What goal do I have that is stalled because I am overwhelmed? How might I best move forward?

I’m stalled because I still haven’t let go enough to move to the next level; the next phase in my life. I’m spending too much time focusing on the pain and the loss and not enough time focusing on what comes next; what I’ve achieved despite of or even because of the pain and loss.

The best way for me to move forward is to get more realistic and practical about matters. Wishes are wonderful things and can be quite a motivating factor, however they can also easily become a trap. Instead of dreaming about things that are unlikely to happen, such as winning the lottery, now is the time to focus on somewhat more realistic and practical dreams and goals.

This actually ties in quite nicely with yesterday’s reading reminding me that I need to narrow the field a bit because time has become more limited. This is a lot to think about and a lot to work with moving forward.