For the past few months I have been at loose ends. I can’t focus; haven’t been able to even start a new book; don’t even feel like changing out of my pajamas. As a result, I feel like a sloth. So I decided to gain some insight by using Tarot to explore what’s going on with me.
Using the Muse Tarot, I asked:
Why am I so unfocused? Queen of Materials Rx
What can change this? 10 of Inspiration
What underlying factors impact this? 3 of Voices Rx
Looking at the cards helped me realize that isolation and quarantine are negatively impacting me (something I’m sure us not unique right now. I can’t manifest what I want in my life. I’ve been forced into a caretaker role which is not innate to my nature and feels as though it’s sucking all my creative energies. I can’t focus on my needs and care for myself because I have to focus on others, and I rail against this restriction.
I can change this by taking baby steps; nurturing and tending to one interest, one creative endeavor even when I feel too worn out. Using the large amphora carried by the woman, I can carefully refill the smaller jars and slowly refuel. Instead of focusing on what I can’t do right now, explore what I can.
The reversed 3 of Voices touches on childhood feelings of feeling abandoned and excluded; as though I’ve been ditched in advance. Growing up I was always an oddball, a misfit and didn’t fit in well with most of my peer group. I had friends but even they didn’t get me. Quite often I felt like everyone else spoke in a code I didn’t understand and regularly mocked me (yes, I had issues). Being isolated and disconnected from friends and family right now triggers a lot of those feelings and made me realize it’s something I might need to work on a bit more.
I know I’m not alone in these feelings. In fact, in an odd way it’s reassuring to see other crafters expressing similar feelings or chatting with friends and hearing they’re going through their own moments of isolation and frustration. It helps me understand that I’m not in this alone, even if it feels that way right now. The best way for me to handle it is focusing on what I can do and using my creative energies in ways that revive and rejuvenate me.
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.
Whom do you need to forgive? Why? How can you best do so?
I need to forgive my childhood, my parents, my upbringing, myself. I’ve worked hard for everything I have in my life. I paid my way through high school and college. I saved money for clothes, books and any extras I had. My parents didn’t have it. They had four children and high school educations; the world was not beating a path to their door. So if I wanted dolls, books, clothes, I earned the money for them.
My working class roots limited my options in life. This is something I resent and regret even as I acknowledge that some if it is my own doing. When I applied to colleges I didn’t even consider Ivy league or out of state schools because I didn’t belong. Even when I attended NYU I couldn’t connect with many of the other students – our life experiences were too different and I wasn’t very flexible (still not). I didn’t feel the need to change in order to fit in and as a result alienated some folks who might have become friends or at least useful contacts.
The best way for me to forgive thus is to truly let it go. It’s a weight I’ve carried for years and it’s pointless and exhausting. I can’t change the past or redo those decisions and choices. All that’s left is to learn from them and move forward. I can be proud of what I have achieved and stop bemoaning lost opportunities.
Okay, this was rather unexpected but not inaccurate. My self-confidence is often directly connected to how in control of a situation I feel. If I don’t believe I can excel at something, I often don’t bother to try. This has prevented me from learning new things and trying new experiences. It has inhibited my growth in more ways than I can imagine.
Feeling out of control or insecure about a situation reverts me back to childhood when I was very sensitive about being different (aren’t we all?). I did well in school; was academically gifted. As a result, I was often teased about my vocabulary (using $10 words), getting good grades (brainiac or “know-it-all”). I eventually developed a thick about these things and stopped feeling as competitive about grades but the damage was done. Although I have moved passed these responses in many ways, there are still moments when I revert right back to that awkward, smart, socially inept little girl who didn’t want to stand out.