Week 34 – Forgiveness (#TarotReading #ShiningTribeTarot #52WeekProject)

When I was younger, I would listen to people talk about how forgiveness was healing and that it was to the benefit of the forgiver more than the one forgiven, and I snorted in disbelief. Like many teens and young adults, I was arrogantly sure that my righteous anger was better than any potential healing forgiving someone might bring. Needless to say, as with so many things, maturity has taught me the folly of that belief.

Several years back I was working for a non-profit agency. There was a supervisor there with whom I had a challenged relationship. Overall we seem to get along fairly well however whenever there was a situation in which he was my supervisor I seem to irritate him. I think he was concerned that my loyalty was not to him. To be fair, in some ways that was true because I did have other supervisors, and in many cases my loyalty was to them. But he never understood that I could be loyal to more than one person if I felt that that loyalty was also extended to me. I never felt that with this person. He eventually became the executive director of this non-profit agency and within a few years of his ascension I was fired. Allegedly it was because there was no money to continue funding my position. However, considering that after I was gone someone else took the exact same job I would have to question that. Needless to say, I was devastated for years after. It was very traumatic, and I held on to anger and hostility towards this person for many, many years.

Recently I reconnected with two co-workers from that agency. During the course of our conversation this person was mentioned. I knew he had been fired from the non-profit where we were a few years after me. I have no idea why he was let go, but I will admit to experiencing a sense of schadenfreude when I heard the news. While talking with my friend, she mentioned that he had been out of work for a few years and was having a difficult time finding a new job. Based on things I’ve heard about this person, he is his own worst enemy and unfortunately has a tendency to undermine himself. However when my friend mentioned that he was interviewing for a new position I found myself genuinely wishing him well. That’s when I realized, I had finally let go of my anger and forgave him. The truth is I might have let go of the anger years ago but had no reason to consider it. Now that I was looking at it, I understood that I had finally let It go and I felt better, lighter. I finally understood what people meant when they said forgiveness helped the forgiver as much as, or more than, the forgiven. So I decided to pull some cards to explore how this situation influenced me.

  • How did holding on to the anger benefit me? The Chariot
  • How did releasing the anger and forgiving help me? 8 of Rivers
  • How can I embrace this lesson and allow this healing energy to benefit me in the future? 2 of Trees
The Chariot, 8 of Rivers & 2 of Trees from The Shining Tribe Tarot

The Chariot shows me that the anger allowed me to feel I had control over the situation or that I had some ability to influence it in some way. It allowed me to create a “sour grapes” type of scenario and convince myself that the agency didn’t deserve me anyway. Holding on to the anger helped me create a mask to hide behind and avoid dealing with the feelings of hurt and betrayal.

In the 8 of Rivers, Rachel Pollack writes “the 8 of Rivers shows the powerful new self who emerges after the liberating effective anger or simply telling the truth. The card says: if you feel like a new person trusts the feeling”. I cannot imagine a more perfect card appearing in response to this question! I do feel liberated and freer. I feel as though I was able to release some of those inner demons haunting me; or better said take off the mask of anger I was hiding behind to reveal a truer self. By releasing the anger, I opened myself up to connecting to my emotions on a deeper level.

Rachel writes “The trees form a gate that opens to new experience. The image suggests a gateway, a moment in our lives when we feel opportunities open before us. Opening to a higher level of awareness”. I can embrace this lesson by seeing it as the opportunity that it is; embracing its potential for transformation. In Tarot, the twos often represent a partnership. In this instance, I think the 2 of Trees is showing me that what I need to partner my emotional and spiritual side so that I can embrace the opportunities this experience is presenting to me.

This experience has helped me shed the angry, emotionally immature part of myself, and will allow me to move forward with a less reactive, childish mindset. It also helped me realize that holding on to that anger was giving that person power over my life, something to which they have never been entitled. Was it a devastating experience? Yes. Was it a learning experience? Also, yes. Did it break me? No, it made me stronger. Holding on to the resentment and anger I felt towards this person created a narrative of victimhood, and I refuse to be a victim. Realizing that I am able to, and have, released it allows me to change that narrative.

Verbal diarrhea and its uncomfortably awkward consequences

So, those who know me can testify that I have an advanced case of verbal diarrhea; an unregulated need to share my opinion whether or not it’s been requested. I believe that it’s often tolerated because my victims are friends who presumably like me and tolerate my less pleasant aspects. I will also presume that those who don’t like this quality avoid me (and I understand, truly, I consider myself an acquired taste). I think one of the most annoying features of this syndrome is my almost pathological need to inform anyone within listening range when I don’t like someone. I will claim, if asked or taken to task, that I’m just being honest (although my mother swears I use “truth” as a weapon) but I have realized there is more too it than that.

I have a complete and utter intolerance for phony personas or fake friends; I cannot stand hypocrites or people who say one thing and do another. In my convoluted mind, blurting out my dislike of someone is an effort to prevent being a phony. If I say upfront that I don’t like them, then it’s a preemptive strike if I say something negative later in the conversation (“I told you I did like him/her/it”). It’s also a defense mechanism. In my adolescence and teen years I often found myself in situations where I was accused of saying nasty things about people when I hadn’t. So I decided if I’m going to be accused of it I’ll simply take a proactive approach. This may be honest and upfront but I have a feeling it can be exhausting and grating to listen to me rant about it. So I decided to do a reading on it.

Using the Darkness of Light Tarot I pulled these cards to answer the following

What is the root of this behavior? 4 of Cups Rx

What benefits does it bring? Knight of Blades

What challenges does it cause? Queen of Wands

How can it best be handled? 10 of Wands

I see the reversed 4 of Cups as reflecting the defensiveness I mentioned earlier. I got tired of being emotionally hurt and vulnerable, felt depressed about these false accusations, so I hunkered down and hid behind a more assertive, aggressive persona. A persona reflected by the Knight of Blades.

He is a benefit because who would fuck with him? Who can hurt him? He looks impervious and ready to battle if necessary. Unfortunately, he’s also closed off and shielded from interpersonal interactions and human contact which can create a cold, lonely person.

The Queen of Wands points out that one of the challenges caused by this behavior is that I can’t truly be myself. I identify strongly with the Queen of Wands and although she can be opinionated and strong willed, she’s also warm and welcoming. She’s friendly and loyal (traits I might actually possess if one can get passed the prickliness and verbal diarrhea). If I’m so busy shielding and defending myself I can’t act very welcoming and friendly.

The 10 of Wands shows that it can best be handled by considering whether I still want to carry this weight. When it feels too heavy and burdensome, then I’ll put it down or shift it but as things stand I’ll stubbornly keep moving forward because “I can handle it”. At the end of the day I need to be more discerning about when I unleash my Knight of Blades and when I express my Queen of Wands.

At least I’m starting to consider this behavior and I hope that will help me make beneficial changes.

Rabid Righteousness or Why I Don’t Want to Be Like Ben or Harry #Tarot #HauntedHouseTarot #NightoftheLivingDead

So, rather strange title but it’s drawn from a rather strange epiphany. The other night I watched the 1990 remake of George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend it. It’s similar to the original in many ways – same cast of characters, same basic scenario, but it has some clear differences too. The point of this post isn’t to critique or compare the movies, it’s to share an odd revelation I had while watching it.

Ben and Harry, referred to in the title, are two of the characters hiding in a farmhouse. Ben is black and Harry is white; neither are locals. We know little about their backstories but judging books by covers, I’m guessing Harry is a middle class suburbanite while Ben might come from a more urban area (but I could be completely wrong). Regardless of their origins, both men share a trait – the need to be right and in charge. As I watched their battles for dominance; their inability to compromise and work together to defend themselves from zombies, it hit me that this is what American politics has become.

Both sides, whether it’s Republican/Democrat or Conservative/Liberal, have gotten to a point where there is no longer any true discussion of issues or compromise. It’s merely the dominant party forcing their will on the other. Everything seems to fall along party lines. Even at the street level, how many of us have stopped talking to or following friends because we disagree with their political views and we can’t discuss it calmly or rationally or simply agree to disagree? In the meantime the zombies are coming and we’ll get annihilated.

Well, I’ve decided I want to try NOT being part of the problem. I want to listen to others’ opinions even if I disagree with them (as long as they’re not trying to proselytize ūü§™). How can I understand where they’re coming from if I don’t listen to what they believe and why. To get some guidance on this I pulled out my handy dandy Haunted House Tarot and asked “How can I be more open to the opinions of others and to compromise?”

I drew the 4 of Pentacles Rx, The World and the 2 of Pentacles

The 4 of Pentacles reversed seems to show with voodoo doll holding a pentacle. I think it’s reminding me that I don’t have all the answers and I can’t bend others to my will. I can’t force people to believe the way I believe. So, I need to accept other people’s opinions, viewpoints and perspectives. I don’t have to agree with them, or even listen to them in some cases, but I do need to acknowledge their right to have to have differing opinions from mine. In fact, it’s not my place to grant them that right – the Constitution does that. Maybe if I stop trying to be deaf, dumb and blindly stubborn about it, I can actually engage in a conversation rather than an argument.

The World holds the key; controls the house. In politics this refers to a very specific form of power. What it reminds me is that even if you hold the keys you still need the support and aid of others to maintain it. The woman stands in the doorway, holding the key – clearly in charge, but visible behind her is a group of people who helped her achieve control of the house. None of us exists in a vacuum; no one is an island. We can’t maintain a house without some help. Maybe it’s time we remembered that.

The 2 of Pentacles might be my favorite card in this reading. It reminds me there are two sides to a coin and at least two sides to every story. If we only focus on our differences and perceived wrongs, we will never find common ground. Without common ground how can our house maintain integrity? As Abraham Lincoln once stated “a house divided against itself cannot stand”. If we keep going at this rate it feels like we’ll shake apart from the pressure. We’ll become so busy battling for dominance and proving we were right that we lose sight of the zombies, the real problems and threats. I’d like to stop contributing to that trend.

So, hopefully I can learn from Ben’s and Harry’s mistakes and stop fighting so furiously to be “right” that I lose sight of what is actually important and in the best interests of all involved.

#MessageoftheDay – The Hermit, King of Pentacles + 4 of Pentacles (Haunted Mansion Tarot)

“Once again you have proven to be a voice in the wilderness. You discovered answers that most would prefer to ignore and found the truth hidden amidst the tangled, thorny path. The king who promised prosperity for all and a life of abundance and wealth is not as generous as he pretends. He is really acting from a place of greed, from a desire to serve the whims of supporters. His goal is to maintain the status quo and consolidate the power and control already in the hands of wealthy men and women.”

#TarotDaily – Ace of Pentacles + 4 of Swords (#BohemianGothic)

What belief about yourself no longer serves you? With what can you replace it?

Maybe the belief that no longer serves me is that I still have a lot of unexpressed, untapped potential. The reality is that I’m in my 50s and while I don’t feel old my clock has probably passed the halfway mark. That doesn’t mean I can’t still achieve new goals however it does suggest I need to narrow those goals down to more realistic proportions.

I can replace these myriad goals with more genuine ones; ones that truly fulfill my heart, mind and soul rather than gratifying my ego. I think it’s time for some focused goal setting and practical planning; time to weed through the excess and get to the core of things. Then I can move forward with thoughtfulness and drive.

#TarotDaily – The Empress + 10 of Discs (#AllHallows)

How are you exploring your subconscious? Why might it be a good idea to seek a connection with it?

Ironic that I drew The Empress in response to this; for many years I had quite a hostile relationship with her. Perhaps, like a lot of abused children, in an effort to avoid feeling powerless I identified with the abuser. I think I already had a well-developed Yang personality. Add in the perceived weakness of the women in my life and it was almost inevitable that to feel strong I expressed traditionally masculine attitudes and behaviors. Now, in order to explore my subconscious I need to follow a more Yin, feminine path.

This unfamiliar, to me anyway, path can help me become whole; learn to blend my outer Yang and inner Yin. It will help me heal and become more comfortable, more at home in my own skin. The truth is that I will always be assertive, forceful, quick to express my opinions and somewhat obnoxious. Diplomacy and tact are not really in my repertoire. Soothing the feelings of others rarely occurs to me but I suppose it’s never too late to learn. The first step is to embrace the belief that Yin energy is just as powerful and strong as Yang energy. Maybe it’s time to accept that I don’t need to be so defensive. I can let my guard down a bit (just a bit) and let a select, trusted few within the perimeter.

I am not the cynic I believe myself to be

Wildwood Pole Star

Tonight, while sitting on the porch staring up at a deep blue canopy of stars, I found myself thinking about H.P. Lovecraft and his view of the Universe as a cold, distant, uncaring and even hostile place. I realized that while I may enjoy reading his eerily eldritch stories, I do not subscribe to this viewpoint. As I sipped tea and stared at the stars I felt as though all of my ancestors were looking down and watching over me. I had a sense of connection and belonging. It was as though the Universe cared, even if it couldn’t do much to show me right now. It filled me¬†with a sense of hope and wonder.

Mythic Tarot Star

The more I thought about it the more I felt like Pandora in Greek legend. Despite being surrounded by a world filled with personal and global ills, I do have a sense of hope. I harbor and nourish that little seedling even through the darkest times. I have layered this spark in a thick, protective hedge of sharp thorns and snarky barbs but it glows within me and refuses to allow itself to be diminished or extinguished. She dances within, occasionally surprising me with her exuberance and strength.

As imperfect as my life might be right now, there are moments of transcendent joy and beauty. They are usually such simple things as enjoying a cup of tea or seeing the heron that has taken to hanging out nearby. They are easy to miss and dismiss but recently Joanna Powell Colbert shared a practice of honoring Happiest Moment of the Day (#HMOTD). I have decided to participate in this practice. It’s so easy to focus on the misery, unhappiness and chaos that swirls around us. It’s more challenging to find the joy and happiness in small things; brief moments.

Pearls of Wisdom Star

I must admit, my surprise at realizing that I am an optimist. ¬†For so long I viewed my self as a pessimist. Now I need to readjust that and say I’m a practically cautious optimist – I brace myself for the worst but hope for the best. It’s also a relief to finally embrace this side of myself. Sometimes it’s exhausting keeping up the charade of being a pessimist. Of course that doesn’t mean I’m not a cranky optimist prone to rants and bouts of snarkiness, but that just add more dimensions and layers to my personality.

Tarot Epiphanies

I love when I have epiphanies while doing something Tarot related. The other day I was reading a post on a FaceBook group about spirituality and Tarot. For some reason my brain clicked into overdrive and I suddenly realized something – one of the reasons I’ve been so resistant to establishing myself as a professional Tarot reading is because I do see Tarot as a spiritual tool. Charging money for spiritual work has always seem vaguely wrong to me, as though I’m prostituting a gift (just my opinion and no comment on anyone else’s choices). Or at least this is what I’ve often told myself.

While thinking about it I realized that I have invested as much time and effort into improving my Tarot skills and knowledge base as I did into completing both my masters degrees. Investing that much time, effort and money into something and then not using it is ridiculous. However this has been my pattern in the past, but no more! I feel a new determination to change my mindset about this issue. It’s time to at least make an attempt to create a successful career for myself as a professional, paid Tarot reader.

So instead of struggling with feelings of inadequacy as a reader or feeling that charging for readings is somehow sacrilegious, I’m going to start working on a plan. Right now I think email readings are the best option for me. It allows me flexibility to do readings when it’s convenient for me (usually late at night or early in the morning). I also don’t have to worry about one of the in-laws having a freak-out moment in the middle of things. Phone, instant message or Skype readings would be problematic for that very reason. I can do this, I know I can. My focus now will be on revamping my web site so that I have a page from which potential clients can learn a little about me and order a reading if they’re so inclined. It’s a baby step in the right direction.