I’m feeling trapped in a dark place (6 of Pentacles & Hanged Man R – Bohemian Gothic)

Bohemian Gothic 6 of Pentacles 12

 

I feel as though I’m in a dark, lonely space right now. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt quite so hopeless and isolated. This situation with the in-laws just keeps getting worse and everything else around me seems to be going to shit as well. The Tarot cards I’ve drawn over the last few days have not exactly been beacons of hope either. I’m not sure if they’re simply reflecting my dark mood or if they’re trying to give me a deeper message; forcing me to face this darkness and fight to move passed it.

Yesterday I drew the 3 of Swords crossed by The Sun reversed. The day before that it was the 5 of Pentacles reversed crossed by the 10 of Wands reversed. If I focus really, really hard I can come up with fairly positive interpretations for both these readings but my initial reaction to both was rather bleak.

Today’s card only seem to add to the gloom. The 6 of Pentacles crossed by The Hanged Man reversed suggests that I’m going to need to give more and that’s probably not going to change any time soon. Looking at the 6 of Pentacles from the Bohemian Gothic Tarot I am struck by the image of a woman holding a baby while a rather severe looking bearded man stands there staring at her. In my head I get the sense that he is requiring payment of her first-born child for some service rendered. I feel as though I’m in a situation that requires me to give until it hurts and right now it’s hurting a lot.

The Hanged Man reversed reminds me that I’m still in limbo and might be for the foreseeable future. A change in perspective might help facing this reality but that can sometimes be easier said than done. Perhaps part of the problem is the direction I face. If I can turn in a different direction I might see an entirely new set of possibilities and choices. I need to be careful not to get so hung up (ba-dum-dum) on one perspective that other viewpoints becomes impossible to see. Hmm, that actually makes me feel a bit better now. It gives me a place to start. Maybe that will help change the reality too.

What do I need to focus on today? Justice + Queen of Wands R (All Hallows)

All Hallows Justice All Hallows Queen of Wands

My initial response seeing these cards is that I need to find inner balance and make some clear-sighted decisions about my life because otherwise my creative energies are going to waste. Right now I’m viewing my creative energies as muscles and you know what they say about muscles – if you don’t use them you lose them.

I think the reversed Queen of Wands is pointing out that I need to explore myself and find ways to make things happen. I need to see things from a new perspective and explore previously uncharted territory. On the All Hallows card, she wears a witch’s hat adorned with a wreath of autumn leaves, holding a black cat in one hand and her broom in another. Have magick, will travel might be her motto. So how can I incorporate this energy into the reality that is my life right now?

Justice, with her blank eyes, suggests that I need to looks at things from a dispassionate, objective viewpoint. I can’t let my own emotions get in the way right now. They will certainly impact the outcome but in order to make some clear-sighted plans, I need to try to avoid getting lose in them. Let’s face it when it’s your life it’s almost impossible to have a clear-sighted, objected opinion about anything. I tend to skew things so that they produce the result I believe I wanted from the outset. That approach is not going to prove helpful here. She holds the key to an answer in her hand where a live flame burns. My job is to determine how to claim it in my life.

I asked a friend for some help interpreting this two cards and she pulled an addition card for clarity. Temperance appeared. Blending, merging, forging and balancing are key gifts. She reminds me that I need to work on blending my needs and interests with family obligations and responsibilities. Again, my response is a bit of “no shit Sherlock” but I keep getting these kinds of messages so obviously I’m still not getting it.

All Hallows Temperance

I drew Temperance from the All Hallows deck and the woman stands between an angelic figure and a demonic one. She holds a silver chalice in one hand and a golden one in the other. Her hair is a multitude of hues and a ying-yang pendant adorns her neck. She embodies the concept of incorporating, merging and blending energies. She has found a way to express her true nature without going overboard. That is my challenge. Stay tuned for further developments.

Stealing time for myself isn’t selfish, it’s essential (4 of Wands & King of Swords R – Fairy Lights Tarot)

Fairy Lights 4 of Wands Fairy Lights King of Swords

 

{-QOTD – What guidance can you offer me today?-} 4 of Wands (Fairy Lights Tarot)
{-QOTD – What might enhance or modify this guidance?-} King of Swords R (Fairy Lights Tarot)

The 4 of Wands in this deck is a rather odd interpretation of this card. It shows someone who appears to be wearing a bird mask standing by a bird nest holding a large egg. A large bird is flying away from him. Is he giving the egg to the bird or stealing it from her? I’m not sure. Considering that the bird cannot see him, I’d have to guess that the masked person is stealing the egg. Although I must give him credit for having courage – the bird could easily swoop back and catch him in the act.

Maybe the masked person is trying to build a nest egg; using the giant egg as the foundation for a happier life. Of course it raises the question of what is the true price of a nest or home built upon theft and/or deception? The partner to this card is The Emperor (who showed up for me 2 days ago). Again I get the sense of creating a solid foundation upon which to build a future. I suppose it’s possible that the person with the egg worked out some sort of arrangement with the bird. If so then at least her actions are not unethical or deceptive.

I think this card’s message to me is that it’s okay to steal time for myself. It’s alright to keep some things for me and to focus on my needs. The current situation is one that exhausts the body and spirit. If I don’t find ways to recharge my batteries and enjoy myself then I’ll become bitter and resentful (moreso).

The King of Swords reversed is my intellectual super-critic sniping at me. What a bad girl I am for wanting time to myself! How could I be so selfish and self-centered? The fact that his partner card is the Queen of Pentacles reinforces this – I should give until it hurts, put the needs of others far above my own. This is just not natural for me and I’m having a difficult time dealing with being a full-time caregiver. I need to find a way to shut this critic up and do what I need to do.

All by myself, don’t wanna be all by myself anymore

Witches' 4 of Swords Dance of Life 4 of Health

 

As The Eagles once sang “take it easy, take it easy, don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy”. That’s what I thought of seeing this card today. The Dance of Life’s 4 of Health shows someone wrapped in a red shroud standing alone in a desolate, barren, lunar-looking landscape. Barbed wire separates us from this figure. the keyword for this card is “emotional burdens”. The is a sense of isolation and despair about this figure. She is cut off from everyone who might be able to help her. Is this by choice? What experiences have caused her to imprison herself in such a way?

I don’t know about this shrouded figure, but I know in my cast it’s a combination of things. On the one hand are concrete family issues that cannot be changed at this time. I am the primary caregiver for an ailing mother-in-law. By definition, that isolates. My life revolves around her needs and her timetable. I cannot make definite plans because they may change at a moments notice due to a family crisis. In many ways it’s like having young children except she will never improve or get better. This is basically a death watch and all I can do is make sure she’s well-taken care of, comfortable and aware that she is loved for the time remaining to her. It may be years (she’s in very good physical condition) or months but that’s out of my control.

On another level this card is also referring to the self-imposed isolation I’ve managed to create. I have friends and loved ones out there but I hesitate to reach out to them. They all have their own problems and I don’t want to burden them with mine. It’s not about being a ‘rugged individualist”, it’s about the fact that they’ve all got their own issues to handle. Aside from that, there is also the fact that when I’m dealing with weight/health issues I sometimes feel anti-social. It’s not that I don’t want to be around others, simply that I feel as though I shouldn’t subject other to my grotesque appearance. (Okay, in the interest of full disclosure I must admit I don’t think I’m grotesque – fat maybe but not grotesque). It’s as though I just don’t want to talk about my issues anymore so I prefer to just avoid people and then I don’t have to think about them.

The image on the Witches’ 4 of Swords is different than the traditional one associated with this card. Instead we see a woman standing near a brick wall (perhaps the side of a castle) with 3 swords resting against the wall, a 4th in her right hand and a bunch of twigs in her left. Her expression is rather odd, as though she’s been caught doing something she should be doing. Has she collected these swords after a battle and now she is honoring the fallen? Did she gather them from fallen foes to gloat over the victory? Or perhaps she’s stolen them so that the soldiers are forced to take it easy and relax for a day. I’m not sure but to me this card is reminding me that I need to pace myself. I do need to plan and prioritize and get my head screwed on right but that doesn’t mean I can’t take some time to relax and have fun too.

Because finances are very tight right now, I’ve been limiting my visits with friends to a bare minimum. I keep running a cost/benefit analysis in my head and if it seems that a get-together will be too expensive, then I cry off. However I also need to consider the benefits to my spirit and emotions. Humans are social animals, even though of us with occasional introvert streaks. I do need to see friends. Companionship and emotional support needs to be as important as finances. So I’ll need to find a way to keep those connections open even if I can’t be in the same room with the person.

COTD – 10 of Disks/Stones (Wheel of Change & Greenwood)

 

Three is a charm I guess because this is the third time this month that this card has made an appearance as my card of the day.  So I’m guessing that there is still some aspect of this message I need to hear.  Actually considering some of the options it can suggest, I have a feeling that it’s telling me the status quo on my financial situation is going to change and I need to take some steps to make sure they’re not moving in a negative direction.  Right now we are okay as long as nothing major occurs to shift the balance.  Not the most comfortable place in the world to be but tolerable.  I think we’re both getting tired of tolerable.

I was really having a hard time understanding this card’s message today.  I was in a fairly lousy rather self-pitying mood and I think it was blocking my brainwaves.  Try as I might I was drawing a blank while looking at this card.  In some ways I felt like the 10 drums on the Wheel of Change 10 of Disks were preventing me from getting the message.  They were blocking my path and I was getting a “can’t see the forest for the trees” sensation.  I finally grew desperate enough to seek the answer in one of the many books I’ve managed to accumulate over the years.  While each one had some useful insight or interpretation, none felt right to me.  Then I realized that they all shared a common theme which had been eluding me – this is the happy family card.  The 10 of Pentacles represents how the family is the core of lives and the basis of what we do – for good or for ill.

This stopped me in my tracks.  I often bemoan the fact that I’ve been put into a situation where I am the primary caregiver for an elderly and frail mother-in-law.  To say that this is not a happy situation for any of us would be an understatement.  My mom-in-law may have her bad days but on her good ones she’s lucid enough to realize how dependent she’s become and it distresses her deeply.  This was an fiercely independent and tough old broad who never liked relying on anyone but her mother and sister, both of whom are now gone.  She was proud of the fact that she dealt with her handicapped son (now almost 54 years old) without assistance.  Now it’s all beyond her.  She is barely able to care for herself let alone her son.  And I can admit that part of me is deeply resentful for being put in this position.  I’ve never, ever wanted to be someone’s mother and in many ways that’s what I’ve become in this situation.  It rankles.

However what this card hit me between the eyes with is that fact that we are lucky in many ways for having this strong family tie.  At least we are able to be there for my mom-in-law and brother-in-law.  It’s exhausting and frustrating but I hate to think of them being institutionalized and that’s what would happen if we weren’t here.  I am also very lucky because my family has often offered to help out if needed.  In fact I think it makes my mother’s day to feel needed.  We’ve also been blessed by friends who are there for us and try to help whenever possible.  In the long run, this experience is still frustrating, exhausting and relentless but at least focusing on some of the positive aspects eases the pain a bit.

COTD – 7 of Wands/Bows (Druidcraft & Wildwood)

 

As soon as I drew this card the phrase “stop being so defensive” hit me.  Of course that is relatively par for the course for me.  I can be hyper-sensitive to certain things and become overly defensive.  Especially if I feel unfairly attacked – for example for being brutally honest.  The Druidcraft 7 of Wands shows a young male leaning over a stone wall ready to engage in combat whoever possesses the 7 spears poking up towards him.  Of course they’re not actually aimed at him or in any sort of battle-ready positions but the young man’s enthusiasm for his task and readiness to engage is palpable.  And that can certainly describe me when I have a tasty morsel in my sites.  There are days when I love nothing more than a good battle – not necessarily a physical confrontation but a battle of wills or even an excited and well-argued debate.

The 7 of Bows from the Wildwood Tarot offers a different take on this card.  In this image 6 staves lean against a tree trunk, a bow lays on the ground nearby and an ax is resting against a log.  In the distance we see a campfire burning, it’s smoke spiraling up into the air.  No humans are visible in this card and its keyword is clearance.  Maybe the battle is over and I’ve cleared all the potential invaders away.  Or maybe what I’ve done is cleared away those that might prove to be friends and helpful in the future.  That’s the risk one takes when one is perpetually ready for battle and consistently defensive.  And of course at the basis of this battle-ready status is fear – fear of being hurt, fear of looking foolish, fear of not being perfect.  Letting people get close to you means you have to let them see your flaws.  And if they see you with all your strengths and flaws, they might not like you any more.  At least that was my experience.  Of course I also have a talent for making strengths into flaws.  Who wants to be friends with a know-it-all who does well in school.  ACK!

Another aspect of this card for me right now is the understanding that I am engage in helping my hubby stave off the inevitable.  We both know that his mother and brother are reaching a point where we will no longer be able to care for them at home.  The idea of being forced to institutionalize them is breaking his heart and his spirit.  He is worn down from caring for them but can’t give up that struggle.  His desire is to allow his mother to stay at home for as long as she’s got left.  Separating her and his brother is probably not in either’s best interests but I don’t know if there is any alternative.  I doubt there is a place that could accommodate both of them.

Many years ago I remember reading a comic book in which a caped figure with a top hat (I can’t remember the character anymore), showed somewhat the memories his mother was using to fight off death a little longer.  The mother was on life support and the son had to make the decision to pull the plug.  I remember as a child thinking that wasn’t fair because there was no way to know what the mother was thinking and that she was going to die eventually anyway.  I also thought it was a dose of guilt that the grieving son did not need.  I detest guilt trips, even when they’re in comic book form.  I still feel that way.  This card reminds me of that story.  If this were my decision I don’t know if this would be my choice.  But it is my hubby’s mother and I respect and honor his decision.  It’s heart wrenching.  And as long as I can help him fight off that eventual day, I’ll do my best.

Several years back during a Rachel Pollack workshop, I drew this card in response to the question “What is my relationship style” and it was so true I had to laugh out loud.  Anyone who was ever interested in a romantic relationship with me had quite a fight on their hands.  I wasn’t letting them get passed my defenses without being sure they were worthy.  I also know myself well enough to know that if I think I’ve got the bull on someone or can dominate them, I will.  I have often described my family as a pack of wolves looking for the soft underbelly to rend.  We’re not really that bad (although we have our moments), but we definitely can be rough to deal with.  For a variety of reasons, we learned not to show weakness or softness.  Those could prove very, very dangerous.  So we became fighters.  The problem is that even when it’s safe to lay down our arms, we are very slow to do so.  That doesn’t make us very easy to deal with on an emotional level.

As for “clearance” – that can mean so many things.  Right now one of the things I’ve been working on is clearing out those inner demons that taunt and haunt me for a variety of reasons.  I recently finished James Wells’ marvelous Tarot for Manifestation and I’ve been inspired to start being more active in pursuing my desires.  Instead of staking a claim and defending it even passed it’s expiration date, I need to start being more daring and explore new territory.  I had an epiphany on Saturday while doing Tarot readings at a fair – I’m a good reader.  My reading style might not be to everyone’s taste but that is just the nature of the world.  Not everyone likes chocolate (although that is genuinely beyond my comprehension) and not everyone will like how I interpret Tarot cards and convey the message to them.  That doesn’t make me bad or wrong, simply different.  That was a liberating feeling to have.  And I need to do more liberating.  I need to liberate myself from all these feelings of defensiveness.  That’s what needs to be cleared away.  I’m feeling pretty energized and inspired right now.

COTD – 4 of Swords R (Tarot of Dreams & Ferret)

 

The number 4 symbolizes earthly reality, basic structure and orientation, and stability – think of the 4 seasons, 4 directions and 4 elements of earth, air, fire and water.  Swords represent reason, thought, logic, will, courage, verbal skill, matters pertaining to the mind and survival in the world and the element of air.  Traditionally this card symbolizes a need to withdraw oneself and recharge your batteries.

“You’re privately manifesting your philosophy.  You’re taking quiet action based on you attitudes, opinions, and beliefs.  You are having internal conversations with parts of yourself.  Or, you could be talking about someone behind her back!  The communication that’s happening is not public.” – Gail Fairfield.

This is the second day in a row that I’ve drawn this card reversed.  I have to take that as a sign that I’m either not getting the message or that whatever energies this card represents are still present in my life.

On one level I can see it suggesting that I need to recharge my batteries in a meaningful and beneficial way.  It’s not just about resting and relaxing, it’s also about recharging the brain cells.  Lately I’ve been feeling that my brain is starting to seep out my ear.  I have slipped into a rut and haven’t been “sharpening my saw” to use a Stephen Covey term.  On some level, perhaps I’ve rested too well.  I’m beginning to feel disconnected and out of touch.  It’s as though I’m living in a dream time – nothing is real and solid.  I’m drifting on gusts of air and letting myself be blown where the winds of fortune take me.  That’s not necessarily a bad approach to things because it can open you up to possibilities you hadn’t consider before or even known existed.  However, it’s probably not the most effective and productive way of making decisions about one’s future.

For some reason I feel as if I’m in a holding pattern right now.  There are unresolved issues swirling around which are keeping me from moving forward.  Some are as simple as dealing with a broken laptop while others are more complex like dealing with an ailing mother-in-law.  I know I can deal with both these issues but I need to come up with a more effective strategy.  At least I have begun taking steps in the right direction.  Today I took a few books about social media marketing out of the local library.  At least I feel like I’m starting to do something.  Lately I feel as though my inaction is what’s wearing me out.  Standing still takes a lot more energy than one might think.

I believe that I also need to focus a bit more on my spiritual growth.  I let myself get sidetracked and I have been getting a strong sense that moving forward on that path will help me deal with some of the other issues life has chosen to send my way.   There are many things in my life over which I have no control but handling the ones I can control might help me deal with the other ones in a way that leaves me less drained and exhausted.

COTD – 4 of Swords R (Tarot of Dreams & Ferret)

 

The number 4 symbolizes earthly reality, basic structure and orientation, and stability – think of the 4 seasons, 4 directions and 4 elements of earth, air, fire and water.  Swords represent reason, thought, logic, will, courage, verbal skill, matters pertaining to the mind and survival in the world and the element of air.  Traditionally this card symbolizes a need to withdraw oneself and recharge your batteries.

“You’re privately manifesting your philosophy.  You’re taking quiet action based on you attitudes, opinions, and beliefs.  You are having internal conversations with parts of yourself.  Or, you could be talking about someone behind her back!  The communication that’s happening is not public.” – Gail Fairfield.

The Tarot of Dreams 4 of Swords shows an exhausted knight sleeping with his sword beneath him.  His Helmet rests by his side and 3 additional swords are crossed before him,as though offering protection.  The knight seems to be nude with a blanket thrown over him.  His head is cradled in his arms as though trying to offer some protection or to help ward off nightmares.  Perhaps the things he has seen and done in the midst of battle have mentally as well as physically exhausted him and drained his stamina and reserves.

The Ferret Tarot shows a much more humorous and adorable approach to this concept.  A cluster of ferrets are curled up in a ball and sleeping together.  One gets the sense that they exhausted themselves by frolicking and playing together all now and now they are tired and need to recharge the batteries.  They seem quite comfortable and happy to be huddle in a bundle. It’s almost impossible to tell where one ferret ends and the next begins.

Both these cards show creatures who have exhausted their reserves and need to rest and relax in order to recharge their batteries.  However the cards are reversed for me today.  Which makes sense on a number of levels because there are things in my life that are exhausting me right now but from which I can take a rest.  Unfortunately they are not things I can just walk away from or avoid.  So perhaps this card is telling me that I need to find other ways to get the rest I need.  I don’t think it’s about physical rest – as important as that is.  I think this card is suggesting that the rest I need and seek should come from being exhausted due to participating in things I will enjoy or feel serve a useful purpose rather than being wiped out by drudge work and family obligations which I acknowledge but can’t say I embrace.  Maybe if I am able to find ways to offset the obligations with things that I enjoy and which are fun and fulfilling, I won’t feel as drained and brain-dead.

On another level I think this card is reflecting the sadness I feel that a childhood friend has lost her fight with ovarian cancer and passed away on Saturday.  Today was her wake and the hubby and I attended.  It was sad because she was young and leaves behind two young sons who probably have precious few memories of their mother and most of them would be after she was diagnosed.  She was such a fighter and radiant spirit that somehow I always thought she would beat it.  Unfortunately her physical body gave out even though her spirit stayed strong.  The exhausted knight on the Tarot of Dreams 4 of Swords reminds me of her battle and that while this card is about rest, sometimes it’s a more permanent form.