Hermit reversed – Terrified & trapped in one’s own mind

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Hermit reversed as dementia

Today, while working with my Dark Goddess and Deviant Moon Tarot decks, I had an insight into how dementia might feel from the inside. I pulled my card of the day from the Dark Goddess Tarot. It was Persephone/Judgement. Using this card as a guide, I asked the Deviant Moon Tarot “How can I integrate what is dying in my life with what is living and growing?” I drew The Hermit reversed and The Star in response.

At first I rather shrugged it off thinking that the Hermit reflected my current social isolation. However the longer I looked at this card the more convinced I became that it was about my mother-in-law. The expression on this Hermit’s face and her body posture suggest fear if not outright terror. The more I looked at this pathetic figure hunched in on herself the more I became convinced this card is a visual depiction of how my mother-in-law feels every day.

My mother-in-law is suffering from some type of dementia. She is not always able to connect with us when we speak to her. She often speaks to inanimate objects or people who are not there. She has forgotten how to care of the basics such as bathing or feeding herself. And yet every so often we get a glimpse of the woman she used to be. She will often cry softly to herself because she realizes this is not how it’s supposed to be. We are convinced that a part of the woman she once was is trapped inside her mind and horrified by what is happening to her. That is what I see conveyed on the Deviant Moon’s Hermit card, especially reversed.

The Hermit reversed reminds me that my mother-in-law is traveling a road that I cannot fathom and she’s doing it alone. No one, regardless of how well intentioned, can help her with this. It is an internal journey that can only end with death. All I can do for her right now is be there and help her where I can. It breaks my heart to see her deterioration. She still recognizes me even if she has no cognitive idea who I am. She will hug me or tell me she loves me but cannot tell you my name. It’s awful to witness but it must be so much worse to experience. Whenever I become frustrated or angry with her I’ll remember the expression of fear and confusion on this Hermit’s face and hopefully it will help me be more compassionate.

Shaming or payback – only you know for sure

For the last few days I’ve found myself thinking about the concepts of tribal shaming and the mother wound. Both are instances where our familial or peer group try to shame or control us because we are not following accepted norms. Both are insidious and subversive ways of keeping us in line. Sometimes they are well-meant, subtle and unconscious; sometimes they are manipulative and intentional. In my experience many times these instances of shaming are thoughtless, an instinctive reaction to our own feelings of low self-worth or jealousy.

I never realized that there was a name for what I experienced with my mother and sister. I know both of them love me but I’ve also had occasions where I felt resentment from them and a sense of schadenfreude when I was having hard times. In their defense, I can often be irritatingly pompous and arrogant which I am sure is not a joy to deal with on a regular basis. So what came first – the shaming or the arrogance? I’m not sure. If truth be told I can’t remember a time when I didn’t suffer from “know-it-all-itis”. So did I (unintentionally, I assure you) shame my mother and sister? Quite possibly.

What is the point of this little post? Quite simple actually – although I do believe there are genuine instances of tribal and familial shaming, I also believe that payback is a bitch. So there may have been occasions when I experienced tribal or familial shaming they may also have been instances of people getting even with me for times when my know-it-all-itis irritated the crap out of them. I get it. I’m not innocent in the shaming or putting down of others. It may not be intentional but I’m sure that doesn’t make it any less hurtful.

So the next time you believe you’ve been the victim of tribal or familial shaming stop a moment before reacting. Think about it – is it possible you may have done something in the past to trigger some of these responses? I’m not claiming it’s all your fault or that there aren’t instances of truly hurtful and underserved shaming, simply that I think we can all unconsciously shame, embarrass or put down each other. Instead of pointing fingers let’s pause and take responsibility for our own behaviors. Maybe if we’re just a bit nicer to others they’ll respond in kind. And if not, you can always take a more assertive, no tolerance stance. Or maybe this is simply my experience and doesn’t apply to anyone else – your mileage may vary.

Tarot Truths Tyr’s Day: The Rememberer – Celtic Wisdom Tarot

Celtic Wisdom Rememberer

Celtic Wisdom Tarot
Text by Caitlin Matthews, art by Olivia Raynor
Destiny Books, 1999 ISBN 0-89281-720-8

The book says: The Rememberer of Lore transmits the wisdom of traditions by which we all live. The essential lore that we need to keep over before us is sung by the bard. What song is guiding you at this time?
Keywords: Tradition, Meditation, Exposition of ideas, Remembrance, Genius, Performance, Spiritual counsel, Sacred lore, Faithful maintenance.
Reversed: Hidebound or conformist concepts, Muddling, Misinformation, propaganda or conspiracy, Forgetfulness, adherence to narrow views.

TarotBroad’s Buzz:  This card speaks to me of the Bardic tradition in Celtic culture. The Bard was much more than a storyteller and singer. He memorized the genealogy of the kings, the myths and legends of the tribe, tribal law and the wisdom of the people. There are tales of Bards whose curses brought kingdoms crashing down. This card represents the keeper of traditions and lore. The one who passes the knowledge down to the younger generation to ensure it continues.

It is actually one of the more positive Hierophant images I’ve ever seen. When I see this card it reminds me that traditions and ancient legends are the foundations upon which our culture and history is based. It reminds of the saying that those who do not remember history are condemned to repeat it (or something like that) and that is why the Rememberer is so important. If we don’t learn from the tales of our ancestors then we will continue to make the same mistakes and never advance to the next step in the cycle. The Rememberer serves as our spiritual guide along the path.

At the same time he appears isolated and solitary. The wreath that surrounds him also serves to separate him from others. The Bard may need to be solitary in order to focus his energy and his mind upon his art. But he may also be solitary because those who remind us of the past may often raise issues we prefer not to face. On some level this serves to connect him with the Hermit. He cannot be alone because by its nature his work requires him to go out amongst the people to hear their stories and to share them with others. But his travels may also prevent him from putting down roots in community. So while he can help others learn and remember the tales and traditions of our ancestors, he also serves as the thread connecting different communities to each others; part of the pattern and yet separate. He teaches the lore but does not necessarily participate in the making of the history.

Thoughtful Thor’s Day: Family dynamics when caring for an elderly parent.

Thoughtful Thor’s Day

Lately I find myself pondering family dynamics. Why do seemingly healthy families implode when it becomes necessary to care for an elderly, ailing parent? I understand if the parent needs to be placed in an institution because their needs cannot be met at home but I’ve seen so many instances of siblings verbally brawling with each other when it comes time to arrange such things.

I’ve observed that in many cases parental care falls on one child. It is usually the child who lives closet to the parent but that is not always the case. The adult child may still have responsibilities to spouse or children that must be met and now caring for a parent has been added to these burdens. The other siblings may visit or take the parent out for a few hours (or even a few days) but the majority of the day to day care falls on one sibling. The others siblings often undermine the caregiver by intervening in conflicts between child/caregiver and parent. For example the caregiver may not want the parent to eat certain foods because they caused digestive issues but one of the siblings will ignore this and tell the parent he/she doesn’t need to listen to you. It’s frustrating, infuriating and exhausting for the caregiver.

Then when the parent passes away or needs to be institutionalized, all the arrangements fall to the caregiver. If finances are involved then all bets are off – it’s clobbering time. Placing a parent in a long-term care facility is expensive. Even the least expensive facilities will put a serious dent in a family’s budget. That can quickly become a bone of contention between the siblings who want their parent to have the best care possible but can’t afford the rates.

And then, when the parent finally passes away, the division of the estate becomes a battle royale. Each child squares off in one corner and prepares to fight to the death for what they feel is their rightful inheritance. The fact that the majority of the burden of care for the parent has fallen on one child is erased from the memory banks as the other children scratch and claw for their piece of the pie. So many people do no leave a will so the “estate’ goes into probate and adds another layer of confusion of legal interference to the situation. By the time the dust has cleared the siblings are no longer speaking, the caregiver feels betrayed, unappreciated and angry and the only ones who walk away with more money than they had coming into it are the lawyers.

I’m in a situation that will probably follow this pattern some day. Hubby has an older brother who hasn’t spoken to their mother in 5 years and hasn’t seen her since their father’s funeral in 2005. To be perfectly honest I’m not even sure where he’s living right now. I’m assuming he’s still alive because I’m sure if something had happened to him one of his ex-wives would tell us – then again maybe not. When the mom-in-law finally breathes her last, I have no doubt we will receive a call from him seeking his inheritance. That should prove fun.

I wonder what is it about these situations that brings out the worst in families. Instead of working together to ensure the burden is shared, so many people undermine or denigrate the caregiver’s efforts. The other family members act as if it’s the caregiver’s duty to take on this burden. It also seems to bring out a lot of latent, unresolved issues such as parental favoritism, sibling rivalry and just plain old jealousy. In a time when we like to claim it takes a village to raise a child I’d like to point out that it takes one to care for an elderly parent too. If a village or tribe isn’t available it would be nice if one could count on one’s siblings to help. Unfortunately in my experience that is the exception rather than the rule.

The Empress – Blue Rose Tarot

Blue Rose Tarot Empress

The Empress
Blue Rose Tarot
Created by Paula Gibby
Published by Soul Guidance

The Book says: She is the symbol of feminine power manifesting itself through love and nature. She is maternal, she is life giving.

She takes the pure, elemental energies of the universe and through her archetypal womb, creates all existence as we know it. She brings us this miracle of each brand-new day and the blessed peace that comes in the evening when, arms outstretched, she lifts her voice in song and calls us home to her.

Every single nurturing act or thought connects us with her. Of all the archetypes that we meet along the road, she is the one who follows our progress quietly and protectively.

The TarotBroad’s Buzz: There is a vibrancy and warmth to this card that calls to me. The woman at the center of the card is welcoming and embracing all her children home – human, swan, butterfly, all are welcome and loved. She is one with the land and all its creatures. She loves, nurtures and gives without reservation or judgment. She will tend your ills and care for your wounded spirit. At the same time she is a realist and practical, understanding that she must eventually push the young ones out of the nest so they can continue to grow and thrive.

This Empress is one with her environment. She knows that there are cycles to everything in life and no matter how much she might wish to stop time, it is not advisable or healthy to do so. She needs no one else to define who she is because she is confident and comfortable in her own skin. At the same time she loves caring for her children and find fulfillment in nurturing the land and the wild creatures that inhabit it.

This Empress will never stop loving her children but her identity is not contingent upon their continued presence in her home. She is confident and self-aware enough to understand that if she does not encourage them to become independent then she is crippling them. If they are forever dependent upon her she denies them the glory and sense of accomplishment that comes with independence. She gently but firmly teaches them to do for themselves. She will not always be there for them. She embraces the world but realizes that at some point she must release it and let it go its own way.  She is the mother we all desire and few actually have.

Thoughtful Thor’s Day: Where in my life am I frustrated? 9 of Cups, 4 of Swords + Prince of Pentacles R (DruidCraft)

Green Man Tree Oracle Quert/Apple

Today I drew the fid Ceirt.  Erynn Rowan Laurie writes this:  Ceirt, along with h-Úath, is one of the most challenging ogam feda. Its meaning of a rag or a shrub links it in my mind with the practice of tying rags to clootie trees in Ireland and Scotland as an appeal for healing (McManus uses the “shrub” or “bush” definition, while Meroney suggested that the word was translated as “a rag”. I found the connections between both of these suggested meanings useful enough that I have chosen to use both, though Meroney’s definition is probably not correct.). These trees are often found at sacred wells or on fairy mounds, and are significant for being very much associated with Otherworldly beings and energies that can be fickle and unpredictable.

The apple, on the other hand, is often associated with the Otherworld in its most positive aspects. In fact, one of the Irish Otherworlds was named Eamhain Ablach, the Realm of Apples. It is one of the favored mythological foods throughout the Celtic islands, not unlike hazelnuts. Found on magical branches and eaten in Otherworldly feasts, the apple looms large in insular Celtic myth.

The complex of meanings surrounding this fid often point to intense frustration and even self-destructive activity. When it comes up in a reading, be careful of sudden changes in fortune or capricious individuals. It’s associated with bad luck and with psychological problems, but because of its linked association with clootie trees, there can also be an element of hope to this fid that h-Úath lacks. In divination, it can point to a situation of poverty or illness that is temporary, or to setbacks in a person’s life or situation.

Misfortune, frustration, poverty, illness, and bad luck are part and parcel of Ceirt’s chthonic current. A need for caution or retreat may manifest here, reflecting difficult physical or emotional circumstances. You may be approaching a situation with timidity, damaging yourself in the process. Look to the surrounding feda for clarification of your situation. When dealing with difficult people, malice may be involved; be sure it is not your own. Be very careful that you are not acting as your own worst enemy.

Linked Concepts: Poverty, illness, fleeing, retreat, madness, insanity, ill luck without total loss, psychological issues and problems, the hope for healing from illness or madness.

So I asked Tarot:  Where in my life am I frustrated? 9 of Cups, 4 of Swords + Prince of Pentacles R (DruidCraft)

DruidCraft 9 of Cups 53 DruidCraft Prince of Pentacles

So let’s see, I’m frustrated in having my wishes granted, getting some true rest and moving forward to manifest my goals and desires. Gee, isn’t that just grand! Okay I’m being facetious but the reality is that this is a pretty accurate description.

My wishes are fairly simply right not but not very likely to happen because I want my life back. That is just not in the cards right now. How appropriate that this fid is associated with frustration, misfortune and even madness because those words are an accurate description of how I feel right now. The lordly figure on this card seems to be celebrating his good fortune, surveying his wealth and gifts. I can’t do that right now. Not that I don’t have blessings (I do and I’m grateful for them). It’s simply that I can’t focus on them. It’s hard to appreciate the good things in your life when the frustrating, exhausting ones are more assertive.

The 4 of Swords points out that I’m frustrated because I feel as though I get no rest; not time to myself just to think. Meditation, study, even simply pondering life are difficult right now. I suppose it isn’t fair to say it’s impossible but it’s extremely challenging. I wish I had time to sit in the lea of a tree and think important thoughts.

The Prince of Pentacles reversed is reminding me that I’m frustrated by my own lack of progress. It’s one thing to be cautious and practical in one’s pursuits and endeavors. It’s another to be stuck in place and never move forward. I can’t shield or protect myself from what is going on in my life but that doesn’t meed things should stay at a standstill. That might be the most frustrating aspect of all.

I can’t say these frustrations are surprising. They reinforce what I already know. Assessing these frustrations with an impartial eye might help me figure out how to change them. I realize that won’t happen all at once but taking even a baby step will help change this dynamic and perhaps lessen some of this frustration.

These cards have also reinforced something that’s been bothering me lately – my tendency to avoid. I am starting to believe I’ve raised avoidance to an art form. I’ve always been a procrastinator. In fact throughout high school and college I was notorious for waiting until the last minute to complete assignments (unless I was working as part of a team). I always received good grades so the incentive to change this behavior just wasn’t there. My hubby used to joke that if I actually applied myself I’d have a 4.0 GPA. I just wasn’t that motivated to try any harder. AT my core, I think I’m rather lazy.

This laziness is a rut, a defense mechanism. If I don’t actually try anything then I can’t actually fail at it. It’s a ridiculous response to this situation but at the same time there is a certain logic to it. The problem with is that I still end up feeling like a failure. I am a smart, accomplished, caring and loving person. I can be funny and generous and I can be harsh and judgmental (in other words I’m perfectly human like everyone else). I need to find ways to motivate and inspire myself so that I break free of this rut and manifest the changes of which I know I’m capable.

DruidCraft Prince of Swords

I asked that Tarot one last question about this issue “How can I change this pattern?” and I drew the Prince of Swords. I need to harness my energies, make a plan and stick with it. Planning and follow through are going to be the keys to changing these frustrations. At the same time I need to embrace the messages I’ve received over the past few days about healing. I still have healing work to do on myself and I need to be careful not to beat myself up if things don’t change as quickly as I think they should. It’s a fine balancing act and one that will take effort and focus to achieve.

What work am I starting? Strength R, 9 of Swords R + 8 of Pentacles (DruidCraft)

Green Man Tree Oracle Ailm

When Ailm appears in divination, a new thing is coming into being. Someone may be pregnant or about to give birth, or you may be starting a new project, full of energy and the initial spark of enthusiasm. Your creativity is strong here, and you may find yourself on the brink of discovery, an epiphany waiting to happen.

Spiritually, you may be at the point of initiation, waiting in pregnant pause for that step over the threshold into a new life. It is possible that you are being presented with opportunities for new knowledge and understanding, or beginning a course of study, whether spiritual or mundane. An idea you’ve received may be at a point where incubation, persistence, and endurance are necessary, nurturing its growth for the birth to come, or it may be ready now to bring forth into manifestation.

Linked Concepts: Birth and death as beginnings, the cycle of life, origination, inception, conception, creation, children, pregnancy, initial understanding, epiphany.  (Ogam:  Weaving Word Wisdom by Erynn Rowan Laurie)

What work am I starting? Strength R, 9 of Swords R + 8 of Pentacles (DruidCraft)

DruidCraft Strength DruidCraft 9 of Swords DruidCraft 8 of Pentacles

I’m not sure why but this reading seem a bit ominous to me. Perhaps I’m reading too much into it but my initial interpretation to these three cards is that I’m entering a phase where inner strength, will and fortitude won’t help. In fact it might prove to be a hindrance. The 9 of Swords reversed may be indicating the nightmare is reaching an end but that end won’t be easy. The 8 of Pentacles may be letting me know that my current work is reaching its conclusion.

On one level I wonder if it refers to the situation with my in-laws. Is something due to shift? Is this part of my life going to change? Ailm’s message of birth and death and the cycle of life add an extra layer of meaning here. I don’t see this reading as indicating pregnancy or children – that ship has sailed. It might suggest new creative beginnings but that doesn’t quite fit the cards I’ve drawn.

I think these cards are giving me a heads up, a warning. The change might not be in the immediate future but it is coming – possibly within the next few months. I realize that the mother-in-law’s death is inevitable (it’s inevitable for us all) but I think this reading is telling me it’s time to start making preparations – both mental and physical. The work I am starting is to make sure those preparations are begun and hopefully in place by the time they are necessary.

How can I start healing myself? Prince of Pentacles R, 7 of Wands + Justice (DruidCraft)

Green Man Tree Oracle NGetal

“When nGétal appears in divination, it suggests that health is or should be a priority now. It may indicate the danger of injury when paired with h-Úath or other challenging feda. In positive readings, it may suggest that an injury or illness is healing, or that a course of treatment for a chronic health problem may be going well. It can be a reminder to watch your health or to get something checked on that you might otherwise consider minor. It is a very hopeful fid to draw for those who are ill, as it implies active and progressing healing and the restoration of health and wellbeing.

Linked Concepts: Wounding, death, beneficial magic, healers and doctors, good health, wellbeing, regeneration, hope.” – Ogam:  Weaving Word Wisdom by Erynn Rowan Laurie

Based on the insights offered in Erynn’s Ogam book, I asked the Tarot this question:

How can I start healing myself? Prince of Pentacles R, 7 of Wands + Justice (DruidCraft)

DruidCraft Prince of Pentacles DruidCraft 7 of Wands DruidCraft Justice

I see the reversed Prince of Pentacles as telling me that I’m going to slow; being too plodding. It’s one thing to be cautious and well-prepared; another to procrastinate. I’m procrastinating. I know what steps I need to take to improve my health but I’m putting them off. Avoidance will cure nothing. If I want to manifest good health in my life and heal my body then I need to take action. I don’t need to go from zero to 60 in 10 seconds flat but I at least need to start making a few changes.

The 7 of Wands is telling me I need to be more fierce and vigilant in guarding and defending my personal space and time. Yes, I’m in a situation where I need clearly defined alone time – no internet, no cell phone and no in-laws. So far I’ve been putting my needs in this area as very low on the priority list, something easily ignored or put off until later. I need to stop doing that for my own mental health.

Justice is reminding me that balance and fairness are important. I’ve lost sight of that. To be fair to the in-laws, I also need to figure out ways to meet their needs for physical and intellectual stimulation too. Maybe a walk outside or watching the ducks would do it. Sometimes the mom-in-law can’t focus on things like that but it’s worth a shot. Of course it would also be a good idea to make sure I’m meeting my own needs for physical and mental stimulation. Watching TV and browsing the internet are all well and good but they should be kept to a minimum.

I think I’m finally getting on the right track. If I take it slow and easy I think I’ll eventually reach my goal. I sometimes have a tendency to want immediate results and when that doesn’t happen I quit. It’s time to change those patterns because clearly they are not working for me.

What needs to be cultivated in my life so that abundance will grow? Prince of Swords R, The World R + Princess of Cups R (DruidCraft)

Green Man Tree Oracle Gort/Ivy

In her book Ogam:  Weaving Word Wisdom, Erynn Rowan Laurie writes this about Gort:

“When Gort appears in a reading, it may indicate that a period of prosperity is coming, and a little more patience is required to get there. It can suggest that you look to the blessings in your life and be thankful for them. It frequently indicates a happy situation or a place of safety.

Sometimes Gort suggests that you pull back from your activity and find yourself a safe and sheltered place for rest, particularly when it appears with nGétal. This is the place for incubation and restoration, a need for peace and quiet and nurturance.”

So I asked the cards:  What needs to be cultivated in my life so that abundance will grow?  Prince of Swords R, The World R + Princess of Cups R (DruidCraft)

DruidCraft Prince of Swords DruidCraft The World DruidCraft Princess of Cups

The Prince of Swords reversed is showing that now is a time for reflection and thoughtfulness. It’s not about what the rest of the world thinks about what I need, it’s about what I think i need. It’s also about creating an action plan and not just waiting for things to work themselves out. slow down, think things through and make a plan. It’s about exploring my own thoughts and goals not what others expect. He might also be reminding me that I’m avoiding thinking and making decisions about tough issues – the in-laws’ and their future care. I can’t keep hoping things will work out for the best.

The World R is telling me I can’t take the world’s problems on my shoulders. I can’t be the world to others. I need to surround myself with things that will allow me to feel fulfilled, satisfied and help release some of the stress. I need to seclude myself in my own secret garden to recharge my batteries and enrich my life so that I can still help others.

The Princess of Cups R is reminding me that I need to listen to my inner voice, trust my instincts and get more in touch with my own feelings about this situation instead of getting stuck in my head and trying to convince myself everything will work out okay. Hard decisions need to be made and no matter how much I want to avoid facing it, I can’t.. I need to trust my heart and respect my feelings about this situation.

I’m getting a sense that things are coming to a head and I need to prepare myself to make some very difficult decisions. Our choices may not be what I’d like but they are what they are and we need to face that.

Thoughtful Thor’s Day: Strength, comfort and care in the hands of The Empress

Today I could not think of a topic so I asked the Norse Tarot “What should I share with others day?”  I drew The Empress aka Freya.  This tickles me because I am very drawn to the goddess Freya (I consider her one of my matron goddesses) but I’ve always been rather disconnected from The Empress.  I also don’t know if I would have selected Freya to represent The Empress’ energy.  Frigga seems more appropriate for this archetype while I see Freya as more connected to the High Priestess.  However I can also see arguments for this association too.

Norse Tarot Empress

So what have I learned about The Empress energy?  It is severely underappreciated and neglected, especially by women.  One of the aspects of The Empress that has always kept me at arm’s length is caregiving.  I have avoided being a caregiver for as long as I could.  I have never felt the desire to have children (and have never understood the urge to do so).  On some deep level, I have always known becoming a caregiver would require me to be more selfless and giving than I have ever felt capable and comfortable with being.  I have always been somewhat self-centered and narcissistic.  I had things to prove and goals to achieve.  I was going to be more than just someone’s mother and wife.  I also learned the hard way that children could chain you to an abusive husband and destructive marriage.  I was not going to repeat the mistakes of the women I’d seen around me.

I still think that was the right choice for me and that has been reinforced by my recent experiences.  I know that I was not meant to have children.  I can be quite protective of children but still feel no desire to have any of my own.  However becoming the primary caregiver for my in-laws has shown me that I do have the capacity to be a caregiver.  I’m not perfect – screaming and frustration seem to be par for the course., but I can do it.  I have the ability to put the needs of others ahead of my own.  I may not like it but I can do it.  Maybe at her core that is one of The Empress’ strengths.  She can put aside her own needs in order to care for others.

I don’t see this as a permanent condition or one that needs to be replicated ad nauseam (at least not in its healthiest expression) but when the need arises, The Empress can step up.  At the same time The Empress knows when to say “enough is enough” and put herself back in the center again.  Just as Freya knew how to get what she wanted, so is The Empress.  Freya realizes that love and death are part of the same cycle.  She may be famous for taking lovers as she chose but she was also the leader of the Valkyrie.  Half of all the chosen slain came to rest in Freya’s hall.  She might seem like the golden goddess of sex and love but she has a fully developed and well-honed dark side.  That was always my problem with The Empress – I could see her darker, selfish side.  She seemed like the perfect mother to me.  In my life experiences the perfect mother was an illusion that hid an emotionally needy, soul-sucking, weak personality.  Of course even this wasn’t necessarily true it was simply my interpretation of behaviors without knowing the causes.

I have come to appreciate The Empress’ energy, strength and gifts.  She can be selfless and giving but she can also be self-focused and hardline.  She may coddle and nurture but if she feels its becoming a long-term habit she will kick you in the behind.  I see her as having a low tolerance for bullshit.  At the same time she is caring and gentle when necessary.  For too long we have all bought into masculine definitions of power and strength.  Even women came to believe that true success could only be achieved via masculine outlets.  Now I think we are developing a more fully developed view of success.  For some women it may indeed  occur on a more masculine field of play while others may prefer pursuing creative outlets in more traditionally feminine fields.

I realize I will never be fully happy or comfortable as a caregiver and nurturer, that’s simply not in my personality.  However I have grown to deeply appreciate her gifts and strengths.  I have embraced this aspect of my personality and learned that Feminine energy and power are not weaker, they are simply different but just as important as masculine ones.