Even with limited options, it’s important to nurture and care for yourself – Page of Cups + 7 of Cups R (Housewives Tarot)

Housewives Page of Cups Housewives 7 of Cups

 

I started using the Housewives Tarot yesterday (the Full Moon was Sunday and I decided it was time to swap decks).  I thought the Housewives would be appropriate because we’re nearing Thanksgiving and it seems to fit the feel of tradition and home that permeates the air.

Today I drew the Page of Cups which shows a small boy with a big grin watering flowers that bear the faces of older people.  The book talks about tending our emotional relationships and nurturing them.  In this case I think the Page of Cups is reminding me that if I don’t tend to such matters – nourishing and watering the relationships I value in my life, then I’ll find myself much poorer for the experience.

The 7 of Cups reversed shows a well dressed woman pondering seven cocktail glasses that are arrayed before her.  She seems to be considering her decision – which drink will she choose?  This card reminds me that I don’t have a lot of choices right now.  And the ones I do have are not as tempting as which cocktail I’d like to try.  I think it’s showing me that I need to think before making a choice, especially because the options are very limited.

Together I see a bigger message from these two cards.  The Page of Cups is letting me know that even if my choices are limited, I still do have  some options.  Or perhaps what the 7 of Cups reversed is telling me is that I FEEL as though I have no options but that may not be the case.  Perhaps what the message of these combined cards is that I have some choices (no matter how I feel right now) and I need to cultivate, tend and nurture them so that they will expand and provide even more options.  Even little seeds can grow into big trees if the conditions are right.

It’s also just as important for me to tend to my own emotional needs.  As I’m sure it is for many caregivers, I’m finding it gets easier and easier to put my desires and needs aside to care for someone else.  Part of me hates doing that (I have a well-developed selfish streak) but with things as they are right now it’s unavoidable.  So even if I don’t have a lot of options available to nourish and nurture my emotional side (all those lovely cocktail glasses) that doesn’t mean I should ignore it altogether.  I need to do what I can to sustain and tend to my needs too.  A challenge but one I’m sure I’ll eventually figure out.

Stop killing yourself, stop killing yourself (The Chariot R + 3 of Swords – All Hallows)

All Hallows Chariot All Hallows 3 of Swords

 

Am I not steering my own chariot because I fear it will cause me to betray someone? Do I not trust that my chariot is going in the right direction; not trusting that the Divine is steering me where I need to go? Does that leave me feeling heart-broken, bereft and betrayed? I have no idea. That seems to be happening quite a lot to me lately. I’m feeling a bit disconnected, as though I can’t interact with the energies in the Tarot deck. I suppose this is not unexpected considering what’s been going on in my life lately. But I digress.

The ghostly hearse on The Chariot reminds me of the movie Darby O’Gill and the Little People. The cóiste-bodhar (Death Coach, which really should be cóiste bás) rides out to capture the souls of the dead. Maybe I’m afraid my soul is slipping away from me; that I’m losing touch with who I really am. Rather than steering the course of my life I’ve been coasting; letting the winds of fate blow where they will. As a result I feel that I’ve betrayed myself and that breaks my heart. Rather sad and bleak.

Okay, I refuse to give in to despair right now. Things are rough but there are moments of brightness and hope. If I don’t want this coach to continue running off the track then I need to grab hold of the reins and take some control. I don’t have to dominate the horses, simply guide them. Of course first I need to learn how to rein in and guide myself.

Hmm, maybe that’s what The Chariot is doing – scolding me for not trying to take more control over myself. I’m one of those folks who knows what she should do (eat right, exercise, etc.) but somehow never manages to actually do them. Of course I always know how other people should live their lives. I’m a genius when it comes to other people and a dunce when it comes to myself. A pattern I need to break and soon. I’m breaking my own heart just thinking about it.

Or maybe what The Chariot reversed is reminding me is that if I don’t get my act together I’ll find myself in the Death Coach. I’m not being too melodramatic or overly negative but if I don’t take better care of myself, my diabetes can become very nasty. My father died at a relatively young age from complications due to his uncontrolled diabetes. My younger brother is already suffering some troubling health issues as a result of his. The last thing I need to carry on that particular family tradition. I don’t want to break the hearts of my loved ones and leave them feeling betrayed and bereft.

Memories getting washed away and nothing I can do to stop it (Page of Swords R & King of Wands – Fairy Lights Tarot)

Fairy Lights Knave of Swords Fairy Lights King of Wands

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

As soon as I saw these cards appear today I was struck by the sense they were about my mother-in-law and myself.

I see the Page of Swords reversed as my mother-in-law in her current state. Her mental faculties are slowly deteriorating. No matter how much I wish it were not the case, the strong-willed, sharp tongued woman I knew has become a querulous, frightened old woman. She still has moment of mental acuity but for the most part she will never be able to live independently.

The King of Wands is me. No matter how much will or energy I try to exert over this situation, no matter how much I try to master it, I have no control. There is nothing I can do to stop this process anymore. The only course I have left is to harness my energy and work to make her remaining time comfortable and easier.

This message is further enhanced by the pairs the deck creator assigned to these cards. The Page of Swords is paired with the 8 of Cups. This reinforces the message that the mom-in-law is slowly moving away from us on her own journey. We can’t join her and we can’t stop her. The King of Wands partner is the 6 of Pentacles – it’s my turn to give to her because she’s not able to give to us or anyone else right now. That’s where my energies need to be focused.

This is a rather melancholy message but somehow it’s comforting too. Or at least it has the benefit of reinforcing what I already felt to be true in my heart.

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.

Contemplating my own inner beauty.

Witches' Page of Wands Dance of Life Tarot Muse of Self

As soon as I saw the Muse of Self reversed I realized this card is a continuation of my message from yesterday.  The Page of Wands reminds me that I need to learn about myself again; to connect (or reconnect) to things that excite me.  Recently I have been feeling a new energy and enthusiasm for things that rarely interested me in the past – one of which is home decorating.  In the past – I couldn’t have cared less what my house looked like.  I tend to leave all the layout and design stuff to the hubby.  Lately I’ve been finding myself drawn to country cottage and French country style type magazines.  I think I’m feeling an urge to make my physical environment more reflective of my tastes; a place that nurtures my body and soul.

I’ve also been focusing more on the fact that I need to make changes to my lifestyle.  Looking at the Muse of Self I am struck by her comfort with her body, her beauty and her vulnerability.  That is an ideal towards which I strive.  I want to feel that unself-conscious and comfort with my body and myself.  The Page of Wands exudes an energy and enthusiasm that I want to embody.  I want to embrace that sense of daring and fearlessness.  I know that it might be a different sort of energy than I had when I was younger but it’s still there.  It’s a banked fire just wants to burn brightly once again.  I just need to tend it and feed it as necessary.

It’s been interesting to see how the Dance of Life cards I’ve drawn have so accurately given me messages about dealing with my health and self-image.  This is something I need to focus on in the coming months (and even years).  After all it’s not as simple as twitching my nose and changing things (oh that I was Samantha on Bewitched!).  As they say the longest journey begins with one step.  This is my one step.

I will be nurturing and supportive of my efforts to heal

Witches' Queen of PentaclesDance of Life Lover of Money & the Material World

Looking at these cads today I realized that her message is twofold – one is that I need to be more nurturing of myself on a physical level. I need to take care of my body and treat it with love and respect. She’s also reminding me that I have friends who can function as a support network for me in this endeavor. The young turbaned man on the Dance of Life Lover of Money and the Material World holds a scale – a reminder that this is not an all or nothing prospect. It’s about balance and moderation.

I have a tendency to plunge head first into failure. If I slip from the path, eat something I know that I shouldn’t, I just give up and spend the day rolling around in poor food choices. I need to accept that just because I stray from the healthy eating path, doesn’t mean I can’t get right back on track. Instead of wallowing in the slippage, I need to pick myself up and get back on track. Of course I already know this but actually doing it is another matter.

I had a great conversation with a friend today about this issue. She pointed out that one way she stays on track with her eating is finding “cheats” that aren’t really cheats. She finds foods that are allowable under her dietary restrictions but are close enough to whatever she’s craving that she stays on track. It may not be the best choice but it’s better than the usual choice.

I also have to get over the fact that I need to plan ahead. If I’m going to make better and healthier food choices then I need to make sure I have the right ingredients in the house to make this happen. I need to get over my resistance to meal planning and strategic grocery shopping. As the old saying goes – one doesn’t plan to fail, one fails to plan. If I continue to fail to plan I’ll find it impossible to make these dietary changes and modifications.

I think the key for me is learning to love myself and believe that I am worth feeding healthy food, even if it is more expensive. I want to be more particular in the food I select and not focus so much on cost. I know money is an issue but reality is that if I don’t start investing in my health now, I’ll pay for it later with more long-term health issues and visits to doctors and hospitals. I hope to avoid having to have body parts removed or replaced because I didn’t care for them properly. And I need to remember that any change in life starts with that first step.

Healing yourself is a lot damn harder than it sounds

Witches' King of Swords Dance of Life Sage of Health

 

Whoa! Powerful stuff, especially considering that I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about my health and my choices in that area. Again, it boils down to a matter of knowledge and intelligent choices versus laziness and sloth. I know what I should do and yet I don’t do it. That makes me wonder why? What is it about me that makes me act as though I don’t deserve to be healthy; deserve to live? The bottom line is that I am well aware that if I don’t make changes to my eating habits, exercise patterns and general well-being then it’s likely I’ll end up with health complications or even an early grave. I’m not trying to be melodramatic – I genuinely believe that if I don’t change my future is likely to include increased medication and some hospitalizations due to complications from diabetes.

I’m growing frustrating and angry with myself. Why can’t I control this? I’m an intelligent, knowledgeable person. Gods know I’ve studied various eating plans ranging from low-fat to the Zone to South Beach to low-carb and now Paleo. To be perfectly honest all have their good points but the lower carb diets seem to work better for me. I’ve seen the results – my blood sugars are better regulated, my health indicators (cholesterol, triglycerides, etc.) improve and my weight drops. I know all these things and still I cling to bad habits and a sweet jones that makes heroin addiction look mild. I feel like such a failure, and an ass.

Of course that in turn triggers enjoyable bouts of self-loathing and hatred. These feelings never seem to last long (although I suppose that’s not a bad thing) but they leave their lingering impact. I can even justify it be rationalizing that eating wheat creates an additive need for more wheat, but I already know this so why eat the wheat in the first place? It’s not like I don’t have resources to help me find substitutes. Instead what I find are excuses. If there is one thing I am an expert at it’s rationalization and intellectualizing. I can come up with dozens of reasonable, realistic and logical explanations for these behaviors but at the end of the day that means little.

So coming back to my cards for today – I think both are reminding me that I am moving closer to a place where I can begin to heal myself and gain more of a sense of mastery over my mental processes. I need to take a more logical, rational approach to this and stop letting old emotional scripts and behaviors trip me up. And when they do trip me up I need to learn to pick myself up, brush myself off and keep going not let it become and complete derailment. I need to find support to keep me on the right track and not well-meaning friends and family who help me enable. Not that I’m trying to blame this on anyone else, it’s my issue and my problem.

I think the Sage of Health is also reminding me that once I am able to heal myself I may find myself better able to help others. This is a challenging battle because unlike other addictive substances, you can’t give up eating cold turkey. I think both these cards are reminding me that I can’t force myself or strong-arm myself into these changes. I have to change my thinking patterns, my concepts and my beliefs about myself. No small task and not an easy one to do. In order to do that I need to also be a bit kinder, less harsh and judgmental towards myself. It’s so easy to be supportive to a friend or family member, why not me too? I have to remember this is a long term process. It won’t be easy and it may not be fun but it can be achieved. I can heal myself. I know I can and the Universe is telling me I can with these Tarot cards.

Facing the truth in the mirror

Witches' JusticeDance of Life Mirror of Reflection

Today I drew Justice/Mirror of Reflection.  Quite an interesting and rather intense pair, if I say so myself.  In both I get the sense that it’s time to take a long hard look at myself and my behaviors and choices and see the truth.  I need to take stock and see if I’m being balance and just in my life.  That sounds a bit ephemeral and esoteric but put in plain language I need to call myself on my bullshit.

I’m actually fairly accomplished at recognizing and claiming my bullshit.  Where I fall short is actually making the changes necessary to reduce the bullshit.  The bottom line is that my own mishegas doesn’t always bother me.  When I realize that it’s causing problems I may finally take the necessary steps to make changes but until them I often procrastinate.  It’s not that I don’t know changes need to be made, it’s that I’m often lazy and in a rut.  I’m like Milo in the children’s classic The Phantom Tollbooth but Norton Juster – I’m stuck in the doldrums.

I know it’s time to look in that mirror and clearly see what reflects back to me.  It’s not about judging or enabling myself (sometimes I’m much too accomplished at both), it’s about acknowledging so that I can make the changes I need to make.  It’s about taking up Justice’s sword and scales, weighing my current choices and behaviors and cutting away those that no longer benefit me or will benefit me in the long-term.  I know what I should do and I think it’s time to actually start doing it.

It’s one of my biggest frustrations with myself and one area in which I can be extremely harsh and judgmental towards myself too.  I know what steps will improve my health, help me lose weight and reduce stress in my life.  Rather than do these things I keep finding books and articles and reading about what to do.  I could fill a library with the various self-help books I’ve read and the bottom line is that I already know the things they all proclaim will improve my life.  I am smart, well-educated and capable of researching topics when necessary yet I repeat the same pointless behaviors over and over.  It’s as though deep in my soul I don’t believe I deserve good health.

I have joked that I have reverse anorexia because when I look in the mirror I see a slim woman not the real me.  The truth is that I don’t actually see myself at all.  It’s as though I’m looking at a photo of someone else or not even registering the true image being reflected back.  Have you ever walked past a mirror or window and caught a glimpse of someone out of the corner of your eye?  You think – who is that fat person?  And then you realize it’s you and your heart sinks.  I’ve done that.  In fact sometimes it so demoralized me that I want to go home and never come out again.  Luckily the memory fades and I’m able to face the world without panic.  However the reality is that it’s rare for me to truly see myself for who I am.  I think these cards are calling me on that trait and telling me it’s time to do right by myself and make those changes.  If not, I may very well find myself dealing with health issues I never anticipated or assumed would never happen to me.  If I don’t take those steps now I’ll pay that price later.

I don’t feel quite so much like a butterfly pinned in a display this week

Witches 5 of Swords Dance of Life 5 of Health

 

My card for today is the 5 of Swords R (from Ellen Dugan’s Witches’ Tarot) and the 5 of Health R from the Dance of Life.

I have to say, feeling like a butterfly being pinned by 5 swords (a la the Witches’ Tarot) has certainly been a familiar experience in the past. Luckily things are improving somewhat so that sense is not as immediate as it once was. There has been a reduction of craziness in the day-to-day responsibilities. I’m feeling like I can breathe just a bit easier.

The keyword on the Dance of Life Tarot for this card is Stress and I can certainly identify with that. My life has been one big stress ball for the past 4 years or so. I have made some changes to my own attitude to help me deal with it – the reality is there is nothing that will fix this situation but how I approach it can make all the difference in how my day goes. And for the past 2 or 3 weeks I’ve seen some improvements on the home front. Perhaps my new approach is helping.

I’ve also found that keeping myself busy, even if it’s only browsing through interior decorating magazines, helps reduce some of my stress. There have been days when I’ve felt as though my guts were as twisted up in knots as the scarf on the Dance of Life 5 of Health. It’s not a fun place to be or an enjoyable experience. Lately the knots have come undone a bit. There are still days when it’s a challenge not to run screaming into the night like a Banshee but so far I’m holding it together. The bottom line is that I do love my in-laws and want to do what I can to help them and the hubby out right now. However I am human and feel resentful, angry, frustrated and a bunch of other emotions that make me less than pleasant. Hopefully I’m getting better at finding ways to siphon those unpleasant energies into more constructive channels.

I think these cards are reflecting the stress reduction and reminding me that I have made changes that proved beneficial and I can continue to do so. It’s not easy (then again there are days when nothing is easy so that’s no surprise). I think the fact that these cards are connected with air (ideas, thoughts, etc.) in one deck and health in the other is significant too. I’ve come to realize that my current lifestyle specifically as it pertains to eating, is slowly killing me. The fact that I have Type II diabetes and eat cookies and other sweets like they’ll disappear tomorrow is so ridiculous that I cannot fathom why I do it. In some ways I’m like a junkie in need of a fix. I know some of this is driven by a need to make myself feel better when the shit hits the fan. It’s also partly due to a lifelong sweet tooth. However if I can reduce the stress then I can also find healthier and more positive methods of dealing with this issue. It won’t get fixed tomorrow but as long as I start taking those damn baby steps, I’ll reach my destination.

Take a load off

Witches' 10 of Wands Steampunk 10 of Engines

My card of the day is the 10 of Engines/Wands reversed.  As soon as I saw this card the song ‘The Weight” popped into my head, especially the line “take a load of Annie”. That’s how I feel right now – as though I’m taking off a load. It’s not so much that things have changed in my life as that I’m trying to handle them in ways that won’t create more of a burden for me. I do feel rather like the survivors portrayed on the Steampunk 10 of Engines – the wreckage is all around me and I can’t do anything to change that. What I can change is how I deal with that wreckage. I can spend all my time focusing on what has been lost and mourning what will never be, or I can move forward and rebuild. I can rise up from the wreckage and create something new from the remains.

I think I’ve done all the mourning and gnashing of teeth I care to do. Enough is enough! I can feel sorry for myself and rage against the gods that this is my life. In fact I’ve done quite a bit of that. I can cry and become depressed because this isn’t how I saw my life turning out but I’ve done enough of that too. In fact I’m tired of doing both these things because they are ceasing to have any benefit (or maybe they never did and I’m finally accepting that fact). I want to pick up the pieces and move ahead. I want to focus on positive things and let go of the negative.

There are so many things in my life that I want to do – things relating to creating a career as a professional Tarot reader, my spiritual beliefs, my health and even reading some books I’ve had on the pile for some time. Instead I’ve been sulking, throwing tantrums and feeling sorry for myself. All of those things were fine as long as they were part of the process. Now they’re becoming the burden that is retarding the process. It’s causing me to become stunted and distorts my new reality. I’ve born this weight for a long time. Although I can’t release all of it right now, I can certainly release the parts that aren’t helping me and that I can release. I’m not walking away from my responsibilities. What I’m doing is shouldering them more comfortably and figuring out how to make them a bit less burdensome.  It’s not about dropping the burden as much as it is about changing how I handle it.