Learning to become A Woman in Love with Herself (#Tarot #HauntedHouseTarot)

I recently started reading Imagine a Woman in Love with Herself by Patricia Lynn Reilly (or maybe re-reading it, I’m not sure) and I decided I wanted to focus on some of the ideas I came across in the first chapter (or maybe it’s the first stanza) of the book and do a Tarot reading for myself  So, using my creepily lovely Haunted House Tarot by the amazing Sasha Graham, I asked:
  1. How can I best love myself?  Death
  2. How can I release the impact sins of others have left upon my psyche?  6 of Wands Rx
  3. How can I walk through my past to heal my present?  3 of Cups Rx

Of course, being the snarky soul I am, my first response to Death was “Right, of course I’d have to die in order to learn to love myself.”   Sassy snark aside, I think what Death is truly trying to let me know is that in order to love myself I have to defeat those self-denigrating habits that prevent it.  I need to slay those inner demons who whisper poison in my soul (“you’re not good enough”, “no one really likes you”, “so & so does that much better than you do”), you know the drill.  I’m sure we all have moments when we’re pits of self-loathing with self-esteem and self-worth in the sub, sub-basement.  With the ways things are going lately it’s easy to allows these feelings to become overwhelming, because, as I mentioned in a previous post, being concerned about this kind of inner growth when the world around us seems to be going to shit feels self-indulgent and frivolous.  Well fuck that!  I have made a new resolution that the only way to make things better on a national or global scale is to make things better on a personal scale – as below, so above.  What needs to die are all those self-defeating behaviors and crippling self-doubts.  If I want to transform the world, first I need to transform myself!

The 6 of Wands is interesting because the image shows a woman on horseback freeing herself from the grasps of a crowd of hooded figures.  The LWB mentions that the woman is “breaking free of the brood”.  I think it’s showing me that the potential for feeling victorious & accomplished; the way to appreciate and embrace my achievements is to free myself from those self doubts and inner demons; these psychic scars left upon my soul by others.  The way to victory is to slay those damn fuckers, defeat those who thought they’d permanently damaged me, and let myself emerge transformed and starting to heal.

In the LWB the listing for the 3 of Cups mentions intoxication and drowning in pleasure.  Reversed, I feel as though I’m drowning my sorrows in distractions.  Instead of celebrating I’m self-medicating.  Granted, I’m not pouring booze down my throat but I do indulge in bouts of retail therapy or gorging on unhealthy food choices.  Once again I think the message of the reversal is that the only thing preventing my from celebrating my joy and happiness, exploring my dreams with friends and loved ones is that I need to free myself from those negative beliefs and inner demons (fucking inner demons are such a pain in my ass!).  The way forward is through and I need to charge through them and keep going even as they try to pull me back (I keep envisioning this struggle as Milo trying to free himself from The Doldrums in The Phantom Tollbooth)

I’m feeling rather inspired lately (which is a nice change) and I’m determined to keep moving forward even if my momentum is more like one step forward, two steps back.  At least it’s some progress.  It’s too easy to fall into despair and hopelessness but then they win – the demons both inner and outer, and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna let that happen.  I’m a fighter and all I need to do now is focus on the win so I can win!

On being an outlier

I’m an outlier, an outsider, an oddball. I often don’t fit in even with groups to which I feel I belong. There is just something under my skin that become itchy when I try to fit in; be part of the group. I often joke that my motto is “Whatever it is, I’m against it” (thank you, Groucho Marx). In reality, it isn’t a joke. Even when it comes to opinions and stances which I share, I can’t help but argue the opposite position if I feel too many have jumped on the bandwagon. I don’t like to feel that I’m part of the majority opinion.  As Groucho also once said, “I wouldn’t want to join a club that would have me as a member.”

I’m not sure why I am this way but I tend to put it down to my parents exhorting me when I was a child not to do things simply because everyone else did. They encouraged me to trust my own opinions and not to be a follower. I may carry this a bit too far. This is both a blessing and a curse, allowing me to defend my positions despite others’ attitudes but also isolating me.

In order to get some clarity about this, I did a reading for myself.

Using the Wizards Tarot, I asked:

How does being an outlier serve me? Knight of Pentacles Rx
How does it hinder me? 2 of Cups Rx
What can I do with this information going forward? The Hierophant Rx

Being an outlier has been a way of protecting myself, of isolating myself before others could exile me. Of course, this also says a lot about some of the earlier relationships I had in my life. I did have occasions where those I believed were “friends” betrayed me or mocked me. It created a very weird dynamic and made me mistrustful and extremely cautious.

This mistrust and caution have also prevented me from forming closer friendships and emotional bonds. I do have friends but they are a small, select group. I don’t really do casual friendships which may explain why Facebook made me so twitchy. To paraphrase a friend of my hubby’s, if you haven’t seen me make a complete ass of myself at least once, you aren’t really my friend.

So, going forward I need to learn from these experiences; to be willing to use it as a learning opportunity. That doesn’t mean I have to change the way I am, simply that I should be more mindful and conscious of what I’m doing and why. Perhaps this will also serve as a tool for helping others who have similar issues.

I am Nobody

I am Nobody. Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there’s a pair of us — don’t tell!
They’d banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

Since first reading it, I have been drawn to Emily Dickinson’s poem “I am Nobody”. It speaks to me because I have often felt like a nobody. So I decided to pull a few Tarot cards to gain some insight. I decided to use the Allison M. Garcia Illustrated Blind Person Tarot that I discovered on Etsy.

Why do I feel like nobody? Queen of Cups Rx
How does being a nobody serve me? 10 of Wands
How does it hinder me? Knight of Wands
What would happen if I became somebody? 3 of Cups Rx

I love when Tarot does this, calls me on my bullshit. I feel like nobody because I don’t love myself or trust my insights and intuition. I’m afraid to connect to my deep, emotional nature because it leaves me feeling vulnerable and at risk.

Being nobody serves me by giving me something to grumble about; a burden to carry. It allows me to feel unfairly treated while allowing me to appear sacrificing and long-suffering.

It hinders me because as long as I cling to this delusion it will prevent me from finding my creative spark, my life calling. I’m meant to be active and charging forward. If I can’t channel it in creative, healthy, productive ways then it will find less beneficial ways to express itself.

If I became somebody then I will truly find people with whom to celebrate this joy, in a quiet, non-public way of course. I might alienate some but the odds are the are folks with whom I wouldn’t be simpatico anyway. Being somebody would allow me the freedom to celebrate my weirdness and quirkiness with fellow oddballs – like the Addams Family!

Curious that I drew two reversed Cups and two upright Wands for this reading. Considering how long it has taken me to appreciate Cups energy, I can’t say I’m thrilled to see them but clearly that attitude is part of the issue. Obviously my heart & spirit, my soul and spark are intertwined and if I can’t find the way to embrace both equally I’ll always feel like nobody.

#TarotDaily – The Fool + 4 of Swords (#AllHallows)

Which of your creative gifts are lying dormant? How might you awaken them?

All of my creative gifts are dormant right now because I don’t have faith in them; I’m afraid to express them. One of my biggest challenges has always been to recognize my gifts and accomplishments. I fell into the mindset of believing that if I am good at something, gifted with a skill, then it mustn’t be that difficult. I also resist exploring unfamiliar territory. If I don’t think I can do something well the first time, I avoid trying it. This has limited me in a variety of ways and us something I’d like to move beyond.

I think one I’ve the ways I can awaken these dormant, unexplored creative gifts is to take breaks for myself. I recently decided to spend 15-30 minutes everyday in a mini-retreat. I will spend the time journaling or crafting, listening to music and meditating. This will enable me to shake myself loose from current, stifling patterns. I think this will help me reconnect to existing creative gifts and discover new ones.

#TarotDaily – The Lovers + Queen of Cups Rx (#AllHallows)

Do you remember the last time you felt confident? What can you do to easily access that state (physically and mentally) when it is called for?

I feel confident whenever I think about my marriage. My husband’s support, trust, faith and belief in me helps me remain confident and positive even when my life seems like a shit storm. He is proud of me in all my vocal, assertive brashness. He encourages my weirdness and reminds me of my value.

The way I can easily tap into that state is to look in my own heart and see my hubby’s face reflected there. I’m usually fairly confident but every so often I stumble. When I do, I hear my hubby’s voice in my head & heart encouraging me, supporting me and loving me.

#TarotDaily – The World Rx + 9 of Wands Rx (#AllHallows)

How can I connect with my inner child?

Well, I guess the best way to connect with one’s inner child is to focus inward and not let the world’s crazy or personal daily obligations weigh you down. Focusing on the darkness in the world or personal responsibilities that weigh us down only serves to suck the joy out of life. Sometimes it’s necessary, vitally important, even life saving to take a break and focus on yourself.

Now, of course, the same advice I would give to someone else applies just as much to me but I ignore it all the time. It’s starting to show – the wear & tear; the fraying around the edges. So I have to make a commitment to take small blocks of time for myself everyday. I need to re-acquaint myself with me. I need to reread all those wonderful SARK books I own. I need to browse Jennifer Louden’s Woman’s Comfort Book and Woman’s Retreat Book. I know I can do it if I focus. I’ve done it before. Sometimes being stubborn has it’s advantages.

#TarotDaily – Page of Swords + Ace of Wands Rx (Grand Luxe)

Tarot Hunter’s Salt Rounds:

  • Fear of new ideas and ways of communicating limit your worldview and blunt your creative energies.
  • Self-doubts and inner demons can undermine your creative spirit. A negative internal dialogue douses enthusiasm faster than a bucket of ice water.
  • New creative endeavors and projects start within. If you’re not listening to your soul, you may find it difficult to tap into that fire.

When the High Priestess parts the veil

Over the last year, I’ve given a lot of thought to the High Priestess. She and I have had an on again, off again, sometimes adversarial relationship. I have always resisted seeing myself as psychic or intuitive so I felt that I had nothing in common with the High Priestess (for that matter I’ve always had a strained relationship with The Empress too but that’s another post). Anyway, while looking at the RWS High Priestess one day I was struck by something – I’ve never really considered what lies on the other side of her veil. What is she guarding, blocking, hiding? I know it’s part of her symbolism but it was something I gave only a cursory focus in a reading. At least until now.

Now I finally have an idea what awaits behind her veil – at least for me.I thought about where I am in my life right now. Turning 50 really seems to have thrown a switch in my brain. It’s as if all the previous 20-30+ years of indoctrination and assimilation just fell away; as though the shell encasing me cracked and revealed the true me. Apparently, the true me is much closer to the 13-year-old me than I ever realized. That is what was revealed to me when the High Priestess finally parted the veil. I was finally ready to see what was hidden – the true me, the “me” I was before I tried to fit in and adapt. The feral me, if you will. Quite frankly, she’s a pretty ballsy, awesome, kickass chick.

When I was a teen, my dress code was casual. Boots, jeans, plaid shirts and casual blazers. I loved that look and stuck with it for a long time. It was fine while I was in school but once I started working I needed to upgrade the wardrobe. I’ve never done corporate or dressy well and so I adapted a style that wasn’t really my own but worked. I always felt like I was wearing a costume; like a fake and a phony. However, it felt necessary in order to function effectively at my job. When I dressed too casually, my authority was questioned. So I played the game.

Once I accepted that I would never be returning to that kind of job, I reacquired some of my old favorites – jeans, boots, plaid shirts, and blazers. Of course being a fan of Supernatural means many folks assume I’m emulating the Winchesters’ style, but no, it was mine long before the Winchesters existed. Sorry for the style tangent but my point is that I feel as though I’ve reconnected to the deepest, truest me as symbolized by this style. This is who I was before I was dressing to impress.

It’s been fun and soul satisfying to reconnect to this feral, wild woman. She hasn’t been seen very much over the last few years. Or, more accurately stated, she often showed up at unexpected moments usually connected to alcohol and it wasn’t always comfortable for all involved. She was so suppressed and oppressed that I’m surprised she didn’t throw in the towel and leave the building. Thankfully, she’s as stubborn as I am and hung in there. Getting to know her again has been eye-opening. I look forward to deepening our relationship and re-learning myself.

Perhaps this is the gift, the revelation the High Priestess offers to us. She reveals our true selves once we are ready to handle that revelation. Perhaps this is why people decide to make dramatic life changes when they reach their late 40s/early 50s. Maybe what we’ve always considered mid-life crises are actually attempts to reconnect with our true selves; to find our way back to who we were meant to be. I think it’s going to be an ongoing process but I’m looking forward to the journey.

Liberation (Judgment) – Transformational Tarot

 

Transformational Tarot
Created by Arnell Ando
Published by US Games (2006)
ISBN:1572815396

The Book says: Spiritual awakening, a card of summing up of an important matter, a clean slate, paying off old karmic debts, reward for past effort, a time of rejuvenation, sincere attempt to come to terms with oneself and to take responsibility for one’s actions, rising above the negativity in order to resolve the situation. In the reverse, this card can mean existential angst; fear of the unknown; fear of death. It could imply disillusionment.

Tarot Hunter’s Theories: This card suggests that our journey to liberty might be long and somewhat gray at times. But at the end of our journey, we will be able to see our true selves, to look ourselves in the face and to accept what we see. This card is about facing our reflection in the mirror without harsh judgments or useless self-criticism. It is about reaching a place of self-acceptance and acknowledging our flaws without negativity. To me, this card reflects the wisdom of experience and the benefits of completing that long journey towards self-knowledge and freedom from self-defeating, self-critical attitudes and behaviors. It’s about finding the truth and allowing it to set you free.

Just take the freakin’ compliment Part 2

So, as I thought about yesterday’s post it occurred to me that I didn’t actually offer any tips or ideas or insights that might help others dealing with similar issues. So this is just a few bullet points of what helped me. Your mileage may vary and believe me I’m not a professional so this is a very idiosyncratic list.

  • Train yourself to consciously accept compliments. This is both simpler and much more difficult than it seems. I think so many of us program ourselves (or are programmed) to consider compliments as dangerous because they draw attention to us. We’re afraid that being noticed will bring negative reactions from peers or rivals. It can lead to teasing and other less pleasant reactions. However I think we all need to say “Screw that!” in a loud, confident voice. We need to consciously stop those negative inner critics and allay our fears about the reactions of others and embrace those compliments for what they are – recognition of our efforts and hard work. They are verbal “Atta girls” and need to be treated as such – not as time bombs that might go off unexpectedly producing collateral damage.
  • Help others who suffer from the same issues. We all know people who respond in the same way to compliments – they deflect, self-deprecate and psychologically shuffle their feet. A nice, quiet, friendly reminder that they do deserve the “Atta girl” can go a long way towards healing that wound. Listen to what you tell them and then tell yourself the same thing the next time an occasion arises.
  • Remember that confidence is not the same as braggadocio. Next time you see a cocky, swaggering, bragging colleague or friend, look into their eyes or really listen to their voice. I’m betting you have someone who is just as fearful and mistrustful of compliments as you are they just process it differently. Try allaying their fears that no one will notice their hard work unless they draw attention to themselves. Help soothe the frightened beast that is convinced no one really appreciates them. Sometimes roaring is simply a way to gain attention. It’s a different approach to the same insecurities and self-doubts.
  • Considering that I use Tarot for so many things, naturally I work with them to address this issue too. There are a few ways to do this. One is a simple, straightforward reading on the topic focusing on what the roots of this insecurity are and how to heal it. Another technique that I’ve found useful is to use the cards to have conversations with yourself – your “inner child”, your inner fears, call them what you like. Sit down with a cuppa tea (or bottle of beer if that’s more your style) and ask questions. After each question pull a card and think about what the answer is. Treat it as though it’s an answer from the entity or part of yourself that you questioned. It’s amazing the results you can get from this technique because it bypasses many of our built in defenses and can reveal what we’ve been hiding from ourselves.
  • Friends and support networks are also invaluable in overcoming this. I’ve had amazing conversations with friends who will spontaneously volunteer compliments about my skills or knowledge. It’s gratifying and touching to realize that people whose opinions you value see you in such a valued way.

There are lots of other tools out there that can help with this issue. The self-help shelves in bookstores have lots of offerings (well the few brick & mortar bookstores that are left). I’m sure your local library will have some options or can borrow them for you through inter-library loan. Self-help groups and/or counseling can also provide beneficial insights and techniques if that’s your preference. The bottom line is to actively tackle the problem not let it continue to dominate your life. Yes, it can be a cheesy, over-used line in self-help circles but the bottom line is that you are worth it, you do have value. The trick is convincing yourself of that fact.