Passionate Conviction vs. Tempered Thoughtfulness

Have you ever held a passionate conviction? You know the type – a Knight of Wands, I am furiously, powerfully convinced that my position on this topic is correct kind of belief? A conviction that you hold so firmly and unshakably that it divides people into “us” (those who share your belief) and “them” (those who hold an opposite opinion. The most visible example of this kind of belief is the pro- and anti-abortion camps. The anti-abortion activists demonize reproductive health care providers sometimes even to the extreme of advocating the assassination of doctors who provide abortions in order to save the “unborn”

Original RWS Knight of Wands

I still have a few hot button issues which I will defend vehemently and passionately with no attempt at objectivity, open-mindedness or thoughtfulness. When defending these beliefs I would charge forth like a Knight of Wands, beating all foes into submission. There was no attempt at reasoned debate or peaceful negotiations. I was confident in my beliefs and held the courage of my convictions. I was in the right and was morally obligated to defeat those who disagreed. Thank goodness that I’m reaching a point in my life where this passionate conviction is giving way (slowly, oh so slowly) to tempered thoughtfulness.

Original RWS King of Swords

I am reaching a place where I am more open to hearing the other side’s arguments. I don’t feel such a strong need to beat down foes as much as open a dialogue with people who hold differing opinions. I a able to hear their viewpoints with objectivity and genuinely hear what is being said rather than listening and merely waiting for my turn to speak. It has helped me understand that intelligent, passionate people who hold different perspectives from my own are not delusional and wrong. They simply have different priorities and have reached different conclusions after examining the information presented. I’m moving away from my Knightly passion towards a more Kingly consideration and thoughtfulness.

Secret Forest Knight of Wands

There is something very comforting in having a Knight of Wands approach to things. There is little room or doubt or second-guessing. Instead we act from a place of moral certainty and superiority. We are wrapped in a cloak of self-righteousness and confidence. Of course I’m right and as a result I must sally forth and correct the mistaken viewpoints held by others. It is my duty to carry the message of rightness to them! This viewpoint leaves very little room for debate or discussion. We don’t really care why they believe what they do, we merely want to correct their wrong-headed beliefs.

Druid Animal Oracle Owl

Thanks goodness most of us move passed this phase. We eventually learn that we are not always right. Even when we do believe we are right, we often lose the need to proselytize and convert others to our viewpoint. We learn and embrace the fact that we learn more by being open and listening to the views and reasoning of others who hold different perceptions and opinions. This often allows us to expand our horizons and our world view. Respectful debate and open-minded discussions can lead to less parochial, entrenched mindset. Perhaps if we can moved beyond this attitude in our own lives we can eventually learn to expand it to encompass national matters too. I can always hope.

Learning through the pain

I have spent a lot of time over the last few years caring for my elderly, ailing mother-in-law. I have often written about how frustrated and trapped I feel in this situation but the last few days I’ve been looking at it from a different perspective. I’ve been considering what I’ve learned through this experience and started considering how this must feel for my mother-in-law.

Being forced to care for my in-laws has put me in a position of parenting my in-laws. As a result I am learning lessons many acquire while raising their children. I’ve learned the true meaning of sacrifice, strength and stamina. I am sacrificing freedom of choice, mobility and independence to take care of family. I am willing to make this sacrifice because the alternative of institutionalizing them is intolerable to me. That is my decision and I’m willing to accept its consequences, even though it sometimes makes me want to gnash my teeth and rip out my hair.

Greenwood Strength

I have learned that being tough and being strong are not necessarily the same thing. I may be tough and able to deal with aggressive behaviors and attitudes but this experience has given me a greater appreciation of inner strength. It takes an enormous amount of inner strength and fortitude to get up every day, especially when you’re not feeling well, to take care of others who cannot fully appreciate what you’re doing. There are few or no accolades for your efforts. Others may pay lip service to how strong or brave you are but few truly understand what it takes. It’s helped me gain a deeper appreciation for the Strength card.

Mythic Empress

I’ve been forced to embrace and enhance my Empress side. As I’ve expressed several times before on my blog, I have had a very distant relationship with the Empress. In the past, she and I have mutually agreed to keep our distance from each other. This current situation has pushed me into the Empress’ realm; forced me to sit at her feet and embody her energies. It was a true trial by fire and I’m still working on not getting burned or burned out by the flames.

Bohemian Gothic Judgment

This experience has also mellowed me a bit. I’m still judgmental (I think that’s embedded in my DNA) but I’m less harsh about it, more tolerant of perceived failings and imperfections – even my own. It’s forced me to realize that most of us are stumbling around trying to do the best we can with what circumstances and fate throw our way. Few people choose to be hurtful or mean or “evil”. Very often they believe they’ve made the best decision available under the circumstances. There are days when I feel like an absolute monster for the things I’ve said or thought about my in-laws. I don’t mean to be vicious but this usually occurs when I’m sleep deprived and overwhelmed. I’m striking out in anger and frustration but I’m not angry with them. I’m angry with the situation. Unfortunately they have less control over this than I do.

Dark Goddess Empress

I’m no hero, no saint and no martyr. I’m simply someone who loves her family and is trying to do right by them. I will say that I have learned to appreciate the strength of the human spirit. By all rights my mother-in-law was expected to die a long time ago but she is stubborn, tough and strong. She’s fighting for all she’s worth. She may exhaust and infuriate me sometimes but I can’t help but admire her stamina and strength of will. In fact I wish I could find a way to bottle it. I know I’m not the only one dealing with such a mess and my heart goes out to the others. We each have to make our own decisions about how to handle this type of situation based on our lives, our own obligations. This is one area that I refuse to judge anyone else. If I haven’t been in their shoes I cannot fully understand why they made the decisions they did. I can only hope that they have the support and love they need to make it work.

Blue Rose Tarot Hanged Man

Blue Rose Hanged Man

 

Blue Rose Tarot
Created by Paula Gibby
Published by Soul Guidance

The Book says: But the Hanged Man teaches us that this is precisely what is necessary in order to continue upon the last half of the Great Journey, where the stages become so delicate and subtle that it takes an embracing of all possibilities simply to perceive and attempt to navigate through them.

But to step out of the paradigm that today’s world wraps around us…well, it is easier said than done. A world in which the spiritual and magical hums softly, so softly just below the surface of our consciousness. And it is indeed a difficult song to hear through the stifling atmosphere of our own personal paradigms.

We humans do hate to relinquish all our “pet” beliefs, prejudices and opinions.  When we are in the middle of a paradigm, it is hard to perceive or imagine any other.  But that is precisely what must happen.

TarotBroad’s Buzz: The man in black seems to be saying “follow me and I’ll lead to you to a place you never knew existed”. All you have to do is change how you look at your world. It suggests that there is another world that exists beneath or next to our own, a world we are not usually able to see.

I find it interesting that the adult is showing the children the path to new perceptions. It has been my experience that children usually lead us to new perspectives and to question our long held beliefs. I also like the suggestion that there are layers to our reality, realities within realities, like those Russian dolls which have successively smaller dolls within the larger one. This Hanged Man is like a Monty Python skit which pokes fun at commonly held beliefs and causes us to stop and reconsider our perspective. It is that wonderful book that uses fiction as a way to shine light on something and forces us to look at it anew.

I also think the children in the card symbolize how our perspectives and attitudes change as we mature. As children we believed the Moon followed us home and watched over us but as adults we realize that is an illusion. However how many of us still cling to that belief in our heart. The Hanged Man shows us that we sometimes need to expand our boundaries and explore new perspectives. We may need to sacrifice the comfort of long-held beliefs and not allow complacency or laziness to keep us in a rut.

Soul sickness by association

What do you do when you learn something about a family member that is so horrific and shocking that it shatters you? How do you pick up the pieces and move forward again? How can you repair the collateral damage it creates in your life? Can you ever again be in the presence of that family member? Do you share this information with other loved ones? I don’t know the answers to this litany of questions but I am about to start exploring my way through this thorny, nasty thicket.

The other day while talking with a childhood friend, she revealed something quite disturbing about a relative. I had often suspected that there was some shady and extremely negative in this relative’s behavior. In fact my hubby and I had even shared our suspicions with each other on several occasions. I genuinely thought I knew this relative and that nothing, no matter how vile, could surprise me. Well I have been proven wrong. My friend shared a past incident about this relative which completely shattered me. It left me feeling ragged, raw and reduced to tears. I still feel physically ill.  It revealed a darkness and depravity of which I had not believed this person capable. What makes me even sadder is that my friend holds herself responsible for what occurred and I can tell it’s destroying her up inside.

Without getting into details, because in this instance they don’t really matter, I feel the need to focus on the soul sickness that results from these types of incidents and how I plan to begin the healing process. What surprises me the most about this situation is that I understand how my friend feels. When she shared the incident with me I felt shame and blame – guilt by association. Have you ever experienced something like that?  You learn something about a relative, something which you could not have prevented even if you knew at the time, but feel as though you carry some of the blame? I feel as though I should have done something to protect this friend. I had an idea of the damage this relative was capable of inflicting on others, I knew my friend was in a vulnerable state at that point. Yet I did nothing to try to stop them from hanging out together. In my mind I realize that even if I had tried to prevent it, the odds are it would not have worked. My heart and my soul are finding this harder to accept.

Dark Goddess Tarot Moon/Arianrhod Dark Goddess Tarot 4 of Earth/Sphinx

So as an effort to start my healing process, and maybe help my friend with hers, I asked the Arianrhod (The Moon) from the Dark Goddess Tarot for guidance. I needed to know how to deal with having my illusions (or delusions) about this family member destroyed. Arianrhod sent me The Sphinx (4 of Earth). Her message to me was that it was time to face the harsh truth of this matter because trying to run from it does no one, especially me, any good. So I asked The Sphinx for some advice on facing this harsh truth. She offered me Temperance reversed and the Queen of Wands.

Hudes Temperance 34

The message these cards had for me struck my spirit immediately. Temperance reversed is telling me not to lose sight of the fact that my inner spirit is pure and carries no taint of blame. However, it also reminds me that a purification and cleansing ritual might help me and my friend feel better. I need to look deep within myself and embrace the reflection that shines back. She has nothing to do with this family member’s actions and behaviors. She couldn’t have stopped any of it but maybe she can help my friend find some healing too. The Queen of Wands reminds me of my warrior spirit. She is fierce in defense of those she loves and merciless to those who harm her loved ones. In this instance the harmer happens to be someone that is a family member and was once loved. That betrayal makes it so much worse but she is strong. She has survived harsh and painful experiences before and she can do it now. The pain will recede and she will emerge from the fire feeling stronger and tempered. That also ties in with Temperance’s energy and reminds me that what doesn’t kill us does make us stronger. I know it’s a cliché but that doesn’t make it any less accurate – at least for me. If I let this beat me than that family member has won. The damage caused all those years ago will finally prove fatal. I refuse, defiantly and assertively, to let that happen.

I’m sharing this in the hopes that anyone else out there who has gone through a similar shattering revelation or experience can find some support and comfort. You’re not alone. Don’t take the shame, blame and stain of the offender into your own soul. We are not our brother’s, sister’s, father’s, mother’s or anyone else’s keeper. Their actions and behaviors do not reflect upon us. Don’t let it make you soul sick.

I’ve learned much to my dismay that these types of people are rather sociopathic and very manipulative. They find our weaknesses and exploit them. There is no shame in being vulnerable, we’ve all been vulnerable at some point in our lives, especially as children. Don’t let it define you or damage you for the rest of your days. Fight it, explore that darkness and let yourself come out healed and whole on the other side. Remember that their darkness is not yours to carry and believe that you are worthy of love, forgiveness and wholeness.

Strength – Wheel of Change Tarot

Wheel of Change Strength

Wheel of Change Tarot
created by Alexandra Gennetti
Published by Destiny Books, 1997

The Book says: When this card comes up in your reading, pay attention to what you have passion for and use this passion to further your life. This is a card of enormous courage, vitality, and power to achieve anything within your imagining. The power you have is not a power over others but a power from within, a strength you have that is really your own. You do not need to hold it over others, but if you use this inner strength calmly, many others, by example, may discover this most powerful strength. This is also a card of initiation; just as the new woman is initiated into womanhood when her menstruation comes, you are initiated into something new and special when this card comes up in your reading. It is a good time to begin something new that you love and have a passion for. Like the blooming gorse, you will blossom into something bright and lovely. It is a special time for love and sexuality or for the passions that arise from anything truly moving. You are moving away from the control of others and can make your own decisions.

TarotBroad’s Buzz: Her banner shows that she is comfortable with both her lunar and her solar natures. Her expression is one of sheer joy and excitement – finally she can ride the lioness too! She has learned the self-control and mastery needed to control the lioness without any visible means – just her body language. She and the lioness are one, joined in their goal and their destination. She has passed the necessary tests and achieved the maturity needed to continue onto the next phase of her journey. I just love the energy and excitement visible in this card.

I have a special affinity for Strength (being a Leo Sun) and this is one of my favorite versions of the Strength card. This card embodies the solar side of female nature. This is that wild, untamed, physical side which revels in the warmth of the Sun on our bodies. This is that part of us that wants everything out in the open, revealing all facets of herself and not caring whether others approve. At the same time she represents the inner strength, fortitude and ability to proceed along her journey, no matter how challenging it may become. I want to be this woman, riding forward with joy and excitement, confident that I can overcome whatever obstacles are in my way and in my ability to maintain my connection with the lioness and the natural world around me. Can’t you just hear strains of Helen Reddy’s I Am Woman “I am woman hear me roar in numbers to great to ignore”

How is confusion manifesting in my life right now? 10 of Swords R + Knave of Chalices R (BoS So Below)

BoS So Below 10 of Swords BoS So Below Knave of Chalices

Looking at these cards two elements stuck out – the bird on the woman’s arm in the 10 of Swords and the reflection on the Knave of Chalices.  My initial response was that I want to soar with the eagles (or at least I think I do) but can’t and I feel like I don’t know myself anymore.  These factors could certainly contribute to confusion.

The 10 of Swords shows a beautiful image of a young woman holding her arm up to a golden bird.  Is she releasing it or calling it?  I’m not sure.  I like to think she’s releasing it; unleashing her ideas and message to the world.  Barbara Moore offers this interpretation of the card when reversed: “Reliving heartache by refusing to let go”.  Considering these two elements perhaps some of the confusion manifesting in my life right now is that I can’t unleash my message.  Hell, I’m not even sure I know my message any more.  My ideas and ability to communicate with others have atrophied to the point that I’m not sure what they are anymore.  It’s hard to develop a message or express ideas while wiping someone’s butt.

The Knave of Chalices peers into her reflection cast in a pool of water.  The reflection is ripply and unclear, almost more illusion than reflection.  Can she be sure what she sees?  That’s how I feel about myself right now.  I have no idea who I am.  My reflection is unclear and indistinct.  I feel like a rather amorphous blob with undefined boundaries.  No wonder I’m confused.

These two cards suggest that the confusion is manifesting because my inability to let go of the past and move on has prevented me from creating a fully formed and articulated new me.  I’m burred and undefined because I haven’t fully let go of Old Debbie and that prevents me from molding a new me.

I can’t say this is very surprising but it does clarify some things.

What path should I explore next? 2 of Pentacles R + 7 of Wands R (BoS So Below)

BoS So Below 2 of Pentacles BoS So Below 7 of Wands

Out of balance and out of confidence – yes, I’d say that describes me right now.  I’m still feeling like a bit of a mess.  Don’t get me wrong, I had fun exploring the nature of extraterrestrials but in the long haul that won’t help me figure out what I want to do next with my life.

In the companion book, Barbara Moore offers the interpretation “stressed; too much to do; unable to give anything its proper attention”.  In some ways this is a relief.  Maybe the reason I’m feeling off balance and disconnected with the flow is because I just can’t do it right now.  I’m trying to force something that just isn’t meant to happen right now.  Sometimes I feel as though I’ being a slug.  I’m not actually working on anything and I’m finding it difficult to focus.  On the other hand I have a lot on my plate.

I sometimes think I don’t realize how exhausting it is to care for the in-laws.  They both require continuous (continual) attention and long-term supervision.  We can leave them alone for a few ours but no overnight or for any longer length of time.  Even the simplest of tasks like preparing dinner can become challenging if something goes wrong with one of them.  Sleeping has become challenging because my mother-in-law has developed a new habit of taking 3-4 hour “naps” and then waking up full of energy and wanting to talk.  Right now we feel as sleep deprived as the parents of most newborns.

For the 7 of Wands reversed, Barbara offers this insight – “feeling defensive or overly protective”.  Looking at the woman on this card I can honestly say I was that woman.  When I worked in the non-profit sector I regularly facilitated training sessions, organized staff development workshops, developed programs and wrote grant applications.  I knew I was good and I think that was conveyed in how I conducted myself (hell, there were times I was downright arrogant).  Those days are long gone.  Right now I feel like a complete failure at everything; someone that no person in their right mind would hire.  In fact there are days when the idea of being in any group setting fills me with terror.  Okay I’m overstating things a bit but I’m not really far from the mark here.  Apparently I am quite an externally focused person when it comes to validation and feedback I need to hear it from someone else.

So I think what I need to explore next in my life is how I can regain a sense of balance and confidence.  Instead of pushing myself to accomplish some elusive goal I need to focus on what I can do and how to keep my sanity.  Goals and a mission statement are all well and good but maybe I’m trying to run when I’m barely able to walk.  Perhaps scaling things down, taking baby steps will be more beneficial for me right now.  Beating myself up about what I can’t and haven’t done is pointless and just makes things worse.  I think I need to ease up on myself and focus on feeling better and just finding what joy I can in the day to day things.

How can we better interact with the extraterrestrials? 7 of Fire R + The World R (BoS As Above)

BoS As Above 7 of FireBoS As Above World

Curiouser and curiouser.  The 7 of Fire shows Uranus whom Barbara calls the “Crazy Genius of the Skies”.  She describes this card as symbolizing sudden big changes sometimes accompanied by radical, impulsive behavior.  In Greek mythology Uranus is the primordial sky god whose mating with the earth mother Gaia produce the Titans, the Hekatonkheires and the Cyclopes.  He was eventually castrated and overthrown by his son Cronus (who was in turn overthrown by his son Zeus).  Astrologically, the planet Uranus is considered the planet of rebellion, an awakener and quirky innovator.  Based on this I would have to consider that the 7 of Fire is showing that if we wish to interact with the extraterrestrials in a more effective and positive manner, we first need to change our perceptions and attitudes.  We need to embrace the fact that this might seem silly to some.  It may force us to explore crazy, quirky or innovative creative ways to connect with the energies of the Otherworld.

If the extraterrestrials serve the Dark Goddess and live in a shadowy Otherworld then perhaps their communication style is one we would not recognize as such.  Perhaps that is what has created some of the challenges we’ve hit so far.  We speak different languages and translation is not easy.  We may need to turn our typical approaches on their head in order to understand the extraterrestrials’ message.

The World reversed is a reminder that just because we can’t see these Otherworldly creatures, that doesn’t negate their existence.  Sometimes humanity views itself as the sole ruler and/or savior of the planet.  We are arrogant enough to believe that we can destroy the planet and we can save it.  In reality, I think the Earth will do just fine with or without humanity.  We serve a purpose right now but if we become too parasitic I am confident Mama Gaia will shrug us off like useless fleas.  There are other sentient beings on this planet and our ability to see or interact with them doesn’t impact their reality.  We don’t have to believe in them for them to exist.

Right now our relationship may be unbalanced because we have pushed things too far; taken more than our fair share of the resources.  We can fix this but one of the biggest problems is population growth and there is not easy answer for that.  How does one tell others they cannot reproduce?  That would be almost impossible to legislate or enforce.  If we wish to bring harmony and balance back to the planet, we need to find ways to work with the energies of the elementals, the extraterrestrials, the fairies – call them what you will.  The children of the Dark Goddess, residents of the Otherworld may help us see things from a different perspective.  Perhaps that will enable us to find creative, beneficial ways to heal the planet and our relationship with our fellow inhabitants.

How can I improve my relationship with money? 4 of Swords + Queen of Pentacles R (Hidden Realm)

Hidden Realm 4 of SwordsHidden Realm Queen of Pentacles

The 4 of Swords shows me in lovely detail that I need to stop overthinking these things.  It’s time to relax a little, rest my weary mind and just spend some times enjoying butterflies.  Reality is that no matter how much I worry or try to think of ways to improve this situation there is only so much I can do.  Worrying and becoming stressed over this situation is not going to improve it.  It’s okay to give myself periodic breaks from the worrying.

The Queen of Pentacles reversed puzzled me at first but while discussing it with a friend I realized she’s telling me that I need to re-define how I see prosperity and abundance.  I don’t need to use the typical, consumerist definition (“he who has the most toys wins”).  If I have learned anything from this experience it’s that I can be happy with much less money than I realized.  She embodies the concept of abundance and prosperity; of having enough resources to care for ourselves and others.  That may or may not mean having a wealth of financial resources.

Not having as much excess cash has forced me to become more selective about what I purchase.  I’m not as willing to engage in a bout of retail therapy so the things I acquire are things I really want or need.  I am reducing the amount of “toys” I already have as well as resisting the need to purchase new ones.  I finally realized that all I was doing was using “toys” to distract myself from things that left me unhappy and unfulfilled.  In truth I had been unhappy at my job for a few years before I was finally terminated.  The joy had gone out of it for me.  These two cards remind me that rather than just seeking a way to generate income I need to find something that fulfills me on other levels too.

I’m not going to be happy simply earning a paycheck.  I want to feel that I am contributed to the greater good in some way.  Of course it is also possible that I could find a way to earn money that won’t fulfill this desire but will give me enough free time to achieve that goal in other ways.  In the past I have been able to perform well at jobs that are not very challenging but don’t require much in the way of mental resources, energy or overtime.  Regardless of how this plays out, it’s time to embrace a new standard of abundance in my life and stop worrying about what was lost.

What is next for me? – 4 of Disks R + Witch of Disks (Crone)

Tarot of the Crone 4 of Disks Crone Witch of Disks

Okay so this deck is offering me repeat messages that I may be incorrectly interpreting.  Yesterday I drew the 2 of Disks reversed and the Shadow of Disks – which were exactly the same two cards I drew the day before.  Today I once again drew the Witch of Disks paired with the 4 of Disks reversed.  I drew the Witch of Disks last week as well, although she was reversed in that appearance.

I’m realizing that I need to do some reassessing and reevaluating.  I think yesterday’s Shadow of Disks is a reminder that I need to get back to the bare bones of myself – who I am and what I what to do.  Looking at the Witch of Disks, I think she can help me achieve that goal.

The messages I’m receiving from the Tarot of the Crone seem to be pointing me to the realm of the Dark Goddess.  I realized as I spend time working with that deck that I am very comfortable with that energy and realm although I am not especially drawn to lunar energies.  I am a dark solar being – a black hole sun if you will.  The Lady on the Witch of Disks reminds me of the dark feminine energy portrayed with such power and beauty in the Dark Goddess Tarot.

The 4 of Disks reversed with its image of a 4-poster bed speaks to me of stability and security; the need to have a save place, a home base.  Right now I’m almost a prisoner of the house so it may be safe and stable but it’s not especially enjoyable.  The High Priestess painting hanging above the bed suggests I’ll find more answers by connecting with that energy as well.  I’ll eventually work this out for myself.  It make take longer than I’d like and perhaps the destination won’t be what I initially planned but I get the sense I’ll be pleased with the results.