Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Moon - The Feminine Principle

One of the most archaic figures in Greek mythology is Hecate the moon-goddess. She presides over childbirth, magic, death, the underworld, fate and the depth of the unconscious imagination. She has been called The Invincible Queen.

The High Priestess, the Wheel of Fortune and The Moon, all three Major Arcana cards are directly linked.

Hecate embodies the feminine principle of life itself and the three lunar phases reflect her power over heaven, earth and the underworld. It's a card that represents confusion, fluctuation and uncertainty, a trans-personal journey, where a sense of direction and ego are lost and individual boundaries are dissolved.

This scenario describes where I am at right now. at this stage in life as a crone. I'm being tossed along the ocean waves of the unconscious, in what feels like a rather precarious boat. I'm not privy to knowing anything other than I must trust my intuition, to have faith and hope that I'll come safely to shore.

I'm not worried about the destination and have decided to enjoy the journey, come what may.


Saturday, December 3, 2016

Four of Cups - Divine Discontent

In the Four of Cups we see Psyche with her jealous sisters on either side of her who are filling her head with all kinds of negative ideas about her future husband Eros. They're telling her Eros must be some sort of monster if he's made her promise not to look at him when he visit her in the dark of night, regardless of how loving he is. Her sister's ramblings do bring to the surface some of the doubt that Psyche herself is having and is left to contemplate on what to do in order to restore her own sense of stability. She could react with apathy but her love for Eros is too deep to ignore, in spite of her doubt.

If I say to I don't give a rats butt about what others think, that isn't the whole truth. I think we all care what others think to some degree, if we didn't we might be running around naked around the house and even answering the door that way, because  there are of course social norms that we adhere to within reason. 

We like being well thought of and respected, but as the old adage goes, you can't please all the people, all of the time. Inevitably we are not going to be liked by everyone, regardless of who we are, what we do, or how we behave.
Yesterday I went to town with a good friend and the topic of gossip came up. Living in a very rural small community you can be certain there is going to be lots of gossip and talk, some good, some negative. I compare gossip to a silent fart. It might seem innocuous at first. It wasn't actually heard and so no once notices, but then the stagnating effects become apparent, which can be deadly. Something seemingly insignificant at first, can cause some very significant far reaching affects.

I ask myself, why do people gossip or repeat things that may or may not have any portion of truth? I expect there are numerous reasons. We've all gossiped at some time or another and I don't think it's all necessarily  always a hurtful activity, but a very human one, and is a pretty strong indication we are bored with our own lives, and is often referred to as divine discontent. Generally speaking though, I think it's safe to say gossip usually involves the devaluing of another.

My wise mother once told me something that I never forgot. She said when people repeat negative things that other people have said about you, there are three implicit reasons. They are jealous., or get some kind of pleasure in seeing how you react, or they are very insecure within themselves, and in someway it makes them feel better to know someone else is being made to feel less than. This made a lot of sense to me, and I keep it in mind when ever I'm tempted to say something negative about another person. 

If I find myself around those who engage in negative gossip I have to first be very aware that I'm not part and parcel to the same, and as a wise elder once told me, the best response is to say , " Well that's your opinion" and simply walk away. I think this is a good suggestion. However I do think about what was said and why, and whether or not there is an element of truth in the comment. I also ask myself if there is anything constructive I can do about it. Sometimes there is, but if not I'll choose to walk away and try not to get too upset.

My friend that I spent the day with yesterday, concluded that many folks gossip in negative hurtful ways because at some point in their lives they were very hurt, and they carry that with them, and project it onto other people. They're left with that remaining feeling of not belonging, and being an outsider. This makes sense to me, because belonging is the greatest basic need that all human beings share. When this need is left unmet it leads to our divine discontent.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Seven of Swords - Faith

I think this card is one of the darkest in the Mythic Tarot Deck, an always give me a feeling of foreboding. Faith, betrayal, and deception are represented in the Seven of Swords as Orestes scaulks away under the hooded veil of darkness, by the light of the crescent moon. He is unsure and ambivalent about what he is doing.

In life we all come to some kind of a cross roads. Lacking faith and what Orestes is contemplating doing, as a means to an end, is a highly questionable goal, and amorality is not the best choice, because it's really like sitting on the fence, which reminds me of this quote.

 “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”― Edmund Burke

Knowing what Orestes is about to do, makes me wish someone would step in and stop him from making the worst mistake of his life. It is good to know that eventually Athene will come to his defense, later in the Ten of Swords, in spite of what he does, and that there is someone who cares enough to know that even Orestes needs forgiveness.

Having faith in myself, in others and in the God of my understanding is paramount if I'm to avoid betrayal and deception, something we are all capable of doing. It's especially easy to betray and deceive myself with dishonesty and not caring for myself. If I'm honest and loyal to myself, in all likelihood, I will be the same toward others.

Lack of faith is what I see as a cause of so many problems within the world, between human beings, and our relationship to all living things. Our earth is suffering because of our lack of faith, and this is reflected all around us, leaving us very short sighted.

 I am only one person, but my own, personal, individual power through faith should not be underestimated as a way to change myself and my world.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Eight of Swords - What Do I Fear?

A card well chosen for me  today, because I've been feeling a little fearful and a little stuck.

The Eight of Swords shows Orestes who is between a rock and a hard place. He feels like he's damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. In a state of paralysis, with Apollo on his left, who's giving Orestes the evil eyeball and to the left are the three Furies, with their ugly on a ape faces, their bat wings and snake hair. I think we all can  identify with this feeling like we can't move, change our mind or our situation. It's not good.

Fear is something that is present in life, for all of us and manifests itself in so many ways and when we can't make a decision we can feel paralyzed, knowing that whatever we do is going to be problematic for us and might even be perceived as being life threatening us in one way or another. If nothing else it's stressful and anxiety producing.

 At times our fears are natural, realistic, warranted and understandable. Others fears emerge as phobias that we might carry into our adult life from childhood, like fear of the dark, or like me, I had a choking phobia when eating cheese or ice cream, and had a fear of bees when I was a kid. I still have my phobias but have learned to control them.

We can get treatment for phobia and we can choose to avoid situations where they present themselves, or they may lessen with time when we learn strategies to cope. But some problems are more difficult to overcome with out making a decision to do something about it, in spite of our fears. If we choose not to take any action we remain stuck in the quagmire, hobbled by our fear and the situation worsens, effecting almost every aspect of our lives.

 Some of us experience a learned helplessness because we've become dependent or co-dependent on someone else to solve our problems, but this is ineffective in the long term. It's pretty difficult for any one else to help us if we can't help ourselves.

Ultimately we have to make the decision to change what we can for ourselves, face our fears and learn new skills that will help us to cope and hold those fears in check, without letting them control us. Otherwise we are simply spinning our wheels, going nowhere fast.

My experience has been that I had to make friends with my fear. Not to say fear's my new best bud, on no, definitely not but I've learned to make fear work for me. Sometimes this doesn't work, but I know fear is a necessary normal feeling, that will pass and that I need to work with it, instead of against it. I can then hopefully, make a good decision with some discernment in order to make a necessary change. Asking for help from others who have perhaps been through similar circumstance is important because I don't need to solve all my problems in isolation. I've always believed that when I can share a problem with someone else, it lessens my problem by half.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Emperor - The Father Principle

A father figure, The Emperor embodies the mythic All-Father Zeus, the creator of the world. He offers us counsel, guidance, the strength and wisdom of experience. Zeus urges us to rise above the bondage of body and limitations of nature. Both the positive and negative father principle needs to be considered. No one needs a tyrannical father, or mother for that matter. Zeus can be a miserable dude, so safe to say he's not one of my favourite mythic figures.

This Major Arcana card I think is a good reminder to not put all our faith in emperor's new clothes or in any emperor, politicians or human beings. Inspiration comes from truth and creative vision. Creative vision is embodied in the Journey of the Heroine and in our search for wholeness and in re-defining our preconceived  ideas and the principles of both what masculine and feminine means.

The kind of All-Father that I'm drawn to is really an All-Mother but specifically I think of the Sumerian Goddess of the Grape Vine Geshtinanna, who is described by Maureen Murdock author of The Heroine's Journey as being the "new feminine". An ancient mythological story and figure that's so very relevant to the contemporary meaning to our world and our identity as human beings.


Monday, November 21, 2016

The Chariot - Metanoia

I love languages and words. Today I read a great post by a special Rabbi, Brian Meyer, from whom I always learn so much, reading his very insightful and thoughtful blog Religion Outside of The Box. In today's post he explained the meaning of the word Metanoia. There are a number of varying interpretations of the meaning, which is Greek in origin. The meaning I find most appealing is, "a trans-formative change of heart" or "change of mind".

In life we are always facing some kind of decision and but often do need to have a change of mind and heart, asking ourselves questions like, do we go this way or that, is this too much or too little, and sometimes, if not most times it's a real struggle to find our balance.

 I spent the first part of my life out of balance, without enough direction until I came to a crossroads and juncture in the road, where I had to decide which way to go, and to learn how to find balance. The only way I could do this was to make a decision, as a result of a trans-formative change of heart and mind. It didn't happen over night. It was a long process, that wasn't easy.

Driving the chariot is Ares the god of war, embodied in this Major Arcana card. He's, trying to contain the two horses pulling in opposite directions. Ironically Aphrodite, the goddess of love and Ares are very
drawn to one another like ying and yang.

The white and black horses representing the two ends of the spectrum of positive and negative, of good and bad that we all grapple with, and have to find balance in some way, because one cannot exist without the other.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Five of Cups - Attention - The One Cup Left Standing

"Attention, taken to its highest degree, is the same thing as prayer. It presupposes faith and love.
Absolutely unmixed attention is prayer.
If we turn our mind toward the good, it is impossible that little by little the whole soul will not be attracted thereto in spite of itself."

                                                         -Simone Weil
We see here Psyche who is in desperate pursuit of Eros. Their relationship seems to have completely gone off the rails. Psyche has shone the lamp on Eros to reveal what he looked like, after he forbid her to ever do so. However all is not lost. Yes there are four cups knocked over, spilling the contents. However one still remains standing, symbolizing what is left will strengthen and sustain their love for one another, not based on will, but based on attention.

Cups representing emotion, and the Five of Cups being about adversity, loss, regret and bereavement makes this card very poignant in meaning for me today. It's been said , if you don't deal with your emotions, they will deal with you.  But how do we do this?

I've come to an important realization over the past week regarding death, loss and how it's fraught with deep emotion, it effects and how continues to affect me, and knowing what I can and need do about it.

Recently our small rural coastal community lost one of our young people to suicide. It's affected all of us in various ways, and degrees, especially affecting the immediate family and friends.

Our culture doesn't cope well with death, and we keep it at arms length. Most of us have grown up with out the skills of knowing what to do or say to those who are grieving. When we're directly affected by the loss of our loved ones, we're often at a complete loss as to how to cope, experiencing overwhelming fear and trauma resulting in Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, especially if we have had more than our share of tragedy and loss in our lives.

After doing some research on line, I've come to the conclusion my responses to death, are a direct result of my own symptoms of PTSD, having experienced so much loss in my life due to the tragic deaths of loved ones mostly caused by disease. I was really mostly unaware of this, until the past week. I knew my reactions were troubling, disconcerting and probably not normal, but I never consciously attributed them to PTSD. I was mostly left with anxiety, fear and guilt.

I'm relieved to know this, as I can now begin to process and really understand my reactions and feelings that I've been experiencing over the years, and do something about it.

Yesterday I went to see the grandparents of this beautiful young person we lost to suicide. They're both my friends and neighbours. I walked to their house. On the way I became acutely aware of the visceral feelings I was having. Panic, anxiety, pounding heart, all underlined by overall feelings of depression. Regardless and in spite of my feelings, I'd paid close attention to what it was I wanted and needed to do to express my deep sorrow for their loss. Though I was wanting to run away and not go, I continued up the road to see them. I'd made muffins, had a poem in hand and a prayer in my heart, for them, and for myself.
  I felt so much better after our visit and my feelings had dispelled. We cried, talked, laughed and shelled beans from their garden. I know we all felt better.

In 1980 I lost my newly wed young husband at the age of 26 to Brittle Diabetes and drug induced Paranoid Schizophrenia. Bill was two years older than this young person who recently died in our community.

 People might think, that was over thirty years ago when I'd lost my husband, maybe I should be "over" it. It doesn't matter how long it's been. What does matter is how you cope and what other losses happen adding to the complexity of grief and coping skills. My own self-medicating behaviour through the use and abuse of alcohol, only created more confusion and grief. I was lost until I reached out for help and got clean and sober 22 years ago. But just because you've put the cork in the bottle, doesn't mean everything is all better now.

 I remember what a very spiritual man said to me about prayer when Bill died. He talked to me about how prayer is carrying someone in your heart. It's paying attention with faith and love.

 Today I live without the use of alcohol, but cannot live without prayer in my life, both for others and for myself. It's the one cup, left standing, that I paid attention to.