Sunday, January 25, 2009

on feeling stuck

The last week or so I’ve felt an unbearable sense of being stuck as well as a glum feeling that seems to just surround me. This of course is not helped by the oppressive humidity of the season, something my body seems physically unprepared to deal with effectively, and with no respite in sight for at least another week according to the weather bureau. Not that I’m complaining. Logically, I know I have a good life with nothing to feel glum about. And yet, I feel stuck. Everything I started in the New Year, from ideas, to projects, to plans, have all come to a grinding halt. I feel unmotivated to do anything. Even tarot, which is usually the one thing that is a constant, has lost interest for me. I just want to hide away from it all.

I thought perhaps drawing a card might be in order and so I got out my Hanson-Roberts deck. The Fool pretty much jumped out. I’ve no idea what to make of it so I’m just going to start typing and see where it leads me. I’ve included an image below.

To begin I must say that this particular fool in this deck is one of my least favourite ever. The face annoys me. I kind of want to knock him over, but perhaps that’s just my current state of mind. At first when I got this deck I didn’t even notice he had legs and it was almost as if it was some kind of midget fool. This deck incidentally annoys me a lot but it reads so well and particularly when I read for myself, so I’ve decided to overlook the fact that the style of illustration is not to my usual taste. So, back to the Hanson-Roberts fool:

His shirt is red, perhaps indicating that he is grounded, rather than being tied up with ideas and plans. Although the Fool is generally aligned to air, this fool is perhaps more grounded, not that we can see his feet on the ground though. He is looking upward rather than straight ahead. I get a sense that he is looking for a sign from above. His posture would indicate movement and he seems packed ready to go, albeit lightly packed.

I usually associate the fool with the excitement of new beginnings, the ability to leave your cares behind and move forward fearlessly, and to take risks, and this card stay true to most of that sentiment. And yet what a strange card to draw when I’m feeling so stuck and weighed down. Because I didn’t ask the cards ‘what should I do?’ which would have made the Fools appearance understandable, rather I asked ‘why am I feeling so stuck?’ This makes the fool much more confusing to me.

I’m determined to limit my readings to one card only; otherwise I go off from card to card and never get to the bottom of the real meaning/issue. So as tempting as it is to draw another card I will not. What does this fool have to say to me now? Am I stuck because there is no new beginning in the near future? Not really, lots of changes and things happening right now for me. So, am I feeling stuck because there are lots of changes, perhaps too many? Am I trying to resist an inevitable change or an inevitable movement forward? Do I have my head in the air because I don’t want to focus on the reality of the moment? I do tend to go from one thing to the next as often as the wind changes. Perhaps I’m feeling stuck because I’m waiting for some kind of sign. This fool looks upward, not straight out to the future, but upward to the sky, perhaps looking for a sign or some kind of spiritual guidance or connection with the higher self. Is that what he’s moving towards? I’m no symbolism expert but I’m guessing the white rose is somehow linked to pure love, or pure heart. Maybe that’s my issue? I’m not even looking at that (well, the fool in the card isn’t anyway). Maybe I’ve just been wandering aimlessly like the fool for too long. Maybe for me, the risk, or the new beginning, is just to stand still. Maybe my stuck feeling is from feeling like I’m stuck walking around in circles, making the same ‘new’ starts over and over again. Perhaps if I just stop and have a look at where I am, I’ll see a view that I’ve never noticed before and feel a new sense of freedom. Perhaps for me, I don’t need to take a leap at all, instead, maybe I just need to stay still for awhile. Now that is risky.

Incidentally, if I compare this fool to the Fool card in the Celtic Wisdom deck, known as ‘The Soul’, the difference is quite interesting. In the Celtic Wisdom deck the Fool is taking an inner journey. Could this mean that all my ‘busyness’ and constant movement and change, especially my levels of mental activity, is what is proving to be a burden for me. Perhaps the key is to just lie down and take a rest and see what’s here for me now. Perhaps looking upward for a sign or guidance is futile and what I need to do is to slow down and look within.

Friday, January 16, 2009

on writing again

It feels good to be writing again. I know this blog is no masterpiece but just putting my words down into some kind of order feels strangely satisfying. So, I’ve decided to draw a card from the Celtic Wisdom deck to shed some light on this feeling and what might be behind it….

I have drawn the 8 Elopement of Knowledge (8 of Disks). The story linked to this card is that of Ceridwen and her cauldron of wisdom. In order to give wisdom to her less than beautiful son Afagddu she intends to boil the brew for a year and a day and puts Gwion in charge of tending the cauldron. He accidentally tastes a drop from the cauldron and so gains all the wisdom intended for Afagddu. Ceridwen, less than impressed, begins the chase that results in them both changing into a sequence of animals. Gwion becomes a hare, Ceridwen a greyhoud, he a fish, she an otter, he a bird, she a hawk, he a grain of wheat and she a hen. After she ingests him she gives birth nine months later to the poet Taliesin.

Caitlin Matthews, in the companion book, gives the following as the soul wisdom; "For us to attain any mastery in any area of learning, we have to engage and connect with the knowledge already within us." She also asks the question "What needs to be assimilated still?"
Traditionally the 8 of Disks speaks of study or apprenticeship or learning. This is also the divinatory meaning given for the Celtic Wisdom deck. Looking beyond that to the story of Ceridwen and Gwion, I’m interested in how this applies to my current enjoyment of the writing process. It is a story about learning and about transformation but also about applying our wisdom. For me, I see this as saying that I need to be flexible and to adapt to the situation at hand. Perhaps this format of writing allows me to do that. I can work hard at what I’m doing, practice the craft of writing, with the only goal being to gain wisdom and insights. How exciting to know that at the end of the story the great poet Taliesin awaits me.

Still struggling with committing to the Celtic Wisdom deck I decided to draw a card from the Hanson-Roberts as well, seeing as though it’s placing itself as a contender. I drew the Ace of Cups.

I am immediately drawn to the water overflowing from the cup, the open flowers and the bird in the sky. This card gives me a sense of relief. It’s as if I’m able to pour out my emotions with my writing. The bird to me symbolises my intellectual engagement with the process, but if this card is answering my original question as to what lies beneath my joy of writing, I’d say the answer is that it provides me with an outlet for my creativity and emotions. No wonder it feels good.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

on changing my mind

Over the past few days I’ve had a whole sequence of events that has led me to question my choice of the Celtic Wisdom deck for this PDR exercise. It can be a frustrating deck, primarily because the divinatory meanings given seem to have little (or in some cases absolutely no) connection to the story or myth attached to the card. I know the deck probably holds great wisdom and the artwork is divine, but I’m questioning how working with the deck will increase my understanding of tarot in general.

This has raised the issue for me of how often I tend to change my mind about things. I do change my mind A LOT. Where once I saw this a major character flaw, I’m beginning to understand how it can also be a gift. I say ‘beginning’ because for the most part I still see it as a flaw.

I decided to draw a card from the Celtic Wisdom deck to see what might underlie this constant mind-changing I experience. The card I drew was 10 Quest of Battle (10 of Swords). After spending some time with the card I became even more frustrated with the shortcomings of the minor arcana in this deck and now feel like it simply isn’t the right deck for me.

Last night I had a session reading for a friend. I read using the Hanson-Roberts deck and drew one card only. We also looked at her natal chart and astrological transits. The reading was fantastic. I’m no big fan of the Hanson-Roberts deck. I don’t particularly like the artwork, or the whole RWS clone thing, but I have to say it gives me amazing readings. To test it out as a possible contender for the PDR exercise I asked the same question….."What is behind my constant mind-changing?", and would you believe the card that came up was….the Ten of Swords!

Time to start listening I thought. So, in both decks these cards deal with an ending. In the Celtic Wisdom it is the story of rescuing Branwen and the ensuing strife and heartbreak that follows. The general divinatory theme is that the worst has been realised and everything has its season. Now we have experienced the end/pain/death, we can move on and start afresh. The Hanson-Roberts deck image has always been one card in this deck that I do really like. I mean, it’s not a great card to get, but I like how the theme is portrayed.

The first thing I notice when I look at this card is the string of red beads. Three beads remain on the string over the person’s head and one is at the end of the string while the other is loose on the ground. In the very foreground the earth is cracked and it would seem as if the beads could roll into the cracks. Obviously this card deals with the death or end of something. That’s VERY clear. But what remains? The sky is menacing, the tree is spookily bare, we can’t even see the face of the figure on the ground. Now, if I were to enter this card, I’d want to pick up those beads. I have no idea why, but to me they symbolise something. If beads are worn around the neck then perhaps they deal with the throat chakra, our means of expression. And given they are red, then perhaps we are dealing with expressing ourself in a tangible way. So if an idea or an interest of mine ‘dies’ and I choose to move forward, is this card saying I need to pick up what’s left (the knowledge perhaps) and take it with me in my next idea/quest/or whatever I begin?

Maybe the message in this card for me is not to focus on the end or the loss when my interest in something dies, but rather, to hold on to what I’ve got OUT OF that interest and move forward fearlessly knowing with each change I add more beads to the string, creating as time passes a necklace that expresses who I am. So in the interest of becoming interesting maybe it’s actually my ability to take on many and varied interests and ideas that will be what serves me well in the end.

I still need to decide on a PDR deck though, but this time I’m going to do that knowing that I’ll work with it only as long as it feels right, and then I’ll move on.