Normal. What a funny old concept. A weird subject for a tarot blog no doubt, but one I am pulled to muse after a chance comment I read directed at a person who suffers Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
This led me to wonder about the validity of being normal. What is normal? Is it something I myself strive for? Where does it fit in the journey and why is it so precious? Is it something that the tarot incorporates and is it even beneficial? How can being ‘normal’ help us heal and grow and most importantly, does normal align with our own authenticity?
My first stop was of course the dictionary. The Oxford dictionary states: -Conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected. The Cambridge dictionary – ordinary or usual; the same as would be expected. Straight away those definitions bring forward in my mind a couple of tarot cards, and if you are a tarot person, probably for you also. So normal, in the context of the comment in the opening paragraph implied that this person should be just like everyone else!
Conforming, expected, standard, same, ordinary, usual, typical – these are the keywords for ‘normal’. ‘Normal’ is definitely not something that I would ever encourage my own children to strive for, as it seems to involve denying ourselves the right to be undividual, to express our emotion,difficulties or even joy in a way that we see fit from our own truth.
Naturally I ponder while I write, and I can slowly see why the Hierophant jumped out at me while mulling over the subject of normal, and why I haven’t always been fond of him.
Normal is pretty ugly when we observe it for what it truly is. So much of what is ‘normal’ as a society and accepted by the majority as standard defies belief. Chasing wealth, debt beyond our means, worshipping other humans as gods, trying to shape ourselves to be a cardboard cut out of what society deems as ideal.
We elect and follow leaders who do not align with our core values. We ridicule, ostracize and persecute those who look different, believe different things, or live in their own authenticity, those who are not the same as us. This is ‘normal’ – to judge and punish.
We push ourselves beyond our capabilities or compromise our morals to be the same or to fit in, to make money or get ahead. We Minimise our quirks, we lie, and then we allow ourselves to feel inadequate, because we don’t fit in to what someone decided was the suitable space for each of us.
We are ashamed of gentleness and emotion, for feeling and existing. The list goes on and all of this is normal.
Organized religion, politics, sects, gangs, all for us to conform. We all at some stage want to belong and want to fit in to something, to be part of the group standard. Even when we rebel we fall into a typical classification.
The Hierophant card has often been shown to be the card of conforming and following the masses. Just to look at some of the art on some decks it’s instantly visible.
Conforming to a certain degree is a part of our development in becoming well rounded, civilised, educated humans. Without the standards and institutions he represents we would live in a dystopia. Even my idealistic mind knows that in context there is a need for the Hierophant’s order in this world. But layers, those tarot card layers…
If we dig further beneath the layers we can find something much more beautiful.
Just as the High Priestess is the silent voice, the Hierophant speaks aloud, translating to us what we may not understand. It is our decision whether or not we choose to conform to what the masses deem ‘normal’. Often we accept it without even thinking. He offers us the gift of knowledge.
Knowledge and understanding are the most precious gifts our intellects and imaginations can receive. It provides us with a platform to become informed, guides us to seek out further insight and find the right answers for ourselves.
The more we open our minds to knowledge, the more we are able to choose what is right for us and not simply take what is accepted as normal or the standard. It’s like a bit of a double edge. On one hand we can accept what is standard and ‘normal’, or use the Hierophant as a source of learning – which in essence is partly what he should be.
The more we understand on an exoteric level, the more we can decide all by ourselves whether or not we believe that normal is what we truly desire.
For years, I wanted normal. I tried and tried for it and never quite made it. I don’t know when or why I decided that ‘normal’ was not really that great. I even question deep down if anyone truly in their heart is ‘normal’.
Maybe it was when I began to observe the fatigue it bought. Perhaps it was when I realised that it felt empty, false and unnatural and quite frankly unachievable.
The journey of healing does not have room for being ‘normal’. How can we all fit in to the same little box? How can we all be standard and conform to a mold when we are each unique?
The disharmony I feel as I pause at card 5, trying to reconcile this concept of just being normal, having tried so hard for so long to only realise that the normal of the world appears so abnormal to me….
Normal is something that I want to create for myself. If I want to dance in the moonlight once a month butt naked with a crown of flowers on my head – I shall! That is normal. For me!
I will listen to what is presented to me on my life journey. I will consider all that I am taught and shown. Yet I will not go with it because I’m ‘expected to’. I have my own mind, and there is so much more to learn. Not everyone will agree with me or appreciate my ideas, and that is exactly as it should be!