The fear of letting down our guard – a tarot perspective. 

Minor Arcana - Major Thoughts, The Pondering Chair

A recent reading got me thinking a little about how our experiences shape our perception to the point of caging ourselves up so safely that we limit our ability to move freely and enjoy being able to feel and care without fear.

We guard our hearts and spirits so carefully we forget how to bend and shift with the flow. Somehow our rigid stance becomes the only way we know how to be, and we pine for the days when trust, faith and hope came as naturally as breathing. 

It’s a funny thing the power our mind has over us. It’s sad that scars run so deep that they impact so much on every new relationship or choice we are offered. Part of this is self preservation. Part of this is fear. To be free of the bonds would be the most beautiful thing in the world sometimes. 

The challenge of the 9 of Swords is to understand that not all the threats we see are real. Nightmares wake us and that is the thing – we wake up. Waking up in a metaphorical sense is good. It helps us grow and gain awareness. 
Differentiating between the imagination and reality can be tricky when we have worked hard to find safety and healing. We fear risking that again. How can we live a life that is full and joyous if we remain a prisoner of our fears, or in our self made little cocoon. We cannot. 

The only way forward is in small measures. A little way, pause and check, then a little way more. If this gets us moving in the direction of freedom, light and love – the very thing we were born to have – then so be it. 

Little by little, ever so patiently moving out into the world. Each step a success in it’s own right. Yes, the scars will always be there. But that heart still beats. Maybe one day without even realising it, the safety guard might be lowered enough to allow that spirit to be fully part of something breathtaking, with enough trust to feel safe. No longer constantly assessing for danger and threats. 
Then you will have become the master of your own heart, rather than the gatekeeper. I look forward to that day. Very much! 


Aching – can it help us? 

Consciousness, Minor Arcana - Major Thoughts, Tarot Thoughts, The Pondering Chair

Sometimes I think we need to ache a little to find out who we truly are. We become so layered with sheets and sheets of who we are supposed to be, what we are supposed to be doing, how we are supposed to act, speak, think and feel that the true essence of our being becomes concreted over with these layers and layers of thin cement of conforming and adapting and fitting in.

Our soul and spirit becomes uncomfortable with this. It becomes itchy, and for some of us we cannot ignore this itch so we begin to pick at the layers here and there. Then the open areas become inflamed and sore. An infection begins and starts to fester. Naturally we begin to hurt. The hurting spreads into our system and our lives begin to become uncomfortable. We cannot pinpoint the exact reason or source, yet we just know something is terribly wrong and we don’t know how to heal it.

By this time we have started to strip back the layers. Usually not one by one, because we are not aware that we have gradually built them up. We don’t even know they are there! That is being unconscious. If we are slowly waking to consciousness we may have stirrings of this, and we can gently peel them back or chip away with a delicate chisel. This is a painful process. The being underneath is raw and vulnerable. It has not seen the light in a long time.

Each layer is built as a defence mechanism, as an aspect of acceptability in a world of being ‘normal’ and part of the crowd. The uniqueness that is you underneath all of this is something that started to be covered over as a young teenager. Yet here you are, at a pivotal point in life, so miserably unhappy. What is the point of all this? Who am I? Where did it all go wrong? Why is everything so hard? I’m so over it all. How can I be happy? If only….

There is no real if only. There is only now. There is only facing up to reality that underneath all this pain and sadness is a human who is lost beneath layers of inauthenticity and conforming to ideals that don’t feed the soul.

We need to experience the pain to find the source. We need to ache to know things are not right. There are no quick fixes or magical cures. We must deal with each chunk of our non authentic self before we can become reacquainted with our true and beautiful core. The core that is made up of dark and light.

The process is not pain free. But it is liberating. As the armour gets lighter, our spirit lifts a little more each time. We will hover and rise up, and fall down a little over and over for a time. That is part of it. But that is movement – much better than wallowing and stagnating in a boggy pond.

The process to strip and chip away at the layers of conforming and masking our authentic selves is not for the faint hearted. When we are hurting there is usually a reason. It is a signal from our amazing body telling us something is not right. This is no different when our spirit and soul is crying out. I wonder why we do not acknowledge this more often?

Just a thought.

Much love, Tess xo

The 10 of Cups – Happy Ever After. 

Minor Arcana - Major Thoughts, The Pondering Chair

I have been wondering about this 10 of Cups. In the reality of the world we live in, is this image even attainable in a permanent way? I don’t think it is in the way we as humans think so. We chase after it, boy do we chase after it! I’ve always looked at some of the depictions and thought wow, that’s a bit dreamy and perfect, I want that. But of course it never pans out. At least not in the way I imagine it. And therein lies the problem. We, as imperfect, changeable beings, living in an imperfect world, with all the other imperfect changeable beings want perfection. 
It is kind of destined for a few hiccups before we even begin, yet we still hold fast to the storybook ending. We don’t realise that an ending is in fact the end. Over. But, if we are blessed enough to be given the gift of continuing our life’s journey we can  realise that happily ever after is really a state of heart and mind and not that elusive picture of perfection. It is not happiness we need, it is inner peace. 
I have been pondering further what brings inner peace. 
1. Gratitude. A grateful heart. We can have everything in the world and still want more, or we can have very little and feel like the most blessed person on earth. It comes down to our perspective. 
2. Compassion. It is so easy to judge others, especially when we feel self righteous or better morally or socially. We might think our choices and decisions are smarter, wiser, more thoughtful. Perhaps we feel we do more and give more, our children are better behaved and so on. When we judge others and measure them against ourselves and vice versa we lack compassion. Without it, how can we truly find peace and happiness? 
3.  Forgiveness. Each of us has the power, and the ability to hurt each other through our words, actions, deeds and sometimes inconsiderate behavior, even at times without realising it. And each of us can not say we haven’t at some stage done this. Holding on to anger, hate, disappointment and negative feelings and thoughts cannot provide our soul and heart with a positive environment to flourish and be light. Working hard to release old wounds can do much to help us in finding lasting peace and happiness. 

4. Love! Love of the earth, love of others, and self love. Self love is a hard one. A really hard one! I truly believe that without working on this part, we won’t ever find lasting contentment. We can be very cruel to ourselves, more cruel than we realise. To accept that we are authentic, and valuable. To realise that our own voices, hearts and minds matter and we are worthy is another key to finding true and lasting happiness. 
There are many other aspects to finding a happy ever after that is real and lasting. We think more often than not that it is an external ideal of something we have pictured or planned. Once we can get past the idealised happy scene – the one that is just a moment in time – and discover that happiness and more importantly inner peace comes from our own essence, we can actually find it and keep it with us.  
So there is more for me to the 10 of Cups than just a few moments of happiness now when I see it in passing. I just love how the cards inspire me to ponder on more than just the moment of the reading. I’m very grateful for that. 🙂 I learn so much. XX

Feeling a transformation – the Death Card in action

Tarot Thoughts

Have you ever felt something within you brewing so deeply- a major shift on the horizon? This has been simmering within me for a little while. Knowing something is going to transform, yet not knowing what, why or how. It might sound kooky, whacko or a little too way out, but part of this transformation is accepting that I may indeed come across that way at times and quite frankly it doesn’t affect my sense of self respect one tiny bit!

I cannot explain why this shift has occurred. I don’t know if it’s the years and months of hard work on healing the lifelong scars of self disgust or if it’s the looming milestone birth year anniversary. All I know is it feels liberating, exhilarating and finally at the point of accepting that I am perfectly okay being the amazing miracle I am, just as every other being on this planet and beyond is!!

I wanted to express this experience in the most articulate and accurate way possible, with the passion and emotion I am feeling. And so, I turned to my deck and asked for guidance on how to best share insight into this major shift. Death! Oh my excitement when this card turned over. How absolutely perfect.

The moment of finality. The ultimate ending to something that is no longer healthy or able to continue on it’s earthly path. The beauty of this symbolic death is that there is a lifetime of lessons, memories, experiences. Death in the tarot is not to be feared. It is to be celebrated! Sometimes when something dies, there is absolutely no question that it will bring about benefit for the greater good as it breaks down and returns to source.

The Tarot of Trees shows an old tree that has been chopped down. This tree was useful and beautiful whilst it lived, but now it will go on to be recycled into timber for other uses. The leaves will decompose for nutrients in the ground and perhaps a new tree might one day grow in it’s place. We can mourn the loss of the tree, but life goes on around it.

My shift is a bit like this tree. I have felt like I have lost my purpose and way for several years. Slowly losing the lush vitality I once enjoyed. As the bubbling has come up to the surface and the old me has been slowly chopped down, this moment of Death is a welcome relief. I am excited for what may now become my repurpose.

The leaves I have shed will feed the soil for a while to come and the seasoning of the wood will take time. The transformation will be an experience I’ve never known, but I am ready to receive. This symbolic death cannot be undone. It is scary, it is permanent, but there is light and there is hope.

I don’t care what others think of me anymore. I’m not afraid of stepping into my authenticity wholly and fully. If something doesn’t feel right, I say no. If it needs to be expressed, I will express it. It’s like waking up to find out that It’s  okay to be exactly who I am, negative traits and all – and I need no one’s approval or permission.

It is perfectly fine to forgive, feel compassion and sometimes feel all the emotions that make up being human. To be angry is to show wounds that need healing. It is not defective to live and to learn. It is part of the whole process. To be totally ok with who and what we are, from the depths of our being, whether we are where we want to be or only halfway there makes no difference. We are each where we are supposed to be right in this moment.

So this shift, this change, it feels good. It feels a little unfamiliar, yet nothing can go back to how it was and that is the nature of the symbolic death. 

The World – nearing completion. 

Consciousness, Major Arcana, Tarot Thoughts, The Pondering Chair

The final card in the Major arcana or so it is often said. I suppose looking from the perspective of enlightenment or a storytelling kind of view then yes, it kind of fits well. But we aren’t generally living life in sequence of the cards assigned numerical order, and completion is a tall order for any of us. There is usually more finality in the Death Card or The Tower. The World card brings us to the peak – the culmination, blending all of what is good together. But this is temporary, much like anything else we experience. 
How do we know that the Fool in card zero is not the result of The World. After all, he is at the peak of a cliff, is he setting off? Or has he arrived? Round and round. Or is it on and on until we are but dust? 

The World card is where we are ready to begin again. Drawing from all our experiences, an opportunity to start fresh in a way. Let what is gone go and embrace what is coming. This leads me to reflect on what is so special about the distant memories many hold on to. I find these days that I don’t enjoy musing too long on what has been. It doesn’t serve me. It does not enhance my present moment. I realise more and more that all we truly have that is precious is this moment we are living in right now. 
I don’t find that looking forward too far is useful either. It takes so much away from this time of now.  Each journey is what it is. When I am at the final position thinking “yes! I made it, here I am!!”, it soon becomes clear that the adventures of this lifetime, perils and all begin anew, or maybe just continue like the next chapter in a saga.
I was reading something as usual that fits in well with my thoughts. It was a summary of the I-ching hexagram 64, ‘Nearing Completion”, The final hexagram in the Book of Changes. This summary spoke of nearing the peak, the effort it has taken with that goal in sight,only to finally see that you still have to descend down the other side. I loved that description. Life is very much like that. We are never quite where we imagine we should be to be happy completely and permanently.
We allow our spirit to be so eaten up by things that drain us. Thinking it will be over soon if only this or when such and such. I don’t want my precious moments to be filled with anxiety and stress over poverty, physical ailments and self pity. Perhaps using those emotions to motivate me to help others and give more is better than bemoaning my own lack and self absorbed issues. 
The World in a literal sense is something so much bigger than the self.  Perhaps sometimes by the time we reach that part of our journey we see that it’s not just about us, or our tiny little self created ‘world’.
The essence of spirituality is about caring for others, human, animal, earth, sky.. you get what I mean. It’s universal love and compassion. It’s not easy, especially when we believe we have always given. Or even that we have nothing to give. We can be very judgmental and selective without even realising it. Or we can look at ourselves and think we are so lovely. We might be, but then again we may only be in certain circumstances or in certain circles. Sometimes our motives have not been understood wholly by ourselves or entirely truthful. It’s possible. 
The ability to reflect on who we are, in every way, how we think, what our ego voice says – and do it in a brutally honest way too, that’s harsh. Yet it’s part of maturing and adjusting in line with who we authentically want to be and are meant to be. That might be part of this peak moment. Who knows. 

The 4 of Pentacles – Consider letting go a little.

Minor Arcana - Major Thoughts, Tarot Thoughts, The Pondering Chair

The 4 of Pentacles is a card in the deck that can mean so many different things depending on position and context. Four is a stable number, prompting the idea of structure, solid foundations, security, focus, and even balance. One just needs to briefly consider the 4 points of a compass, the 4 seasons, even the basic 4 legs of a chair or 4 walls of a house. We as humans are even blessed with 4 limbs to assist us in moving and doing.
To me 4 is the representative of safety in a way. This safety can be detrimental to flourishing and growing. A friend and peer quite a while back spoke of the fortress like design of the 4 of Disks image in the Thoth deck and how the figure in the Waite-Smith deck could easily fit right at home in the middle of that fortress. That comment struck me deeply and I had to see it, and it truly gave me further insight into the aspects of the 4 of Pentacles that opened my perception wider.  

Traditional meanings aside, the 4 of Pentacles can at times show us we are holding on far too tightly to what we have, and not necessarily possessions and money – perhaps our physical situation. The idea that we need to address this grip we have on staying in this position, staying ‘safe’ because it’s ours, and we have toiled to get here is ludicrous when the reality is that what is protecting us will become our prison and our isolator if we allow it. 
Holding on hard to what we have logically means that we are not able to reach out for anything new and healthy – our hands and our minds and our hearts are too focused on guarding what, in the end we will have to let go of as we exit this realm anyway. 
I cannot see much joy in this image. I cannot see that it is comfortable to remain in this position for a long long time – and yet many of us spend our lives like this. Too frightened to let go of the edge and float.
Some delude themselves into believing those golden coins are the most precious thing in existence. Others delude themselves that the fortress will protect them from the world. Then there are those who have been shattered and now guard everything so closely.
Nothing is permanent, and we can only remain in the same position for so long before we begin to ache. Is it truly worth it out of fear and the need for security, which is an illusion anyway? 
It might get quite lonely guarding what we think is at risk constantly. Is it truly that dodgy out there that we forsake so much else? How can something that means so much to us that we are willing to sit so tight, to never let go a little, bring us peace and love and light? 

Get out there and live it authentically and beautifully. In a flash it will be over and the only thing that will matter is how well you loved. 

Judgment – Cause & Effect

Major Arcana, Tarot Thoughts, The Pondering Chair

Cause and effect. The story of our life. A morning layout of cards synchronised with a book I’ve started reading in the rather roundabout but usual way that these things occur. 
It was a connection between where I was and where I am and why, and how I can get past the repercussions of this cause and effect in a way. 
Judgment was the final card in the layout, one of those big impact cards that can really shift our mindset and perspective in many ways. It is the card that reminds me to always take stock of things and be truly honest with myself for the highest good of all concerned. 

We can fool ourselves and our egos, easy peasy, but our inner self, the real us – never! 
There is often an inner conflict or turmoil prior to self cleansing and purifying. A battle between how we feel we got here and how things came about, and the honest side of knowing that our own choices led us to where we are and what resulted. The consequences can affect us for an extraordinarily long time. This is assessing the cause and effect. 
It’s come to light in pondering and spending a while with Judgment that healing and rising cannot take full flight until we have come to terms with, and accepted this actuality for what it is, beyond the details and intricacies. Perhaps acceptance of what and where and how and why is the final key to moving forward into resurrection? 
The petty conflict that rages within ourselves wastes hours and days. The battling eats up our joy and sparkle. It has no purpose but to feed our ravenous egos and fuel our bitterness. 
Perhaps, in reality, we are where we are because we decided to do such and such, followed by such and such. Before we could blink those choices led us to make more choices and more choices. Every action has its reaction. This is judgment. Facing up to what is and looking it in the eye. 
We cannot hide from what is. We can fool ourselves and pretend. That is where we get stuck in the cycle of never healing and growing. Until we accept cause and effect, for whatever is eating away at our spirit, we will not rise and be reborn. Our purpose will remain hidden, our path blocked, our spirit heavy. Nothing will heal and nothing will grow.