17 – The Star

17 - The Star

Please note that this series of interpretations is intended to assist specifically in personal healing and shadow work. There are many incredible websites that offer traditional meanings and correspondences. I am not a mental health professional; these are my personal reflections and experiences that I hope you will find helpful.

The Star is a beautiful card to follow the challenges in The Devil and the turmoil in The Tower. Full of optimism and hope, The Star renews our faith and reminds us that things can turn around. This card brings us gentle yet thorough healing, reinvigorates us after upheaval, and provides a positive shift in our energy. If you have found yourself dwelling in a dark place, know that the star sheds light that can be trusted to find your way out.

This card represents higher understanding and provides an opportunity to step into our authenticity. Sometimes this can involve a spiritual discovery or interest in the divine. The imagery in the card often has a female figure with one foot in the water and one foot on land which symbolizes our involvement in both the physical and spiritual world.

In contrast to the incessant negativity in the media, The Star reminds us of the good things happening all around us. This is a card for the dreamers and symbolizes those individuals in our lives who manage to bring their light to everyone despite what they are navigating in their own lives. It is the wishes made on shooting stars, the coins tossed into the fountains, and the dandelion fluff blown into the breeze. 

Do you recall any wishes you made as a child? Perhaps some of them have come true! When was the last time you laid out under the stars? We don’t often take time for that in our busy lives, but it can bring us back to ourselves in such a healing way. Do you have a favorite constellation? I invite you to take some time to tap into that child-like wonder and spend some time under the night sky. If you wish, try drawing, painting, or journaling the things that come up for you. Return to hope.

“It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”
― Anne Frank

“They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.”
― Tom Bodett

Until our paths cross again…

 

 

 

 

 

16 – The Tower

16 - The Tower

Please note that this series of interpretations is intended to assist specifically in personal healing and shadow work. There are many incredible websites that offer traditional meanings and correspondences. I am not a mental health professional; these are my personal reflections and experiences that I hope you will find helpful.

Have you ever experienced a sudden, abrupt change in your life that shattered your reality, or your illusion of reality? Enter, The Tower. When a Tower phase enters your life, you will likely not see it coming. It will come quickly, out of nowhere, and dismantle things. While upheaval is not always a negative experience, The Tower tends to prepare us for an unpleasant surprise.

The art in this card does not tend to vary much. We see lightning striking a tall building with a crown at the top. The structure is crumbling and there are two figures leaping presumably to their death.  Even though the tower is crumbling and things seem quite dramatic, there is a strong, stone foundation at the base which remains unshaken. The Wild Unknown, as pictured here, uses nature in its depiction, as it does throughout the deck.

The fire resulting from the lightning is symbolic. We are aware of the damage and destruction fire can bring, but fires can also be generative! In the wake of forest fires, certain species of trees germinate and thrive. This is the gift of The Tower: an opportunity to take root and flourish. In this way, The Tower can be seen as an awakening. There are symbols in this card, such as the yodh, which indicate divine guidance, a hand from a higher power. These events are not random, but an integral part of your story!

The message with The Tower is: things are about to shift in a very big way. This card brings a shattering of illusions. It may be unpleasant at the time, but it is actually a sacred gift! This rough patch informs us of the aspects of our life that did not have a sound foundation. With this, we can rebuild in a way that will support our growth. 

Consider a time in your life when things suddenly seemed to be collapsing around you. If you are currently in the midst of something like this, consider going farther back. How did you feel at that time? Which aspects of your life were affected? This might be a good time to challenge yourself with a messier, more tactile craft than you are used to. Perhaps you can use a mix of acrylic paints and collage techniques (fingerpainting as an adult can be incredibly satisfying). Grab images that remind you of a chaotic time in your life and make a mess of it! Allow yourself to sit with the feelings that come up, but also allow them to pass out of you, into the paint, and onto the paper. Once you are satisfied, take a moment to think of all of the positive things that have come into your life because of this event. Perhaps you lost a job that you were certain was a good fit, but find yourself now in a much more satisfying position. Could it be that the dissolution of a marriage ended up freeing you to follow a passion? Maybe something that you desired in your life did not manifest, which made room for something greater. Spend time with these positive outcomes. If you feel ready, thank the challenging event for the lesson it brought to you,  release it, and continue building on your solid foundation. 

“Most people want to be circled by safety, not by the unexpected. The unexpected can take you out. But the unexpected can also take you over and change your life. Put a heart in your body where a stone used to be.”
― Ron Hall

“Many people pray to be kept out of unexpected problems.
Some people pray to be able to confront and overcome them.”
― Toba Beta

Until our paths cross again…

 

 

 

 

 

15 – The Devil

15 - The Devil

Please note that this series of interpretations is intended to assist specifically in personal healing and shadow work. There are many incredible websites that offer traditional meanings and correspondences. 

Culturally, The Devil is known by several names. In many traditional tarot decks, he appears as Baphomet, the Horned Goat of Mendes. The Devil is a multi-faceted card representing the lower-vibrational habits and detrimental behaviors that we can fall into. Depending on your religious upbringing, the image of The Devil may create fear and unease within yourself. In truth, Baphomet represents our baser instincts and acting on impulses, rather than being a symbol of inherent evil.

In many depictions, Baphomet perches over a man and woman who have chains around their necks. They appear to be enslaved and attached to the Devil’s perch, but the chains around their neck are loose–they have the power to remove the chain whenever they wish. This reminds us that we are capable of falling into voluntary enslavement. This is evident when we feel victimized in a situation where we have more power than we are exerting. Power imbalances are often suggested with this card.

The Devil warns us about taking hedonism to an unhealthy level. While some people can indulge in alcohol or chemical substances occasionally, these can quickly become a recurring, unhealthy habit. While these addictions are often the first that come to mind, The Devil encompasses all habits that do not serve our highest good. This could be gossip, self-defeat, dishonesty or any of the behaviors that cause us to feel shame in knowing that we can do better.

The Devil is a snapshot of the bondage we may have to the crudest, most visceral aspect of our human nature. On the positive side, the Devil acknowledges the animalistic nature we all have within and can be a wonderful shot of adrenaline to our sex life, but as with all things The Devil brings to the party, we must watch for things going too far.

The Devil drops us face-to-face with our shadow self. There is no finessing our truth here. If you have not seen the unforgettable Ted Talk Brene Brown does on shame, I highly recommend it. From a very young age, we are constantly informed of which behaviors are acceptable and because our very survival depends on these adults around us, we bury parts of ourselves that are not deemed appropriate. These rejected aspects of ourselves sneak out in our adult life to bite us, and those around us,  in unexpected and sometimes shocking ways. We are unaware of their existence and it is only through gently healing and integrating those rejected shadow aspects that we can fully evolve. Until then we continue to project and fault those with the qualities we dislike about ourselves without realizing it. Our shadows can also hold the repressed ideas, instincts, impulses, desires, perversions, and embarrassing fears that we do not show the world. 

It should be stated that shadow work should only be attempted when we are in a healthy mental state. It can be incredibly triggering. It can and will bring us back to traumas that shaped the person we have become. Ideally, this process would be facilitated by a professional., however, if you are attempting this work on your own, please check in with yourself consistently and make sure you are safe and well. Remember The Wheel of Fortune: if your mood dips and you need to take a break from this work it is okay. There will be brighter, stronger days that will allow you to resume your healing path.

Shadow work is an incredibly trying process and it is a life-long commitment, but if we want to fully realize our potential, it is vital. We all deserve to bring our entire selves–our broken, messy, wonderful selves–to the table.  We all have amazing and exceptional gifts that could be exactly what someone else needs. When we stifle these, we are doing a disservice to ourselves and to those whose lives we have the potential to change. So often we discount the value that comes with our own unique perspective.

The easiest and least invasive way to begin shadow work is by paying attention to negative responses and limiting beliefs. For example, if you meet someone who rubs you the wrong way because they seem loud, arrogant, and rude. The hardest thing to accept is that the qualities that bother us most in others are often reflections of unhealed parts of ourselves. Take some time at the end of the day to reflect, and possibly journal, reactions you had that were unpleasant. See if you start to notice a trend. These rejected parts of our inner world will continue to rear their heads until we learn the necessary lessons.

Because of the delicacy of shadow work and the intense vulnerability it requires, I invite you to explore activities and journal prompts that speak to you. The work I have done is specific to my needs and may not be helpful. I will provide some links below which may or may not resonate with you. 

This is a beautiful article on our shadow selves.

Here is a comprehensive guide to shadow work.

“Every pain, addiction, anguish, longing, depression, anger or fear
is an orphaned part of us
seeking joy,
some disowned shadow
wanting to return
to the light
and home
of ourselves.”
― Jacob Nordby

“People who cease to believe in God or goodness altogether still believe in the devil… Evil is always possible. And goodness is eternally difficult.”
― Anne Rice

Until our paths cross again…