True Courage and the Power of Your Inner Wildness

Strength from the Druid Craft Tarot

Strength from the Druid Craft Tarot

Strength is the 8th card of the Major Arcana and traditionally depicts a young woman with her arms around a lion.  This Druid inspired deck depicts a boar instead of a big cat, but in both cards the symbol is one of tamed power.  The lesson of this card is about merging with and harnessing the feral aspects of one’s soul and making friends with that wildness.  The message it brings is: Your strength lies in your ability to have faith, let go, and work from the inside out rather than the outside in.  Strength lies in authenticity and honesty with yourself and others.  It’s time to stop playing roles for other people.  It’s time to start moving through the world with solid, grounded footsteps, taking good care of your body, being very truthful with yourself and wide awake with your emotions.

When you tap into the powerful, fiery energy of Strength, you feel courageous.   Your passions come alive and you have everything you need to see them through ~ not because you’re working hard to create that force, but because you are harmoniously allowing it to flow through you.  Ultimately it teaches that true strength lies in wholeness, and the way to wholeness is through gentle self-compassion.

How does this wildness show up?  In the negative, it shows up when we’re weak-willed, numbed-out, or addicted ~ that’s when it’s ruling us.  In the positive, it brings about passion and inspiration ~ that’s when we’re in harmony with it.  The Strength card is about realizing that we need to be awake and aware of what is going on in our physical bodies, emotional bodies, mental and spiritual bodies.  It’s time as Mary Oliver puts it, “… to let the warm animal of your body love what it loves.”  This will lead you right into knowing where you belong in the “family of things” {from the poem “Wild Geese”}.  Strength wants us to integrate all our scattered pieces through deep and abiding self-compassion.  You don’t tame the beast by beating it down ~ you tame it through love and acceptance. 

Let the crisp cold air of winter help you wake up and notice where you’ve been checking out.  Let your honest and authentic self be what shows up in the world.  Strength is about reclaiming self-esteem and channeling that energy into your true passions.  When you’re embodying this lesson you won’t have to go to battle, defend yourself, and fight to be strong.  You’ll know that your strength resides in your authentic nature.  You have accepted and lovingly tamed the parts of you that seemed wild, unacceptable, or out of control by loving them ~ a truly bold and courageous act.

Here’s a checklist to help you check-in with your 4 bodies:

˜       Physical Body:  Are you rested?  Do you have aches and pains?  Do you need to eat better, get more exercise, or maybe slow down a bit?  Check in.  The first thing you think of is the place that needs your attention.

˜       Emotional Body:  What are you feeling?  If you feel sad and need to cry then allow the tears to flow ~ your spirit is asking for cleansing.  If you’re angry, take a look at your boundaries and imagine sending fiery energy into a bright protective barrier all around your body.  Notice how you’re feeling and sit with that emotion so the energy can be released.

˜       Mental Body:  Are you scattered, confused, or locked in a noisy inner world of endless mind chatter?  Are you processing too much information?  Do you need to rest mentally or do you need to learn something new to stoke the fire of your inspiration.   Take a moment and just breathe slowly.

˜       Spiritual Body:  Do you feel overwhelmed or inspired?  Do you feel like you can trust life or are you frozen?  What does your spirit need most right now?  Rest, movement, creativity, silence… whatever you think of first is your answer.

Your Greatest Creative Tool: Choice

The Seven of Cups from the Golden Tarot. Painted stones by Jennifer Currie

The Seven of Cups from the Golden Tarot. Painted stones by Jennifer Currie

This morning I pulled The Seven of Cups as inspiration for today’s post, and I have to confess that this card is close to my heart in a love/hate sort of way.  First I’ll tell you why I love it.  The Seven of Cups is about dreams, imagination and the realm of possibility.  There is an expansive quality to it and all kinds of options are available when this card shows up.  It’s about feeling your way through life and keeping all the creative options open. This card invites you to explore your dreams without editing and restricting them.  It asks you to trust and allow whatever it is you discover.  For me this has always been a natural and fun process.  I love the dreaming phase of any project when I can just let my imagination flow and enjoy the experience.  All of this is great and a very necessary part of any creative endeavor.  But here’s where the down side can come in, and it’s also a big part of the message of this card.  Sometimes it can be so much fun to live in that realm of possibility and imagination that we just don’t want to leave.  When this happens we may find ourselves getting caught in a dreamy, ungrounded cycle where nothing is actually happening.  All those dreams are beautiful but they never come to be because we’ve chosen to stay in the clouds and haven’t brought them down to earth.  Our visions stay in the realm of the imagination and are little more than mirages.  Sometimes the down side of this card can show up as scattered energy.  False starts and distractions can keep us running in circles because we’re overwhelmed by the expansion.  In this case there are too many possibilities, and we don’t know what to choose, so we try to do a little of everything, or we’re afraid to make a choice so we just check out.  We tell ourselves that we’re just waiting, but we’re really just choosing to stay stuck.  Either way… nothing happens and the time just passes while we sit in the clouds.

Both of these scenarios came to mind when I pulled this card, but the message from spirit and the antidote to a Seven of Cups conundrum was right in front of me when I placed the card on my altar to photograph it. The painted stone with Lao Tzu’s wisdom was sitting right there like a neon sign pointing an arrow: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”  Of course I painted the quote on that rock to help remind me of this on those Seven of Cups kind of days (I love these little synchronicities).  The message here is that whether you’re taking a much needed trip to the realm of possibility or you’ve gotten trapped there, you’ve got to come down out of your head and take the first step toward your goal.  Often that first step is making a choice.

I heard Law of Attraction teacher, Bob Doyle, in an interview recently say that, “Indecision is a form of self torment.”  Can you relate?  I certainly can, and that down side of the Seven of Cups can often feel exactly like this.  It’s a form of struggle, and we’re fighting ourselves.  We may even feel like we don’t have a choice simply because we’re looking for a path that won’t rock the boat, make anyone uncomfortable, or be too challenging.  What we have to remember is that our power to choose is our greatest creative tool.  I know that I have often felt stuck simply because I was afraid of making the “wrong” choice, but I’m learning all the time that it’s better to make a bold choice, gain something from the experience and then choose again than it is to remain in the realm of possibility so long that nothing happens.  It’s the trap of escapism, and there are lots of tragic stories through history of wasted talents and gifts.  The Seven of Cups is a reminder to actively use our power to choose because when we’re able to receive the gifts from the realm of possibility and then bring those inspirations into tangible form through our choice and actions…. well, that’s what we’re all here to do.  That’s being in alignment with your spirit.

So what is the Seven of Cups saying to you?  It could be asking you to expand your realm of possibilities and entertain your imagination.  Sometimes we get into ruts that numb us to the beauty of life and deaden our intuitive and creative perceptions.  If you’re feeling uninspired, bored or just plain blah your spirit may be calling you to choose to relax and dream a little.  Or you might be lost in a whirl of visions always thinking about what you could do or might do without really taking any action.  You may feel scattered and have anxieties about looming deadlines or unfulfilled dreams.  Either way… make a choice and know that you can always make another choice and another.  You are a powerful creative spirit, and you’re never truly stuck.

What Does Your Inner Child Need?

The Six of Cups from The Wildwood Tarot and The Gateway to the Divine Tarot

The Six of Cups from The Wildwood Tarot and The Gateway to the Divine Tarot

Are you feeling overwhelmed these days?  Maybe you’re keeping track of baseball schedules, music lessons, your job, meals, volunteer work, etc… and then there are the errands.  You’ve got emails to return, permission slips to sign, and every time you see one of your family members they remind you of something they need you to do.  There aren’t enough hours in the day to get it all done and everything feels too important to let go.  You drop into bed exhausted and have trouble falling asleep because now your head is filled with the bills you need to pay and the little things you forgot to do…. you’re exhausted and finally fall asleep (or not) knowing that you’ll get up tomorrow and do it all again.  It’s exhausting just writing about it, much more, living it.

If this, or some version of it closely resembles your life on a consistent basis, then The Six of Cups is really speaking to you and here’s the message:  You need to hit the “reset button” by giving your Inner Adult a break and entertaining your Inner Child.  Of course, your Inner Adult may be reading this and saying, “Absolutely impossible,” but that’s what our Inner Adults do – especially when they are in high gear.   The Six of Cups reminds us that a healthy person needs to maintain a balance between both Inner Child and Inner Adult.  Our Inner Adults help us stay grounded, make good decisions, and work towards goals.  Our Inner Children keep us inspired, playful, and content.  We can be irresponsible, ungrounded and chaotic if our Inner Children are constantly in charge, and our lives can get equally messy, colorless, and uninspiring when our Inner Adults are running the show.  It’s like the Von Trapp children from “The Sound of Music” – if your life feels a little bit like those marching kids in their uniforms answering to the Captain’s whistle, then you need a little music, creativity and fun to reunite you with your heart – home to your absolutely adorable and loveable Inner Child.  You need your version of Fraulein Maria to come in and spice things up a bit…. and if you’re not familiar with these “Sound of Music” references you might start by watching this classic movie (singing about your “Favorite Things” is guaranteed to make you feel sillier, freer, and a lot better : )

This is really the message of The Six of Cups…. to reconnect with your heart and transform your Inner Adult from a cold task master back into a loving parent.  The first step is doing something that feels good to your starved Inner Child.  This might mean that you need to take a break and completely change the channel for a few hours or it might mean that you need to approach what you’re already doing with fresh eyes and a lighter step.  For example, this weekend my Adult felt that we needed to clean out the barn/garage.  It was overdue and had grown into a huge task.  As we began the process my partner, Joel, was anxious.  He knows that when I go into “high gear” things can get pretty tense, but I had already been reminded during the week that I needed to slow down, pace myself and find the fun in the process.  Keeping this in mind…when I found the old hula hoop I took a few minutes to try it out.  I let my creative spirit enjoy the treasure hunt aspect of going through old things that I had forgotten about.  We talked about ideas for our yard as we worked side by side and played music the whole time.  We stopped at regular intervals, got drinks of water, admired our handy work and had snacks.  We let our Inner Adults take good care of us while we worked, and we let our Inner Children have some fun.  All in all, we got through the whole process without bickering and the task was complete by the end of the weekend.  Suddenly a huge weight was lifted.

I’ve tackled jobs like this many times over the years and they haven’t gone anything like this, so I’m not trying to paint a picture of perfection here… we were grateful and surprised by the experience!  What I do want to point out is that sometimes our Adults go overboard.  We become so fixated on goals and checking things off our lists that our Children get stifled and starved.  We forget to take care of ourselves, we push ourselves to exhaustion and every action is something we are rushing through to get to the next “have to” on our list.  When our Inner Adult has declared martial law in our lives and our Inner Child is neglected or exhausted… we may not know why, but we feel awful.  It can show up as stress, anxiety, or even a numb, listless feeling, and it’s a clue that something is off.  This is where your spirit comes in and suggests that you take a little time to reset, do something relaxing, fun, or simply do nothing for a little while – daydream.  Don’t be surprised if you meet up with some resistance from your militant Adult and your whiny Child at first.  Just do something different and break the cycle.  If you can play along with your spirit for a little while you’ll see that your wound up Adult transforms into a good parent and your irritable, bratty child becomes a happy, well-tended cherub.  Take a deep breath, center your awareness in your heart and quietly ask your spirit what will bring “music” back into your world right now.  Pay attention to the first thing that pops into your head.  This is intuitive guidance!  Give your Inner Adult a break and hit the “reset button” in your life.  When you allow for the pause, you allow bright ideas, clarity and magic to enter your life. xo

Taking a Breather

My brother and his wife have been visiting this week, and I love how I get to see the world through fresh eyes when a guest is here.  I end up doing all sorts of things that I probably wouldn’t make time for otherwise.  I’ve been walking trails and visiting places that I take for granted when I’m in my routine.  I love this time of year, but it always seems to go by too quickly.  So I’m grateful today for the opportunity to take things at a slower pace and soak up the beauty of autumn.  I have to admit I was resisting it at first.  I’ve been doing a lot of new things lately with my work, and part of me didn’t want to slow down.  I was afraid I would lose my momentum.  More and more I’m learning that the impulse to push through isn’t really in keeping with the flow.  Sometimes it can shut the flow down completely.  Whenever I feel my brow furrowing, my jaw tightening, and time growing short I’m learning to pay attention because it’s a sign of contraction, and it’s time to take a break.  If I catch it early I can free myself pretty quickly, but if I let it go too long it gets harder to shift.  The nature of a contraction is constriction.  It’s like trying to hold your breath for a long time.  Your body gets tight and pinched, and it’s tiring.  Taking a break for a bit is like a wonderful exhale.  You release and expand – the energy (whether it’s physical, creative or emotional) has somewhere to go.  That’s being in flow – you breathe in and you breathe out.  I guess that’s why they call it a “breather”.  So that’s what I’m doing today.  Getting back into the creative flow and wishing you a beautiful day.