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.

The Call to Blossom

Judgement from the Gilded Tarot

Judgement from the Gilded Tarot

“And the day came when the risk it took to stay tight in the bud was greater than the risk it took to blossom.” ~Anaïs Nin

Judgement is the next to last card of the major arcana in the tarot.  It represents the cleansing, clearing, healing and transitioning that happens when one cycle is ending and another is beginning.  When Judgement calls, you are being beckoned by your Higher Self {or Spirit} to be more authentic, more creative, more generous, more compassionate, and more of YOU.  More energy from Spirit is wanting to flow through you out into the world.  You’re being asked to make room for this by allowing it to flow and cooperating with the transformation that’s in process.

You might feel the call of Judgement as an inner stirring or restlessness in it’s more subtle forms.  A mild discomfort may be nagging at you as you start to dream about new ways to express yourself or wonder more about what your purpose or contribution might be.  If this mild disturbance is ignored and left to simmer for a while it might show up as a deep ache for something more in your life or a depression.  If things have been put off for a long while, the call to emerge may turn into an emergence-y that forces you to transition in a hurry.  Whatever is coming up, you can trust that it is happening in the perfect way and at the perfect time for you.  Your job is to stay spiritually awake and be a witness to your own blossoming.

Judgement always brings about healing of some kind.  It’s healing that can only occur when the wounds have been witnessed and embraced by the cleansing light of consciousness.  It requires taking an inventory of your life, looking honestly at what is working and what is not, examining your shadows, your wounds and embracing every aspect of yourself.  It can feel like a pretty tall order if you approach it from the perspective of “I’m broken and need to fix all these damaged parts”… but that’s not what you’re being asked to do.  Judgement is about bringing all of it into the LIGHT and letting it all be cleansed, healed and reintegrated.

Often this card depicts naked figures emerging out of tombs.  They are being resurrected and called “home” by the angel’s trumpet.  These figures are summoned to a higher octave of existence, and they emerge into that state naked as a symbol of their wholeness and authenticity.  This can also speak to the process of cleansing that requires us to resurrect the shadows we have buried and embrace these fragmented parts of ourselves.  It’s a process that calls for self-love and compassion.  When we embrace the aspects of ourselves that we have been pushing away and resisting, tremendous healing occurs, and we emerge into a new life.

So what does this mean in terms of your day-to-day?  As I said before, it may mean that you are feeling some discomfort, but fighting against it isn’t the answer.  The guidance from Judgement is to take inventory and look at everything with wide-open eyes and a wide-open heart.  The area where you’re feeling the most discomfort is the area to look at first.  For example:   If you feel like you’re finances are a mess, and it scares you to open your bank statements ~ then it’s time to take an honest look at what is going on there and find the shadows that need to be healed.

It’s actually pretty easy to find out where these shadows are.  All you have to do is ask yourself, “What is my judgement of someone who allows their finances to get like this?”  What is your answer?  Do you judge a person like that to be stupid, selfish, irresponsible, or a loser?  Whatever the painful area is, ask yourself this question:  What is my judgement about this?  You’ll soon discover that you have been your own condemning judge and jury all in one, and the process of becoming conscious of these patterns is exactly what is going to free you.  If you’ve been resisting being a “stupid” person, that is your shadow and your job is to love and forgive the “stupid” part of you.  This is what shadow work is all about, and there are many resources available to help you with this process.  Check out any of the books by Debbie Ford for starters, or find a spiritual coach for support.  This journey is worth every ounce of effort because it’s leading you to FREEDOM.

Ultimately, the Judgement card is about freedom from all those inner judgements which turn into shadows and drain away our ability to authentically express our Spirits.  What is Judgement asking you to take a look at?  It may be uncomfortable in the moment, but it’s a sign that something pretty amazing is in the works.  Consider the tiny acorn.  Everything necessary to become an oak tree is packed into this small seed.  It doesn’t have to do anything or go get “oak tree” material from anywhere else.  However, when the time comes, it does have to shed its hard outer shell and allow the seedling to sprout.  It has to transition from being an acorn into a seedling and then into a sapling.  Everything it needs is already within it, but it has to allow the transformation.  When the Judgement card shows up it is time for a transition from self-judgement into self-compassion so that you can blossom and release the amazing YOU that has been bottled up inside. xo

 

Keep Going… You’re Almost There!

9 of Wands from the Golden Tarot

9 of Wands from the Golden Tarot

Are you feeling a little road weary these days?  Does it feel like you are putting one foot in front of the other {and maybe you’ve been doing this for quite a long time}, but you never seem to get “there”?  That’s exactly what the 9 of Wands is all about.  In this particular version of the card there is a wounded soldier who paints a good picture of what it means to keep “soldiering on”.  The refuge of his destination is in site, but he still has a ways to go before he reaches it.  It’s that “so close, and yet, so far” moment that I think we can all relate to in one way or another.  It’s also a moment when we may feel tempted to give up… when we feel victimized by our circumstances and nothing we seem to do is getting us anywhere.  Simply put, we’re tired, and inspiration is running low.

I know that I certainly relate to this situation, and whenever I get the 9 of Wands I know that in some way I’m being acknowledged by the Divine.  After all – this card is from the suit of wands which represents the element of fire in the tarot.  It’s a symbol of Divine inspiration, Divine guidance, and Divine intervention.  The first thing this card tells us is:  “You are not alone”.  I always find this to be comforting because part of the weariness and defeat we’re talking about here comes from a sense that we are disconnected, doing everything on our own, perhaps even abandoned – and this feels pretty awful.  It’s the voice of the ego mind that tells us this, and it reminds me of a scene from Harry Potter {I love HP}.

In the Order of the Phoenix, Harry is struggling with feeling alone on his journey.  He’s discovered that a lot is riding on him, he knows the truth of his situation, and he feels isolated and misunderstood by just about everyone.  At one particularly low point, he ends up having a conversation with a new friend, Luna Lovegood.  She tells him that she believes in him.  She also says that if she were Voldemort {the bad guy- if you’re not familiar with HP}, she’d want him to feel alone because then he’s not as threatening that way.  That voice of Voldemort is like the ego – it doesn’t like change, it was never on board with this journey you began, and it wants nothing more than for you to give up so it can stay in power.

The 9 of Wands calls out that Voldemort-ish ego out into the light and brings an infusion of hope.  It’s saying: “I believe in you.  You are on the right path!  You are doing marvelous things, and you are doing more than you even realize.”  It’s a sign that you have simply bumped into an internal threshold, and it’s telling you where you need to persevere so you can break through your own patterns of resistance.

It’s not time to give up – it’s time to keep going!  The 9 of Wands is bringing you the gift of encouragement and inspiration to sustain you along the way, and it promises that there is a bigger picture that you just can’t see yet… so guess what?  You’ve got to TRUST.

You may feel that you’re lost in a maze with very high hedges and very little light.  Maybe you’ve been winding your way through this particular maze for a long while… but your higher self has a much broader view of everything.  It can see exactly where you are in the maze, and it knows that you’re only a few yards from the exit – you just can’t see it yet.  The 9 of Wands is a little message from your spirit that says, “Keep walking!   You are almost there, and I’ve got your back – you are not alone.”

So how can you find the gifts of this message as it applies to your own life?  Take a few minutes and ask yourself these questions:

~What is going on right now that makes me feel defeated? 

~Do I always get stuck and want to quit when I get to this point in a project or a relationship?  See if you can zero in on what that is because it’s valuable information about your threshold.

~Where am I resisting or procrastinating?  What step am I just not wanting to take?  The answer to this question tells you what you need to do.  If you’re resisting sitting at the computer and working on that book, then you need to write the first sentence.  If you’re resisting a project, you need to make that phone call or work on whatever task you’re avoiding. 

~How would I feel if I knew this task, project, or situation was completed, started, or resolved?  Focus on the feeling that comes up and let that be the inspiration that keeps you moving forward.  Progress may feel slow, but every step you take is one step closer to liberation. 

When the 9 of Wands shows up it is telling you that you’re moving through a place where you normally get stuck.  It’s a message in a bottle from your Higher Self saying, “You’ve got what it takes to make it through, and you’re so close!”  It’s a moment to trust.  Trust that you wouldn’t have the desire to move in this direction in the first place if you weren’t already blessed with everything you needed to get there.  You are in the process of bursting out of your cocoon and your spirit is cheering you on.  You’ve got this!  You can do it!  Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and know that you’re almost there. xo