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.

Overflowing

The Ace of Cups
The Ace of Cups

The Ace of Cups

JES 1973

I’m overflowing with emotion today, and I guess it’s appropriate that I pulled the Ace of Cups not once, but twice.  This card is all about blessings and an open heart – an abundance of love and the willingness to receive grace.  It’s a new awareness of these things – being able to see with fresh eyes.  Earlier I was looking through a box of old photos and found some pictures of myself as a child.  It reminded me of the sweet, innocent little person I was then and how those things are still a part of me.  They are a part of all of us – we were all innocent little children once.  The message from spirit is: Listen to your heart and understand that it’s guiding you to love.  Love yourself, love your beauty, your gifts, your innocence, your unique contribution to this world.  From that place of overflowing abundance you can give love by seeing it in everyone you meet.

The other day I stumbled across a poem by Mary Oliver that struck me as so incredibly beautiful that I had to read it over again several times.  I’ll share it here, and I’m wishing you an open heart and an overflowing cup. xo

“At the River Clarion” by Mary Oliver

1. I don’t know who God is exactly.

But I’ll tell you this.

I was sitting in the river named Clarion, on a

water splashed stone

and all afternoon I listened to the voices

of the river talking.

Whenever the water struck the stone it had

something to say,

and the water itself, and even the mosses trailing

under the water.

And slowly, very slowly, it became clear to me what they were saying.

Said the river: I am part of holiness.

And I too, said the stone.  And I too, whispered

the moss beneath the water.

 

I’d been to the river before, a few times.

Don’t blame the river that nothing happened quickly.

You don’t hear such voices in an hour or a day.

You don’t hear them at all if selfhood has stuffed your ears.

And it’s difficult to hear anything anyway, through

all the traffic, and ambition.

2.

If God exists he isn’t just butter and good luck.

He’s also the tick that killed my wonderful dog Luke.

Said the river: imagine everything you can imagine, then

keep on going.

Imagine how the lily (who may also be a part of God)

would sing to you if it could sing, if

you would pause to hear it.

And how are you so certain anyway that it doesn’t sing?

 

If God exists he isn’t just churches and mathematics.

He’s the forest, He’s the desert.

He’s the ice caps, that are dying.

He’s the ghetto and the Museum of Fine Arts.

 

He’s Van Gogh and Allen Ginsberg and Robert Motherwell.

He’s the many desperate hands, cleaning and preparing

their weapons.

He’s every one of us, potentially.

The leaf of grass, the genius, the politician,

the poet.

And if this is true, isn’t it something very important?

 

Yes, it could be that I am a tiny piece of God, and

each of you too, or at least

of his intention and his hope.

Which is a delight beyond measure.

I don’t know how you get to suspect such an idea.

I only know that the river kept singing.

It wasn’t a persuasion, it was all the river’s own

constant joy

which was better by far than a lecture, which was

comfortable, exciting, unforgettable.

3.

Of course for each of us, there is the daily life.

Let us live it, gesture by gesture.

When we cut the ripe melon, should we not give it thanks?

And should we not thank the knife also?

We do not live in a simple world.

4.

There was someone I loved who grew old and ill.

One by one I watched the fires go out.

There was nothing I could do

except to remember

that we receive

then we give back.

5.

My dog Luke lies in a grave in the forest,

she is given back.

But the river Clarion still flows

from wherever it comes from

to where it has been told to go.

I pray for the desperate earth.

I pray for the desperate world.

I do the little each person can do, it isn’t much.

Sometimes the river murmurs, sometimes it raves.

6.

Along its shores were, may I say, very intense cardinal flowers.

And trees, and birds that have wings to uphold them,

for heaven’s sakes-

the lucky ones: they have such deep natures,

they are so happily obedient.

While I sit here in a house filled with books,

ideas, doubts, hesitations.

7.

And still, pressed deep into my mind, the river

keeps coming, touching me, passing by on its

long journey, its pale, infallible voice

singing.