When the 8 of Swords comes up in a reading, it usually means that your predicament is a product of your own making or imagination.You have confined yourself to the degree that you are unable to free yourself or even see a way out.In the Anna K version of this card, we see a woman looking at herself in a mirror but she is not seeing her true reflection, she is seeing something else entirely.Her mirrored self is blindfolded and wrapped up in a material that is in both her current world and her mirrored world.In the mirror, she is surrounded by swords with a small path in front of her while outside of the mirror she holds a sword in her hand.Since the swords represent thoughts, the mirrored self suggests that she surrounded by her thoughts, allowing them to confine her while the self on the outside of the mirror has more control of her thoughts since the sword is in her hand.Could it be that she seeing that she is doing it to herself?
The winter solstice is fast upon us, even though technically the shortest night has already been upon us (for a brain-thumping explanation, see http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/12/the-astronomical-hijinks-of-the-shortest-day-of-the-year/282109/).Thoughts turn inwards at this time of year, when in the darkness we are confronted with our shadow selves, should we choose to face them. We have the opportunity to learn more of ourselves, and in doing so, better serve not only ourselves but the world.
In my last post, I described 5 practical steps for doing dreamwork. In this post, I want to give you a real life example of a dreamworking I did after writing the last post.
1. Remembering my dream
I don't usually remember my dreams. So this night, before going to bed, I said aloud, "I will have a dream and I will remember my dream." I then tried to think about dreaming as I went to sleep, so the last thing I would think about was dreaming. I then unintentionally woke a half hour to an hour earlier than I normally do, with just a little bit of memory of a dream. But as I thought what I remembered, more of the dream came back to me.
June’s shadow card is the 8 of Cups, shown here from the new Tarot Illuminati by Erik C. Dunne and Kim Huggens.Here we have a figure, cloaked in red, with his back to us walking away from 8 cups stacked behind him.Red is the color of passion indicating that this person is passionate about their pursuits.There are 5 cups on the left and 3 on the right and it appears as though the cups are empty but in truth we do not know if they are or if they have something in them.If they are full, perhaps he is leaving them behind because they no longer work for him, if they are empty he may be feeling that his life is empty and he is leaving them in search of fulfillment.He uses a cane to assist him as he walks in a wintry scene though a doorway between very large rocks towards what appears to be a stairway to the moon.
The 8 of Cups is about going on a quest in some form or another, walking away from a job, a relationship, a belief system, or any other situation, positive or negative, and is often about leaving something good in order to find something even better.Sometimes the quest is about finding yourself, of looking deep inside to discover those hidden things that you are finally ready to face.A quest can be about leaving the past behind you so you can move on to better things, or leaving behind emotions that no longer serve you.
For the month of April, we are dancing with the devil inside.In the Universal Waite deck, the devil card depicts 2 humans, 1 male and 1 female, chained to the black pedestal that the devil is sitting on.The chains are loose, suggesting that they could remove them if they wish, but they are choosing to keep them on and are a representation of emotional and mental bondage.The humans are naked and have horns and tails, the female has a pomegranate indicating fertility and the male has a flame indicating desire.The Devil holds a flaming torch, appearing to light the tail of the male, signifying lighting his passion.The black pedestal and back ground suggests ignorance and the unknown.The devil wears an inverted pentagram on his head suggesting a mental delusion.The devil himself is a symbol of our obstacles, vices, and fears.
March’s shadow card is The Hermit.We are still in the winter months and it is the time of year where we go in and work on our inner selves.I did not purposely choose this card but I find it fitting that it was a random draw.This is very much a card of introspection and deep searching.It is one of seeking guidance and knowledge and looking within oneself to uncover the truth.The card from the Steampunk deck by Barbara Moore and Aly Fell shows a man standing on a heap of rubble holding a lantern and from it, emitting what appears to be lightening.In the book, Barbara Moore states that the pile of rubble signifies the information and ideas that he has collected in his journeys.He appears to be an older gentleman with a long graying beard, further suggesting a wise and sage person who has spent their life accumulating the knowledge that he is standing on.The lantern suggests that he not only holds the answers in his hands but there are new sparks of ideas that are itching to get out.
The shadow of this card takes solitude to the extreme…spending too much time by your self, being withdrawn from your family and friends, cutting yourself away from everyone.It can also indicate paranoia, or fear – fear of being by yourself, fear of your thoughts or feelings, fear of your journey or what you might find out.Fear holds us back from many situations so we keep ourselves in seclusion to keep from getting hurt, but it doesn’t really work.What we end up doing is hurting ourselves in a different way…we don’t go out and live life, experience it.If we don’t experience pain, can we truly experience joy?Ignoring our thoughts and feelings doesn’t make them disappear; we have to face them eventually, as difficult as that may be.
It can be difficult to discover personal meaning and purpose when we don't zoom out to get a big picture of the patterns and symbols in our life. One way we can discover the patterns and purposes of our life is by discerning prevalent Archetypes and symbols.
What is an archetype? An archetype is a template or original pattern from which copies are made. Psychologist Carl Jung, author Joseph Campbell, storyteller/author Clarissa Pinkola Estes, psychologist Jean Shinonda-Bolen and others are among those that have brought the concept of Archetypes into our consciousness.
To break it down in practical, every day terms, Archetypes are patterns that are universally recognized. We see Archetypes in myths, fairy tales, literature, and movies. Think about your own life. Which types of movies do you like? Do you consistently cast yourself in the Hero role? The Underdog or Victim? The Detective? What about the Warrior, Princess, or Femme Fatale?