I do tarot readings for myself periodically; at the beginning of each year, and whenever I'm feeling particularly prickly about life and need some perspective. I find the process of centering myself, shuffling the cards, cutting the deck, and slowly laying out the spread, one card at a time, to be calming and illuminating, often profoundly so. I am regularly stunned by what I learn about life, the universe and everything, in the process of this ritual. These readings in specific are part of what I rarely write about here, because the emotions they trigger are often too raw, and the ideas too eerily prescient. I feel as if I'm having conversations, and not necessarily with my own subconscious. The tarot does inform the blog, though, by helping me continue to open my mind, my spirit, my heart.
My reading for the year this year was chock full of cups, the suit representing the emotions. A reading I did just the other night started with the Three of Cups, Overflowing, crossed with the Devil, suggesting that I had a lot of pent up emotions that were going to be coming out, and that I was going to reach a new level of clarity about my existence.
I know things are fermenting and simmering throughout my being—I recognize clear connections between my various parts. How sadness exhausts me. How dread often leads to migraines. How physical exertion, particularly with horses or climbing walls, makes me joyfully immortal. But my general state of being these days, my status quo, my default, is unrest.
This hasn't always been true, and so I am bothered by it, which can add to the unrest if I am not careful to remember my lessons—live in the moment, be grateful, walk the dogs, hug Ian.
It's not surprising that I am experiencing existential unrest, of course. But it is not . . . restful. I would like to find rest again, and not simply by pushing unrest aside for a while. And so, I question, and I do my best to listen. I talk to people wise in all sorts of ways—those who keep my structure healthy, those who keep my chemistry in line. Those who ask me questions that I may not think of, even through the tarot. Those who push me to test my physical courage, the limits of my strength. I open my heart to grief as well as joy. And I am learning rest again, through these teachers and lessons of life.
My teacher today was Dan the Witch Doctor, who seems to leap forward in intuition and skill between each of my visits. Today started out as normal—I brought in pills to test (a new liver support—why leave out the liver when the kidneys, bones, brain, lungs, and heart are all getting special care?), and we chatted about what had been happening since I last saw him, back before Christmas. He asked, seemingly casually, about my dad, how old was I when he died (19, a baby, half my life ago), bee sting, right? Anaphylactic shock? No warning? He'd been stung before? Wow. Crazy.
"Your holiday stuff," Dan said then, "I think that was more about your dad. I think you're angry at him for not being around to take care of things. I think the stuff that happened this year is mostly just an annoyance to you. I think what you're feeling is way deeper than that, and what you really need to do is forgive your dad."
He then touched two points on my head, one on the back left, one on the upper right. Both were painful to his touch. "Okay," he said, "now think these three things and we'll work this out for you. First, think 'I forgive my dad for anything he did to hurt me.'" I started to cry, and Dan grabbed me a Kleenex and put his hand back. "Now, think 'I allow my father to forgive me for anything I did to hurt him,'" he went on, and, finally, "'I forgive myself for anything I did that might have hurt my dad. Anything I might have done to hurt him.'"
Dan kept his fingers on my head for a few moments, repeating the last one: I forgive myself. Finally he said "Okay! There! That's much better!", and took his hands away. "That last one was hard," he told me. "You are definitely your own worst critic!"
I lay there, dabbing at the tears that had run down my cheeks and into my ears, and a consciousness came to me. "I should probably forgive myself for getting cancer," I said, and started to cry again.
"Yes, that's a good idea," said Dan. "Let's see what we can do," and he brought his hands up to two more pain points on my head.
Awareness and care are a good start.