Personally, this past week, I've been highly reactive. Getting very worked up, angry, in tears over many things.
Mind you, it's not totally without reason.
My grandma, who I'm very close to in heart, but very far away from in distance, fell down some stairs and is in the hospital in pain. It's really hard to not be there to give her a hug.
Cambodia can be a very confusing and difficult place to live. There is a huge dichotomy between the beautiful, kind-hearted people with their radiant smiles and the harsh realities of poverty and messed up gender inequality. Add to the equation many nasty and unabashedly racist and misogynist attitudes from some of the more expressive expats in the forums I frequent... well, it's hard to not let the toxicity get to me.
The first new moon of 2013 had me feeling very inspired and positive about the year to come. I haven't stopped feeling that way, but it's become more and more evident to me that when we set an intention to make big changes in our lives, the universe often gifts us with big challenges to overcome so that we can see our shadows and become stronger.
Staying the same is comfortable and easy. If we want to make real changes in our lives, we have to go through times of discomfort and uncertainty.
Leo Babauta writes very eloquently about discomfort here.
I don't completely understand the challenges I'm being presented with right now. I know it's all part of growing and getting stronger, but the big picture is unclear.
When I did my new moon reading earlier this month I got the Five of Wands in the "what to release" position. The Five of Wands is about arguments, disagreements, anger, debates, hassles, little obstacles. At the time, I was like, "No problem. I'm a peaceful, chill, stress-free person. I can be all those things even more". Funny though, how since then the universe has conspired to really bring to my attention the ways I react in anger, frustration, outrage to things beyond my control. I can't remember feeling so full of rage in a very long time.
Anyway, with the coming full moon, I wanted to find a Tarot spread to illuminate the reasons for the struggles in my life right now. I turned to one of my favourite Tarot books, "Tarot Spreads" by Barbara Moore, and I found this "Through the Shadows Spread", inspired by The Moon card in the Tarot.
Here's what the cards look like in their positions. Note that positions 1 and 7 are chosen from the Major Arcana first, while the other positions are chosen from the whole deck. See how the card positions echo the figures in The Moon card?
|spread by Barbara Moore from the book, |
"Tarot Spreads: Layouts & Techniques to Empower Your Readings",
2012, Llewellyn Publications
1. Moon -- the moon reflects back the light of the sun, so the card in this position represents my idea of the truth.
My truth right now is that my abundance and creativity are expanding, and with that expansion comes obstacles to overcome so that I can grow. It's like spiritual "growing pains".
2. Crayfish -- my deepest inner fear; that which can halt my progress.
5 of SWORDS
My deepest inner fear is that my truth and my struggle for growth will alienate me from others. I have a strong desire to be liked by others, and that sometimes manifests in my life as me keeping quiet or not saying what I really think. Just this week, I was faced with a conflict when someone who I admire posted something I considered quite misleading and dangerous on facebook. I chose to speak up, risking my new friendship, and, indeed, it was scary for me and left me in an anxious state. I know that, despite all my wishes, I will not always be able to please everyone and, indeed, speaking up will sometimes piss people off. For me it is important to choose my battles. It takes a lot of energy for me to argue and debate, and usually the best response for me is to focus on expanding light and positivity in my life and environment, letting words that rub me the wrong way slip by. However, there are times when I feel it necessary to speak up, and I may have to sit with the discomfort of pissing people off or having to defend my position at those times. Just this morning, the insightful James Wells posted this quote (from an unknown source) on his blog, Circle Ways:
Do not speak unless you can improve upon the silence.
This expression really resonates with me right now, given some of the trials I've been faced with. I want to speak up only when it is coming from a place of deep integrity. I notice there are times I feel a divine push to express myself, and other times when I feel like I just want to a smarty-pants or prove something. I need to tune into this and use my words efficiently in the former situations only.
3 and 4. The Dog and The Wolf -- distractions and illusions that could lead me away from my true path. The dog is likely to be something I'm familiar with, while the wolf may be something new or that I've never realized.
PAGE of WANDS and 10 of WANDS
It's true, I'm familiar with the Page of Wands distracting me! To me this card here represents that inspiring blog post, that new book, that new person in my life who I become so interested in that I forget my current projects and get completely detoured and lost. There have been times in life when I've had no less than 20 library books in my home, every one full of promise of new ideas and great ways to make life better. Every one, after a few weeks, only lightly skimmed and then returned to the library, unread. At 35 years old I feel like I need to let fewer new things come into my life and really focus on the things that I know I want to learn and develop.
The 10 of Wands phenomenon I've also experienced lately. I wrote about it in this post. So many great ideas for blog posts, so many amazing inspirational people coming into my life. So much inspiration, that it becomes a burden I can't deal with and I end up doing nothing. It's a new one for sure.
I also have found myself lately falling into this predicament: being super-inspired and motivated and excited and then being CRUSHED by the weight of comparing my progress with that of others.
I like these cards here. They really affirm my commitment to just a few things and the focus I want to continue to develop. My mind is a fluttering butterfly, and that's been a wonderful thing in my life, but I really want to use my time efficiently and rein in the butterfly for now. Did you know I have only one tattoo, and it's a caterpillar? Hmmm...
I can see how this relates to that 5 of Swords above, as wands can be about those feisty, rage-y feelings I've been riddled with lately. I really do need to choose my battles and let the little things slide.
5 and 6. The Towers that will light up my path. They will help me see things that may have been hidden.
ACE of PENTACLES and THE MOON
The Ace of Pentacles I believe is talking about staying clear about my motivation. For the last year, since I moved to Cambodia, I've felt very blessed to have the time and resources to focus on learning exactly what I want to learn. This is not a gift to take lightly. If I stay clear about what I want to manifest, that will help me stay focused on my path of growth and not get side-tracked by hassles and novel things. I have been given an opportunity to plant seeds for the future.
The Moon I think is literally talking about this reading I'm doing right now! I will have to remember to keep looking back at it.
Furthermore, I've been having quite vivid dreams lately, so this card makes me think that it is important for me to pay attention to messages from my unconscious. It is vitally important for me now to be able to tune in to my inner voice.
7. My Path -- this is the true path I am meant to moving forward on now.
Wow! I don't think this tarot reading could be more clear. I am rapidly growing (The Empress) and at risk of being sidetracked and overwhelmed by external factors (Page and 10 of Wands). I need to find a balance between expressing my truth and remaining silent (5 of Swords). By staying focused on my vision for the future, metaphorically the garden I want to grow (Empress + Ace of Pentacles), and tuning into my inner voice (Moon + The Hermit) I will be following my true path.
I feel a funny feeling in my heart right now... like an excited fluttering that comes from realizing a profound truth.
If you've been feeling confused by the challenges in your life lately, maybe you want to give this tarot spread a try...? I'd love to hear what you learn!
One thing I find consistently amazing, is that when I feel like I am following my authentic path, how the world around me seems to line up to reinforce my thoughts and feelings. Have you experienced this sort of serendipitous sensation? Please tell me about it!