Wednesday, June 22, 2011

6/22/11—Accepting the Gift of Pain

Today's Draw: The Mirror from the Wildwood Tarot. Have you experienced a "dark night of the soul"? What did you learn from it? Are you grateful for this experience or still traumatized by it?

Today's card is silvery. Mystical. Elusive. One of the techniques of reading tarot is to project yourself into the card as an observer to assess the action. But with this card, if you projected yourself inside, you'd get the definite sense that something sacred and mysterious and deeply personal was taking place. And you shouldn't be there. You might then be forever paranoid that THEY saw YOU...or at least that darned crane did. And one day you might have to pay for that. At least that's what I walk away with. :)

To continue along those lines, if I put myself in the place of the serpent woman, I feel powerful and psychic...the wise mistress of the ceremony. In the place of the person laying in the boat, I feel as though I'm in the world of the unconscious, waiting for some sort of transition. And in the place of the crane, I feel ornery, watchful and twitchy, as though I'm the one who would have to defend this scene if outsiders interrupted. 

This is a card of initiation. It's the soul's unconscious journey toward deeper awareness and wisdom. It requires an honest look within and illumination into the darker reaches of our shadow side. But you can't go there at will. The path is only open those who have been deeply wounded and, instead of pushing their feelings aside, are ready to surrender to the waters of deconstruct before rebuilding and healing. It requires giving yourself over to the wounding and sitting with it until it's understood. Then you can cross over to the land where healing occurs. 

This is the dark night of the soul. It's time to see ourselves as we truly are. It's time to change from one state of being to another. I think everyone experiences at least one change like this in their lifetime. Off the top of my head, I can think of three pivotal moment in my lifetime. The stories are larger than I can communicate here, but a loved one's murder led me to a spiritual enlightenment, the end of an abusive relationship led to new strengths and fortifications, and a jaunt into what I can only describe as depressed and addictive behavior somehow made me a more compassionate and accepting person. More of a healer. 

These weren't merely "bad phases" in my life. All three brought me to my knees at one time or another. Not so much the pray-to-god kind of "brought me to my knees". But the kind of emotions so dark and concussive that my body and spirit collapsed under their weight. I had reached the outer edges of what I could take. Another aspect of these moments is that they didn't come as the result of me *trying* to transform myself. The transformation was the by-product of pain and wounding. And not just any pain and mother's death from cancer deeply affected my life and still does to this day. But it was not a dark night of the soul for me in the ways these other experiences were. 

Some who will read this today are going through a dark phase like this now. You may be on the downswing of this cycle. Or just beginning the upswing. It may last for years or it may be over as quickly as it began. Regardless, know there is a blessing in it so profound as to rival the depth of your loss. My own life has been touched by murder, abuse, addiction/addictive behaviors and deep depression...and look at me now! I'm not perfect, but I'm stronger and wiser and more balanced because of these things I've been through. 

And each "survival"—and by survival, I mean coming out the other side not more broken, but more fixed—puts us deeper and deeper into an exclusive club of wisewomen and wisemen who can no longer look at the world and others so superficially. It's as if we become that serpent woman in the equally at home grounded by the earth, as lost in waters of emotion...a creature that commands both lands and can guide the newly initiated to their own attainments. I truly believe I came here to live the experiences I've lived to aid my own evolution. These incidents didn't happen by chance, rather I was careening toward them my entire life, as were all the other players in these dramas, for the benefit of their own ascension.

Before I close out this entry, I have to mention this card is Major Arcana 12, which equates to the Hanged Man in traditional decks. The Hanged Man sees the world through a different perspective, which is what these trials do for us. He also makes a voluntary sacrifice for his higher good, which is what we do when we surrender ourselves to the darkness. That said, in the Wildwood, they don't necessarily intend this to be the Hanged Man, as they cover that in another card. It's a card all its own, which feels a lot to me like a cross between the Moon and the High Priestess. Just putting that out there for the tarot readers in the group. :)


  1. Even though I'm not experiencing a long drawn out classic dark night of the soul, somehow this card is speaking to me today. I had a soaring high this morning followed by a plummeting low a few hours later. Haven't quite figured out what the lesson is yet, but I think further contemplation of the card will help me in that regard.

  2. I wish I had a good scanner and didn't have to take pictures of the card. I found it to be really engaging. There's a lot going on in there.

    I hope you're ok. A story for Friday? Or you could email me if you like.

  3. I'm okay. It's not a major story, but I'll save it for Friday, because it's work related.