Tuesday, October 29, 2013

10/30/13—Exposing Romance's Dark Side

Today's Draw: The Hierophant in the Romance position from the Halloween Tarot and the Deck of 1000 Spreads. Are you a big fan of romance? Do you hope for a perfect, effortless love? Is it possible that your belief in fairy tales is ruining your every chance at love?

I have been horribly remiss. I probably should have been using Halloween and Vampire themed decks all week. Lord knows I have them. But I've been too lazy. So I ran upstairs and pulled out the mother of all Halloween decks by Kipling West. 

If I were doing a love reading for someone, this combo could totally mean marriage. The Hierophant is a religious leader and, thus, can perform weddings. So in a predictive romance reading, this would be a desired outcome. 

But I'm not into romance...at least not as it's generally considered in American society. Romance in that context is someone who puts on grand shows of love, accompanied by flowers and gifts. They immediately love every last bit of you and they're destined to be your perfect mate. They ride in on a white horse to save you from doom. They cancel meetings because they've just got to have you one more time. They complete you. 


All of that is a fairy tale. More than that, it's a smoke screen we put up to keep real intimacy at arm's length. We've done ourselves a particular disservice in believing in that brand of romance, because it sets up expectations that are not only impossible to meet in the long term, but really have nothing to do with true emotional intimacy—love—between two people. 

Flowers, cards and dates are easy. What's hard is trusting another to see you, warts and all, and meeting that trust with the courage to love and accept them, warts and all. What's really hard is seeing arguments as opportunities to learn. This is not something that happens in the first three dates. It doesn't happen on sight, either. It's something that grows over time and needs conscious maintenance. Romance is the proverbial lipstick on a pig. It's the smoke and mirrors that makes a fairy tale princess fall in love with a fairy tale prince long enough to put a ring on it so you can go back to being a frog. 

I know that sounds really cynical, but it's what I feel. I mean, romance is nice, but it ain't love. Nor is it a reason TO love. And through fairy tales and TV and movies, we've come to believe it's proof of true love when it's not. All these things that send our pulse racing and our hormones dripping—romantic gestures, mindblowing sex, good looks, great dates, unquenchable desire—all of that wanes over time. And if you base a partnership on it, you're going to be very disappointed when life gets in the way of all of that and makes it go poof. 

On the basis of physical evolution, we instinctively seek out those who will render healthy offspring. Compatible genes are what send hormones racing, not love. On the basis of spiritual evolution, though, we need to seek those with a mutual desire to learn and grow in a responsible manner. It doesn't sound as sexy as someone who rides in saves you from loneliness, then takes you on a wild rollercoaster ride of orgasms and chocolate, but it's more likely to lead to the kind of intimacy human hearts yearn for. It's a start down the road to helping each other fill that empty pit inside with something other than cotton candy and false expectations. 

Most people get married long before they achieve the kind of love that comes from emotional and spiritual intimacy. Of course. It takes years. And sometimes it happens between people who have smokin' hot sex. But it rarely takes with people who think marriage is going to make them happy, change the other person or otherwise be the answer to all their problems. True love is about learning and growing in tandem...supporting the soul evolution of your partner. There's so much divorce in this society because, met with the opportunity to learn, grow and deepen intimacy, most people argue, shut out and run. Love and intimacy come from two people working through their human ugliness together. 

Which means you don't want them to worship you, because you want to grow past superficial things. You don't want them to put on a romantic show for you because you don't want it to be about external trappings—you'd rather learn to move past neediness. "Thoughtful" is nice. It says the other person knows you enough to anticipate you. And you don't want them to be perfect and never piss you off, because you need to learn tolerance and they need to learn consideration. "Romance"—at least the way it's portrayed in the media—is an easy way to distract the other person from the fact that you're not being truly intimate with them. 

What all this has to do with the Hierophant is that his is the energy that tells you how you should think and be in this world. He's the creator of structures and rules that lead to conformity. We should never stop questioning the Hierophant's wisdom. Because many of his structures are based on outdated—and sometimes completely wrong—visions of the way things should be. 

Our love affair with romance is one of those things. On one level or another, we believe the societal image of a perfect mate, a knightly savior and "happily ever after". And as long as we keep yearning for that to be true, we'll never find what we seek—actual love. 

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