Today's Draw: Six of Wands from the Light Visions Tarot. Are you feeling lonely on your spiritual path? Do you encounter friends that don't understand the changes you're going through and drift away? Do you have a spiritual buddy, romantic or otherwise, you've managed to share your spiritual path with for, say, 10 or 20 years?
This card immediately produced several thoughts for me. One is that it's very evocative of the traditional image of the Six of Swords. And the second thought I had was that it also conjured thoughts of a Viking funeral before the fire is lit.
But the woman on this boat is alive and hopeful and dressed in ceremonial robes. Traditionally this card would be about a victory of some sort. So seeing her launched into the rising or setting sun with her head upturned like that, I feel as though there's been a graduation or ascension of sorts, and all her hard work is bringing her to a new place.
Of the 22 cards in tarot's major arcana (depicting major life lessons), the lion's share feature a human acting alone. All the other cards either have no humans in them or the humans are pictured in some sort of subordinate role to something greater going on. I believe this reflects the solitary path we all take in life, but most notably the solitary path of a spiritual seeker.
While one's religious path is frequently shared with others in churches or in groups, the spiritual path is largely solitary. Which doesn't mean you won't meet others who share your beliefs. You will. But it means that people grow and evolve at different rates and in different directions and sail off to greet the unique challenges and opportunities that appear as they move along their path. So it can be a more transient gathering of like minds. There is no book to follow. No specific teaching. It's an off-road adventure commandeered only by you.
But it's also solitary in the choices you make. Say, for example, that you choose to no longer gossip because it's an activity that doesn't come from love and you're on a loving path. So the next time your gossip friends start to gossip and you drop out, they'll think you hoity toity. And whether or not you judge them, they'll feel judged. Possibly even offended. They may even come up with reasons why gossip serves a higher purpose than your non-gossiping complacency does and put the judgment on you. And if gossip formed a good portion of your relationship, you'll no longer be able to be around them. And their gossip will probably turn to you. And you'll have nobody to share that experience with. As someone pointed out to me today, doing the right thing can have wrong consequences.
Another piece of relevant wisdom that has come to me recently is that people will evolve in groups around certain pain points. So members of AA come together as a group to heal the causes of their addiction, for example. Some will eventually move beyond the program, which could ruffle feathers. But when you learn what you're there to learn, heal what you're there to heal, and choose to no longer be a fully engaged member of the program by attending regular meetings or sponsoring newbies, you are once again alone. Everyone's needs on their paths are unique and individual. And the same is true of every group, from the Hell's Angels to the knitting circle.
Now, of course, you are never alone on a spiritual path because you always have God. As trite as that sounds, it's true. But just as we can see these partings between friends, family members and groups as sad or painful occurrences, we can also see them as a graduation of sorts. Whatever the woman in the card is moving toward, she's doing it alone. And we can surmise she left others on shore when she took off on this solitary journey. And yet she is at peace with herself because she knows what she is sailing toward is bigger than any resentments, grief, sadness or anger that sprang up with what she left behind.
Personally, that part is hard for me. We all want everything tied up pretty with a bow and smiling faces all around. But the kind of growth we experience on our path isn't always surrounded by singing bluebirds and dancing deer. Some don't understand why you have to change. Some take it personally. Some consider you a traitor. And because you're moving forward on a new set of wheels and carrying new lessons, your own fears and doubt and future lessons rear up until you can find a balance and focus again on your path.
It can be painful. And the closer I look at this image, I see bags under eyes as if she'd been crying....or as if she'd died. And a part of her had to in order to book passage to the next stage. She is moving out of the dark and into the light. So it is a death of sorts...a death we experience a million times over on our spiritual paths. Both joyous and sad. And, like any death, something, on some level, we have to experience alone.