Back in 1988, I stood in a courtroom and listened as the woman who killed my father was declared "not guilty". My legs literally went out beneath me as one of my brothers reached out to steady me. Everything I had believed about the American justice system and how it would always be fair and do right by people was yanked out from beneath me.
I'm a strong woman. I have great faith in a higher power. Things like fainting and losing my strength and panic attacks are not typically in my repertoire. To the best of my ability, I accept and move on. I'm a trooper, as so many of you out there are.
What I have been feeling since last night is similar to what I felt after the murder trial. My faith and everything I believe about what is right was yanked out from beneath my feet. Today I am crying inconsolably. I've been fighting full-on panic attacks—heart racing, chest aching, body numbing anxiety (no, I'm not having a heart attack, but I was worried for a bit.)
This isn't about the policies or issues Trump stands for. My god, how many times in all of our lives has "the wrong candidate" won? We move on. I see people talking about how they felt when Bush was elected. I remember being disappointed. Nothing more. I didn't like him as a president, but I knew we'd get through it.
And, intellectually, I know we'll get through this. I mean, of course we will. The upset comes when I think about who we are a society, and who we want to be. A Trump presidency represented to me that we were saying we want to be white and male and Christian and see everything else as less than in the hierarchy of society. Those were the ideals he stressed and it was what I saw coming out of the mouths of his supporters, and then also simply by virtue of the fact they were supporting someone with so much distaste and intolerance for those who are not like them.
Perhaps that was just my perspective because I wanted so badly for our society to turn a corner on division and judgment and for us to move forward together seeing everyone as equal and worthy. Perhaps, instead, it was all primarily about being sick of our government and the way it operates. And heck, we all have a bone to pick there. Even at the height of my issues with Trump, I could see good coming from out of the dark. Good always comes out of the dark.
As many readers know, I have been reading tarot cards for 30 years. Those who don't know much about tarot see it as a fortune-telling tool or something dastardly. But people who understand the tarot know there is something way more sacred locked within its structure—the story of humanity's spiritual journey. It's a story that closely resembles Joseph Campbells's hero's journey—a monomyth detailing the process of man's journey into the unknown to seek transformation. It is the story behind Jesus and Buddha, not to mention every good book you've ever read.
So, in the tarot deck, there is a tarot card called The Tower. It depicts a crumbling inferno of chaos, with people jumping out. It's one of those cards that some might hope not to see in a tarot reading. But there is more to The Tower than meets the eye. It crumbles because the foundation it was built upon was insufficient to withstand what The Tower had become. It crumbles as an opportunity to rebuild on stronger footing.
Adding to The Tower story is where it falls within the tarot deck. It comes after The Devil, the guy who brings out our more baser tendencies—our limiting beliefs, addictions and dark desires. These are "truths" that we often deny about ourselves. And when we build on a foundation of embracing the good and castigating the bad, we build on a shaky foundation, because we're not building on the truth. Nobody likes ugly truths. But they are part of the fabric of who we are.
The best part of The Tower story, however, is what happens moving forward. The next card in the deck is The Star, one of the more beloved cards in the deck. It symbolizes hope. As we progress through our journey and begin to feel like everything we believed was a lie, that's when The Star comes out. It doesn't come out to deny unrest exists. It comes out to promise a way through it. (Coincidentally, the deck I chose, Infinite Visions, depicts both The Tower and The Star as coming from divine influence, first the divine masculine, then the divine feminine.)
After that, is The Moon, which says that while there may be anxiety and things unknown, our path forward is now visible...dimly lit, but enough to guide us onward. Then The Sun comes out to illuminate not just the path, but also those places we "forgot to brush", like those tablets you took as a kid when learning about oral health...haha. It's actually one of the best cards in the deck—a card of joy and integration. Once we're fully integrated and in a good place, then we move to the Judgment card where we're seen and loved for ALL that is in our hearts in the most honest of ways. (And I don't care what we feel about yesterday, Americans, as a whole, are good, caring people, despite our flaws.) Then ultimately, we move to The World card, where we truly do embrace oneness and completion.
So the tarot tells a story. There are unpalatable phases we must go through in order to get to where we're going. President Trump is not a destination. He's a NECESSARY part of the journey, just as the 44 others before him were.
Is this moment utter devastation for those of who thought our visions were coming to pass starting today? Absolutely. But it's not the end of the story. It's the darkness before the dawn.
As I told friends in the days leading up to the election...there is a momentum that cannot be stopped when it comes to civil rights and acceptance. Heck, just two elections from now we'll start to see young voters whose first memories of a president were of a black president. Ahead of them, we have a Millennial generation who has pioneered new ways of adding a "giving back" feature to consumer transactions. The Star is out there rising, it's just not high enough above the horizon to see yet. And we can't build that tomorrow on the foundation of where we were yesterday. Things had to (and have to continue to) crumble first, so we can build on more solid ground.
This all feels so ugly right now. I was afraid to even come online because of the anxiety attack I was having and the deep grief I'm feeling. But when I did come online, I didn't see a whole lot of "I told you so" or "hooray, now it's open season on Muslims and gays" or any of that. I saw a lot of mourning and a good bit of people letting people mourn. And, yes, a little of the other stuff. But not as much as I'd been seeing for months.
So I'm going to honor where I am now. Regardless of who you voted for, I suggest the same. I suggest looking within and aligning what you believe from your spiritual teachings with the way you hold others in your heart. And I suggesting healing whatever is not "Christlike" or godlike within you....whatever caused The Tower to crumble in the first place. I know for a fact that this election revealed things within me that I'm not proud of...things that I still need to heal. And it revealed things for those who are celebrating today, too. Some of the most solid, spiritual people I know have been knocked off center by all of this. It's not a function of hate, as much as it is a function of that which has yet to be healed within "deplorables", "libtards" and the world as a whole.
One of the common threads that weaves through all of the world's religious and spiritual teachings is some variation of The Golden Rule...treat others with the respect you'd like to be shown yourself. Although I had no takers, I volunteered to be a voting buddy for anyone who felt intimidated to go to the polls. Now that the election is over, I'm dedicated to being a buddy to the same people I was worried about then...to give them a smile...to step in when I see injustice...to let them know they are loved and worthy of love. Because isn't that what we all want for ourselves? Even if someone doesn't like what we stand for, don't we want them to stand up for our right to be who we are regardless? Isn't that what Jesus and Buddha and Allah and all the others taught?
The Golden Rule sometimes takes courage and it takes stepping outside yourself and asking "how would I like to be treated in this situation?" Perhaps there was too much unrest for this to happen before. Perhaps we can do it now. I know that the American people are magnanimous at their core. This election may have masked that. The Devil may have toyed with it. But all of that had to happen in order to move beyond it. Our Tower has crumbled and we are on the cusp of The Star.
Thirty years ago I thought I'd never recover from the disappointment in the justice system after my father's murder. It was devastating to me...insult added to the injury of my father's horrid, premeditated murder. But in the years since, I have become—and my world has become—so much better and stronger than it ever was before. In fact, it was probably the biggest contributor to what is good and spiritual in me today. I think that's what we all have to look forward to. Working through it may not be easy or pretty, but we'll get there.
For today, though, I reserve the right to morn and indulge my fears. And I'm not going to miss the part of this election where I was impatient, unkind or a prophet of irreparable doom...haha. I have to admit that I felt that way and still feel that. But I can't brush it off and pretend. I have to look at it and heal it. Only by doing that will I clear the foundation for the new. Tomorrow (or probably a bit further into the future) I will look for The Star.