Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Samhain Shadow Work

©Emily Carding
Hi Tarot Blog Hoppers, and any one else who finds their way here.  You may have come from TABI's blog.  If not, why not hop back and check it out, or hop forward following the link at the end of this post?  And if you'd like to orient yourself, you can always check out the Master List.

This time round, our wrangler, the fabulous Amethyst Mahoney, asked us to look at our shadow.  It seems very appropriate for this time of year as darkness encroaches more and more.  Yet, I didn't really feel very dark and shadowy: I've been feeling very productive, with lots going on in my life that feels very positive.  Still, all the more reason to suspect that there may be not-so-happy things that I am pushing out of awareness.  After all, who has a perfect life, right?

So, I took some time to look inward, past the excitement and creativity, and what I saw was pain about my recent miscarriage, powerlessness at being able to control my life, and sorrow at the difference between my disabled son and other kids his age, which is becoming ever more stark as he gets older.

©Emily Carding
You might think that was enough: enough darkness, enough shadow.  But this is a TAROT Blog Hop, so I decided to dig a little deeper with the tarot's help.  Cilla Conway facilitated that, with her powerful workshop on "Tarot and the Shadow" at the UK Tarot Conference a couple of weeks ago.  During her workshop, I pulled the Three of Swords... twice!  Then we did a pathworking which had me sobbing (as quietly as I could, I'm British after all) as I came face to face with with my anguish.

Those three swords, they are my own thoughts which stab me.  At first I thought I was worried about what others will think of me, but really, it's what I think of myself. 

I think I'm a bad mother because I sometimes feel ashamed of my son.  Others stare at him in the street, especially other children who haven't yet learned that it isn't polite to mock those less fortunate.  His disabilities are ever more obvious, but I also love him and think him beautiful. How paradoxical are our feelings!

I think I'm a failure, because I haven't been able to give birth to a healthy child.  I had a miscarriage, then gave birth to my son, then had another miscarriage. 

I think others pity me for those things.  And I pity myself, and hate that pity worst of all.  Shouldn't I be strong, and confident and loving and brave?  Well, yes, but no-one's perfect!  And that brings me right back to my shadow, all the aspects of myself that I think are imperfect. 

©Emily Carding
What to do about it, then?  Well, I loved a perspective offered by Rachel Pollack during the UK Tarot Conference.  She asked us, in a different context, "Which Majors connect numerically with the Three of Swords?" 

The Empress, the third Major, tells me that I need to nurture myself when I feel this pain, to be kind and compassionate to myself.  Rachel also suggested that allowing ourselves to actually feel the pain is the first step in loving it and ourselves.  Well, at least I've taken the first step, then ;)  I also see in the Empress the suggestion that my current bout of creativity isn't just a distraction, it is part of my healing, my way of coping.

I notice the irony: my issue is around mothering, and the "solution" is the archetypal mother card!  The Empress is a card of nurturing and care, of love in that sense of the word.  So, another message I get is to connect with love.  To love my son, to love myself, and to trust in the love of others.

©Emily Carding
The other Major connected with the Three of Swords is the Hanged Man.  In a somewhat similar vein, this card tells me that I need to be able to sit with the pain, to hang with it.  Perhaps, too, to accept that right now there is little I can do directly about it - bringing me back to the creative pursuit of other things in the meantime.

I enjoyed this method of starting from a single card and then seeing what connects with it.  It felt helpful, and leaves your tarot cloth a little less cluttered, while bringing in a lot of insights.

Now, why not hop on over to the ever-insightful Alison Cross at This Game of Thrones?

14 comments:

  1. Pity? No, not with this attitude. I doff my hat to your courage in facing the difficulties in your life and striving to manage them. Have a virtual toffee apple (or a real one if you prefer) - you sound as if you need a treat :)

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    1. Thank you, Ania! In some ways, this confirms my feeling - it's more about my self-pity than others pitying me. So, I'd better pull my big girl knickers up and eat that toffee apple :)

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  2. This was hard for me to read. I resonated with so many parts of it. So I'll just offer a hug and a shoulder, okay?

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    1. You've said something similar before, Arwen. Some day I'd love if you'd share your story. In the meantime, a hug is a two-way street, so (((hug)))

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  3. Sometimes the most difficult task is to accept our own flaws. I wish you brightest blessings as you push forward. :)

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    1. Thank you, John. Push forward is right, I don't think this path ever ends... :)

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  4. Oh Oh Oh, no pity from here. You really have your attitude so together bringing in Empress and Hanged Man energy and that your "current bout of creativity isn't just a distraction, it is part of my healing, my way of coping." I LOVE that your "current bout" of creativity really seems to be a place of action where you also have wholly brought in the embrace of that other 3 with your full and living attitude. . . XXI The World. Go You!

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    1. Thanks, Jordan! I get the sense there's some heartache in your creativity, too - so go us :)

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  5. No pity from me either! You sound like an amazing woman, Kerry. It's hard to know what to write here because I don't want to sound trite. Sit with your sorrow - but don't feel that you have to be alone in order to do it. And keep on with being creative :-) Sending you love and hugs.

    Ali x

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    1. Thank you, Alison! And you're quite right, I don't have to be alone with this. I have good friends, a loving DH (who is in at least one of the same boats), and blog buddies. So, I consider myself blessed with an Empress abundance of nurturing people :)

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  6. I am so inspired by your courage. thank you for sharing your story. Love & light, Jo xx

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    1. Thank you, Jo. Love and light to you, too! Kxx

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  7. Often it is the people battling with adversity who are the most wise and inspirational. Thank you for sharing ;) x

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    1. Hmm, given how inspirational you are, Christiane, I guess that means you've been through a fair bit yourself! BB, Kx

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