What strikes me here, with these two cards, is that in both you have the image of a powerful woman, a woman with strong spiritual, divine type power. But what a contrast in how! The Priestess sits still as stone, unmoving, steeped in tradition. She hides behind veils of light, behind illusions and dreams and so much facade. She is surrounded by all the symbols, the fruits, flowes, minerals, animals of the material world, but she does not engage with them. She sits apart, beyond all of it. In contrast, the Universe dances with with the world around her, the good and the bad, the beautiful and the terrible. She dances with a serpent, bathed in golden light. She is dynamic, fluid, fully involved. She finds joy, pleasure in everything and around her, behind her, the cosmos opens up in the most intimate of ways and she, of course, knows what that means, can take advantage. She basks in her natural state, in freedom, fully a part of all that is around her.
(I must, at some point, write about how one of the things I so like about this deck is how encompassing and woman-positive it seems to me. It really, really pleases my inner feminist in ways I can't yet perfectly articulate...)
This pair of cards really strikes a chord for me right know because...well, I have been having this kind of dichotomy in my focus in that...my inner world, right now, does not feel so very positive at all. Long-standing issues, things that happened more recently, physical/health issues, a lot of things piling up and when I let myself just sit alone with my thoughts...it tends to be some negative thinking/mood that results. Really, if I look within too much, there isn't all that much that makes me happy. I do think there is much merit in introspection, sure, but....I just have trouble, right now, finding much joy, motivation, anything like that from my inner self.
On the other hand, the world around me, external things...there is so much to appreciate. The spring is beautiful. I am living in what to me is still a relatively new city/part of the country, with so much to explore. So many free things to see, if I can find the time. There are people in my life who have been so nice, supportive, patient with me, all of which I really, really appreciate. There are so many things to learn, to see, and all of that I really enjoy doing. And I have my studies, which despite the massive stress, I do very much enjoy. And even the stress, the huge pile of things I need to get done...it gives my life much-needed structure, to have to organize my time, go out, get those things done. I do much better when I have structured, external committments of that sort. Even if, internally, some days I don't even feel like I have the energy to get out of bed...knowing I must do those external things, I do get up, and get out, and when despite all the difficulty I do get them done...that sense of accomplishment, success, pride in a task well done...that is pleasure too. And for my logical mind, external is much more quantifiable. I can write to do lists, cross things off as I get them done, put stickers on my calander according to a logical, set scheme, and have a visual representation of my productivity to encouraged by. That is all, for me, NICE.
So yes, had a bit of a moment of decision the other day, that in the short-term at least, I will be better off if I just really shift my focus on the external - the things I have much more of a direct influence over, the things I can shape and effect right now, the things I can see and feel and touch and quantify. Focus on doing what I must get done. Try to fine things to smile about in the world around me. Let the inner be what it is for now, instead of focusing on it and going over and over all that I cannot see a way to change and getting frustrated by that. Time to be dynamic, externally focused. Perhaps even dance with some (metaphorical!) snakes ;]