Friday, January 4, 2013

2013 Year Card

2012 was a Justice year for me, and overall I found the year card exercise at the start of the year useful. Not so much predictive, per se, as guiding. The idea of seeking equilibrium throughout the year stuck with me, and helped me figure out some things. 2012 was definitely more about balance than any possible legalistic interpretations of the card, as I had thought right off - fortunately I do not currently have any legal issues to deal with.

That said, I thought I would do this again. For 2013, my year card is the Hanged Man.

I admit that the prospect of the Hanged Man as a year card does not immediately fill me with excitement: a year of hanging, suspension, feeling stuck in place? That does not exactly sound like what I am seeking to achieve. But of course, that is only one of many takes on the hanged man. This is a card associated with the water element, as the de la Rea here shows. Water is flexible, associated with dreams and emotions, depths, the obscure, neither fully solid nor gaseous.

The Hanged Man is associated in many tarot texts with the Norse god Odin, the AllFather, who hung himself from a tree for nine days in order to obtain runes, the key to all knowledge. He sacrificed his body, his power in exchange for that wisdom. He did not fight that sacrifice, did not try to cheat or find some kind of alternative. No, like this major shows in almost all decks: he hung with serenity, with acceptance of the situation as is.

Acceptance and even hanging do not have to mean stasis, doing nothing, giving up. Again, the reminder that all things have a cost - currently I am sitting on a bus driving back to DC. I am intensely motion sick and I am watching a very beautiful sunset while going over a bridge that enchants me from an aesthetic architectural perspective. Most things are like this, pros and cons. I could sleep and feel good and lose time and miss out on many lovely sights. Costs, decisions. Sometimes we reach a crossroads, a certain point where yes, there is stasis, repetition, doing the same thing again and again long after we have grown tired of it. What then?

A willingness to let go is called for - of the familiar, of the comfortable, and of control and distrust, at least to some degree. The hanged man in the Corte dei Tarocchi is particularly interesting to me in that he is not hanging from a branch or tree but rather from a rope of leaves held in the beak of two birds. How absurd! How could he believe that they would hold him up? He does though - he is willing to place himself in that position, and calmly.

The figure here is upside down, and at first glance it's easy to think that maybe we have drawn this card reversed. That is the spirit of this card too - the energy to turn things on their head, to look outside the box, the established way of doing things. You hang between realms and between phases of life. You let go and you find, grasp. The key is the serenity, the acceptance. This is not sacrifice for its own sake - there is a reason for this, something for which to strive.

In a way this image is not unlike a butterfly or moth still cocooned, waiting beneath the waves with held in breath. I used to do that too, as a kid. I liked to dive into parts of pools that were twice as deep as I was tall even though I couldn't really swim and I liked to hold my breath under the water for as long as I could, until my lungs burned. Why? It felt freeing. There is freedom in the way that you can move underwater even though, of course, all swims and baths must come to an end.

And so, a year under the Hanged Man's influence. A year for development and growth, sacrifice and letting go and finding the new, the better, the wiser and more fulfilling. A year for thinking differently, for stepping away from some of those careful caveats and limits of what you will do, for acting within a frame of acceptance - of self and of situation, of how things are and how things could be and what must be done to bridge the two. Of not only weighing out those costs but taking them on in self-awareness. Strength within constraint.


thesycamoretree said...

"The key is the serenity, the acceptance."
Took me many years to learn this bit of wisdom; there are just some things I can't control, fix, or do anything about, no matter how hard I wish it.

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