Saturday, August 2, 2014

The nature of the rut in which we are stuck

As the title suggests, I have indeed been feeling rather stuck in a rut when it comes to most dealing with life type things for a good few months, and have been growing increasingly frustrated with the situation. This has not, unfortunately, been particularly conducive to getting back into the swing of things with working with the cards. This afternoon I decided to try to kill two birds with one stone and ease myself back into more regular tarot reading/blogging by pulling a few cards from my all-time favorite deck, the Nusantara tarot. 

So - some advice about what to do about getting out of this negative/unproductive state I seem to be stuck in lately...

It's funny how illuminating a simple two card draw can be. After looking at these for a few moments, I realized that what I have is both the a description of the crux of the issue, and a general guide to the solution.

The World card, of course, represents accomplishment, self-improvement, fulfillment. It shows the unity of various aspects of the self, and celebrates what this can achieve. It is ostensibly the 'goal' towards which one strives, and in this context, it certainly represents a better head-space than the one I've been in of late. What's interesting here, however, is that here it appears first, the position suggesting foundation rather than endpoint.

One the other hand, we have the Eight of Cups. The traditional RWS imagery of this card always brings to mind nostalgia for me. This card speaks of the things you walk away from, the things you might desperately miss but need nonetheless to leave behind.  In the Thoth, this card is titled Indolence - that too fits, indicative of the consequences of not turning your back. The alternative of moving forward is to wallow... a self-indulgence whether it be laziness, self-pity or whatever else. The card is not, however, all about the those cups the man walks away from - the point is also the mountains he is walking towards, the new path forward and toward the unknown.

That image, following (rather than preceding) the World card, points to the crux of the message for me here, I think: that I need movement and forward momentum to thrive. Most of all, I need to feel that what I am doing serves some kind of purpose, brings me closer to achieving something, makes a difference to someone, improves the world around me, or equips me to better do those things in the future... something. Without that, regardless of whether what I am actually doing day to day is enjoyable, and regardless of whether the people around me are awesome and supportive... on a fundamental level I struggle with feeling unhappy and unmotivated. Without something external that is meaningful enough to set up life around everything just feels...endlessly pointless. Why bother trying and why bother writing and why even bother eating for that matter? It becomes a vicious cycle, deepening and perpetuating the rut, the negative thoughts, the weight of inaction.

Also, more literally, movement, in the sense of travel and exploring and experimenting with new things - these are the experiences that inspire me most. By best memories, the times I enjoyed life and everything around me the most are by far those from when I was traveling and visiting other countries - Tunisia, Egypt, Sweden...

Given that...well. Since finishing my grad program, I haven't had that sense of working towards a goal and doing something I love the way I did with my studies. There is no structure to time and activity to guide me, no reading or discussion or learning with career in mind to inspire me. Instead there is job searching that becomes more discouraging and difficult to do the longer it goes on, and too much time wasted on meaningless if enjoyable in the moment pursuits. I need external responsibilities in order to have that sense of forward movement. Not sure how to remedy the situation in the short term, but it is the only solution that makes sense. I cannot just exist, just be - my brain equates that with being a waste of space, my mind becomes bored, and my more self-destructive tendencies strengthen.

 I need to find a reason to move forward, something that allows me to feel that sense of movement, - an impetus to leave behind some of that negativity. Motion, forward motion...

Saturday, April 12, 2014

2014: Another Year, Another Year Card

It's been a bit of a while now, since I seriously worked with the cards on any kind of regular basis. It was only when I finally dragged myself to the local tarot greet meetup last Saturday for the first time since last fall that I even remembered to think on the new year, and the new year card that comes with it.

Last year, the card of focus was the Hanged Man. It was a bit of a funny year, really. I intereworked and I moved, I wrote a thesis and struggled to finish my masters program. Yet, in many ways, it was a year of stasis. For a large part of it, I could not bring myself to work with the cards, though I missed it. The future loomed, and yet was not immediate. I tried and struggled, got so stressed I could not eat or sleep for three days, and yet still - was not able to finish my thesis work by the end of December as I should have done.

(Later there were profuse apologies, a polite, professional sort of groveling, an extension into the new year granted.)

6 + 27 + 2014 = 2047, added together gives us 13. Death is the card of the new year. Given that I've only gotten around to writing this entry now, in April, I do already have some insight into how 2014 might be influenced and guided by this particular major...

I fell in love with the Silicon Dawn's depiction of Death from the moment I first set eyes on in, even using it as an avatar on various corners of the internet, something I rarely do with tarot imagery as a rule. The monotone palette is perfect appropriate, and yet, even with such limited colors, this card feels far more vibrant and dynamic than the more traditional image seen in so many other decks: not the reaper on a horse, or standing still, scythe in hand. Here, Death leaps through rain that washes away the old even as it nourishes the start, here and there, of new life. Death advances, illuminated by moonlight, and below other, more human figures run, ride forward too. A flood, destruction, so many things wiped away and yet what you see and focus on is the sense of movement and forward momentum, the sheer energy shown so clearly.

Death is not so dire a card, newcomers to tarot are so often told, and indeed. Like the ouroboros snake I have tattooed onto my wrist as a reminder, Death too is a card not only of ends but of beginnings, of doors and gates that you move through, of the things you leave behind and the things you move forward into. We transform and we become, and what we think we know changes, and we are reminded again and again, that nothing is permanent, nothing lasts, all things must come to an end.

Last year did not feel uneventful, and yet, even in these first three months of 2014, there have been such great leaps of change. I did finish the thesis, albeit a bit later than I'd have liked. I graduated, my time as a student once more at an end. The real world, the need to find a real job, to pay those loans, to be a proper adult is more immediate, has settled in - a heavy, unpleasant weight.

That is though, in truth, by far the lesser of transformations - that was expected, the logical conclusion to the last two and a half years. No, what has me reeling was the fact that I, so very much an I Don't Do Relationships person for so very long, suddenly find myself involved in something very real. Not a brief, casual fling devoid of feeling, this, but rather a connection involving the heart, that fickle, vulnerable thing. A new year began and a friendship became something more; with it, the realization that someone could see the strangest, most disturbed, most difficult aspects of who I am, a decade's worth of scars, and still love me, want me. I found that I could feel the same.

And so, already my outlook and the way I interact with the world around me has been radically altered. On both counts, the end of some things brings with it stress, doubt, difficulty; it also brings unexpected joys, be that enjoying the touch of a person you love, or having the time to play a video game you enjoy without guilt for the first time in over two years.

Really, I don't know whether I should be excited or terrified to see what else the rest of this Death year might bring...