Tuesday, December 8, 2015

thoughts about thinking

It's been a while since I did something a bit different, a bit more experimental, so. This is a reading around the general theme of Why do I tend to cling/fixate so much on negative thoughts about myself? Rather than doing the usual process, though, this is going to be an exercise in free association - write down any thoughts as they come about each card, one sentence per idea. Also, it somehow turned into exercise in the second person...

3 of Cups
You tend to think less negatively when doing things with friends - it's a chance to get out of your head, to distract yourself with something enjoyable.

On the other hand, there is feeling alone even surrounded by people you know and like, and wondering why am I always like this?

Like many people, you can't help comparing yourself to the people around you, and noting the shortcomings on your part.

There is pretending you feel what they do, all of you drinking from your cups and talking about this or that, nodding, and not saying so much, never talking about so many things.

Sometimes, surrounded by people, you feel unreal; seeing them, and knowing yourself as only you can, you wonder if you are even really a person.

You enjoy time with people, the talking, the contact, caring and being cared about but there are limits - you are the one dressed in the monochrome, sitting a bit apart from the others.

You like to be amused and amusing, use humor to mask darker things, learn the language of minimization - make your problems sound not so bad, not so concerning, choose words carefully.

You enjoy the meetings and celebrations and interactions, but there is a burden to everything that needs to be left unsaid, the distance it creates, the juxtaposition of the you that drinks from the cup and laughs and chats and the you that they are not allowed to see.

The Empress
She walks through a field ripe with grain, with plenty, but there is something melancholy about this Empress, something detached or even uncaring about her demeanor.

No matter how rich and fortuitous and pleasing your surroundings and material circumstances might be, they cannot fix your internal troubles; there is a real limit to how much they can even improve your mood.

The symbolism here is a bit funny for you - pregnancy is supposed to represent positive things - giving birth to new endeavors, the act of creation - but you have always been profoundly uncomfortable certain aspects of the stereotypical feminine.

You have always been uncomfortable with the way some would reduce your function, your purpose, to that of baby-making machine; the idea of you yourself inhabiting the body of this Empress makes you want to scream.

There are so many small things about being a woman, and what that should mean and what that de-facto means and what certain old white dudes would like to say about it that you hate, that you rebel against intellectually and viscerally, and yet you wonder how much of that has shaped you anyway.

Sometimes you wonder if you'd have ended up the same way, if you'd been born a man.

Going back to the intended metaphor, you wonder too you are even capable of creating much of anything anymore and that bothers you, in a small, constant way.

The expression of Strength mirrors that of the Empress, but seems subtly different - calm but more positive, trusting, perhaps.

There is a difference between confidence and trust, and apathy and indifference, though the external expression of the two feelings may indeed look the same.

The lion is calm too, eyes closed, following, trusting, at peace. The woman's hand rests on his brow, connection, work.

If the lion is the beast of unconscious thought, of cogs of the mind that spin as they will, the woman has trained it, has learned to work with it, knows the nature of the beast and has learned to control it.

Knowledge and action are two different things entirely, and you have only ever excelled at the former; self-awareness does not mean self-control, and you have never been good at bridging that gap.

An animal does not become obedient naturally, by itself, without concentrated, focused effort over an extended period of time. Are thoughts too, then, trainable? If so, how much have you really tried, to train them, to relearn patterns? How much effort have you been willing to extend?

Though the lion, lets not's not forget, is a dangerous beast with sharp claws and teeth, and training and controlling one is hardly a safe and easy prospect. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

on longing and dread

Just asking this question: Where am I at - with things in general, in my head, etc.?

Besides neatly illustrating the unusual way that the Silicon Dawn switches the elemental associations of the wands and pentacles/disks suits, the Six of Wands and Seven of Disks offer an interesting contrast of imagery here...

The Six of Wands shows an insect-like figure, the queen bee perhaps, generously sharing her pots of honey with a group delighted to receive it. She is in a comfortable position - confident and successful, able to share the fruits of her successes with others, the work she did so that she could do just that - to give but also to be appreciated for giving, for sharing. Even truly altruistic acts of giving, sharing, working to help others have an aspect of that after all, don't they? If nothing else, there is the feeling of knowing whatever you produced or gave or shared or did is good, is something others enjoy, want, appreciate having, that you are able to do that, the validation of knowing that about yourself. Here we see the benefits of a positive cycle, of acts that improve your own position in life, and which allow you to do something that also benefits others, enriching their lives as you enrich your own. It is an image of the kind of meaningful existence I long for these days, and which usually seems quite far out of reach.

On the other hand, in the Seven of Disks we see a centaur-like figure standing in the looming shadows of forbidding buildings, tall, colds exteriors that threaten to crush, to suffocate. A bird caws in one of the windows, perhaps shrieking at the potential intruder, perhaps trying to escape. Everything feels too intense here, dangerous, and there is no clearly outlined path, nowhere that really looks comfortable or safe. There is dread, there is the sense of being overwhelmed, paralyzed perhaps with fear or uncertainly. What's interesting is that there is no clear threat, for all the fear and dread and looming pictured, nothing that we can point to, there, that is the danger. How much of the image is a matter of perception? Are the building truly looming in a threatening way, or does it just seem that way to the figure? Some days even the most mundane things can feel overwhelming, sometimes a simple board game can serve as a reminder of all your feelings of being a failure and isn't it fitting that 'Failure' is what this card is titled, for example, in the Thoth? How much is merely perception, and what kind of difference does that make to the figure cowering, in that moment?

This is where I am, it seems, stuck between longing and dread: wanting to be able to create and contribute and give, but feeling stuck, overwhelmed by so many ordinary, everyday things.