Often we think the external chaos we witness reflects our own internal strife, connecting us to the world’s pain when in fact it may be the opposite: the seeds of our discontent lie deep within us and we conveniently shift blame to others. Maybe life isn’t going right. We knock on locked doors: applying for elusive jobs, seeking moves without luck, stagnating in relationships, feeling alienated. We hit one more rocky patch or feel taken advantage of yet again. We then see a therapist to help us identify our own roles in these situations or consult a medium for angelic guidance but ultimately we are responsible for identifying and releasing the causes of our discomfort.
The traditional Tarot deck proves useful for such reflection. We needn’t be experienced readers to use the cards therapeutically; insight and free association helps us glean meaning so we can address our subconscious choices. The Tarot deck contains 78 powerful cards, but these 10 make visible our inner conflicts.
Meditate on each card, keeping your eyes relaxed. Your emotional intelligence will provide the answers you need.
1. Eight of Swords: imprisonment. A blindfolded, bound woman stands in the midst of eight swords, her feet in a puddle. Behind her a castle sits on a cliff. Who is confining you? What do you not want to see? Who blindfolded you? Who’s in the castle? What emotional pattern placed you here?
2. Six of pentacles: abandonment. A woman and young boy on crutches crouch in the night, shoeless, walking against falling snow past an illuminated church. Who has abandoned or neglected you? Why don’t you enter the place of refuge? Who sent you into emotional exile or poverty?
3. Five of swords: conflict. Two teams of young boys clash with sticks. What caused this fight? Is it with more than one person? Where is the conflict? Is it worth the fight? Is it life choice or circumstance?
4. Eight of cups: changing course. A man leaves behind a two-row stack of eight goblets. He holds a staff and in the moonlight sets forth on a journey. What do you want to leave? What do you feel about what you have already accumulated or accomplished? Why do you want change direction?
5. Six of swords: moving on. A hooded woman ad young child leave the shore in a small wooden boat piloted by a young man. The boat is pierced with six swords. The water behind her is choppy; the water ahead, smooth. The woman appears sorrowful. What is on the other side of this water? What or whom are you leaving? How are you supported in this venture? What awaits you?
6. He Devil: detaching. A giant devil on a throne sits over a standing man and woman who are chained to his chair. What is your role in causing the current situation? To whom are you chained? To what are you attached? When did you abandon your higher ideals to submit to someone else’s program? From what do you need to free yourself?
7. The Tower: exploding. A fiery eruption in a tower causes two people to fall out the window surrounded by blaze. Which crisis shakes the foundation of your world? Why did you wait for the Universe to completely unsettle you before you made a move? Are you willing to accept this trauma as a gift?
8. Death: ending. A skeleton in armor rides a white horse toward three people: a religious figure with cupped open hands, a child with a horn, and a woman. Two of them welcome him. The woman closes her eyes and looks away. To begin anew, we must end the old. What do you need to close in your life and are you willing to do it? What chapter do you not want to close? What loss do you fear?
9. The Hanged Man: sacrificing. A man hangs painlessly upside down from a T-shaped pole, rope around his ankle, hands behind his back, halo above his head. What are you willing to sacrifice for growth and enlightenment? Are you willing to completely change perspective even if it’s momentarily uncomfortable? What will you sacrifice for joy?
10. The Fool: leaping forward. A young man, looking upward, flower in his hand, carrying all his worldly possessions, faithful dog alongside him, is about to leap off a cliff into the unknown. Are you ready to move on? Do you trust the Universe to support you in this adventure? Which of your most cherished gifts will you bring?
The Tarot images stimulate subtle levels of awareness, helping us to recognize higher messages. This is where change and healing begin.
Rev. Lisa Shaw is an animal communicator, intuitive counselor, professor, and writer living in South Florida with her furry and feathered brood. Her web site is www.reikodogs.com. He e-book, Illumination: Lessons from Our Animal Companions, is available for download on Amazon.