1. My strength now
2. How I can ulitize that strength
3. Where this may lead
4. The strength I need to develop
I pulled the cards with intention, laid them out, then turned them over and studied them for a long time. I consulted with my books (the Osho Zen little white book, and 'The Tarot Bible' by Sarah Bartlett.) I made some notes and puzzled on it for awhile, discussed with Derek and then this morning wrote up my reading.
This reading seems to be saying to me that I am in a place right now where I am seeing through some of my illusions, that I am seeing my life with unusual clarity. It is true that I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about various aspects of my life--my financial future, my job, and my spiritual practices. I have even recently set a 2010 goal for myself to 'find a way to reach out to others that is true to myself.' And each morning lately, I have been chanting for freedom from 'the great illness', ie, illusion. So when I turned over the card that says my greatest strength right now is 'Awareness', I smiled to myself.
The 'Awareness' card in Osho Zen corresponds to The Chariot in Rider-Waite. The Chariot card can indicate, and I quote, 'You have reached a place where you can stand up for your beliefs and make decisions based on what you want rather than on what others assume is right for you.' Well, isn't that exactly what I said in my last post!
Because I am having this moment of clarity, the cards suggest that now is a good time to strike at one of my most damaging delusions--one of my biggest fears, which has developed through layers of an overactive mind, the pain-body and illusion--fear of interacting with other people, of being more socially active. The card is called 'Participation', the 4 of Fire. I feel that to do this in a way that is true to who I am, I should develop them through my interests. I should keep the interactions at a level that is acceptable for me. I should try to say YES at least occasionally when I am asked to join in something. I should allow myself to be more expansive, more tolerant of others, to realise and feel that I am part of the rest of life. But the 4 of Wands (which the Osho Zen 4 of Fire corresponds to) is not really about tackling your fears. It is 'heralding a time of rejoicing and celebration'. The Tarot Bible says it is 'a blessing in any layout.' It means happier times are ahead. I do have a fresh confidence about who I am and what I have achieved.
According to this spread, the road that Participation may lead to is Guilt, 8 of Clouds (Rider-Waite 8 of Swords). There are 2 cards from the Cloud (Swords) suit in this spread. It is the suit of 'thought, connection, information, ideals and self-expression.' I must admit I was very puzzled and upset by turning over this card. How could awareness and participation lead to Guilt? But within the tarot, you are supposed to look at the cards and say what you see. On the Osho Zen card, I see a woman with her eyes closed being clawed at by the demons of her thought-life, but with a flowering branch overhead. On the 8 of Swords card, I see a woman who is blindfolded and bound to a tree. She thinks she can't escape, but her bonds look like she could slip them pretty easily if she chose to try. Neither woman can see. Both are suffering, but both seem to be suffering because of their perception of their situation. Participating with other people makes me feel vulnerable and afraid, and it occurs to me, so does celebration and happiness! The first because I am afraid of being judged during social interaction, or of not behaving right, not saying or doing or thinking the right thing. I know I am awkward to be around socially because I don't drink, I'm vegan and I don't like to stay up late--most of things people seem to find fun, I find awful and I hate all eyes turned toward me because I'm the one being awkward. And I've always sort of freaked out in groups larger than 2 or 3 people and just clammed up and said nothing. And the longer I stay silent, the more awkward I feel and the less likely I am to ever speak, even when spoken to! The second because--as I said in my last post--happiness might bring about bad things. Like the 'Fates' might take notice of an overabundance of joy and try to balance me out!
(On the other hand, I must consider the layout position of this card. It's what the road may lead to. So it could be that I do try to 'participate' more, feel bound by it, and feel guilty for not wanting to carry on with socialising! So I must be open to the possibility that even if I give it a good go, it might turn out that I'm not so sociable, and I will need to find a way to deal with that.)
The cards suggest that the strength I need to develop right now is Consciousness, Ace of Clouds (Rider-Waite Ace of Swords). A picture of the Buddha. A depiction of a hand emerging from a cloud clutching a sword, at the top of which is a crown dangling vegetation and plumage. The Buddha card and the Ace of Swords both work to cut through illusion. The Tarot Bible says, 'The suit of Swords represents the rational and logical, but it indicates that the rational mind leads us astray and the sword is to cut through the illusions of our principles, our ideals, our fears. These 2-edged swords remind us that we must facd our deceptions, illusions and fears--and that the logical must work with the wisdom of our heart.'
I need to develop the strength to cut through my illusions about the right way to behave, the right way to be a friend, and the delusion that others perceive me as strange or a burden or unworthy of being involved. If they thought that, why would they keep inviting me? I must 'believe in myself and be ready to leap into action'--to me, this means being willing to say yes, to have the confidence to take part.
Overall, this is a very positive reading. At first it caused all sorts of anxiety. I balk at the notion of social interaction, and yet, it's an issue I continue to struggle with. So clearly I have business left to do in this area, and the cards seem to be saying now is the time to work on it.
So what am I going to do? I have idly suggested a few times to a work colleague that she should come over and watch movies with us. Next week, I'm going to set a date for that. And next Wednesday night, hubby and I are going to a Quiz night.
(Again, if it turns out the guilt is a result of realising I'm not really the sociable person I decided to try to be, perhaps this sword would be cutting through some illusion about how I'm 'supposed' to behave or what I'm 'supposed' to want out of life.)
This morning when I got up, I did my first daily card reading. You shuffle, cut and pull one card and it's your card for the day. I pulled 9 of Swords--another Sword card! It shows a picture of a grieving Zen monk, and is called 'Sorrow'. What! Today is my day for sorrow? But I consulted a book and I was really surprised to read this interpretation, which follows on so perfectly from yesterday's reading. Here it is word for word:
You and you alone can act to set yourself free from all those negative influences of the past. You are feeling very cut off from people, very separate, as though no one can see through to the real you underneath.
The pain and sorrow of the past will not fade instantly, but it will fade. What you can do now is begin to open up and let the sun in.
For this to happen, you must begin to dig all of the loneliness out of your present and communicate your feelings to others.
You must begin to open up--don't stay in isolation! You may well have to look around and discover new channels in which you can being to relate effectively to those around you. You alone can do this work. It can take either a long time or it can be surprisingly short. Which are you going to let it be? Come on, get cracking and dig your way out! (Step-by-Step Tarot, Terry Donaldson)
Freaky! It just seems to follow on so perfectly. Out of 78 cards, I pulled a card that answered so neatly to the reading from the day before. This is really intriguing. And today's card does seem to be urging me to take action toward more social get-togethers.