STRESS AND TENSION? TAROT HELPS!

A Blog about opposite forces

There is a common thread in Tarot. A recurring theme on many cards and one that connects certain cards. That theme is opposite forces. Two forces that are polar opposites and you’re forced to choose between them making you feel torn between them. They create friction and cause stress and tension. Look for the following symbols and cards in the (Rider) Waite – Smith tarot deck:

  • Pilars
  • The colours black & white
  • Infinity sign
  • The Wheel
  • Pentacles 2 & Swords 2
  • The Major Arcana card combination Lovers & Devil

Pentacles 2 & The Wheel

These opposite forces are located within us. And we are surrounded by them. Life seems to consist of contrasting elements. You see them in the world: right-wing politicians against left-wing, cruel terrorists versus compassionate aid workers, hunger and poverty in some countries against decadent opulence in others, etc. And we experience ourselves conflicting feelings, we have drives that wish to move in opposite directions.
pentacles2-stress-tensionIt can be confusing and you may find yourself out of balance. For example one week you totally give in to eating lots of good food, and the next you pull those reins in tightly. It is called the jojo effect.
Here is a refreshing perspective: thank goodness! Imagine we’d always revel in fine food, food and more food… Or we’d only always be dieting. It is clear that either one would have bad results for our health. Alteration is perfection.

Pentacles 2 expresses this beautifully. The balls roll from high to low, left to right, and back again; the ships on the sea go up and down, much like your fortune in life. But you hold those balls. You control your wish to comprehend, to embrace the movement and to take a more playful perspective.

Us behaving like a jojo creates dynamic. Change. Renewal. The balance is that (too much) swinging to one side creates a longing for the other side. Take fashion: after miniskirts we are enchanted by midi and maxi skirts. And after the sexualisation in the media with porn-like music videos a trend emerged for modern prudishness and demure clothes.

wheel-stress-tensionThis is a Law of Nature. ‘Everything in moderation’ seems ideal but goes against nature, our nature. They are not called opposite forces for nothing. You cannot freeze them. They make us behave like a pendulum, a little to that side, then through the middle and on to the other. You only stay in the seemingly ideal middle temporarily. Everything is transient. Every situation is transient and passes. That is a relief to know when you are in a bad situation, and a pity when you are having a good time.

Major Arcana The Wheel shows us the cyclic nature of the fortune of life. Anubis indicates the Underworld, a patch of bad road; the snake symbolises a new time of growth and the Sfinx turns your fortune round. So when this card appears a new phase is dawning. Either for the better after a period of decline, or an impending downturn after a time of good fortune.

 

Lovers and Devil combination

Putting these cards side by side emphasises their similarity of the images. Two people with a stone / mountain between them and a powerful figure above them. They both signify the making of a choice. In case of the Lovers your heart’s desire is blessed from above, and therefore beneficent to follow. In contrast the Devil shows us we made the choice to fall back into an old, bad yet oh so comfy habit.
These cards are each other’s polar opposite. And one thing is for sure: all polar opposites deserve our attention. Yes, even the bad and serious. Especially the bad and serious!
lovers-devil

 

 

 

 

 

An example: if you start believing about yourself that you neeeever think something nasty about another person, you are in denial. You are denying the possession of a quality. But this does not make that quality disappear. It really belongs to you (as it does to almost all of us…).
So what will happen when being in denial? Firstly, it will cost you energy unnoticed and turns into a constant power drain. Secondly, it is like putting a rock on top of a vulcano. For a while it looks extinct. Then suddenly you erupt and spout ugliness that surprises yourself. And usually to someone who did not deserve it but just happened to be there. You changed into the Devil!

It’s no use trying to be something you are not. In this case you can be assured no one is lovely and sweet always and sort of Princess Diana like. Even not Princess Diana! Have faith that you are ‘designed’ like you are so you can fulfill your destiny. So better let that vulcano percolate whenever something comes up. Trust your intuition on this. (Which is not the same as your emotions and immersing into them.)
Raise your own awareness of what your ‘devilish’ forces are and give them your loving attention. Try and find out what they are good for, how they can help you. In our example you might learn to channel your ‘devilish’ force into assertiveness and standing up for yourself in a good way.

 

The Pillars of the Highpriestess

highpriestess-stress-tensionPillars are a symbol of transition. They function as a gateway to enter your inner temple. The Highpriestess is seated in front of the curtain behind which lies her inner temple. She looks at us who are in the outside world and lets the water of the ocean behind the curtain flow through her lap. That ocean represents her subconscious and her higher consciousness. We all own a subconscious full of content and a higher consciousness that we might call spirituality. There is an underlying unity between the subconscious and the higher conscious of all people together. The entrance to that is to be found in every human. It is the source of our being, our energy, our life force. Your soul is the daughter of this source.

This underlying cosmic unity knows no time, place or boundaries. She manifested herself in the concrete universe in which we live. She turned herself inside out during the big bang, so to speak. And where, in her, all opposites where united in a perfect and therefore static harmony, they split up at birth and are now to be found in different places and quantities. Creating tensions that lead people to perform certain actions (like war). Likewise, in us, little wars take place on a daily base. So when I wake up my ‘mmm, let’s stay in bed a bit longer’ indulgent side battles with my ‘let’s do something now we woke up early’ side. Only one can win… or I can compromise. When my husband travels, my female side misses him. But my ‘happy-by-myself’ side has already started up Netflix, put a pizza in and went for the sweat pants.

infinity-sign-stress-tension

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3 TIPS TO UNLOCK A CARD THAT DOESN’T SPEAK TO YOU

It happens to the best: you turn a card you picked and it doesn’t speak to you. Your inner antennas do not stir even the littlest bit. Fear not: with these 3 Tips I help you over the threshold to enter your subconscious from a different angle and discover new territory!

unlock your subconscious

You just feel nothing. The universal meaning is known to you but inside nothing moves. You stare at it. Try to come up with sómething. You put out your inner antennas to sense even the littlest stirring of your intuition… but nope, nada and nothing. For those frustrating and slightly embarassing situations I have listed the following tips to unlock your subconscious. Because, you know, if it does not go as it should, so be it as it goes.

tarot reading

TIP 1: Pick cardS to further explore the first one

Single out the card that you wish to explore: put it in front of you. Depending on how much detail you need you:

  • Draw one extra card that will signal what energy is the source of your mystery card
  • Use this more extensive 3-card reading to really get to the bottom of it:
    1. the first card tells you what the underlying theme is of the mystery card
    2. the second card tells you what the lesson is you need to learn
    3. the third card will be advice on how to do so (what is good to do)
  • Feel free to create your own exploratory reading as needed depending on the card and/or the position of the card in the original reading

TIP 2: Like or dislike

Study your mystery card and notice the general feel of it. Now look up or bring to mind the universal energies this particular card represents. From these aspects, pick one that triggers or intrigues you most, either in a positive or a repulsive way…

Now finish the next question using this particular aspect: ‘How do I feel about someone who does / behaves like …’. Let me make this a bit more clear by taking the Emperor as example. The aspect that intrigues me most is that he is someone who will tell others what to do. So the question would be ‘How do I feel about someone who tells others what to do?’.

tarot card like

When asking yourself your question, you can answer with ‘like’ or ‘dislike. (In my case, I dislike the idea of someone telling others what to do.) Then try to give more words to the like or dislike: ‘I like / dislike … because …’ (So in my example: I dislike someone who tells others what to do, because they dominate others and that makes me feel uncomfortable as I don’t like being dominated. I want to decide myself what to do in any situation.’ Note: maybe you would like this aspect of the Emperor, for example because you find it easier when someone else decides so you do not have to take responsibility.)

The last step is to try and recognize how this statement relates to your own life. What situation or experience have you been through that made you feel this way? Go dig as deep as you can so you benefit most from this reading.

 

TIP 3: Adding scenes

Every single Tarot card can be seen as the depiction of a scene that belongs to a much longer, more expansive story. Usually we think of them in terms of the spot they take within their series and the ongoing flow of that series (e.g. the series of the Cups, or the Major Arcana).
But for this special purpose we look at the card as if it were a singular work of art, such as a painting in a museum. The artist has precisely chosen this moment and this scene because it best symbolises the whole story that it is part of. Think of the Mona Lisa: what happened right before he painted her that made her smile so knowingly the way she does? Or Van Gogh’s painting of the little café in Arles; who visited there that night and what happened between them? And then what did they do after closing time at midnight?

SevenofswordsNow take your mystery card and look at the scene that is playing out. For example Seven of Swords. Who is this person? Who is he sneaking away from? What and who is on the background and what do the Swords signify he is holding, or the two left behind? Then bring your fantasy to life and imagine what happened before he or she got there in the first place, and why and what role he or she played? And after this sneaking away, where does he or she go and what will happen to the swords that are now being carried? How will this person then feel and what was it good for? And so on…

Really go for it and turn it into a fairy tale or a thriller, wherever your  inspiration leads you. Feel how the card comes alive within you and discover new aspects that you might not have associated with it before. It’s fun to do and deepens your connection with a card!

 

respect your level

I hope one of these tips will have made a difference for you! If not, bear in mind that it might not be the right time for this piece of knowledge to enter your awareness. Our subconscious will only release content when you are ready for it and strong enough to deal with it. Because she is led by your soul and serves to protect you.

What you can do is take a picture of the Card and write about it in your Tarot Journal. Then look at it after a week / month / year to see if the meaning of the Card has been expressed in your life in the meantime. Nothing is ever lost!

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