Thursday, December 27, 2018

The Divination Project: Part 13: Knight of Swords

It had to happen sooner or later. Major writer's block. It wasn't for lack of things to write about, either. Nopedy-nope-nope-nope.

Nope.

Nope.

Nope.

Nopedy-nope.

Yes, this is how Alice's brain works. Right now, it's all, "Okay, dumbass, just say what you were going to say when you sat down here at your computer with your ice cream, and get it over with."

To which her heart responds, "Ice cream?! God yes, ice cream!!!"

And, after a couple of delicious bites of Caramel Cone, deliciously coating her tongue, her heart continues, "Oh. My. God. This is fucking amazing. Can't we just have ice cream, sex, rainbows, sunsets and unicorns, and say no to anything that makes us feel less than that?"

"Fuck yes," her heart says.

"Wait, we had a plan!" her mind says.

"Oh yeah, that whole thing where Alice was going to post a journal excerpt written in the first person, except writing about it in the first person was so triggering that she kept flipping back to third person, anyway, and she realizes that it is basically exactly what happens when she gets triggered through fear of condemnation and dissociates?" her heart continues.

Alice takes a really big bite of ice cream as her mind answers, "Maybe it is that Mercury conjunct Sun placement, combined with being an Aquarius. Oh, and Nolan has that same placement in his chart, plus being Aquarius rising, plus Uranus in Aquarius, and Neptune in Aquarius in the 12th House, dang that is a lot of... well, Nolan." And she smiles, because she loves Nolan deeply for these qualities.


She looks at the rest of his chart and notices his Venus in Aries and Mars in Sagittarius and thinks that Lou may just be the perfect person to help him with his confidence. She's an Aries, Sag Rising. But he's also a Pisces/Taurus cusper, and while usually go with the flow, sometimes he can be quite stubborn, or so Sally says.

Alice learned in her tarot class that Venus is what you look for in feminine energy, and Mars is what you look for in masculine energy, and she shakes her head. Her mother is an Aries/Pisces cusper, and Alice's Venus is in Pisces. Her father is a Capricorn, and her Mars is in Capricorn. So when she reacted to Lydia saying she didn't care for Scorpios (for the usual reasons) and Pisces, because Pisces are fishy, she was kind of reacting to a sudden awareness of her own fishy nature.

Could she write about that in the first person? Without italics?

I know sometimes I can be fishy. But I think it is one of my strengths. To not react as expected, to go with the flow. It is a gift to be able to surprise even oneself in a good way.

And I've actually met several Capricorns, male and female, and felt them to be extremely, well, magnetic? WTF is it about these slow, deliberate individuals that is so alluring? Is it the "slow and steady wins the race" lesson I learned from my father? Or are the planets in my chart pushing me toward these people?

"Wow, good job, Alice!" whoever is narrating this story says. Damn, this sounds like Nolan wrote it. He's twisted like this.

"Wait, who is who?" Now nobody is sure who is talking or writing or narrating.

She's really working over this ice cream, and man, it is gooooood!

And yes, she is high.

But anyway. That's beside the point.

The point is that Alice figured out there are some things she does need to write in private because when she thinks about the worst that could happen if someone read it, she actually is very afraid that she is not strong enough to handle the consequences in the worst case or maybe even the best case scenario. And by, "not strong enough," she's trying to send a message to anyone who actually gives a shit that there is a situation in her life that still triggers suicidal thoughts for her, and every attempt to create boundaries around that situation has been treated with absolute disregard.by the people involved, and dragging their characters through the mud doesn't feel right, because she's sure if they knew how much they hurt her, they would stop. Or maybe they really just won't. Maybe they don't understand that if you love someone you set them free? Maybe they think it's only appropriate to let go of someone out of hatred? Maybe she needs to make them hate her, then. But one thing's for sure, she needs a very, very long break from them and their drama and disrespect of her peace.

Damn, it is scary to even type that in the third person, Alice thinks.

So anyway, earlier she texted Charlotte to confirm that yes, indeed, sometimes a journal is the best place to write stuff out. Not everything has to be public.


***

During the last tarot class, she learned about the Past Life spread. Alice doesn't know much about Past Lives, except that maybe she was other people who didn't learn various karmic lessons. It's easier for her to think about her actual ancestors and the generational trauma passed down, and she thinks that is a great place for anyone to start self-improvement. Genealogy helps to understand certain things about the nature of our pain in this life. Alice learned a lot about her own triggers and how she inherited them subconsciously from her parents, who inherited them from theirs, through genealogy, meeting cousins, and discussing family history of shared ancestors.

She decides, to get her mind off the frustrations of the last few weeks, to try a Past Life Spread for the first time. She has two decks of cards on her computer desk - one the Osho Zen Tarot, which is still in the basement from when she did a reading for Charlotte. Charlotte refers to this three-card spread a lot in her writing, to the point of near obsession, and Alice has said that the cards aren't necessarily a conviction of the energy in a relationship, just representative of the time in question, and that energy shifts. She thinks Charlotte should have another reading for this reason! The other deck is the small Thoth deck she got when she thought she was getting the large Thoth deck. It is supposed to be one of the best for divination because there is a lot of abstraction in the artwork. Sometimes Alice carries it in her purse wrapped in a pink polka dot silk scarf her mother brought her from France. The cards are the size of regular playing cards, so Alice tends to zoom out rather than in when looking at this particular deck. She did get a large-sized Thoth deck and a carved box for it, but it's all the way upstairs and Alice is enjoying where she is.

She unties the little Thoth deck, and grabs the printout of the Past Life Spread, laying it on top of a pile of books by Marie-Louise von Franz, some art and genealogy magazines, the Osho Zen Tarot in its box, and the Najavits book about substance abuse and PTSD. Her desk is usually a mess these days. Many things are a mess, but now she sees how chaos in her life aids her process of divination and creativity. Chaos magick, indeed.

She does it the same way every time. Shuffle, just like playing cards, maybe even bridging the cards, three times. Cut the deck. Middle on top of left, then those cards on the top of the right ones. Then, the really satisfying shuffle that is easiest with slippery or broken in cards - she holds the deck in her left hand the short way, and the right hand the long way, pulling the cards away with her right hand, and leaving whatever remains by the pressure of her left thumb in her left hand, over and over until she gets through the whole deck. Three times. Then she pulls off the top of the deck, in order, unless something jumps out. Cards don't tend to jump with this deck, and when cards jump, she pays attention, unless she hasn't thought of her question yet. She usually tries to focus on her question if she hasn't come up with it by the time she is cutting the cards. For this spread, she just thinks, "Past Life messages for this particular Past Life spread... Please and Thank You."

Working with the cards is ritualistic, no matter where she is. She doesn't have an altar. She usually does readings sitting cross-legged on the floor. The ritual for her is what happens in her heart - the focus - and it's an energy she can reach as long as she feels she is in a safe place. That's a big reason she wouldn't trust readings from her when she's under duress, because she hates being put on the spot. If you read her astrological chart, you'll see that being put on the spot is somethings she really detests. It feels like an assault. But here, she is in her sacred space, sitting under her chicken lamp, writing. Yay! She knows that poor Carl is probably asleep upstairs, having hopefully the worst of his flu, Sally is spending time with her BFF (Best Fuzzy Friend) Charlie, the Lilac sable-point Lionhead rabbit, and Nolan is recreating the theme song from The Office with full orchestration using Midi, and Alice thinks that Lydia (who loves to compose music) and he need to spend some more time together.

Here's another important thing about Alice. Everywhere she feels free to be herself is sacred to her, because her home is in her heart. And so, she loves to travel (especially with just a few other people - not a huge herd, especially if it is on Carl's and her dime). She has had a lot of fun wandering off on her own adventures when accompanying Carl on business trips. She hates being in lock step with an army of other people, and this is nothing peculiar about her, it's a basic human need for autonomy. She is just consciously aware of it since reading Jung's The Undiscovered Self.

Like magic, while Alice is looking at the cards she has laid, Lydia sends a text saying that she messaged her boss telling him she will only work two days a week for the next month. Yay! More Lydia time!!! Lydia and Alice have had some discussions about going on some writing adventures together, maybe in New York City to start. Lydia likes to travel with her daughter in Europe and write about their adventures.

So, she has ten cards in this spread (Thoth Deck):

1) Current Karmic Lesson - Princess of Disks
2) Current Karmic Blessing - Ten of Swords
3) Experience in Between Lives - The Lovers, reversed
4) Circumstances around end of last life - Lust
5) Message from previous life - Six of Swords
6) Past life blessings you carried forward - Six of Cups
7) Lingering vibes from previous life - Eight of Wands, reversed
8) Lesson gained from previous life - Ace of Wands, reversed
9) Connecting purpose through lifetimes - Two of Disks, reversed
10) Outcome of present incarnation - Knight of Swords, reversed
Bottom card) Adjustment, reversed



Here's Alice's attempt:

The layout, on first glance, looks like a person with hands, calmness on one shoulder, temptation on the other, troubled in mind, and a heart with the appreciation for the good things in life. The hands are the tools I can use with others, moving away from bad energy, or responding in love. The legs give me energy to deal with the conflicts related to this energy imbalance, and it's a swift energy I can use.

(Princess of Disks) Right now I am learning about the difficulty of being a wife and mother in this lifetime. (Ten of Swords) It involves a lot of sacrifice, but only the amount the limitations of my own mind make it to be! My reality is, in big part, how I choose to see it. This is a great realization and blessing, after so many readings with the Eight of Swords, since I bought my first Tarot deck. I can choose to make time for good things in my life, or let my life be dominated by obligation and depression. (The Lovers) In between lives, in other words, through meditation and hypnosis, I find the completion I seek, which is  great, because in a past life, obligation and drama - not knowing how to stop and smell the roses - was a big problem, which may have led to my demise...

Alice looks at The Lovers card, which actually resembles a penis pointing at her, and she laughs thinking about all the times she had orgasms in her sleep when she was a teenager and when she was pregnant. "In between lives" she finds her "satisfaction." LOL.

(Six of Swords) But man, they say I am through the worst of it! I will be able to identify when situations or people are wasting my energy (sucking my soul) more easily, and oooh! Six of Cups - Soulmate Energy! - is the blessing I carry forward from my past life!

Alice thinks about the various tarot readers she has watched who get so excited about the Six of Cups, and wonders if it is yet another metaphor for something like the Alchemist making a trip to the Great Pyramids at Giza. And she's too lazy to run upstairs and get her favorite book of interpretations The Crowley Tarot: The Handbook to the Cards. She just knows that when she sees this card, she feels happy, like happiness is around the corner, and it often is. Instead, she looks online.

"The card is not so much about the act of sex, but rather about the wealth of emotional contentment that can arise from being in a fulfilled sexual relationship. Good sexual experience is one of the greatest acknowledgments of our physical state. It adds richness to our understanding of ourselves as humans." - Angel Paths

Alice wrinkles her brow and smirks. If past lives means "past" in history (meaning backwards in time), she knows this has at least a little to do with her generation of mothers having much better vibrators, and the time to use them due to other inventions like the vacuum cleaner and the dishwasher, and the good old 4th Wave Feminist Middle Finger. Yes, indeed. Her poor ancestors. And past selves!! Then she thinks of the special 1950's vacuum cleaner attachments she and Carl saw at the Sex Machine Museum in Prague last year and wonders if the door-to-door vacuum salesman actually gave demonstrations.

Okay, all jokes aside, a lot of this book has been about the highly sexual connection Alice and Carl have had. That part of their life has been more than satisfying when they are not feeling controlled by others. It's an important part of their life together. The big killer for it has been unnecessary stress from outside forces. They have both learned a lot about boundaries this year and how poor boundaries affect their mental health and their marriage, especially their sex life. This gets into the importance of awakening kundalini, probably, and all sorts of other fancy things, but Alice and Carl know how important that energy is, and they have an agreement that anything that gets in its way is OUT. Things that build it, IN. Quite literally. :P

Now that they are on the same page, Carl and Alice are much more free-flowing in their sexual life. It is more about enjoyment than relieving mutated anxiety, and maybe that's what this Six of Cups is about. It is nice to be at ease in her relationship with him again. It's been a really long time since they felt that way. Perhaps the energy in one's sexual relationship sets the bar for their other relationships, too? So maybe that means as Alice and Carl's relationship improves, maybe their relationship with others will improve, too? Everything is connected.

Alice remembers talking to Siggy almost two years ago, wondering why she didn't have closer friends, and Siggy saying that it typically means that there is a defect in the primary relationship.

"Primary relationship?" Alice had asked.

"Your marriage," Siggy responded. And that was what thrust Alice further down the rabbit hole, trying to understand what was broken in her marriage.

ENOUGH.

ENOUGH.

ENOUGH!!! Get back to your tarot spread, Alice.

Six of Cups! It's the bestest card, Alice. You earned this with some serious blood, sweat and tears. Many, many fucking tears. Be proud of it, and defend it! Phew!

Eight of Wands is the lingering vibes from my previous life, and it's funny because in the Thoth deck the wands are all jaggedy and kind of nervous, but there's also a rainbow, so maybe this is literally about my weirdo sexual vibe that I didn't know I had. That would be really strange. Usually it's about messages, though, and this is reversed, so maybe it's that I am exceptionally open to messages from "in between lives?" Oh yeah! That is awesome I picked up on that - it says that on the Angel Paths website. I have had several "gifts" bestowed on me on my journey, besides the gift of the Tarot, and one of them is extremely rapid karmic cycling. I mean, it seems rapid to me and everyone I know! The last cycles have happened so fast I haven't even had a chance to catch Charlotte up.

"There's just one warning - well didn't there have to be? This is a big bursting energy. It's as well to keep your balance firmly in the centre of your being. That way you won't get swept away by it!"


No shit, Sherlock. I get it. I get it. I wrote about 47,000 words in like 12 days for NaNoWriMo. I get it. And I thought that was fast. And now it's like a firehose, and I'm considering becoming a Tibetan Monk so I can get caught up. I see the importance of the condensation process, which can be aided by either time or meditation. I am so glad I meditated before writing today, since I have had four false starts trying to write about these recent karmic lessons. But yes, Yoga Nidra. Yes.

The lesson I gained from my previous life is the Ace of Wands, reversed. I always associate this with sex because of the YouTube readers, or some sort of passionate new beginning. I do feel like this is a passionate new beginning. I have direction! I am fascinated by the subconscious, and the Divine, and healing, and all this stuff that brought me the Six of Cups energy. I want to explore it, learn about it, and research it, because it is actually happiness. Like, I'M THE BOY IN THE ALCHEMIST AND I FOUND THE FUCKING GOLD IN EGYPT, BUT INSIDE OF ME. And I am not going to let anyone take that away from me, no, no, no.

It's like I said on Instagram in my Jean Valjean moment several months ago, "I have work to do. I have dragons to slay. Folks, you're either with me, trying to make the world a better place for everyone, or you're just trying to see what's in it for you. If it is the latter, just do us all a favor and be straight up with yourself and me. Don't waste my time and energy (time + energy = love). For those in the former camp, thanks for the understanding, thanks for every little act of love. You make the world worth living in."

I posted that August 30th, at the beginning of last semester. I had to go back to school after a really challenging summer to a place that held a lot of joyful and just a few profoundly sad memories, and the community totally cared for me. I think they knew how hard it was for me, and I really appreciate it. What an amazing gift community college was. I learned so much more than just 3D CAD for digital sculpting, or sculpture or art history. I learned about myself, and I learned about my purpose!

I saw that the book "Where'd You Go, Bernadette?" is being made into a movie, and I think how amazing the timing is, that almost exactly two years after I first read the book, trying to decide what class to take, the movie is coming out. It was required reading for the Technical Writing class I was considering as my first class. Out of curiosity, I decided to read the book, which was about a brilliant woman in middle age with a daughter who had a heart condition, married to a very successful tech genius, having trouble connecting with other mothers, having a total breakdown. The book TOLD ME I was supposed to follow my passion, which is not technical writing. It is art. It is expression. It is living in a way that integrates all the parts of me into a whole. It is the stripping off of mask and pretense. It is the awakening of my kundalini energy to heal myself and others.

And that, my friends, is why I took Sculpture class instead of Technical Writing.*

Ace of Wands.

Kundalini energy.

Boo-yeah.

The Universe totally has my back!

Okay, where was I?

Yes, Alice's journals read just like this, if you were wondering. And yeah, what she writes here is much tamer. <evil grin>

Connected purpose through lifetimes is the Two of Disks, reversed. My purpose is to make choices? I haaaaaaate making choices. I like to "find a way to yes." I hate burning bridges. Is that what this is saying? Do I need to learn how and why to burn bridges?

She thinks of Charlize Theron in Atomic Blonde, and thinks, "Hell, yes." And then she remembers how quickly she nearly burned a bunch of bridges in the last month, and what she really stood to lose. Charlotte. I almost lost Charlotte! Thank goodness for Carl, Nolan and Sally expressing their right minds! Charlotte texted her right after her therapy appointment and when Alice replied that the writer's block was removed, Charlotte simply replied, "Yeay! Don't want to interrupt the flow. :)," like a REAL GODDAMN FRIEND. Six of Cups!!!

Okay, I get it. I get it. Some people you just can't leave the energetic door open with, because they'll bring in a basilisk because they felt sorry for the basilisk. And they'll often spring that basilisk on you without warning - they'll wait until you're in a place where you've kind of committed to them, and then you're not sure if you should leave or stay and hope someone else slays the basilisk. Or maybe you fight the basilisk all alone for a while, and develop a distaste for any gatherings where the basilisk might show up. Then you watch everyone else kiss the basilisk's ass, and later listen to them wonder why the basilisk is still a fucking basilisk, when they still have basilisk shit on their upper lip and they can't even smell it! You personally have watched that basilisk with no feelings suck the energy out of the room, and out of everyone nearby, and you wonder how anyone could take the basilisk's side, unless the basilisk has poisoned their soul, too.

It's easy to see the basilisks, especially if you lead a relatively basilisk-free life. But if you've been surrounded by basilisks for most of your life (and have developed a taste for basilisk ass), it might be kind of hard to see people as basilisks (especially if you have developed a taste for basilisk shit), and when you finally do, it might be a little late. And sometimes you get sooooooo accustomed to eating basilisk shit that you think it is the only way to live, and that's because the basilisk has been telling you this all along. Even if you claim to believe otherwise to your non-basilisk associates, you're still taking on that basilisk energy on a subconscious level. Somehow, also, that basilisk convinces you that life here actually is hell, and that hell is because of other people (and not all the basilisks), and that if you just believe in all their basilisk nonsense, when you die, you'll go to basilisk heaven, because it's "God's Will to save the basilisks" and any hurt done to non-basilisks by basilisks was "God's Will." Also, you might think that your basilisk is not like the other basilisks, but when it comes right down to it, if it walks like a basilisk and talks like a basilisk, it's a motherfucking basilisk, folks!

People underestimate the power of the subconscious. An entire economy runs on marketing which is optimized to impact us on a subconscious level. It is the messaging system of the Patriarchy - messages of inadequacy spread to make us buy more, worry more, work harder, think less, breathe less, be less. Basilisk venom works on many levels, from the cellular to the spiritual.

I digress. The point is, to move forward in my life, I need no more dealings with basilisk associates. Sometimes it takes a while to figure those out, because on the surface they seem so cool and nice!!! But the drama that ensues, because nobody feels comfortable with who they are, and they can't just be, is way more trouble than it is worth.

ENOUGH! ALICE!!!! TAROT!

What does the website say? It says The Two of Disks is about fear of change, and stagnation. OH! RIGHT! Man, I totally wanted it to be about basilisks. But I like the idea that it represents my awareness that stagnation is toxic. And stagnation is truly combated not through material acquisition, but through self-improvement. Through knowing oneself, integrating with society, and sharing one's personal journey with society. Oh, and when you're friends with basilisks, that makes this whole process kind of difficult because of all the messages you believe even subconsciously about what a shitheel you are, so you get... stagnation.

Dang! And this all goes back to Jung's idea that to break the pattern of inter-generational trauma, we need to do the work within ourselves and share our journey with our children and with society. Which is the work of writers and artists, which I am both! And it's reversed, so I'm gonna say that this refers to my realization that I have a lot of work to do in the subconscious.

Or, I'm gonna have a really nice dream tonight, which is alright with me!
Nice!

Okay, the last card is the outcome of present incarnation - Knight of Swords, reversed. This is usually about "an offer" of fairly quick speed. Since this one is reversed, maybe I am going to be hearing from someone in particular in my dreams? Oh, maybe it's like that Paul Carrack song I kept trying to record off the radio in 7th grade when I had the crush on that cute skater boy with the rosy cheeks from milk allergy. "And we climb, and climb, and at the top we fly, and the world goes on below us, we are lost in time, and I don't know really what it is, but I've always thought you'd love me, in my dreams..." **

Aww, that's really cute. But maybe not real. But maybe... if I work on my psychic ability? Is that a thing? I mean, Pearl is writing a book about inter-dimensional sex, and all she and Charlotte talk about is Connie Willis, Connie Willis! I think I am supposed to read Connie Willis' Passage, and another book Charlotte and my Mom told me I would like.

Okay, let's look at the website.

Alice reads the website, eyes bulging. Often, court cards showing up in a reading are about specific people in our lives. Could this be who she is thinking of? Alice thinks she knows who this is, but she's not sure. Hopefully the Universe won't make it too difficult to figure out...

Oh duh, she realizes. It's me. I became the Knight of Swords. What better archetype to slay basilisks?

The overarching energy is Adjustment, which is about balance of yin and yang. For a long time, my energy was too yin. I mean, I knew this. This is why I burned moxa in my bellybutton for a winter. This is why I focus so much of my health research on metabolism!

"Life is a flowing river of energy -" the website says, "and when it is blocked for any length of time it behaves exactly as water does. It stagnates. When we fail to consistently assess or position and attitudes in relation to life - in general, and on a personal level - we too begin to stagnate... So on a day ruled by Adjustment, we need to take stock of ourselves. Have a look at habitual or routine behavior, and decide whether it is appropriate to your current state of mind, and position. Sometimes a thing becomes outdated, and loses its value3 as we change and alter. If you find anything like this decide to let go of it, to clear the way for new more appropriate actions... Think about the ways in which you approach life - do you feel you're getting the most out of it, and putting as much as you can into it? If not, think about why. For some of the fortunate people among us, happiness and contentment come as a result of simply deciding that these things are in our lives now, and then living each day reminding ourselves of that fact. So consider if you are one of those fortunate people who can simply choose to be happy, fulfilled and contented... and then do it."

Amen.

So yes, I dig the past life spread! 


***

*Results not typical.

**(FWIW, after writing this last night, Alice had a very satisfying "In Between Lives" experience with Carl watching).
 

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