Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Five of Wands - Conflict

Featured Deck: The Housewives’ Tarot  by Paul Kepple and Jude Buffum
Original Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood

After World War II America experienced an expansive surge of growth, creativity, and abundance. The suburbs exploded with new housing. Couples moved in to picket fenced homes to raise families and celebrate the new American Dream. So many daily chores of life that had always been manual became automated. People started to have more time on their hands to do other things. Life was perfect! Really?

In the card above, a housewife finds herself in conflict with a blender, toaster, and an iron; the very things that were supposed to bring her freedom from her chores seem to be her enemies. Now that she has these helpful appliances she is expected to do more, be more, have a perfect house and family. The more free time she has the more she is expected to do, to be, to keep up with society’s expectations. She finds herself overwhelmed, perhaps feeling like a failure or spinning in a vortex of mindless activity. Oh, for the good old days of simplicity. 

Most of us today have similar challenges. We are overwhelmed with choices. The stores are overloaded with merchandise. There are too many events to attend. Too many movies to watch. Too many books to read (so little time!) and certainly too much technology seducing us, enticing us, raising the bar of expectations; every year the latest and greatest in innovations is outdated and new ways to do things come along. That card could easily replace blenders and toasters with iPads and cellphones. There is no end to the possibilities yet somehow we feel we must experience it all, master it all. Bring it on! 

The Fours of the Tarot represent stability, structure, order. We long for that feeling of safety and security. But once that is established human nature always pushes against it, wants to get out of the box, rebels and breaks free into – chaos. The Fives of the Tarot are that chaos. Here in the 5’s everything gets mixed up. By stepping out of structure we have to redefine ourselves, our lives, our expectations and goals, our very identity. Who am I? What am I doing? What do I want? 

We battle over these parts of ourselves, our identities. Which one gets a turn? What part of us is the “real” part? We try to suppress the conflicting voices because it is just too much. We cannot do it all, but we can do what we choose to do. 

When the 5 of Rods finds you overwhelmed, in conflict, living in chaos, take a break. Look at what is happening. Pick your battles. Try to identify the parts of you so involved in this fight. Do you need more time to study and explore your spiritual side? Does your family require more of your attention? Is your body, your health sending out cries for help? Are you getting proper nourishment or are you in the “grab and go” mindless act of eating? Do you find yourself spinning all day but not getting anything done? 

The traditional 5 of Rods shows 5 people, who all look identical, fighting each other with battle staffs. Those 5 people are the different aspects of the self fighting for control. Stop beating yourself up over it all. Try to realize that this breaking out of order and stability has a purpose. Killing yourself with conflict will not help you learn or grow. If chaos is on overwhelm in your life, take charge. Limit the stimulation – the input. You don’t have to deny yourself, but you can refine your choices. You don’t have to fall back into the old box of your life; this is an opportunity to go forward in new ways. 

There is a certain feeling of magic here; to be able grab the tools we need from the swirling chaos and manifest our desires in the midst of the confusion. As we spin and swirl, new ideas form, new possibilities pop in and out. We can taste and sample limitless options. Try a few. If you find something you like it, pursue it and be willing to let go of that, too. 

Learning how to, well, dance with the energy helps us to learn to maneuver it, to use it, to allow ourselves to expand. It really is a dance. The music exploding, the drums beating, we give ourselves to the energy, moving and finding our own rhythm. And at some sweet spot, we realize we have learned to move with it, to ride it, to feel our own identity emerging out of chaos and into the beauty of who we are.  We don’t have to divide and conquer. We discover how to allow the different parts of ourselves to support our dance of eternal becoming. 

Love and embrace all the parts of yourself.  The Wands of the Tarot are Fire… maybe you could ignite those battle staffs, step into the circle and dance with them.

...Kathryn Ravenwood

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