Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sadness, In Its Place....

January 17, 2012: Three Of Swords--Mourning -- Haindl Tarot

A bleak, featureless landscape, holding scarcely a single object to look at in its desert blankness...only a wound in the bare sand, dropping a single tear. And before it, three swords, in an interesting configuration--most cards which represent threes, especially swords, balance them, making some kind of a symmetrical figure, but in Haindl's card, one sword stands slightly apart from the other two. If you see this as a progression from the preceding card, the Two of Swords, which is "Peace" and shows two swords reminiscent of the twin pillars of the High Priestess, then the image conveys even more directly the idea that one's peace has been disturbed, that things are out of balance. And when that happens...what then?

To correctly interpret this card, one must look at the entire image. Unfortunately, swords, as Rachel Pollock explains in the companion book she wrote to this deck, are man-made objects with no resonance of Nature, as are stones, water, and fire, the elemental representations of the other three suits. Swords are not only the one tool used in this deck which is man-made, but also, as Pollock points out, are the only tool created entirely for use as a weapon, whether of defense or offense. Spears and arrows and knives are all used for hunting, or as tools. But "A sword was possibly the first weapon designed entirely for human combat. Bows and arrows, like spears, were used for hunting. Axes and knives served as tools. Swords existed only for heroic noblemen to battle each other." So one sees the end result of human conflict in this image: Things are out of balance, a tear falls from the torn fabric of creation, and even the I Ching hexagram, "Retreat" echoes the image of the one sword moved away from the others--sometimes we just need to step aside, to mourn, to let ourselves feel the way we feel.

So, for today, let's think about this. Haindl says that this card represents as much mourning that covers societies and generations as it does the "mourning" of an individual's loss. When I read that this morning, I began thinking of the state of our world. The economy sucketh, there is war and conflict, the political picture in our country is ever more bleak, and the general state of affairs doesn't say much for the positive aspects of human nature. And yes, I do believe, sometimes we do need to step aside and think about these things. Martin Luther King's birthday was celebrated yesterday, and I found myself thinking of all the ways in which that for which he worked tirelessly, for which he even gave his life, has yet to come to pass. So--what does this card give us as an avatar for the day? How does it help us to "dwell" on the sorry state of affairs? What kind of energy is here, that we can use, so we don't spend the day sitting in mourning?

Well--that's just it. I see a threefold message in this card. The first meaning is the obvious one. There are, on both the cosmic and the individual level, things to mourn for. So...feel what you feel. Be real. Accept, embrace, be one with, your feelings, your thoughts, your state of mind. Acknowledge them. What you shove to the back of the closet sneaks out the cracks and comes barreling in the front door, usually at the worst possible moment. So--be real with yourself. Know where you are. And then--second stave: decide on action. Maybe you need to write that sympathy card. Maybe you need to apologize. Maybe you need to remember Aunt Mary and light a candle. And maybe you need to vote, or contribute to a cause, or take personal action in honour of someone or something that matters to you. So--first Be. Then, Act. And thirdly--?

Thirdly, move on. Don't pretend whatever you are mourning didn't happen. It did. But once acknowledged, it is only a thing that happened. And you are more than that. You are a force, an energy, an avatar of life. So...let the wheel turn, let the season of mourning pass, and come forth into the spring once again. That which passes, returns to life anew. And so will you.

Turn, Turn, Turn (the Byrds--lyrics by Pete Seeger)

To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven

A time to build up,a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together

To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace, a time to refrain from embracing

To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it's not too late

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed reading this. Thank you. It brings to mind the Flower Prayer in KaHuna and Feri, "Who is this flower above me?/What is the work of this god?/I would know myself in all my parts." Mourning and grief are necessary and a part of us, but what matters is what we do with it, what we do next. The Change wrought, not the Catalyst that brings it.

    ~Muninn's Kiss