Today is the last day of 2009. I know it’s been a really hard year for many of us, and most people I have been reading for lately can’t wait for it to be over… but I would like to acknowledge it, for myself at least, as a year of massive happenings and great change. It certainly hasn’t been an easy year, but then again, what year IS easy, honestly? – and there’s nothing wrong with a good challenge, is there, my friends?
As I was eating my breakfast this morning ( loving those little shredded wheat things lately. yum. ) i was wondering how and what to write about this year. It’s kind of weird, but i feel a certain tenderness towards 2009, perhaps because i found so much resistance to it’s call for change from other people, and also because it’s intensity actually helped me go through death and rebirth in a way that would have terrified me if i could have seen it coming.
Anyway, i’m not going into that again here (audible sigh of relief from everyone out there who has read my blogs of despair, desperation and determination to ascend from the depths this year) – what i have decided to do instead is a little homage to the Nines of the Tarot, in relation to how they effected and influenced me. Once again, I will reiterate my belief in the power of personal experience when it comes to understanding the tarot; reading books will only get you so far. Depth only comes with living through the many facets of each card and seeing them afresh with your own eyes. It might be just one little thing on a card that jumps out at you, or that you notice for the first time, and THAT will be your sign, your symbol, your key to a deeper understanding of the card. So, to the Nines…
Overall, the nines in the minor arcana represent the stage of re-assessment, the stage before completion of a cycle where you become acutely aware of the manifestation of your actions so far. Where you find yourself at this stage will determine how you see your immediate future, whether you want to continue with your plans and goals, or whether you realize you need to acknowledge a new beginning in another direction is required, as this path has not taken you where you hoped to go. Thus, we have a split at the Nines between the fulfilment and happiness depicted in the cups and pentacles, and the burden and struggle seen in the wands and swords.
The Rider Waite Nine of Wands often makes me smile, despite its heaviness – or perhaps because of it. I can just so relate to the pissed-off look on the face of the big guy, who after having extended all this energy and fought so hard, worked so hard, has nothing much to show except a bandaged forehead. For me, this card is the moment you have when you come home after a hard day’s work all sweaty from an overcrowded tram with no air-conditioning and the house is messy and the kids are watching Skins and there is no food in the fridge and the cat’s meowing around your legs and you look in the mirror and your eye-makeup is smudged and your housemate hands you a pile of mail and its all bills and you realize tomorrow is rent day… Yep. Life is so crap right now. All your energy has gone into fighting the good fight, battling to get through and using all your energy, but just feeling generally defeated and fed up. Bruised. Battered. Bewildered. Beleagured. (sorry, but i do love a bit of alliteration every now and then. it’s addictive…try it!) I faced my Nine of Wands by listening to my mother’s advice this year. She said, “Don’t try and make your kids happy by working so hard and doing everything for them or giving up your own pleasures, because teenagers will never be satisfied no matter how much they get…” So I got them doing more housework, cooking dinner, even going to the shops before I got home from pole dancing- and it made everything just that little bit sweeter. You could even say I looked at all those nine wands, all that ‘stuff’ and just took one to move forward with. That was my pole around which i began to dance – hah!
This card is also the card of drama and conflict in relationships. Well, I never! All that real, tangible, physical energy that manifests in fighting and antagonism came to a head for me this year around August when i became so frustrated with my boyfriend not changing, not moving, not being what i wanted him to be, that i literally found myself whacking him with a newspaper one morning (and kind of wishing it was that wooden wand instead, but hey, it was just paper, ok…) Again, that realization that you have done all you can and that no amount of drama or fighting is going to change anything. My forced re-assessment of our situation led to my ending the relationship and the ensuing agony of having to look within to change MYSELF, rather than trying to change him. Part of the problem many of us have is looking around at the world and other people to see where the problems are rather than doing the real work (of the Hermit, number 9 in the Major Arcana) of looking within ourselves to find our true power and make the internal changes necessary to move forward.
While the wands typify the outer world, the swords indicate the processes of the mind, our beliefs and patterns of thought. As we create our lives from our minds, our perceptions and mental habits, it comes as no surprise that the Nine of Swords would underlie every change I went through this year. One of the main things I realized was that I create much of my own misery – albeit on a deep unconscious level that I often felt I had no control over, such as random anxiety attacks, bad dreams and waking up in the morning feeling guilty or fearful for no good reason that I knew of. Horrible, horrible stuff. What’s with that???
Just when you start thinking to yourself how you’ve worked through issues and battled your demons, and you should by all accounts start feeling way better about yourself and life in general, BAM! here it comes again, with more force and darkness than ever before. Quite honestly, I got to the point this year where I knew I just wasn’t coping, and although the ‘attacks’ were less frequent than they used to be, I couldn’t fix this on my own. So, finally, after years of trying to break the patterns, I finally went to my local GP and asked to try some anti-anxiety medication. He gave me an anti-depressant called Lexapro to try, and while I could easily go into the myriad ways in which this drug has effected me, I will suffice at this stage to say that it has overall been an incredible breakthrough for me.
For the first time I can remember, I am existing more or less in a state of equilibrium. It’s amazing to witness a thought and not immediately feel the impact of it. Instead of being overwhelmed by my emotions (and often ending up doing things I later wish i hadn’t done), I now find myself able to just register the thought and let it go. It’s nothing short of a miracle, really. I feel the darkness around the edges of my mind as though they are trying to get in and drag me down, but something stops it from happening. It has given me space to work things out, to think rather than be stuck in the same grooves of patterned behaviour. Whilst I don’t see it as a long-term solution ( I found myself a lovely counsellor as a part of the ongoing therapy and healing process), I am just so grateful for some respite and for the ability to control my life more. There is certainly a price to be paid though, and that is that you sacrifice your highs along with your lows, and I do miss them a lot. It feels a little bit numb, but I can deal with that for a while – compared to the other stuff its really not so bad…
Being able to deal with things on that inner level definitely helped me sort my life out on a practical level. The Nine of Pentacles is a state I have worked hard for for a long time now, and this year I was able to manifest more of an independent income than I ever have before, doing readings, workshops and working in Spellbox in the shop. I was then eventually able to take on another room in my home so my children didn’t have to share bunks anymore. Oh the joy of space! To have a room of one’s own! We can all breathe a lot easier now and Imogen and Julian are so, so much happier. I feel like I’m more in control of my life and able to provide for my family’s needs. I started gardening again and just spending more time at home doing the little acts of love that feel so good, rather than chasing something ‘out there’. I realized just how important home is to me and my overall well-being. In fact my counsellor actually used the term “coming home” to describe the emotional process that I was undergoing- very accurate on so many levels. Security, comfort and beauty – bring it on, I say!
Finally, and triumphantly, comes the Nine of Cups! Now just look at this arch of golden chalices behind the funny looking dude in the white dress. How awesome a collection of goblets when they are the trophies of your own love and creative commitment to your life – your relationships with others and ultimately with yourself. I see this card as representing that point of realization that you are damn fine, worthy and full of good loving – and you deserve all the wonderful things in your life. Your belief in yourself (with all your flaws and shortcomings) finally is far more important than what anyone else thinks about you. You have worked hard to achieve all that you now are, and you are protective and caring towards yourself in the way you might be to your beloved. You no longer throw your love away easily, but are discerning and wise in your choices, understanding how valuable it is.
My creative life flourished this year, with Aphrodite’s Temple, writing, pole dancing, belly dancing, and of course our first burlesque gigs as The Graveyard Gals, which was heaps of fun. I didn’t paint as much as I would have liked, but with my beautiful new easel I have already got back into the swing of things and hope to do a lot more in the coming year.
For me, one of the most important things of all was realizing how loved I am and how much I love my friends and family. I cherished old friendships and nurtured new ones. I made the time to do this because I value relationships with these wonderful people so much. One of the good things about breaking up with your partner is that suddenly you have all this time on your hands and you can use it to share the love rather than trying to pour it all into one cup. (Stupid one cup love!) There are so many different needs we have to be met, and so many people out there to connect with in order to feel fulfilled, it is delightful. And when you feel loved, you are able to give so much more back again. OOOOoooooohhhhhh YEAH! I think this is how I’ll end 2009, on a bit of a loving high. Sounds like the perfect way to honour the full Blue Moon and bring on an ecstatic, sensational 2010! Happy New Year everyone!!! xxx