A thunderstorm has just arrived- how wonderful!! What a relief from what I can only describe as a rather trying week…
It’s always a little disconcerting when the Nine of Swords is the card that keeps coming up for you. It’s such an intense image, no matter what deck you are using – all those swords and the figure that knows no rest from the torments of her own mind. I find it hard to distinguish sometimes whether the thoughts that plague me are urging me towards some kind of action, or whether it is more a matter of realizing that this is part of the human condition and the only release comes in surrender to a higher consciousness, that our mind alone is not enough to liberate us. If we follow through the suit of Swords to the Ten, where the figure lies pierced and prostrate, the final stage of mental anguish, where there is nowhere left to go, nothing left to do – I am of the inclination to suggest that the culmination of stress and worry, of depression and anxiety, confusion and despair, lies in surrender. We can try and try to work things out in our heads, to escape the demons that torment us, but in the end it is useless, because the mind cannot resolve the craziness of humanity and of the system we find ourselves part of. When I look at the world and what is happening out there, I find it so overwhelming and often horrifying, that I simply cannot rationalize it away. My sense of powerlessness to change things for the better is so crushing that I find I am left with the pain, anger and frustration - and it can feel like there is no way to escape it.
Whilst in the macrocosm, the world continues to pollute and destroy what is left of nature, in the microcosm of my own little world, I have had to face the tearing down of much of my beautiful ivy and climbing roses along the fenceline of a ruthless neighbor. For me, my home is my sacred refuge, bordered by walls of as much greenery as possible. I nurture and love the wild way it all grows together, I feel like I am living inside the walls of the Secret Garden. There is enough order and control out there, I want to live where the wild things are, my own little forest. My soul can be at peace most easily when I have nature all around me. I can sit surrounded by green and feel full of love with the nature of which I am part. The spirit of the trees and the ivy and flowers is pure faery and more real than anything else to me. I have always had a love-affair with ivy. Even as a little girl I planted it all around our suburban garage. So you can imagine how I felt when I came home to a large portion of this hacked away, and part of the fence which was a wall of privacy and deep green leaves, gone entirely! No negotiation, no warning, just a desolate wasteland and a massive heap of dead foliage left for me to clean up. For some, this might not be a big deal, but for me it felt like being invaded or attacked, the boundaries of my sanctuary had been blasted away and there was nothing I could do about it.
I think the feeling of powerlessness in these situations is so hard to deal with on a mental level. I tried to talk with the neighbour, to let her know that the remaining ivy she plans to destroy is where I do my painting, and that I would be left with a wall of dry, dead leaves, but was faced with such patronization and inability to see another point of view, (she started lecturing me on gardening, and how ivy should not be tolerated on any level…) - that I just had to leave without her listening to a word I said. But the process of internalizing this frustration and all the other emotions that go with it, can be really hard to deal with. No matter how rational you try and be, no matter how much you try and see the positive (I’ve got more light now… It’s good to have a fresh start…) in the situation, it usually finds its way through your deeper consciousness and manifests in your dreams – or in a state of sleeplessness.
The other card that has been coming up for me over and again recently, is the card of Justice. The archetype of balance, fairness and objective truth portrayed in the scales. Unlike the extremity of the Nine of Swords, Justice represents the negotiation between mind and emotion, the careful weighing of facts from all parties involved in a given situation, and an outcome which is fair and reasonable. Because it is a Major Arcana card, I have been viewing it as the guiding force here whilst I’m wrangling my way through all those mental swords. I see it as my challenge to find a way to accept what I cannot change, and change what I can (and the wisdom to know the difference okay!). It is the balance, if you like, between acceptance and action. Whilst it is much easier, and very tempting, to just react to the situation, by meditating on it and asking for guidance I am coming into a different sort of power – the power to govern my own inner world, my emotions and my state of harmony. It’s not easy, and yesterday I found myself in the ‘swamp’ again, sinking into a void of despair over the human condition and my own tendency toward extreme melancholy. Luckily, my friend was there to offer some insight and reason and love, and I found myself slowly crawling out of that hideous pit, a bit worse for wear, but not utterly ruined. Onwards goes the journey.
What is coming through as most important here is that there will always be situations on a personal and global level which are distressing, but the ability to balance things out with hope and the cultivation of inner peace and a sense of equilibrium is absolutely necessary for one’s well-being and spiritual growth. There is also a sense of cosmic Justice at play in the unseen forces of life which may not always be easy to identify, but is nonetheless an integral aspect of the whole system – nature has its own way of redressing the balance in the end, and there are consequences to our actions on every level.
I am now going out to plant ivy all along my brand new fence. Long live the World of Faery!
Oh, and I just found this on a site called What’s-Your-Sign.com, and thought I might share, for those fellow ivy-lovers…
Similar to the vine, the Celtic meaning of ivy deals with:
It is also a symbol of vibrancy as the druids admired its bright green hue. Often, sprigs of ivy would be woven into chain necklaces or head adornments to represent clarity of thought as well as celebrate the vitality of nature surrounding them.
The ivy gets its symbolism of connections and friendships because of its propensity to interweave in growth. Ever furrowing and intertwining, the ivy is an example of the twists and turns our friendships take – but also a testimony to the long-lasting connections and bonds we form with our friends that last over the years.
Another tribute to friendship as well as the test of time is the ivy’s ability to grow in challenging environments. The ivy is incredibly durable and can withstand harsh conditions. This is symbolic of our ability to stick by our friends no matter what.
The ivy is also a symbol of survival and determination for the same reasons. It seems to be virtually indestructible and will often return after it has suffered damage or has been severely cut back. This is an example of the human spirit and the strength we all have to carry on regardless of how harrowing our setbacks may have been.
Also pertaining to its growth (and similar to the vine) the ivy grows in the shape of a spiral. This has long been considered a sacred symbol for:
Lasly, most ivy has five-pointed leaves which makes it a symbol of protection as it signifies the harmony of the elements unified by common bonding energy.