|Posted on December 19, 2011 at 9:00 AM|
"Many of us spend our whole lives running from feeling
with the mistaken belief that you cannot bear the pain.
But you have already borne the pain.
What you have not done is feel all you are beyond that pain."
-- Kahlil Gibran
During the holidays, joy can be an elusive feeling for those who have loved and lost. Depression is an international epidemic, and often we fell impotent regarding how to manage it. It is natural? Or is it unnatural? When does it become a concern?
I was deeply saddened and touched by a note recently from someone named Dave who read one of my blogs about tarot. He asked this very touching question. With Dave's permission, I am sharing it with you:
I lost my 18 year old daughter to an auto accident in October 20th. My grief is unbearable and my heart is broken. Is there any way I can implement Tarot into my healing process? I have the Arthurian Tarot and I am an amateur at reading the cards. I still use the book they came with. I do intend to study more and I want to see if any other decks appeal to me. I would welcome suggestions.
I miss my little girl/young lady so much. I've never felt this kind of pain before. I'm not handling this too well. Thank you.
I cannot think of anything more painful than the loss of a child.
On top of that, Dave, like many of us, was struggling with other enormous life problems as well. Not small problems like the car breaking. I'm talking about huge, life-shifting problems with concerns of family, health, and survival.
COPING THROUGH TAROT,
SELF-EXPLORATION THROUGH SYSTEMS AND SYMBOLS
There is no tool that can make everything better in a flash, unfortunately. But tarot can be used as an important tool of soul-digging, to help flesh out what is going on and how to find solace. It is up to us to actually seek it. The cards cannot take us there, they can only tell us, enlighten us, but it is up to us to walk the journey. You can't get rid of that headache by reading about Tylenol. You've got to actively participate and swallow the pill.
Likewise with tarot, it takes some action from the participant.
Remember, you are investing in yourself.
So how can tarot to work through depression?
First, never underestimate the power of a good therapist. Be sure to seek help if you find you are having difficulty holding on. See your doctor immediately if you feel you are having difficulty functioning or if you have suicidal thoughts. Suicide hotline numbers in the USA, arranged by state: suicidehotlines.com and International numbers are here: suicidehotlines.com/international.html
Tarot can offer suggestions for you to try, one day or one week at a time, to help you work through your process. A card creates an action. If you are not sure what the card is suggesting you try, a good book to use for tarot card action references is:
"Take the first step, no more, no less,
and the next will be revealed."
-- Ken Roberts
As a sample, with this blog topic in mind, I pulled the 3 of Wands. Exploring within Janina's book, she suggests such things as:
Using communication networks and even travel to link communities and exchange ideas (support group?).
Write, converse, gather, and circulate information, attend meetings, workshops, seminars, and other events where you can be exposed to new things and interact with a wide variety of people (bereavement groups or workshops on coping with grief? Online support groups?)
The author speaks of this as being a future-oriented card, looking outward, making plans for the future, and directing energy outward by reaching for and seizing opportunities (keeping busy in a healthy way rather than retiring).
Broaden your range of interests, investigate new things, and follow where your curiosity leads you (find inspiring moments in life, enjoy the solace of a hobby, use it to express your soul).
If this card comes up reversed, she suggests that "the orientation to trade, travel, idea exchange, and community action is still present, but a narrower focus is suggested. Perhaps you should pull back a bit, conserve some energy, limit your sphere of activity and influence, and concentrate on a smaller area of endeavor. Adventures and forays into the wider world should be undertaken with the understanding and intent to go forth, but then return, bringing something back to your home and inner life."
A tarot deck can help you focus on and create one positive thought at a time. A great book to help you with this if you cannot decipher your own affirmations from a tarot card is:
These can help you dig from the small glints of light left in you, or can help you to focus on an idea or action for the day or week. For example, I now pull the 6 of Cups in honor of this blog topic ,and his book suggests some of the following affirmations to consider:
I share my unbounded love
I let love flow through me and lead me to happiness.
I let my love circulate among the people close to me.
I am restoring peace, tranquility, and harmony to my home.
I enjoy my life, and I take delight in all its simple pleasures.
I am able to move beyond painful events of the past.
CHOOSE GENTLE DECKS
The deck does matter.
I found that when I went through rough spots in my life, I needed to find solace with a very gentle and supportive deck. There were very few decks I trusted to be gentle with me, and they became trusted friends onwhich I leaned heavily for my own healing journey. I was already feeling broken, so it's important to find something that creates a healing tone.
If you have a deck you love but are worried about a couple of the less positive cards surfacing, just remove those cards for awhile and tuck them in the Little White Book. Let the deck speak gently to you.
Suggestions for gentle decks:
(Take special note of the individual images that catch your eye in the Voyager cards. Focus on one small picture or part...what does it tell you?).
based on the Thoth deck, but much softer
The Pearls of Widsom Deck is especially sweet, and it was created by Roxi Sim at a time when she was depressed after losing her own child. Roxi wrote: "Before beginning the Tarot paintings, I had suffered a rapid decline in health as a result of drinking tainted water. I became disabled and had to leave my work as a teacher. My parents-in-law, my youngest son, and my mother all died suddenly within a span of ten years. I was devastated and succumbed to deep depression. Basically, I went to bed for months. In that state of depression, I came to realize that sometimes you just have to 'float.' The Fool, just floats, in "Serendipity," (his boat), downstream, though the rapids of life, trusting in the future to come."
Her deck is very gentle, and she has a companion workbook she is creating for the book that should be complete by February or March of 2012.
With all decks, look carefully at the imagery you see before doing anything. How does the image impact you? Look deeply into this before exploring the more traditional meanings of the card. Make it a personal journey. You don't have to be "right." You just have to explore. Journal if you wish.
are another source of gentle guidance for many people,
and the energy for most of these decks is very supportive and healing.
Diana Cooper Angels of Light Cards (more text than images, but very powerful and accurate)
There are many wonderful gentle decks that go outside of the realm of tarot. Here are some I have found positive and helpful:
Grace Cards by Cheryl Richardson
Self-Care Cards by Cheryl Richardson
Wisdom for Healing Cards by Carolyn Myss
Soul Lessons and Soul Purpose Oracle Cards by Sonia Choquette
Inner Peace Cards by Wayne Dyer
Another deck I've found contains uncanny messages is the
Karma Cards deck by Monte Farber.
I just did a sample reading for Dave and got the following for you from this deck:
First, the situation at hand is Uranus in Scorpio in the 7th house, which indicates:
An unusual example of purification to resurrect balance.
A different way of looking at the secrets of cooperation. (with your daughter?)
An unexpected change resulting from the power of your partner(s). (Dave's daughter? His wife?)
and on what to do, it suggests:
Stir up the situation by using the extraordinary power of prayer (perhaps speaking your passed loved one as well as The Divine) diplomatically.
Be open to ideas about the highest and lowest aspects of relationships.
Invent a way to control the situation and get a fair deal.
The last card shows two hands intertwining within a rose-filled wreath with two blue ribbons. Could this be you and her (Dave and his daughter?).
Tarot And Meditation
Tarot can be used as a meditation tool (meditation moment). For a sample meditation on working through grief with tarot, listen below:
This is just one of many ways to use meditation (and meditation through tarot) as a means of mind release and soul healing.
Our Tarot Meditation Moments are compiled HERE and we continue to create more.
Visit TM.org (the online site for Transcendental Meditation) for more information on how meditation can heal you and ways to use meditation.
Each tarot card can be a focus for you to release your mind and create a goal for that week.
For Insight, Healing, and Growth
Tarot spreads are a powerful means for self-exploration and growth. When dealing with loss, you can dig deep to see what might be left for you, and how you can overcome.
1) What do I believe I have lost?
2) What am I to learn from this loss?
3) How can I find the blessing (an action)?
4) What card can I use this week for energy to focus on healing?
1) How was I improved by having known and loved her?
2) How can I overcome?
3) What should I do for best mental health?
4) What should I avoid?
Create your own small spreads. What do you need to know? How can you tap in to access answers? Avoid "Yes/No" questions and instead ask questions starting with "How can I..." or "What can I...."
HERE is a post I wrote in Feb, 2011 about the 5 stages of grief, a spread to self-explore.
I've used tarot as a powerful means of communication between the Divine and myself, and deceased loved ones of clients as well as a communicative bridge between me and passed loved ones. You can do this as well.
Here is a podcast we did to talk about how mediumship and tarot can be used together. The first hour of this 2-hour program will give you the basics:
You could communicate with her and ask such questions of her through the cards:
What would you like to tell me today, or what does she want me to know?
What small step would she suggest I try today?
How can I feel closer to her?
How is she present in my life?
BOOKS TO HELP YOU
A book that may help those suffering with depression work independently with tarot is Tarot for the Healing Heart: Using Inner Wisdom to Heal Body and Mind by Christine Jett. As Barbara Bolek said in her Amazon review of this book, "Tarot for the Healing Heart is full of insights into the nature of health, disease and healing, how the healing process needs to be addressed on all levels -- body, mind and spirit, and how the Tarot can operate as an ally towards self-discovery and self-recovery."
and by the same author, Tarot Shadow Work. Jette specifically speaks working through pain, loss and death in her book, Tarot Shadow Work:
"In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer."
-- Albert Camus
MOVING YOUR BODY
Exercise, even if lightly. Take time to speak to your passed loved one while you exercise if you wish, but know that taking care of your body is one way to raise endorphins and help you keep your head above water. For many, yoga is a place to find balance of body and mind. My sister found it so profoundly life-changing her her time of stress and strife that she left her corporate job to embrace a full-time teaching profession in yoga.
I found that in a period of my own depression, Qi Gong was a very gentle way to ease both my body and mind to a place of clarity and peace. There are many classes worldwide on this, videos on YouTube, as well as helpful DVDs you can use at home.
Qi Gong is is much like Tai Chi but can be used and learned immediately, whereas Tai Chi can take a year or more to learn. When taught by a good teacher, you will learn why each movement is pursposeful, meaningful and helpful.I enjoy it because it is "moving meditation." It allows you the peace of meditation while allowiing your body gentle and purposeful motion. This is helpful to those with "monkey mind," who have trouble with stillness.
Here is one sample video of Qi Gong:
And this video helps to explain why the movements and breath serve an important purpose in life balance:
And with these movements, it's not how it looks on the outside that matters, it's how it feels on the inside. Explore with the movements.
If you enjoy exploring with divination, one of the most profound systems I've discovered is the iChing, or The Book of Changes. The complex process of accurately obtaining the lines of the hexagram seemed to elude me for several years, until I read the book by Mark McElroy, called I Ching for Beginners: A Modern Interpretation of the Ancient Oracle. McElroy offers multiple easy ways to obtain the hexagrams, with a superb idea for using 16 postcards to create a statistically correct and very easy way to create the hexagrams. It took me a minute to make, and I'll enjoy it for a lifetime. His book also offers simple translations.
iChing hexagrams are intersesting in that they tell you where you are, and what is shifting or changing, so it also tells you where you are headed. It adds the lessons embedded within those moments.
Stephen Karcher, in his book, The iChing Plain and Simple: A Guide to Working With The Oracle of Change, adds that the iChing also compares and explains our inner world and its relationship to our outer experience, by comparing the bottom trigram (3 lines) to the top trigram in each hexagram.Karcher also shows the Hidden Possibilities, something that would be useful for growth in a state of depression, a time when we often have difficulty seeing possibilities. The Hidden Possibilities information is revealed by using the four central lines (2, 3, 4, 5, from bottom up) , unpacking them, and creating a new trigram from them (which he describes in the book on page 22).
I have about six or seven iChing books that include translations, and they are all good, but three of the best I've found are:
iChing for Beginners by Mark McElroy (great for beginners, to get you started)
The iChing Plain and Simple by Stephen Karcher (for intermediate ideas on expanding meaning of the hexagram)
The iChing or Book of Changes by Wilhelm/Baynes (considered one of the most accurate translations of the Chinese hexagrams).
I enjoy journaling my self readings, and when I went through a particularly dark period, my sister bought me a beautiful leather-bound journal. I filled that puppy up in about a week, so full was my angst. What a healing journey it was, and it is amazing what was explored. Letting it seep out of the pen and onto the page was a cathartic way of letting go and getting something out of my mind and onto something else. It helped me connect while also providing a form of therapy and release for me. A cheap spiral bound notebook would serve the same purpose. Just let it spill out. What do the cards say? What do you feel about them? What do they suggest? Where are you going? What are you learning?
"The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers."
~ M. Scott Peck
Outside of Tarot/Oracle Systems
In addition to working with a trained psychology professional, you may want to consider looking for a Grief or Bereavement Support Group in your area. Many people who are working through difficult experiences report that this is often one of the most healing steps in their journey.
Talk to someone you trust about what you're going through.
Know what things might trigger a reaction from you, and know how to create clearing spots in your day. Even if you can put aside 5 minutes of thought-free space for yourself, this may help you.
Many find relief in creative endeavors, whether it be art or music, handicrafts or a beloved hobby. Take time to nurture your spirit.
"Art saved me; it got me through my depression and self-loathing, back to a place of innocence."
A Note to Readers
As readers, we work daily with people in crisis. We must always remember to be gentle. People come to us in the tighest spots of their lives and they lean on us to find a place of solace and healing. There is no place for rudeness, ego, or pompous reading behavior in the safe zone of a reading. Create an environment of trust.
Remember this quote from Leo Buscaglia:
"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around."
Here's wishing you a tarot-filled week of personal exploration toward a light-filled you.