Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darkness of other people. Carl Jung
Life goes along merrily until it doesn’t. A sharp jerk to our life happens. A spirit of dissatisfaction descends on our life. We look at people more harshly. The rose-tinted glasses come off.
In the Tarot this is the Devil showing up. The Devil is preceded by Temperance (balance) how did we get out of balance? He tells us we need to live for today, take what we can get and to hell with the consequences. He laughs at the idea of a spiritual destiny or purpose.
If any of you have a Tarot deck take a good look at the Devil card. In most decks in front of the Devil stands a man and a woman, each has a chain noose loosely hung around their neck. The chains are binding the couple together. The innocence they once experienced as lovers have now been lost.
The Devil makes us believe we don’t have choices; we are stuck where we are. We think we are better with the devil we know than the devil we don’t. He whispers in our ear we need more, more of everything. It is going after more, that often traps us. We think we can’t free our self, but the chain is loose, we can take it off at any time. We can be free but at what price? What would we have to give up, the illusion of success that burdens us?
Who would we be if we gave up the burden we’ve been toiling under? We would have to take complete responsibility for the choices we’ve made, the life we’ve built, the biases we hold, the wrongs we’ve done. The Devil represents when we feel trapped, negative, pessimistic, and not in control of the forces in our life. We may be trying to control other people instead of our self. The material side of life may have more importance for us than it should. We may have decisions we know we need to make but we waffle, procrastinate and put off making them.
We may have gotten into a mindset where we are so materialistic we know the price of everything but somehow the worth of everything eludes us. Our life is out of balance, too much work, not enough work. We so often think all we need is more money and everything would be fine. We focus too much on getting more money to the detriment of other more important aspects of our life.
Our relationship may have gotten stuck in a rut. We may know something has to change, but what? The winter of our marriage may be upon us. Does that mean we chuck it? Should we carry on, hoping that Spring is coming? We give up too soon, and we carry on too long. How do we know which of these is our situation?
Stories and narratives are one of the most powerful things in humanity. They’re devices for dealing with the chaotic danger of existence. Wes Craven
Perhaps we can start with what we know the Devil is not. The Devil is not grateful for anything. The Devil makes us feel there is never enough, life is not fair, we aren’t treated right, we can’t be happy, we can’t make it better. There is no point taking the high road, why not give in to temptation and live a little? We start to feel we are in our relationships alone?
The antidote seems like gratitude and prayer. Gratitude for what we already have and for the good things coming and prayer for the strength to deal with what we must, to get through this winter of our lives and make the changes to better the situation or change it. We need to dig deep and find the courage to made decisions, to face what must be faced. Can we forgive ourselves for mistakes we’ve made, taking our loved ones for granted, lashing out, and not facing what needed to be faced until now?
We aren’t controlled by outside forces usually, but by the decisions, we aren’t willing to make that keep us locked where we are. Life is out of balance. If we don’t find the strength to change things. We may face a situation that we cannot ignore. When we don’t deal with what is, they often do go from bad to worse. When things get worse we no longer feel we can live with them. We make a change we should have already made. Our life moves forward. We have lessons to learn every step of the way. Are there lessons we are refusing to learn? Will it have to get worse before it gets better? Or can we be proactive and deal with things when they are small, manageable and able to get back to balance easily? The choice is often ours even though we often don’t believe it.
The symbolism of the Tarot can help us look at life and see the lessons, possibilities, and choices. It isn’t about fortune telling to me, it is about digging deep into what we think, feel, and don’t want to face. The cards are metaphors for what goes on in our lives. The Sun comes out in the Tarot just like the Sun comes out in real life. Through these dark times is hope, after these happy times, dark times are coming. We forget that we can’t stay where we are in our life, no matter how much we want to just stay here. There are seasons in our lives, we need to enjoy and deal with what each season brings. That perfect moment in our lives was a time to cherish, but life moves on. There will be other great moments, there will be other challenges.
We need to learn to deal with what is with gratitude and joy. This too shall pass. The wheel of life keeps on turning. Can we get with the flow of life, accepting the challenges, lessons, and choices as we move through each phase?
Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better to take things as they come along with patience and equanimity. Carl Jung
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