image of Eight of Swords tarot card from the Druid Craft deck
From the MotherPeace Tarot Guide:
Trapped blocked in by a brick wall with Swords aimed to hit her. But since Swords are thoughts, she is not as trapped in the situation as she believes she is. It is her own fear holding her back from whatever it is she wants to go after, nobody else is stopping her. The Swords that look like they will hang her from the wall represent the sense of drama she is feeling about her circumstances. She is allowing herself to feel trapped in order to avoid the world of possibilities that may await her if she goes outside of the wall that is only a figment of her vivid imagination. Freedom is hers for the taking, but she needs perspective to be more balanced. She may be having panic attacks or real problems, but is overreacting to them.
Swords have much to do with power, and are usually at work all around us in the world, through institutions like school, church, the media, and peer groups. The appearance of Swords is a warning to use discernment, to be careful how mental energies are being used. Try to step back from problems and sort out illusions, habits and negative mental patterns which could be making things worse. Mental clarity aids in tackling problems, helping to shift strategies, to recognize limitations, and help focus on a single issue when necessary.
This card was my catalyst for change during a Beltane celebration in April of 2011 by the truth-telling, velvet-voiced songstress and love goddess Terri Fischer who first gave me exquisite insight into what this card is all about. She used the Druid Craft deck that you see above but the Motherpeace book for guidance.
When I first pulled the card as part of my reading with Terri (have I mentioned she's hot, too?), I wasn't that familar with tarot cards. I had only had one other true reading up until that point and I immediately thought upon seeing this card, Oh, &%$! this can't be good.
No, no, no, it's sooo so sooo good, Terri reassured me, it's so good when these cards come to us because we can really work with their messages. Yep, Terri is amazing like that.
She held my hand through all the nuances in this particular image.
The illusion of the woman being trapped as her foot points towards an opening in the swords that she could easily walk through. Her desire for freedom which is all around her but still she chooses to stay bound, eyes shielded, her light unable to shine - freedom is hers to have if she would only let go of the rope and remove the blindfold. The power of our thoughts and how we choose what we see.
I believe this is what Oprah calls getting out of your own way.
Yes, this card was mine for a while. It hasn't always been mine, but after giving birth to my babies I wanted and needed my external environment to evolve and grow in the same ways that my internal environment was. I didn't want to raise our girls in Los Angeles and certainly not in our tiny apartment. After too many years of being in one place, this gypsy heart was feeling caged and craving space (read: I was losing my freaking mind).
I became obsessed with moving in fact. Something that I know seems like an easy enough fix for many, but with an additional mortgage on a home in Austin and the high cost of living in Los Angeles, I was often reminded of The Facts. Facts that made me bitter and angry and sad... and a pain in the ass to those who mean the most to me. I had written a story in my mind how moving to a different home in a new location would somehow make everything okay. I was waiting for this home so I could begin to do the things I really wanted like plant a garden and cook more - all things I felt I couldn't do in our tiny apartment so I didn't even try.
It all seems so silly now looking back at that moment. I wasn't in the mindset at that point to turn the mirror around and face my own truth, I wasn't in the mindset to see that this too shall pass, that I wasn't alone in my desires and together my partner and I could work in partnership to create and manifest the bigger vision for our family and become stronger in the process. I wasn't in the mindset to see that we (as in each of us) truly can have what we desire once we make the decision and commit to it. I wasnt' in the mindset then to bloom where I was planted and embrace what I did have.
I just wanted to make lame excuses for all the reasons why I couldn't do or have something. All I could see at times was what was missing and desired in my life, instead of seeing what was currently present and truly beauty-filled. Sometimes, it's easier to stand still with blinders on, fear is the great paralyzer. Looking back it seemed I was wearing my pity party dress on some days like it was a uniform.
After that reading with Terri I had two more readings and both times drew the eight of swords. It almost became laughable. Alright! I get it! And then one beautiful July morning I decided that I wanted to be in awe exactly where I stood. Even in my darkest days I still have my eternal optimist flame that burns brightly within me. So I challenged myself to see something other than the story I was making up, to lay down my swords, take off my blindfold, step into deep gratitude, and take a closer look around at all that was living and vibrant and beautiful right Now. This is where it all changed for me and I am in awe of how differently I view and live my life one year later.
Swords represent our thoughts and while I held this as my card my thoughts were words such as Can't. Won't. Shame. Impossible. Small. Fear. Mistrust. Pain.
Once I began to practice truly living in the moment and invest my whole self into what is happening right in front of me I was able to rest these thoughts, remove my blindfold, and my life started to become... easier. Those previous thoughts attached to my swords started to lose their power and are now being reframed into new ones:
Can. Yes. Possible. Expansive. Courage. Trust. Freedom. Love.
I made the decision to work deeper with this card in July of 2011. I began to use my camera as a means to shift my perspective, it's what works best for me - the greatest tool in my belt. In the past year I have spent many hours journaling while my family slept. I searched and found a helpful therapist and have built relationships, partnered and learned from luminous mentors who arrived serendipitously as if sent by angels. I explored my personal relationships to my current city, home, time, purpose, self, body, spirituality, and my precious peeps through words, images, and practice - an ongoing, heart-opening and eye-widening adventure.
Little did I know at the time was that something more was being created - a way for me to share that which I now practice. The seed which was planted during these exploratory days with camera in hand, late nights writing and seeking counsel in the form of mentors and nature has now bloomed into my first online course Getting Naked: A photographic journey into Now.
Everything in this course is based on how I layed down my swords, let go of the binding ropes, and removed my blindfold. It's where I release control and take responsibilty for what I am creating and contributing to the world. It's where I let go of the eight of swords card and no longer claim it as mine, while remaining grateful for it's message. It's how I now live.
It's where I am continously learning, planting, nurturing, honoring, growing, releasing, shedding, recharging, surrendering, creating and evolving.
It's where I strip away the layers and get naked.
One of the biggest lessons I learned from this experience is that we don't have to go it alone, nor were we meant to. We are not as isolated as we may sometimes believe nor are we are having to warrior through life with each step. When we partner with others and build support systems we can create what we desire.
You can find out more about Getting Naked here.
Registration for this course is open until this Saturday June 23rd. I have decided to giveaway one spot for someone who may see herself in the eight of swords card and may benefit from it's content.
Do you find yourself relating to this card as I once did? Do you have a camera? And an open heart? A willingness to commit to the journey? If so, I invite you to Get Naked with myself and a gorgeous group of women on an eight week intensive journey into falling in love with your life. I request that if you know of someone that may benefit from this course to please share it with others and/or leave a comment for someone you love.
To be eligible, please leave a comment here letting me know one area of your life where you may be feeling like the woman in the image. I will leave comments open until Friday evening at 11:00 pm PST and will announce the giveaway winner on Saturday morning. Your spot will be open and ready for you on Sunday when we begin.
I don't know all that much about tarot, other than I am fascinated by it and am learning a little more, but during my last reading I pulled The Sun card - a beautiful and welcome change.