Time is a factory where everyone slaves away earning enough love to break their own chains.
The Devil card tends to bring up a lot of reaction, mostly of fear, when it shows up in a reading. In our modern world we have been taught to banish darkness, to shine light into all the shadows and rid ourselves of them. And I’m not sure that’s the answer. In fact, I’m pretty sure that’s why we’re all so frigging afraid of the dark!
The symbol of the yin/yang acknowledges the light in the midst of the darkness and the darkness in the midst of the light, and the Tao, the line that runs between the two, is the capacity to find balance in the movement between the duality. Light & dark, day and night, masculine and feminine, these things all exist in harmony together. Why do we fear the darkness so much? If it’s true that what we resist persists then perhaps we may want to sit down with our darkness and have tea, ask it what it wants from us; avoiding it, running from it, only makes it seem bigger, darker, scarier as it tries to get our attention at any cost.
We must sit on the rim
of the well of darkness
and fish for fallen light
With the return of the Divine Feminine I believe we are coming into a new relationship with our dark sides. We often project our fears and insecurities outside of us and call the other by the names of what we most fear and despise in ourselves. The huge changes and shifts that are happening on a global level are igniting fear and division in so many of us. So much so that Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy has been won by capitalizing on that fear and inciting people to move forward on that wave. Trump’s agenda is not going to stop the changes or if he becomes President, get us anywhere back to the “greatness” of what America used to be. I do believe, however, it may be the spark that actually ignites the revolution that has been simmering below the surface since before the Occupy Movement. I don’t imagine that movement has gone anywhere except underground where the grass roots network has only gotten stronger and more pervasive. The dark side of our great country is seeping out during these difficult economic times and in the wake of the global climate changes, it’s only just beginning.
As we look out on the world today we see that our collective shadow seems to be coming to a head on several fronts. What we imagine as different, we almost immediately call dark, what we point to outside of ourselves with fear and hatred and judgement is usually what we fear and hate and judge within ourselves. Why are some police officers so afraid of black men, and other men of color that they shoot them practically on sight? Why are our prisons filled primarily with men of color ? How has our society singled out these people in order to have them be the scapegoats for all of our own shame and fear? This has been going on for so long, that it’s a matter of daily life for people of color, a part of life that I, as a white woman, could not possibly begin to truly understand.
In the film The Green Mile, John Coffey could remove the evil that was in people who had been hurt/sick and then spew it forth back into the air to be returned from whence it came. He was a gentle innocent giant and a healer capable of miracles, and also a black man. He came upon two little girls that had been greatly harmed; although he tried, he was unable to pull out the evil that had been done to them and he was grieving, crying out in anguish and incredible pain.
The family and community searching for the missing girls came upon this scene of grief and despair and in their own fear, panic and misunderstanding immediately accused John Coffey of harming the girls. He was called a monster and evil, when actually he was an agent of light and transformation, an innocent who was grieving for what he was too late to remove from the children. Because he was a huge black man, and this was in the South, it was immediately assumed he had hurt them. How can we accuse such a man of such things? They saw what they feared. They never would have thought it was the white man, who looked like them, who they had hired to paint the house, who they had welcomed into their home and fed and given a room, was the one who hurt their children. That was not conceivable, too awful to even contemplate, instead it had to be the “other”.
This metaphor is quite useful for what’s happening in our time. As a species we have allowed greed and over-consumption to run rampant. Greed for resources has created war and the rape and pillage of the earth, and the earth is in the process of healing herself. (We don’t need to “save the earth” she is in the process of doing that herself, our job is to “re-member ourselves”, to return to right relationship with the great mother) And rather than take responsibility for our collective amnesia, we point to the other, try to build walls and keep out those we accuse. We point and point and point not realizing that as we point, when we turn our hand over, we see three fingers pointing back at ourselves. Ouch. What is “progress” and “civilization” anyways? Yes to clean water, and to sanitary living conditions, yes to ending hunger and making sure all people have a place to live and “clothes” to wear. Aren’t these things the birthright of being human, of being citizens of the earth, children of our great mother?
What evil has taken over that we have sold the land & resources (freely given to all earthlings) out from most for the profit of a few while others are left to suffer because they aren’t able to pull themselves up by their bootstraps? We destroyed the culture of the Native Americans, stole their land and justified it by calling them “savages”, now we continue to do it to each other through defaulting loans and flipping houses for profit of those who were silly enough to believe that the banks had their best interest in mind when they offered them a loan…We are just continuing the cycles and pointing at others to avoid looking at ourselves.
For a long time now, just as the “uncivilised” tribes of Africa (and Ireland and Scotland and anywhere else with an earth based society) needed to be “civilised”, people who were close to the earth and to plants and to natural medicine were vilified, hunted down and killed or burned & drowned as witches. For a long time we have lived in a world where all that is dark, close to the earth, close to the wild and divine, yin aspect of our world, has been vilified. It has been a time (currently at its end) of the desecration of the divine feminine and our world is suffering now because of it.
The word scapegoat is an old old old word, and it comes from a time where people acknowledged the darkness in the world and in each other and actually assigned those attributes to an animal and then sent it out of the village, into the desert to carry away those things and perish with them.
The Devil is often depicted as having the legs of a goat, could it be that we picked him to openly carry the sins of us all? (Which came first, the Devil or the Scapegoat?) This could mean that rather than enticing us to sin, he simply represents everything in us that is sin-full and rather than acknowledge our darkness, we cast it/him outside and name it evil and pretend we have nothing to do with it. Pan, the god of nature also has the legs of a goat, he is known to be close to nature, to earth, to our baser, animal instincts.
I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in the darkness, the astonishing light of your own being.
When I see the Devil card in a reading, I feel a sense of celebration. It means that either I or the the person I am reading for, is getting to the crux of the matter. Pan stands over the two people in this card, and he is holding a Caduceus, the symbol of healing. The couple is standing back to back, caught in the crook of each other’s arms and also stuck in their own misery. They are standing in a web of their own creation and Pan, “the Devil”, is attempting to help them find their way out, heal themselves by looking into their shadow, releasing their fears by acknowledging them.
As they stop wallowing in their own fear and shame and pain, and instead make their way all the way through it, they can bring their heads up, see the beauty of the world, start to feel love. As their hearts break open to love & beauty, their chests rise with love, their arms drop and they are no longer trapped, they turn around and face each other and actually have a conversation, share their deepest fears with each other, “find the gold” (as Jung would say). By spending some time looking deeply into the darkness, acknowledging what’s happening, they call the devil by its various and assundry names and in doing so release themselves by reflecting the love and the pain, cracking open their hearts unfolds like a rose.
When you’re unhappy, you get to pay a lot of attention to yourself. And you get to take yourself oh so very seriously. Your truly happy people, which is to say, your people who truly like themselves, they don’t think about themselves very much. Your unhappy person resents it when you try to cheer him up, because that means he has to stop dwellin’ on himself and start payin’ attention to the universe. Unhappiness is the ultimate form of self-indulgence.
My lesson in this life appears to be to have the courage and the audacity to take exquisite care of myself, to put myself first, and this has been a very difficult challenge for me. The lesson of NOT sacrificing myself and instead choosing to thrive and in that way helping the world and those around me to thrive. When I was in South Africa I experienced what a dear friend called a “Brutal Mirror”. I came face to face with my inner tyranny, self hatred, and neglect by putting myself in the care and keeping of someone who I was not able to communicate with and who really had had no experience with providing care for other human beings or for himself. In doing this I ended up hurting myself, I did not put myself first until after the damage was done and in the weeks before I returned to the states with a pinched nerve, I was forced to step back, put my hands under my arms and stop hurting myself while I prepared to leave.
It has often been myself who I’ve been the most unwilling to give love, myself who I’ve been unable to forgive. A long time ago I realized how much more unkind and vicious I was to myself than I have been to anyone else. The Dragon of shame and fear and self hatred that came from trying to understand the unfathomable pain of unexplainable abandonment in my early life by placing the blame upon something that must have been wrong with ME has been a cloud that has hung over my head for most of my life.
Only recently have I been made aware of this cloud’s existence, although in hindsight I can see that it has always been there. It has kept me locked in a pattern of self denial, abnegation and punishment that has convinced me that my life was only worthwhile if/when I was in service to others, if/when I was doing good in the world, and if/when I was putting myself last.
This difficult & painful aspect of my time in South Africa (there were also so many wonderful aspects & experiences) was the final (Goddess Willing!), of many instances where I sacrificed myself for the good of the whole. It was through that powerful, painful, lesson that I finally became a fierce protector of the precious treasure that is me. And it has also come to my attention (not that it hasn’t been said to me in many ways over the years) that I get to flourish in this life. And in flourishing, in taking exquisite care of myself, I am actually making the world a better place.
Much of my confusion around this issue has been about how I do that without taking advantage of, or leaving behind others? How does one profit in this world without enslaving, stepping over, or taking advantage of others? How does one flourish in their own lives while simultaneously encouraging and fostering the flourishing of everyone around them? These are my latest queries, and as I have yet to figure them out, I’m looking forward to seeing how my life unfolds from simply holding them in my head, heart and hands as I move forward with wonder; experiencing the answers to these questions as the Universe sees fit to provide them. I think part of this work happens when I read the tarot cards; I get so much joy out of reading for others and helping them to bring the unconscious into consciousness and, in doing so, clearing out old information and allowing in new. And so much that I see, say & reveal also has a gift for me, simply in the offering, the sharing.
When the Devil comes into our reading, we are ready to embrace the shadow, that part of us we usually resist so much that we project it out on to others and judge with such vehemence and anger. It means we are ready, on one level, to accept a part of ourselves that we have previously externalized, to raise our heads up and start to look at the world around us. It’s the celebration that I have come to the realization that I am that as well, and that it’s my responsibility to transform it, LOVE it, all of it, light & dark, within myself. And as I do that, I raise the vibration in the world and all of creation.
As we break through the illusion of separation and love those parts of ourselves that we have so hidden from ourselves that we have created it outside of ourselves so that it triggers and infuriates and irritates us to no end (that pesky devil!). Then we are actually able to recognize it as ourselves and love it. I’d like to think that’s what we are here for.
I like to think that LOVE is the answer. And if you have been reading my articles, that’s not a surprise to you. In fact I believe in the potential of the human being and the new definition of love that we are creating together. In the new paradigm of love, our hearts are so big and bad ass that we swallow hatred whole, digest it with forgiveness and acts of kindness and poop out rainbows. In The Green Mile, the childlike innocence of John Coffey and his miraculous gift is a beautiful metaphor for this possibility, although he didn’t poop out rainbows!
I also love the principle of the hologram, that no matter how many pieces we break the whole into, whether they look alike or not, each piece actually contains the image of the whole within it. We all contain the healer, the victim and the villain, the judge and the jailer, not to mention every other role that is available. It’s just that some people are working out certain roles in this lifetime that we are not. I’m quite grateful for Donald Trump to be who he is, I for sure would not want to be him. While there are others I might want to spend a day in the shoes of (yes, I’d like to be Oprah, Michelle Obama, a Mermaid and Stevie Wonder, for one day each), really I am sure that my life was specially created just for me and so I am committed to living it out fully, unfolding over time with absolute fascination. (Not excluding the occasional bouts of impatience, anger, regret, sorrow, etc that come with living the human life at this point in time.)
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
There’s a story about Hell, the one where people are sitting at a huge table filled with the most delicious and delightful foods, all of their favorites, and yet they are all suffering and starving, moaning and groaning in pain because the only access they have to the food, the fork that is chained to their hands, is too long to reach their own mouth.
The same table exists in Heaven, with exactly the same chains and forks, but everyone is happy and laughing, eating the foods they love. At this table, though, they figured out that the forks were long enough to feed the people around them and so everyone at this table is not only being fed, but they are feeding others.
This story resembles and informs our earthly experience; we are all here (by choice, of course), chained to these earthly bodies living together on this amazing beautiful earth who offers us her bounty and goodness as her children. And we create our own hell and heaven in every moment by how we treat each other and ourselves. We create Heaven on Earth through generosity and love, the capacity to forgive and to give to others what they most desire, asking them what delights them most and feeding them with that fork that won’t reach our own mouths. And asking for our own greatest delights and receiving them, being fed and done for and experiencing gratitude for it all.
We are all sitting at the table. How is it that we can invite ourselves and others to create Heaven, together, at our common table? Listen to the song in the link below, Trevor Hall has some beautiful advice! And in the meantime, come and sit at the table with me and let’s look at the shadows that want to befriend you! I’ll be here at Paradise Found 3 times this month: Friday August 5, “Satyrday” August 13th, and of course, on my usual 4th Friday, this month it’s on August 26.
Now is the time to know that all that you do is sacred… Now is the time for you to deeply compute the impossibility that there is anything but grace.