of shadow work
facing the darkness /
to live in the light
to live in the light
Y’all, I was not ready for this card. I thought I was. I took notes on it & I was like, oh okay, I get it. But then when I sat down to look at it when it was time to actually write the post, a whole ‘nother interpretation popped out (but it had literally been staring me in the face the whole time) & now I want to close this dang Chromebook & go away, that’s how bad I don’t want to face this fkn shadow right here.
Let’s get to it though, because this card is, in part, about the consequences of being beaten-around-a-bush (beating around the bush).
The Four of Wands (Venus in Aries) is a combination of the Empress card (Venus) & the Emperor card (Aries). Upon first glance, it appears that the Emperor & Empress are equally yoked, yes? But if you really think about the way the Major Arcana is set up, remember it’s nothing but planets & astrological signs, which imo, is souls & spirits. The planets are the soul lessons & the astrological signs are the spiritual lessons. The Empress (Venus), the divine mother, represents the soul’s expression of everything within- which is why she is pictured as pregnant, full, abundant, bountiful. The Emperor sits beside her, but he is not her man/equal (could never)- because he’s a spirit (astrological sign), not a soul (planet). He represents the astrological sign of Aries, which is all of humanity in its most primal, baby-ish phase. In other words, the Empress is the soul’s infinite potential for expression & the Emperor is the first spiritual experience being expressed- the ability to to want, desire, long for, or reject. The Empress is the mom & the Emperor is her son. So with this combination in the Four of Wands, we are looking at the experience of giving birth to your own desires, or quite literally family dynamics with children & siblings. Ugh.
Because we give birth all the time, yes? Sometimes in life we give birth to circumstances we want, & sometimes we give birth to circumstances we don’t want - including children - but whether we hate it, love it, want it or don’t want it, it's still 100% our creation. Sometimes we plan for things to go one way & they go a whole ‘nother way; sometimes things happen that weren’t in the plan; sometimes there is no plan & that’s why things happen; sometimes no plan was the best plan because the unexpected turned out for the best. There’s no rhyme or reason. Life does what it wants.
Especially in the case of families. If we go back to understanding that in the Four of Wands we are looking at the energy of the Empress & the Emperor (mother & child), then we have to realize that in the Four of Wands, something is already wrong. The title Emperor indicates a boy child, yes? But we are looking at two sisters. Or are we…? Appearances can be deceiving. Either we are looking at the Empress's two daughters (such a shame, no son), OR, we are looking at Empress & her one daughter (such a shame, no son). Either way, we are looking at something that, at its root, is not equal or balanced or going according to plan.
From the outside looking in, the positioning & decoration of the Four Wands seem to be announcing a fair of some sort (is-a-fair / isn’t fair/ is it fair?) At a fair, games are played & there are winners and losers, just like in this picture. If you just glance at it, you’d say it’s a celebration & both people are victorious; but if you look closer, you realize only the woman on the right (either the Empress or the first daughter) is really celebrating with both hands & her head raised high. It’s clear she feels proud. The woman on the left though, is sad af. She only has her right arm raised & her head and shoulders are slumped. Her left hand is down & out (left down and out). You can tell from the way the sisters stand (a-sis-stands / assistance) that the one on the left is the quiet one, the supportive one (kind of…?), who doesn’t make a fuss. If you look at the bottom of her dress, she’s standing in the hedge that she likely planted (plant-a-hedge / planned ahead). So she has plans / plants, but it looks like they could use a little trim because they are blocking the abutments supporting the bridge (a-but-ment / what about me?). Maybe she could use help with that, but she says nothing. She feels down & out, beaten-around-a-bush. She’s got her plans & maybe could stand to lean on some a-sis-stance, but because she automatically feels like she’s a loser & her sister is a winner, she doesn’t speak up. Especially since on her sister’s side, there is no hedge. She didn’t even plant-a-hedge (plan ahead) but she’s winning! She has people behind her!
So one sister is winning at life with no plan (but plenty of support), & the other sister is losing at life with a plan (but no assistance). It seems to me there is room for them to work together, but they would have to speak up about their needs in order for that to happen. The sister with no plan could use some help with planning because the people behind her don’t know how to help (bc there’s no plan), & the sister with all the plans could use some people behind her because her plans are out of control & she can’t handle them alone. In their current position, they can’t stand under four reeds (two are mine!) because they don’t have the roof- or they can’t understand or read your mind if they don’t have the truth.
Lawd I feel attacked but Imma keep going (speak up / speed up / stop beating around the bush).
Our willingness to speak up (tell the truth) about your plans / needs & ask for assistance is in direct correlation to whether or not we feel proud of ourselves (winning!). When we don’t feel proud of ourselves, it can be super easy to spiral into negative self talk that blames everybody else for why we don’t have what we need- never got any support, folks always got her back but not mine, her parents planned for her but I just grew up, she didn’t even DO anything & gets celebrated but I work my ass off & no one notices, blah, blah, blah, LIFE ISN’T FAIR- which results in keeping to yourself & going-at-it-alone from shame, blame, resentment & bitterness.
And it's true, life isn’t fair. Life is not a fairy tale where everybody ends up ‘happily ever after.’ And the faster we understand that & accept that as fact, the easier it will be for us to release these chips on our shoulders & just ask for what we need instead of beating ourselves up for not having it. It's not fair that one child is born to millionaires & another is born in a slum, nor do the circumstances speak to the worthiness of each child. Yet when we get older, we turn things we had no control over growing up (brains, beauty, bank account) into reasons to exalt or berate ourselves- but I don’t believe that’s what the Most High intended. I believe God made things unfair on purpose so that we could act like true brothers & sisters on this planet & SHARE. It’s up to recognize where things ain’t right (or speak up!), & make it right. I noticed mom gave you two cookies & me four, so take a cookie so we’ll each have three.
Or something like that.
Imma tell y’all right now, I am not sharing a shadow story for this card because I have to function today, & this one here hits too deep. If you’ve been reading my posts, you know I have a some sister have’s & I-have-nots shit going on & I’m raw right now. (loser, loser, loser, loser).
So if this card is about asking an actual sibling for a-sis-stance, then I’m shit out of luck.
However, if we look at this card as the universal sisterhood of women, then I can do what the card says, which is look-for-a-sign. The wands are a sign of the fair, yes? So instead of going down a rabbit hole of depression & self-flagellation regarding being unsupported / non-supportive, instead I’m gonna ask that the Most High send me a sign.
(Send me. Assign.)
Send me to where I can be of help & also receive assistance.
Assign me to people & places where there is mutual benefit.
P.S. Interesting that this card is about sharing / reciprocity- because I’ve noticed that for awhile, we’ve had the same four or five people sharing their experiences with these cards, but I know for a fact it's way more of y’all reading along. What’s up with that?
P.P.S. My Cashapp is $Oubria & my paypal is Oubria@gmail.com & I most gratefully accept tips if y’all feel like this work is worth more than the original $11.
P.P.P.S. Cheryl if you are still reading (& I hope you are!), remember YOU are the one who always reminds us that things always take longer than we think they will. I understand if you have to go, but tbh I felt a-type-of-way. Much love to you in the New Year & I'll see you somewhere online. I am so grateful for your presence while you were here!
all of us.