of shadow work
facing the darkness /
to live in the light
to live in the light
Peace family! Thank you for your patience. It's getting to the point that I lowkey dread some of these cards because I am living them in real time (are any of you?? lemme know in the comments...) & battling with back to back shadows is exhausting. Please send me some supportive energy cus right now a sis is sluggish af & feeling a lil' beat up (but I'm getting back up tho).
Anyway, on to the Seven of Wands:
The Seven of Wands is Mars (the Tower) in Leo (Strength). The astrological sign of Leo (Strength) represents how we express our fiery energies, whether as courage, anger, restraint, enthusiasm, excitement, fury, resentment, etc. Since Tower moments (Mars) are the divine emergencies master-minded for our benefit, the Seven of Wands has to do with how we handle the unpleasant circumstances beyond our control. Do we face emergencies with courage & purpose...? Or do we lash out, cower & hide...?
Let's look at the picture literally: We have a man balanced precariously in relation to a fault line (in relation to my feet / feelings, where does the fault line/lie?) He's holding one wand defensively, & there are six other wands poking up at him from underneath the picture. From our vantage point, we can't see the people or circumstances that threaten to knock him off balance, but he looks terrified. The man has two choices: he can either accept the wands (acceptance ) & risk falling (failing). If he dropped his defensive wand, he would be free to "get-a-grip," on the incoming wands, "collect-them-himself" (collect himself) & take control of the "sticks-that-hate-him" (situation).
On the other hand, if he keeps up this resist-wands (resistance) where every underhanded poke & jab threaten to make him unstable because he refuses to "get-a-grip," & then he will inevitably slip into "this arroyo" (dis-order, dis-array), & will have to use the one wand he fell with (defense-stick) as a tool to climb out. He will poke up toward higher ground defensively, trying to get out of being in-the-fault, wanting someone to pull him & share the plain (pain / blame) with him.
So issa choice- either you can put down your defense stick & accept the wands (acceptance) of others who don't want to be in-the-fault (at fault) by helping them out & sharing the plain (pain / blame) - which would indicate the belief that you & the ones you assist are meant-to-be-stable (mentally stable) - OR you can keep your defense stick up, refuse to share the plain (blame) & allow every inconvenient poke to send you spiraling into this arroyo (dis-order, dis-array), in the fault alone. Without any assist-wands (assistance) & accept-wands (acceptance) & nothing but a defense-wand (defensive), you'll feel like you either have to get back on the plain yourself (blame yourself) or remain in the fault feeling the arroyo for yourself (feeling sorry for yourself).
This card is also about recognizing the difference between dealing with meant-to-be-stable (mentally stable) or meant-to-be-unstable (mentally unstable) people. You can tell the difference by how they handle their "reeds." Mentally unstable people will keep their defenses up when even faced with a group-of-reeds (agree/agreed/angry); whether you here-a-reed (hear, agree) or don't-here-a-reed (don't hear, don't agree), they wind up angry either way. Somehow, it's all the same to them & you're damned if you do & damned if you don't. These people don't accept any one's reeds-in (reasoning) except their own, and if you continue to wave your reed around in an attempt to justify your reeds-in (reasoning), they see your insistence as just-a-fight.
This card is also about the thin line between sticking up (taking sticks up) for yourself & being pushed over (pushover). When you perceive "opposing reeds in" (opposing reasoning) as an attack, perhaps you simply give up & allow your defense stick (defenses) to fall-in-the-line (fall in line). But when you accept opposing reasoning as a motivation to pivot & adjust your stance because the-fault-has-been-revealed, then your position maintains its integrity. You can't be afraid of success (six sticks) because success (six sticks) comes with different up-in's (opinions) but ultimately they force you to strengthen your position & balance your perspective.
This is also about success (six sticks) & failure (fall here). If you can accept that things won't always go your way & not allow that to throw you off (even if it knocks you down), then if you fall down seven times, you'll get up eight. Success & failure go hand in hand; you can't have on without the other.
For me, this card is about my father & my husband, myself & my daughter, my mother & my step-mother:
My dad is mentally unstable & so is my husband, per the definition of this card. Neither of them can be wrong, ever. they can't accept criticism or differing opinions. Any sort of pushback makes them attack. When you refuse to engage in the attack, they look for other ways to siphon your energy, whether it's through yelling, sulking, forced discussion, punishment, etc. In other words, whether you agree or disagree, they just want to fight.
This behavior has made me mentally unstable too (per the definition of this card) because growing up I felt any critique from a teacher or adult meant that it would get back to my dad that I wasn't perfect & he would look for a reason to beat my ass. It was not ok to make mistakes. But since no one can ever be perfect, this pressure made me hide my mistakes instead of confronting them & getting help. I learned to cower & sneak because I didn't want any trouble. I learned to take the easy road with zero challenges (because I never learned to properly deal with challenges). This backfired because life challenges are inevitable & it's just good practice to know how to handle things rather than avoid them (issa skill, actually). But because I'd practiced easy-as-survival, life became much harder for me than it needed to be. Not because I'm a bad person but because I lacked the skills to face the fact that bad things that happen to everyone, without spiraling into blame, shame, self-punishment & pity. As I type this I'm realizing those behaviors were simply the adult version of the cycle of punishment/spanking/abuse: Blame- you did this, Shame- what's wrong with you??, Punishment-don't leave the house! don't do anything fun! & Pity- my life is so awful, can you comfort me...?
When you're a child, comfort is physical affection & a tasty treat. As an adult, comfort is often practical advice (sticks-up-in/ sticks in opinion). I wanted no part of that. You know the copout- I don't want you to FIX it, I just want to VENT. I wasn't in a place to receive reeds in / reasoning, I just wanted someone to hug, screw & eat with.
That's one of the reasons why doing the shadow work & feeling so... ATTACKED... has been a blessing in disguise because for the first time the blinding clarity of these patterns has left me defenseless. There ain't no hiding the fact that I am nowhere near perfect (flawed af). That admission creates a space inside me where I can relax...? exhale...? with relief at the fact that no one's perfect (which makes us human), but we never stop trying (which also makes us human). When I can admit I fucked up, it creates a space where solutions flow, as opposed to resistance to reality, where you can't fix it because you pretend you don't see it. When you can admit there's an issue, the whole (earth) world opens up for heels-in-the-faults (healing the flaws).
But now I watch this pattern play out with my daughter & my husband, because I don't engage him anymore when he's clearly in one-of-those moods (can't win with him!). Since I don't argue with him anymore, somehow this energy gets redirected to my 13 year old daughter who has not yet learned to pick her battles. And just like my stepmom would become deaf mute when my dad was in a "mood" & which put him on the "warpath," with me & my sister, I also completely check out when my husband & daughter start going back and forth. Since my sister & I could never feel heard by our father (damned if you do, damned if you don't), we subconsciously learned that all conflict is pointless- although with maturity I've learned there are some battles you should engage in. With respect to my husband & my daughter, I find myself teetering between hoarding my peace by keeping quiet, or martyring myself into their discussions as a buffer so he'll redirect his anger toward me. I also struggle with the fact that, although I don't agree with his methods, my daughter is 13 & so is her mouth, & sometimes she does need to be checked & put in her place. They have a lot of conversations about respect, but both of them (mostly him) struggle with the fact that it should go both ways. "Respecting" children is new to our generation (bc our parents were having none of it) but somehow our kids are born thinking they deserve servants & parades (which like respect, is earned).
If we look back at the seven-of-wands picture, we can see that if the person holding the defensive wand was able to pivot back & forth in exchange with the other wands, it would help him maintain his balance in the middle instead of leaning too far side to one side or the other. In other words, just-a-fight-able-to-anchor, or justifiable anger. The truth is that anger is not all bad, & sometimes you do have to have a tough conversation to allow folks to vent, instead of denying them (& you) the opportunity.
Remember when I said the Two-of-Swords reminds me of my mom...? One of the reasons is because she always seemed perfectly balanced like nothing made her angry (deceit), but then sometimes she could be cold af & you had to figure out where you went wrong. Don't get me wrong- she loved to "debate," or have philosophical discussions but deeper issues were not given the same attention. Meanwhile my Dad is the Seven of Wands & you can't tell him nothing without there being some sort of falling out.
This shadow work has revealed that I am just like both my parents in that respect- I'll pretend like nothing is wrong & give the cold shoulder yet if you force a confrontation WE FINNA FALL OUT.
I don't have an answer to any of this or a neat bow to put on it, but I think the work of this card is to see the problem & trust the uphill battle into solution (light) without spiraling into the sunken place (shadow). Anger management...?
What's y'alls Seven of Wands?
all of us.