of shadow work
facing the darkness /
to live in the light
to live in the light
Today we are looking at the Four of Cups. But first, I have to say how much I appreciate all of your presences & your vulnerability. These exercises have really been making me examine my behaviors, which is something I don't like to do. I am grateful for y'all holding space for me & I am honored to hold space for you. Your shares have rocked my world in a way I can't explain & I don't think its an exaggeration to say these weeks have changed my life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I'm finna cry, Lawd, let me move on & focus lol...
Like I said, today we're looking at the Four of Cups (Moon in Cancer). This card is a LOT. Shout out to all of you who have your natal moon in Cancer bc this energy is emotionally overwhelming & y'all are the real MVPs. Y'all are the cup bearers for the world & I see why (according to the picture) sometimes y'all have to refuse the cup & refuse to feel bc dammit enough is enough.
I cannot stress enough, that this is the card of the emotional psychic. Let me explain- like I said previously, the Four of Cups is the Moon in Cancer. In the tarot, the Moon is represented by the High Priestess. She is the guardian of the pomegranate garden, which is a metaphor for the seeds of intention, motivation & action hidden within every soul. In other words, she knows exactly how your life will grow, because she's cultivated the seed from which you grew. This is the supreme mother of all, the divine seer & record keeper of our deeds.
In tarot & astrology, the sign of Cancer (the Chariot), is ruled by the Moon (High Priestess). Astrologically speaking, Cancer represents the 4th house of home & family. This is the sign that moves mysteriously through life, always seeking to understand its origins & impulses, always digging to trace its emotions back to past events that are either openly known, or known vaguely but not in detail, or are completely hidden influences that nonetheless cause consequences. Since the High Priestess (Moon) is the supreme mother, & the Chariot (Cancer) represents movement to & from home, then the combination of the Moon & Cancer in the Four of Cups is basically Mama with all her mysterious love & indecipherable shade coming to ride with you in your car as you leave home. And then the realization that she's not in your car at all, it's just her voice living rent free in your head. And then the irritation at the fact that you no matter how far you drive, you'll never get away from that freaking voice, & you'll live your whole life either following or rebelling against a persistent thought cloud that influences every single thing about your life, so you might as well do the mountain of emotional & mental work separating her voice from yours, & both of your voices from the truth, & figuring out why she is the way she is (what happened to her??) & why you are the way you are (what happened to me??), & on & on & on until you literally can't take it anymore & you just need to sit down & zone out for a while.
Let's look at the card literally to see what comes up:
We have a dude sitting under a tree with...that look on his face, that would make somebody ask what's WRONG wichu?? He's staring at a cup that's being handed out of a cloud (hand in the cloud / head in the clouds). Since realistically, clouds don't hand out cups, we can assume dude is imagining the cup and the cloud. If somebody observed him, they wouldn't see this scenario created by his imagination- they would just see homie staring off into space. Shouldn't he be doing something though?? Is he just going to sit around doing nothing all day? Didn't he say he was going to get back on his feet? Yet he just sits on hill (sits still). Folks are fed up. He's been given chalice after chalice (chance after chance) & he does not want ones left (has no one left). If you try to have a conversation with him about it, he hides half a tree root (hides half truths) & because he doesn't want to stand (doesn't understand) that his actions and his inactions, & his truths and half-truths have consequences. He doesn't realize he's the definition of him-man-sat-a-tree (insanity), & everyday he does the same shit but expects something magically different to happen (like a chalice/ chance falling being handed out the damn sky). Somebody needs to tell him that when chalices (chances) come, you have to grab them with both hands, which is impossible if you do one-hand-under (underhanded) ish all the time.
But even if you told him, trust you ain't telling him nothing he doesn't know. He looks at how he's missing cup (messing up), specifically the fourth cup (fuck up) all the time. But messing up how, exactly?? No one's even around. No one's criticizing him, no one's saying a word. Dude is all alone, battling with his own thought cloud. Since the thoughts are technically his own (but he had to get them from somewhere, yeah?), he could take this chalice (chance) to really pay attention to what's happening here & give this thought to himself. Four, give himself (forgive himself). He could think about how even though no one else is here, he has an amazing imagination & he's comfortable in his skin & appreciates his own company. He's able bodied too, it's a choice to sit down for a spell, & the ability to contemplate is a blessing. Instead of resisting these moments of downtime, rejecting his reveries because reason, full (resentful) of how judged he feels for taking time out to think for himself, he could instead embrace people's opinion of him & be a "fool" who's filled up (fool filled / fulfilled) with his own unique, independent thoughts & feelings.
Maybe that's the issue, is that folks are resentful that he's fulfilled with his own thoughts & feelings about himself instead of being fulfilled with their feelings about him. Maybe somebody's salty because he doesn't give a damn about their projected hand (projections) out of nowhere. If their cups / feelings are so fulfilling anyway, why do they keep forcing them on him?? Wouldn't they want to keep & enjoy their feelings for themselves? Folks expect him to accept their projections & put-cups-all-in-a-line (get up & fall in line), & they'll never understand the immense act of courage it takes for him to just... not. Somehow he knows it's best to refuse all (refusal) & reject hands (rejection) that are not uniquely his own. .
Everybody should be responsible for their own feelings, dammit. (& dude is refusing to stand for anything else!)
This card is tricky af, because it's one of those energies that can make you feel like you're crazy, you know? This is the type of shit that can have you arguing with yourself, defending your actions against someone who's not even there. You could spend so much time battling imaginary adversaries that you barely have the energy left to engage with real people &... do shit, which then validates the voices in your head that say you don't do shit so you don't deserve to be around people. Ugh. I think the solution to this card actually lies in the "problem," (which is not really a problem, but a gift). This is the card of someone who is psychic af & can hear folks thoughts coming from a mile away, especially family. If you try to remain busy, busy, busy, you won't notice how or why your mood shifted when certain people's thoughts & feelings come within your range. All you'll know is that you had energy & now you don't, & now someone is smirking at you, feeling superior because you need a time out & they're PRODUCTIVE. However if you spend copious amounts of peaceful alone time with yourself, resisting the urge to "perform-busyness-as-productivity," then you'll develop a close relationship with your own moods. You'll know your thoughts from the thoughts of others simply because you'll recognize when the voices in your head stop sounding like... you. But first you have to take the time to be still (daily) & make friends with the voices in your head. Soon you'll discover that you can sense when folks aren't comfortable with their own stillness, & haven't made peace with the voices in their heads, so they'll say or do anything in your direction to drown out themselves, & then while floundering about, they'll grasp your neck as a raft. This card instructs us to pay attention to those who pull our energy down in order to give themselves a boost (especially family).
Here is my Four of Cups Story:
Once again, it involves my soon-to-be-ex-husband (who from now on I'm going to call Tony), but this story takes place from before we were married (although the narrative lives on). I'm glad we did the cards in the order we've done them because y'all are finna understand exactly what I mean. Ok so I'm a Virgo sun (Eight of Pentacles) & Tony is a Cancer Moon (Four of Cups). So I work my ass off & even when I'm not working, when I'm around others I am very busy, busy, busy, & he needs a lot of alone, non-stimulated time to regulate his mood & mental health. But when we became a couple (& I'm typing this to y'all but I've never said this to him), he really helped me learn to be still. When we're alone together (without the kids, I mean) & we're in a good place in the relationship, we can just be together for hours in complete comfortable silence, except maybe music. I could meditate, write, do yoga,sleep, eat, repeat; & he would be in his own world writing, making jewelry, reading, eating, whatever. It sounds cheesy but I "exhale," when I am around him. I didn't meditate before I met him, either. Or do yoga.
The problem is though, that I don't have much natural discipline (which is why God made me a Virgo). For me, a relaxing day can easily spiral into a week-long rut. I have trouble enjoying myself without turning my brain all the way off & powering down. It's hard for me to balance between peace & productivity (which I just realized is because my Daddy made homework A LIVING HELL but that's a story for another day). Either I'm moving 100 mph or I'm zoned out or asleep. & But since I was the main breadwinner, relaxing hit me differently because it meant my checks were shorter & I was the one scrambling to figure out how to make up the difference. I would crave those moments of sitting in total peace with him, & then spiral into resentment when I had to get up & go to work, & then quietly project all those angry feelings on him when I got home. I made all my bad feelings about our living situation, lack of money, everything, his fault. But the truth was that I had chosen this relationship, & I wasn't prepared to deal with the consequences of separation. That's my shit. I was not kidnapped. But I was just mad at myself (just not mad enough to change) so it was easier to be mad at him & ask him to change all the time. Everything he did, I watched like a hawk. I was all, why are you on Facebook? Did you send in that cover letter? Why are you on AllStarHipHop.com? Well if you aren't looking for a job can you help me clean up? Where is my change from the grocery store? I was his motherrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr (this is me growling at the realization). I always wanted him to be busier, more productive, more-sharing-of-the-load. But underneath, the truth was I didn't care about him getting up & being busy, I just wanted to be able to afford to sit my ass down. Because I wasn't honest with myself, I projected onto him.
So this one day, my daily bitterness became a whole ass fight, & I remember we were in the kitchen of our first apartment, & at a certain point he just turned his back to me while facing out of the window, with his arms folded just like the dude in the Four of Cups. I said the meanest, most disrespectful things to him to the point that I went from shouting to raspy voiced, & he did not turn around not once to respond. All that energy just stayed right there with me, & he didn't receive it a bit. I felt sick to my stomach the whole night, just wanting to put those words back in mouth, but I couldn't, & he hadn't taken them, so they just floated around the apartment with us, just gross. I kept apologizing (thinking it would make me feel better if he accepted) but he was like, no need. He accepted not one iota of my emotions, not in the giving & not in the trying to ungive. It was as if I'd said all those awful things to myself. I'll never forget that, ever. It was like a magic trick, a real-live I'm rubber, you're glue, Reverse-Uno. (Back to you.)
(What's y'alls Four of Cups?)
all of us.