of shadow work
facing the darkness /
to live in the light
to live in the light
The Ten of Cups (Mars in Pisces) is the grand crescendo of emotion in the tarot. There's a rainbow, there's a happy couple, there's two dancing kids- it's bliss! Complete & total emotional fulfillment, yes? Yes.
Except not necessarily the way we think. If emotions are represented by cups, the Ten of Cups is all of the water, all of the feels. A storm of emotion, you could say. & If we look at how the cups are positioned on the after-storm rainbow above their heads, wouldn't they logically be filled with water?. Every time the wind blows, it could send a little sprinkle of rain over their heads, even on the sunniest day.
Let's look at the parents to figure out precisely what sort of water is in those cups. The Ten of Cups is the combination of Mars (the Tower) & Pisces (the Moon). We've dealt with the Tower a few times in these last three weeks, but we hadn't yet dealt with the Moon. One again, Mars is the Almighty Storm Bringer / Master Builder, toppling houses of straw & sticks so that we'll try again with bricks. The Moon represents Pisces, or the 12th house of collective unconsciousness. This is the long lonely road we each walk through the deepest parts of ourselves, guided by the moonlight of our shared experiences (hey, fellow travelers!). We trudge on from the Moon into the Sun, from night (mystery) into mourning (clarity). Instead of being haunted by phantom pains, we move closer to seeing what hurts, step by terrifying step.
Which is effing HARD. Overwhelming. Makes us feel full all the time like we have no space for anything else, anyone else. HAD IT UP TO HERE. And then suddenly, out of nowhere on our quiet little Moon (Pisces) path where we are trying very hard to keep our collective shit together in this here scary darkness, the Tower (Mars) strikes. An explosion in the darkness. Dangerous flashes of light. Our heart races. Adrenaline pumps. Run toward it? Run away? And then a different (newly born??) part of ourselves takes over. Instead of running, we think. We pause & use the flares to better understand where are & correct our course towards where we're going. We are grateful for the experience. A new word dawns, resiliency. The realization that we're stronger than before.
Sidenote: The Ten of Cups reminds me of giving birth, if we think of the Moon as the womb & the Tower as contractions. If I'd never given birth, this card would remind me of that feeling you get as a little kid when you were scared all day of getting in trouble & wondering if you'd be spanked, & then finding out you would be spanked but knowing when, & then finally getting spanked & crying your eyes out, & then finally being left the hell alone. Feeling wrung out like a dishrag, like you can't cry no more, can't be scared no more, can't nothing but sit still & be. That moment of complete relief, disassociation & invincibility.
But since I have given birth, this card reminds me of labor. When you get to the point in hard labor when the contractions take over to change you from person to portal & all you can do is move aside & witness yourself dying of the pain. Yet somehow you do not die & you discover a place inside you that can be obliterated but still conscious. Can hear. Can push. Breathe, hear, push, breathe, & then the labor is over & the work begins.
Let's look at the Ten of Cups literally: This scene is ideal (seems ideal). It may be a grey day but it can still be a great day. Through the fields, lie home (feels like home). It's a celebration! The grownups hug & the kids dance, nice. The property is lovely & has a stream come through (it's a dream come true). Yet if you look closer, there is a significant amount of work that needs to be done. For one thing, how to get from here to the house? There's no path. They're going to have to work through the fields (work through their feelings) to get there, to clear the path (clear the past). Even once they build a path to the door, there's still a huge bush blocking the front of the house. They can't go in like this (can't go on like this). They have to deal with that bush (bulls***). Ugh, how overwhelming to have come all this way, to FINALLY have your destination in sight but still have so much work to do?! No one is taking this moment of despair (dos pairs) seriously though; the kids play with their knees to sky (needs to cry) & the grownups wave at all (wave it off). Everybody's fun (fine). The parents especially, have completely turned their backs to the path (past), & refuse to think about the work ahead. They just want to focus on their stream (dream). This is after the storm of emotion, don't forget; so the stream (dream) is full & swollen, cutting a route straight through the fields (feels), forcing the adults to focus on their emotions even if they're disassociated from the deeper work.
Dammit, that makes the woman stressed out (dress out). It's hard enough to weather a whole storm; who wants to deal with the feels too, AND clear the past too?? It's too much. Despite the bravado of her right hand held high, not on the left side (nothing left inside).Yet she stands. In fact, they stand together. As a reminder, he leans her into his waist (lends her his faith). He holds her up, keeps her from falling into the fields (feels). He teachers her his method: see the feels, watch the feels, but don't fall into the feels. Focus on your dream but don't dive in just yet. Stand. Endure. See your pain & your dream together & gather the strength to go toward (to work) both.
The secret to this kind of... spiritual maturity...? emotional dexterity...? lies in the positioning of the adults & the children. The bible (1 Corinthians 13:11) says, "When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me." See how the adults have their backs turned to the children? When it comes to facing their dreams & their feelings, they aren't playing anymore. Yet, see how the adults' faces are hidden but the kids' faces are visible? It's a riddle almost: although the adults have "the whe ways of childhood behind" them, they know that according to Matthew 18:3, "Truly I tell you, unless you change & become more like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." So the adults wisely hide their own faces & feature "childlike faces," or childlike faith.
Remember we are to stop being childish- avoiding our fields (feels) when we knees to sky (need to cry); & be more childlike- "joining in step" (enjoying each step) with this journey simply because we're alive & able to feel ALL THE THINGS because dammit, we've had it up to here. So yeah, technically the Ten of Cups is emotional fulfillment, haha.
Folks may wonder how we endure all those storms, & our dreams, & our past, & our feels.
Shit we don't know, issa miracle really. Somehow, despite it all, we dry (try).
Here's my Ten of Cups story:
It happened between last night & today. Disclaimer: Many of my stories are going to involve my soon-to-be-ex-husband & money, because those are the core issues I'm working through right now- lack, resentment, heartbreak, struggle, self-esteem, worth, value, & their connections to shitty relationship & life choices, & growing through all that without hating myself. So I apologize if my shares seem redundant & I appreciate y'all for reading anyway.
Like I said, my ex is around alot because neither of us have very many friends or any family in this area where we live, except for our children. Sometimes his presence is very helpful- especially since we have three rowdy sons- but it's also draining af. It's impossible for me to date or do anything without him questioning me (& I just need to be realistic about the fact that I'm lonely but no man in his right mind would be attracted to me in this mess right now). It's cool on the days when he hands me a few bucks or helps out with food, but most days it's me paying for the hotel myself, & paying for the majority of the food by myself, & him slipping me $15 or $20 every two or three days. Plus I am just a more subdued version of myself around him because he doesn't want me to be happy without him so sometimes it feels like he stays around to ensure I am poor & miserable. It's easier for me to just pretend to be poor & miserable when he's around because when I am openly abundant & happy, the hate oozes off of him like cologne & I find my moods sabotaged, either through him picking fights with the kids, or wanting to discuss a crisis (or past crisis) where we are sure to have a difference of opinion, or being sullen so we have to worry & ask "what's wrong," all the time, or through random belongings of mine coming up missing which me mysteriously (saves the day!) finds. All this is very triggering for me & sometimes (since I keep my successes & goals 99% to myself), I forget that I am actually, awesomely becoming more financially stable & only pretending to be miserable. And then I'm actually miserable.
Weed is also a thing with us. When you're a couple with someone & y'all have habits together, its hard to not have those habits together when you're around each other even if you're not a couple, like smoking. Occasionally we smoke together, & oftentimes he gives me weed when he can't give me money. Which is cool but then it becomes a thing when I have weed that he didn't give me. It's all, where did you get that? Why didn't you ask me? They probably overcharged you. Oh so you don't need me? & On & on. It's exhausting. Not only that but lately the weed he's been giving me has not been high quality & it's made me actually exhausted. So yesterday I got dressed & called a Lyft to a dispensary nearby, which also conveniently has a grocery store on the same block, so I could get weed, food, & hop the bus right back home. He hadn't been around all day but the moment I'm walking out of the door, here he comes, wanting to know where I'm going. I said, I'm running errands. He assumed I was lying & was going to meet up with somebody. He followed me to the Lyft & stared the driver all in his face, trying to intimidate him. The car was a BMW (which I have no control over) & he was like, oh so you getting in a Beamer?? I just shut the door & went on my way. I made it back relatively quickly & we didn't discuss it again.
Ok but I'm sick of that shit though. I've read that it takes a woman an average of seven tries to leave a toxic relationship (but he doesn't hit me...? he can be very sweet & kind...?) & I'm realizing all those tries aren't because she wasn't brave or strong or smart enough but simply because... fucking LIFE. Fucking fluctations in business & income, bad credit, evictions, having-right-now-money-but-not-saved-money, pride, ego, unsafe emotional spaces, judgments, depression, losing time with motherhood & work, the holidays, birthdays, needing-a-ride-to-the-store-right-quick-and-he-carries-all-the-bags, good family days over the summer, Coronavirus, abandonment issues, loyalty, respect.
So today I woke up in a bad mood (cups up to here). I am so ready for us to get out of hotels & go home. I don't know what he will do when that happens but I know I WANT IT, NEED IT NOW. & I also know that when I get like that, I get desperate, & I make poor choices & sudden decisions & depend on short-term solutions that guarantee I'll be back in this position again. I can't afford to fall into those fucking feels. I see my dreams, they are SO CLOSE. We are nearly there, the vision is within reach & I just have to build that path. The work is cut out for me, both emotionally & physically, & while the prospect makes me tired, the privilege brings me joy.
Anyway, I was in a bad mood today. I felt lost, panicked, desperate, stuck. I observed those feelings within me but I didn't engage. I'd promised my 11 year old son we could go on a bike ride, & I kept my word to him (it was raining) even though he was sure I'd use the weather as an excuse. Because of the rain we had the whole bike path to ourselves, all along the waterfront & the walking trails. The clouds were just like in the Ten of Cups too, grey, but teasing the sun. I knew it was right there, hiding behind the clouds. Just before we got back, the drizzle turned to a shower. I turned my face up & let the water fall on my cheeks, & then I sang my favorite sad song (Save Me by Aimee Mann) as loud as I could while my son pedalled thoughtfully by my side. He's such great company. :) I didn't feel like going but I was so glad I went. We rode a long way & he got tired, but he kept up.
Despite the rain, we both made it back dry.
What's y'alls Ten of Cups?
all of us.