in true sorrow.

I really keep meaning to write more during the weeks lately (and have several blog posts halted mid-thought, almost ready to post..) but the days are far busier than I expect them to be. 

Between work and clients and the distracting elements of spring--the garden, the yard, the sunshine--there have been plenty of other things to be getting done. The most wonderful time of year..but just not so much for the sitting-inside-and-writing end of things.

But, all things in their time.  

I pulled an interesting card this morning, and one which didn't immediately connect with my life at this moment. With this newfound energy and the emergence of spring it seemed odd to come into contact with the energy of the three of swords, a card associated with heartbreak, sorrow, great loss and agony. The imagery on the card needs very little interpretation for most people, from the predictable shape and color of the heart, stabbed by the swords, to the somber background weather: there is not much 'good' about this card, it would first seem. 

Depending on how the card falls in a reading, and what type of reading you are doing, it will have various meanings. Obviously if the placement occurs in a 'future' position there appears the possibility of loss and sorrow presenting themselves. But positioned as a 'card of the day/week' as we are exploring here, there is a more interesting reading available, as I see it: 

Rachel Pollack suggests that the perfect symmetry of the swords is symbolic of some 'perfection' to be had in our suffering, heartbreak and loss; that if we are able to transcend the idea that all loss is 'bad' and all heartbreak is only painful, that there might be some great wisdom and potential for growth in the experience. 

Because growth, after all, is the focus of the Tarot: self actualization, personal evolution, ever-increasing awareness.

 

This is the point of all the cards, as viewed by some (myself included), that they are, above all else, attempting to get us back to a place of unity and wholeness with all that is. 

And so, the three of swords speaks to the courage, personal strength and possibility that can come when we allow sadness to transform us rather than pushing it away, as we are oft to do. It is a reminder of the necessity of acceptance when things have gone differently than we would have hoped, so that instead of being persistently stuck in mourning we are able to connect with joyful memories prior to the pain as well as our own innate ability to experience traumatic events without being defined by them. 

The way to transform sorrow is to see the beauty in it, strange as that may seem. To think, perhaps, on the reality of all human suffering, and of the common nature of pain and loss while we attempt to navigate this planetary reality. To think on the suffering of those who appear to have suffered more than you, and those who appear to suffer less, but recognizing above all else that we all have pain, and always will, but it is up to us whether we choose to be defined by it. 

Pollack says that 'to true sorrow we can make only one response-take the pain into our hearts, accept it and go beyond it'. This is not a fast process for most, surely, but it transforms the process of healing from one of strictly mourning to one holding great possibility for enhanced growth. 

Paradoxically, the more we try to run from or avoid our sadness and heartbreak, the more it comes to define us, but the more that we see our sadness as an opportunity for learning and growth, the more easily we come to healing.

Our strength and awareness are cultivated by walking through the fire, not attempting to put the fire out..