Sunday, November 1, 2015

This Week's Writerly Tarot: The Eight of Swords

The Eight of Swords describes a moment we all recognize (and might be living again real soon). It's not especially pleasant, but it's not as terrible as it appears on the surface. In fact, that's one of the themes of this card -- that appearances can be deceiving -- which is why the key to understanding it isn't the eight swords surrounding our heroine, it's the scrap of cloth tied around her eyes.

On the surface, it resembles a scene from one of those damsel-in-peril mysteries so popular on the Lifetime network. Bound and blindfolded and barricaded by swords, a woman stands alone on a rock. The sky is a dull gunmetal gray, and she seems lost and forlorn and unsure how to get herself out of the predicament she surely didn't put herself into.

But look again. Our lady bears some responsibility for staying in her situation. She's not seeing things clearly (literally and figuratively). After all, her feet are unbound. The swords do not surround her. Even the ties around her body seem loose. She seems paralyzed by her own fear, which is keeping her in place more effectively than any bindings.

Fear is generated by the mind, and it's meant to be helpful. It wants you to run away, avoid, save yourself. But in this particular situation, it's not doing our lady any good. And in your particular situation -- and you probably know what that is -- it's doing you no favors either.

This week, consider what fear large or small might be keeping you trapped. What is it about the situation that you aren't seeing? Is there a way to make some small change that might allow you to rip off whatever blinders have settled in place?

Shake off the cords. They weren't really holding you back anyway. Peel up the edge of the blindfold. Take a gander at whatever it is you've been missing.

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