Sunday, September 10, 2017

This Week's Writerly Tarot: The Nine of Wands

As I write this, the first storm bands from Hurricane Irma are starting to roll across the Low Country. The radar map shows them as sweeping waves of green and yellow and blue, spiraling counterclockwise as the wind and rain move closer to us.

Widdershins. Leftwise. The direction of banishing.

I wish I could banish all the damage that Irma will deal to the Southeast as she rips up Florida's backbone and erupts into South Georgia. I do not wield that kind of power. A hurricane, like all of those things we call natural disasters, is an elemental force. It has no fury. No mercy either. It is what it is, and all we can do is prepare for the onslaughtgather batteries and canned food, recharge the phone, tie up loose objects.

As the storm's projected track has shifted, so has its targets. My home is no longer a bull's eyes, and so I can breathe a sigh of relief. But now people I love are about to take a direct hit, and the fear returns. I light candles in the reiki bowl and write the names of my dear ones on slips of white paper. Into the silver and gold bowl they go, and my prayers for their safety go into the universe. This too is preparation. This too is necessary.

This week's card is The Nine of Swords. Here is what I said about it the last time it turned up in a reading:
Strength in reserve. That's the message of the Nine of Wands, personified by our grizzled, war-weary hero at the gates.

He's seen trouble, sure enough. And more troubles are on the way, you can bet. Trouble's always rolling in somewhere, after all, and his wary, defiant stance suggests that he'll be there to meet it when it does. Trouble is not going to sneak up on him in the night, no sir, no ma'am.

And he's right, of course. Trouble is here, trouble there, trouble trouble everywhere. What else is a person to do but wrap the bandages tighter, grab a stick, and take up position?
Indeed. What else can we do but prepare? Some battles meet us at our own front doors. A hurricane certainly does.

As we batten down our hatches and send thoughts of protection to our loved ones, we channel the energy of this card. We are still standing. We are still strong. We can endure.

But there is one caveat to this cardour bloody but unbowed warrior stands alone. I wonder if he really is, though.  I am grateful to be facing this storm in the company of people who care for me. We can look out for each other. And we will.

This week, no matter what challenge you are facing, know that you are strong enough to handle it. And also know that even though it may feel at times like a solitary battle, it isn't. As Mr. Rogers reminded us, look for the helpers. Look hard. And remember, sometimes you're the helper.

Blessed be, y'all. Keep watch. Hold tight. Stay strong. I'll see you on the other side of the storm.


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