Love letters to self pt 9
A shift in perspective – from fear to trust
The Tarot – The Journey through Life
I was always fond of Tarot cards.
Somehow they represent to me the connection to some ancient mystery and they always bring me an important message and unexpected gifts. The last gift I received from the Hanged Man is worth sharing at this moment, I deeply feel.
Interesting fact, that the information we can find today with one click on the internet about Tarot cards and their significance, was regarded as controversial and spiritually dangerous in Europe during the Dark Ages, because of its radical content. But where do these cards come from?
According to the internet, the first noted Tarot decks originate from the 15th century Italy, but the teachings of the Tarot most definitely come from ancient sources. Based on the Hebrew alphabet, Kaballah, Pythagorean number and harmonic theory, and Astrology, this wisdom is at least as old as Western civilization.
For me, the journey of The Fool (the individual) through the archetypes of the Major Arcana (the main 22 cards) reflects the natural flow of life. The journey portrayed in the Major Arcana describes the concept of the intitiation of self through personal growth toward enlightenment.
There are many ways to understand this journey. In Seventy-eight Degrees of Wisdom, Rachel Pollack describes a 3 x 7 template to understand better this individual and collective journey.
1. Cards 1-7 realm of consciousness, outer concerns of life in society
2. Cards 8-14 realm of subconscious, inward search to find who we really are
3. Cards 15-21 realm of superconscious, development of a spiritual awareness and a release of archetypal energy
The second line of cards, including the Hanged Man, focuses on the individual’s inner world. This is a time of questioning, self-reflecting and inner searching.
The Hanged Man
The 12th card in the Tarot Major Arcana is the Hanged Man. This is the card that came to me on the 3rd of this november. Below I share my perspective about the symbology of this powerful card that indicates a turning point in the individual and collective journey.
In Greek mythology, this card is connected to the story of Prometheus, who stole the fire of Gods to give it to mankind, knowing that Zeus’s fury will descend on him once he was found out. The fire here is a symbol of progress, illumination, the light of consciousness. For his deed, Zeus bound Prometheus with an indestructible chain to a high peak in the mountains. An eagle ate his liver every day and it renewed every night for the torture to continue. After 30 years the hero Heracles rescued Prometheus, who killed the eagle and broke his chains. Prometheus was made inmortal, and took his rightful place among the Gods.
The story of Prometheus here is the story of a voluntary sacrifice on many different levels. On the physical level, he sacrificed his safety, his position and even almost his life when he stole the fire from the Gods. He did this knowing that the consequences of his actions will probably result some personal pain for him, still the greater good of humanity was worth the sacrifice that Prometheus did voluntarily.
A voluntary sacrifice
On an emotional level a voluntary sacrifice can mean a deep surrender beyond the resisting ego-mind, a full acceptance of present reality by letting go of all control, and giving up resisting what is. This kind of surrender requires us to trust in something greater, something invisible I call the mystery of life.
On a mental level The Hanged Man symbolizes a shift in perspective, indicating that a belief or an idea is out of alignment with truth because it causes suffering. It tells us to reflect on what do we really believe in. Trust is essential to be willing to let go of what we believed so deeper understanding and wisdom can be obtained. This way the voluntary sacrifice refers to the letting go of an internal attitude, behavior or belief system in order to expand and be free.
To start this internal inquiry some good questions to ask:
What do I believe that makes me suffer?
Do I want to be right or do I want to be happy?
What do I believe that makes me afraid or full of hate?
What am I thinking that is not loving?
For me the wisdom, the gift of the Hanged man is that there are times when we have to turn inwards to find the answers within. There are times when we have to give up the fight and surrender to the flow of life and accept what is. A sense of freedom arises from the full acceptance that sometimes no action is the best course of action for the moment.
Are we ready to give up our perspective and be happy?
Are we ready to trust in something greater even if we don’t fully understand it?
Are we ready to see a wider perspective?
This introspection and surrender creates space for the next step (the card of death in the Tarot) that is the great release of which no longer serves us so we can be truly free.