Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Judgement: Letting go of the past

Basic Card Symbols

Angel, trumpets, graves with people rising from them, often water or an ocean.

Basic Tarot Story

As the Fool leaves the garden of the Sun, he feels that he is near the end of his journey, ready to take a final step. But something is keeping him from doing this, holding him back. He gazes up, hoping to find guidance from the Sun; instead he sees above him a fiery angel, beautiful and terrible.

"You are right," the Angelic figure confirms, "you have only one last step on your journey, one final step to completion. But you cannot take that step until you lay your past to rest." The Fool is perturbed. "Lay it to rest? I thought I'd left it behind, all of it," he says. "There is no way to do that," The Angel observes. "Each step wears down the shoe just a bit, and so shapes the next step you take, and the next and the next. Your past is always under your feet. You cannot hide from it, run from it, or rid yourself of it. But you can call it up, and come to terms with it. Are you willing to do that?"

The Angel hands the Fool a small trumpet. The Fool is hesitant, but he knows that this is a final decision. Either to go forward, or stay where he is. He blows, and the trumpet's song echoes across the sky, its vibrations seeming to crack open the Earth. From under the Fool's feet, memories rise. Images of his innocent youth, challenges, loves, failures, losses, success, disillusionment and wisdom.

For the first time, he does not try to leave them, ignore or forget them, but accepts them. They are, he sees, nothing to fear. They happened, but they are gone now. He, alone, carries them into the present. With that understanding, the memories vanish. Though they remain in his mind, they no longer have any power over him. He is free of them, reborn, and wholly in the present.

Basic Tarot Meaning

With Fire as its ruling element (or Pluto as its ruling planet), Judgement is about rebirth, resurrection. The idea of Judgement day is that the dead rise, their sins are forgiven, and they move onto heaven. The Judgement card is similar, it asks for the resurrection to summon the past, forgive it, and let it go. There are wounds from the past that we never let heal, sins we've committed that we refuse to forgive, bad habits we haven't the courage to lose. Judgement advises us to finally face these, recognize that the past is past, and put them to rest, absolutely and irrevocably. This is also a card of healing, quite literally from an accident or illness, as well as a card signaling great transformation, renewal, change.

Judgement is often a hard card to read; it usually signals just a big change, one that involves leaving something old completely behind and stepping into something completely new. Like closing the door on an old job, and opening the door to a new and very different career. But it's also about making a final decision, to take that plunge into the new career, to forgive your family, to leave an abusive spouse, to make a new life. To heal and renew. It's a very hard card to read, in part because it deals with very hard and final decisions. And it means facing something that most Querents don't want to face. You can't hide any longer, this card says, all the dead have risen and are out in the open. Face what you have to face; make that decision. Change.

From Aeclectic Tarot

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

For Lovely Heather

We're daughter and mother
Not so long ago.
We give and take
And take and give
Along time's endless row.
Love is passed
And love received
To be passed on again:
A precious heirloom
Twice, twice blessed,
A spiritual cardigan.

I'll put it on
And treasure it,
The me I have received,
And when the roles
Reverse again,
I'll have what I most need.

So may our love
Go on and on,
A hundred thousand years;
Mothers and daughters,
Daughters and mothers,
Through joys and other tears.


Monday, December 29, 2008

I am not you

If I do not want what you want, please try not to tell me that my want is wrong. Or if I believe other than you, at least pause before you correct my view. Or if my emotion is less than yours, or more, given the same circumstances, try not to ask me to feel more strongly or weakly. Or yet, if I act, or fail to act, in the manner of your design for action, let me be. I do not, for the moment at least, ask you to understand me. That will come only when you are willing to give up changing me into a copy of you.

I may be your spouse, your parent, your offspring, your friend, or your colleague. If you will allow me any of my own wants , or emotions, or beliefs, or actions, then you will open yourself, so that some day these ways of mine might not seem so wrong, and might finally appear to you as right--for me. To put up with me is the first step to understanding me. Not that you embrace my ways as right for you, but that you are no longer irritated or disappointed with me for my seeming waywardness. And in understanding me, you might come to prize my differences from you, and far from seeking to change me, preserve and even nurture those differences.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

I'm Longing for the Day

This is a repost from my blog, Life in Shades of F-major, from September. I thought it was appropriate to repost here. Just some of my thoughts and hopes for a brighter future.

I'm longing for the day when the arts are prized above mere entertainment.
I'm longing for the day when the word "intellectual" isn't synonymous with "elitist".
I'm longing for the day when the written word is valued, once again.
I'm longing for the day when recognition for great achievement is prized above celebrity.
I'm longing for the day when the quest for knowledge walks hand-in-hand with the quest for truth.
I'm longing for the day when sports celebrate human achievement rather than mimic human conquest.
I'm longing for the day when people are truly color blind.
I'm longing for the day when spirituality takes the place of religion.
I'm longing for the day when war is no longer an option.
I'm longing for the day when reason and enlightenment rise above mere superstition.
I'm longing for the day when love overtakes hate.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Eight things about me to end 2008

8 Things I Am Passionate About:
1. Music
2. Mozart
3. Steph
4. My family
5. Singing/Acting
6. Teaching
7. History
8. Learning

8 Things I Want To Do Before I Die:

1. Take my family to Salzburg for Christmas
2. Write a book about Nancy Storace
3. Marry Steph, legally
4. Travel through all of Europe
5. Travel through New England (The only part of the continental U.S. I've not seen)
6. See Steph's screenplay on the Big Screen
7. See an opera at the Met
8. See all three of my kids happy and successful

8 Things I Say Often:

1. "That is so cool!"
2. "I love you."
3. "Damn cat!"
4. "No shit!"
5. "Keep that vowel forward!"
6. "You need more height in the soft palate."
7. "Where are my shoes?"
8. "You bust me up!"

8 Books I’ve Read Recently:

1. Mozart: A Cultural Biography, by Robert W. Gutman, (still reading that one)
2. The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne
3. The Law of Attraction, by Esther Hicks
4. The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama
5. Anna Susanna: Anna Storace, Mozart's Original Susanna, by Geoffrey Brace (an ongoing reference)
6. Mozart and His Circle by Peter Clive (an ongoing reference)

8 Songs I Could Listen To Over & Over:

1. "Laudate Dominum" from Solemn Vespers, by Mozart
2. "So in Love" from Kiss Me Kate, by Cole Porter
3. "Lascia ch'io pianga" by Handel
4. "Ruhe sanft mein holdes leben", from Zaide, by Mozart
5. "Du bist die Ruh" by Franz Schubert
6. "Kyrie", from The Great C minor Mass, by Mozart
7. "Dream a Little Dream of Me", by Mama Cass
8. Any soft ballad sung by Rosemary Clooney

8 Things That Attract Me To My Best Friends:
1. Their sense of humor
2. Their loyalty
3. Their openness to new people and ideas
4. Their intelligence
5. Their ability to think outside the box
6. Their openness to displays of affection
7. Their creativity
8. Their ability to be spontaneous

8 Things That I am Thankful For This Year:
1. Steph
2. My family
3. My friends
4. My job
5. Our President-elect and his family
6. The "treasure"
7. Our "benefactor"
8. Our home

Friday, December 26, 2008

Her Cinderella World

She lives in a Cinderella world.

Yeah, I grew up hearing that all of my life. I created that world because, although I didn't realize it at the time, the world I lived in, my reality, was so difficult and so painful that I had to create a place where I could be beautiful, creative, intelligent, desirable, and loved for who I was so that I could survive. My Cinderella World was my only refuge, my only escape.

I've just recently learned something about me and about my family of origin that has brought me to a season of introspection and self-discovery like none I've encountered before. I've been through a period of change and re-invention for going on ten years, now, but this most recent discovery has added a dimension of clarity and understanding of my past and past relationships that has brought me to an entirely new crisis within myself. I'm now coming to terms with the fact that I am an adult child of narcissistic parents. There are varying degrees of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, (NPD), ranging from the mild narcissistic tendencies that we all exhibit from time-to-time to full-blown, sociopathic or even psychotic personality disorders. The type of narcissism that I grew up with in my home, which was exhibited in both of my parents in varying moderate to severe degrees was what is known as Malignant Narcissistic Personality Disorder which, in turn, affected me profoundly.

The key to understanding narcissists is to know that virtually all of them are persons who have most likely been abused in some way as children and who have grown up with a deep sense of self-loathing and shame. Because they've not found ways to rid themselves of this malignant sense of shame and self-loathing, they project their low self images upon others--their children, their spouses, their friends--by finding ways to put others down in order to bring themselves up. They accomplish this through a number of ways, through mental manipulation (mind games), power plays (temper tantrums, pouting, the silent treatment, physical abuse), intellectual control/manipulation (always being right, moral high-ground, legalism, excessive religion), and slander (putting others down, guilting others, malicious teasing, name-calling). All of these things leave their victims feeling confused, belittled, bewildered, and in many cases believing that they, (not the narcissist), are the one who is mentally or emotionally unstable, delusional, or in many cases, even crazy.

I had all of the above weapons wielded against me by both of my parents when I was child, in varying degrees, and although I believed growing up that I had a very loving and close family, I learned, after my mother died in 2001, that the close, loving family I had always believed I had, was the illusion. I recall sitting in the church pew at my mother's packed-out funeral listening to one of the men who had been in their Sunday School class talking about what an example of Christian love and virtue our family had been to him, and I thought to myself, "How can you stand there and say that? You don't know what it was like growing up in my home! They really had you fooled!" We did such a great job of fooling everyone that we even fooled ourselves.

I will not sit here and claim that my childhood was unbearable, because it wasn't. I won't give into bitterness, self-pity, or blame. My parents were wounded people themselves, who grew up in an era devoid of the knowledge of psychology or the understanding of childhood emotional development. Their world was very black and white, and their understanding of human behavior limited to sin and virtue. There was no gray or in-between. So they had no way of dealing with the demons of shame and self-loathing living inside of them, the residuals of their own childhood abuse, but to tamp them down in denial, wondering why Jesus hadn't "washed them away" as the Scriptures promised he would. They loved me as best they could. They simply didn't understand that their demons were more toxic than their love was strong. By comparison, my marriage was far worse than my childhood, and the abuse inflicted far more damaging, and less understandable or forgivable.

As a young adult, knowing nothing else, I married a narcissist and the cycle of abuse continued. I couldn't figure out why this was happening to me. I'm a good person, a kind person, a compassionate and loving woman, whose greatest desire is to love and be loved in return. I had no idea that when I left my family of origin and married the man who would be my husband for 18 years and the father of my three children, that I had jumped from the frying pan into the fire.

This blog is the story of my journey to wholeness.