From time to time, we all come to a place in our lives where it feels like we are stuck. All we see are limitations. In Tarot this may be the Devil card. At first glance, we see the images of that card appear to be a man and a woman chained to a treasure chest, desperately trying to get out of a dark dark and reach the distant light.
However, on closer inspection, we find that the characters are not chained to the treasure – they are grasping and clinging to it themselves. Their unwillingness to release their perceived treasure prevents them from being free to move into the light of full happiness and freedom.
Similarly, we may be stuck because we are clinging to a perceived value, while unwittingly sacrificing true life and happiness. We stay there out of habit or fear, and risk perishing because we lack the sight to find options, or lack the courage to just take the leap.
We see this all around us – more clearly in observing others. They cling to their anger, escapism, material goods, arrogance, fears, reputation, and so on. They become stuck in the emotion, the behavior, the perception.
Freedom would entail moving out of their own way to achieve the joy, passion, or purpose that would truly fulfill them.
Hunters capture monkeys by putting fruit into a bottle. The monkey sticks its hand in and grabs the food, but then its fist is too large to come back out. The monkey refuses to let go of the food, but then is caught by the hunters. The couple in the Devil card would simply have to release their grasp and exit their dark world, entering the bright life available to them.
When we don’t release our grasp, we are generally faced with the Tower card. This fortress is built on an infirm foundation. We climb higher and higher as we mask ourselves behind our arrogance, pretenses, and false sense of self.
When the storm comes and the lightening strikes, we fall out of the tower, our world crashes around us, and we are stripped naked. When our lives are built on shaky philosophical foundations, false beliefs, and misconstrued axioms of reality, our subconscious mind creates the Tower experience so that we lose the facades of our defenses and have to realign ourselves with reality and our true purpose.
Again, this is a scary card for the uninitiated. For the more seasoned traveler on the Journey, it is an opportunity to face the weaknesses in the soul’s architecture, and move closer to a clear relationship with reality.
The card that follows the Tower is the Star. Here we find a naked woman by a stream, a star is overhead, encircled by a number of smaller stars. This symbolizes self-esteem, the willingness to be in the world naked (without the facades of arrogance), and also to be in the center of your own world, being truly who you are (not a sidekick or groupie in someone else’s play).
Another intense card of the Tarot is the Death card. Again, it is a dreaded card – but only for the fearful. The symbology of the Death card relates to the stages of metamorphosis. The caterpillar is perfectly happy crawling around. Then he experiences an urge to wrap up in a cocoon and hang precariously and vulnerably while the body completely disintegrates. It reforms as a butterfly, and begins to break free of the wrappings. In the first few days after emerging from the cocoon, the butterfly’s wings are bent and unusable. Completely vulnerable to the world, it slowly strengthens into it’s new life. And then he flies and has a new, lofty perspective of the world. He can fulfill his purpose and enjoy communing with the flowers.
To the seasoned journeyer, the Death card is an adventure of transformation, and heralds the opportunity to move to the next level of consciousness, and a more glorious expression of Being in the world.
It is a greater struggle when the Death card if reversed in a reading. It signifies that the person is stuck in the cocoon, unwilling to meet the challenge of the metamorphosis. This can be the dead-end relationship or job, the resistance to read the signals and make the change. While staying put in the cocoon may give temporary solace, it is, over time, a much rougher journey. Things tend to fester and rot, and it becomes more and more difficult to recover.
When feeling stuck, consider finding the correlating Tarot card, and use the wisdom of that card to unfetter yourself and move forward freely and in joy.