Saturday, 12 November 2011

learning to love the blindfold

In the Rider Waite Tarot deck the Eight of Swords is illustrated with a woman whose eyes are covered by a blindfold. She is surrounded by swords in the ground. At first, the image looks like a classic trap - she can't move in any direction because she is surrounded. However, this isn't actually the case. It's the blindfold that prevents her from making the correct moves to free herself from the dangerous maze, making the blindfold the dangerous object in the picture - not the swords. Her blindfold is not a permanent fixture. In time she will be able to remove it and carefully navigate her way to freedom. However, for now, she is restricted by it.

The card speaks strongly of a bad situation. It's a situation you want to leave and know you must move beyond but you don't see a way out of it or you feel there's nowhere to go. Even if you have a plan, it feels beyond your reach at the moment. This kind of feeling is deeply frustrating and can make us feel worthless, inadequate or under the control of forces far and beyond our ability to break free. It seems like a terrifying card but it's actually injected with a message of genuine hope. The card is all about the waiting game. It urges us to accept that we do not have all the necessary information to make a decision yet. It urges us to be patient and to realise that we're not magnanimous and we can't always take on the world in the way we'd like to. If the figure in the illustration attempts to make a move whilst still in the grip of the blindfold she will hurt herself and make her situation worse. Her responsibility to herself is to recognise this and accept it.

Bad times don't last forever. Life is all about that series of ups and downs that seems so easy to accept when we're happy but so difficult to come to terms with when we're at our lowest. When our patience is tested through our own limitations, the instinct is either to disappear inside of ourselves and fester in our pain or to flail and scream in a way that damages us and those around us. The card's direction is clear - wait it out. Sometimes we need to know more, to see more or to be more before we can sculpt our own future. It's ok to do this - it's not a weakness. If you're an impulsive sort who's found that your desire to act recklessly has gotten you into trouble in the past, take the card's message as a warning to rein in your desire for immediate change or solution. Remind yourself that it's not always possible and that there's probably more to learn before you can move forward. If, on the other hand, you're the passive type who lets life wash over you and doesn't tend to assert yourself when you feel trapped, let the card be your ultimate message of hope. It won't always be like this. You will find your perfect time to free yourself from your chains and it will come soon.

Being honest with ourselves about the fact that there's more to figure out can be difficult in a world where we're expected to constantly be in forward motion. We've almost been conditioned to believe that patience, pause and consideration of the facts equals weakness or fear of changing the situation. If all of your friends are spurring you on to get out of a job or relationship for your own good, this card might appear to tell you that your reserved judgement and unwillingness to accept their advice as the absolute truth is a necessary part of the process - you have to act when you're ready, not when others insist that you should be.