Sunday, 18 March 2012

making peace with the past

When we don't let go of a negative time in our past, bitterness sets in and renders us unable to enjoy the future. This is almost an accepted fact these days and you won't find many people who are willing to argue with it. Using anger to give us the energy to spur us forward is quite different from allowing old wounds to fester and old pain to continue to plague us. My mum always told me that bitterness is anger that's been left to rot without being shown the light. Anger is a valid part of the process and if it's left undone it will keep kicking us while we're down. If a ghost perpetually haunts you or a bad situation from the past is on your mind more than your desire to fulfil future goals, it's likely that you're giving it too much of your time and that Tarot can offer valuable insight into how and why you should let go. Firstly, who are you angry with ultimately? Yourself, the universe or someone else? Do you feel that forgiveness would make you seem weak or incapable? What is it about the issue that keeps making you return to it? Do you feel that you deserve to be free of the negative feelings conjured up by the 'bad blood' from the past? Is holding onto it your way of punishing yourself?

Let's address what the cards can do to help you let go of the past. Firstly, when bad things happen and negativity prevails despite our best efforts, we often relentlessly ask ourselves why. We remain in a state of shock for a long time and it's difficult to prevent ourselves from dissecting every detail of the event to look for clues regarding its outcome. We may want someone to blame. We may want to blame ourselves exclusively, piling guilt and remorse onto ourselves despite evidence to contrary. Bitterness and unresolved issues can be used as the perfect excuse not to take life by the throat and live it to the full. I've watched people fail to grasp the value of what they have in the here and now because they're too busy living in the past. I've seen myself do that too at times. Give yourself some time to think about why the circumstances unfolded as they did. Look to the cards for guidance. Lay out as many as you need in a slow succession and try to relate the issue to the intense and profound themes represented by their symbols and meanings. The cards are an illustration of the whole of human experience. They contain comforting truths that relate to us all and help us to balance out the reality on the outside with the reality according to the core of our being, which is often bound up with our hopes, fears and childhood experiences. How much of what you've concluded about the issue is really fair and accurate? How much has been blown out of proportion?

Now look for the lessons. I believe that getting maximum use out of the Tarot requires you to see life as a series of lessons. Being passive when you enter into a dialogue with the cards is not going to help you to pick the sweet fruit of bitter experience, and I think the cards can help us to do this with anything. What did you gain from living through the horrendous time you're unable to move on from? What grew from the soil of chaos and catastrophe? Where is the silver lining and will you value it and learn from it, however small and fragile it might be? Lessons are souvenirs for the rest of the journey, but they're also golden nuggets that need to be acknowledged in order for you to ultimately see that there was a good enough reason for you to go through the pain you survived.

What do you need to let go of? If you're ready to ask yourself these questions about your own inability to make peace with the past, then you're ready to start shedding the burden of it and coming back out into the light. The most decisive way to deal with the painful areas of your past is to cut loose what doesn't work for you and leave it behind, taking only the lessons that can serve to direct you in future.

Forgiveness, in my experience, is essential to the process of letting go and it's something I discuss with my querents a lot. It works on two levels. Firstly, you need to get yourself into a comfortable enough position to forgive those who may have wronged you. Secondly, you need to feel capable of forgiving yourself. In body alignment therapy a strong connection is often drawn between these two aspects of forgiveness and it is often said that forgiving others is not something you do for them but for you - so that you can move on. It can be exceptionally difficult to forgive. You need to be strong enough to do it and you won't be able to do it until you've allowed the supressed anger to surface. Only once anger has had its moment in the sun will it begin to fade into the shadows.

Meditating and visualising using the Tarot for inspiration and guidance can be a useful tool in the fight to reclaim your heart and mind. If you need advice on using the cards effectively, please email me. If you feel you need a reading to address the issues I've raised in this post, the following options might be of use to you. If you're unable to purchase a reading, use the outlines I've written in the product descriptions to perhaps design your own reading to promote inner calm and clarity.