Friday, March 1, 2013

Scary Cards, Part 2- The Minor Arcana

Moving on to the  Minor Arcana, we find a few more negative cards, and as with the Major Arcana, often the question here is how to change the things we encounter, and in what context they occur. Often it's simply a question of finding what stands in the way, and what needs to change or give in order to relieve the negative aspects of the situation. Remember that though there are temporary troubles, the deciding factor is how those troubles are handled, and what we make of the changes in our lives.
The first card that often has negative context is the Three of Swords- the "heartbreak" card. Looking at the common imagery, here from the Rider Waite deck, the image is of a heart, here an indication of the emotional center of our being, is run through with three swords.
In the background, storm clouds and rain seem to add to the idea of gloom and heartache. But examining this card, there is a positive aspect as well. At least it's a development from the 2 of Swords, which is often marked by uncertainty and vacillation. Here, things have run their course, perhaps for the worse. But nonetheless, the positive aspect of this card is that now is  the time to move forwards- the heart (so to speak) here has been emptied out, and all the things we were holding onto can now drain out. This card can mean heartache, but in that also is a chance to let go of the things that have been long inside us. This card can be a message- don't make it worse by holding on to the heartache as well, and letting it compound and build. This card falls in the suit of Swords- this indicates intellect and thought, and also reason. The card tells us, though you're hurting at present, take a step back. Don't let emotions overwhelm you, but rather think it through, even in the face of trouble.
Continuing with the suit of Swords, let's next examine the Ten of Swords. This one too has a theme of  getting stabbed with something, as does the Three. The most common image is that of a person lying prone, their body pierced with swords. We can assume not only is this person dead, they are undoubtedly dead. This is kind of a grim image, and a seemingly hopeless one. So what comes next? This card has a definite sense of finality about it, with little room for doubt. But the Ten tells us that even from this, a new beginning can come.
Think of this card as saying "Well, that's that. Now what comes next?" Perhaps more than any other card, this is about endings. Again, the suit of Swords tells us that this end has not been gained easily- everything you could think to do has been done, and every aspect of the situation has been thought out- and it just didn't work out. In some ways resembling the Three of Swords, this card is not so much about abandoning as it is having nothing else left to try. Once in a while, we have to simply let go and start over, and the good news is, once we do that, things can only improve. You might well need to hit the bottom before bouncing back up- but that momentum can indeed carry you back upwards.
Moving on to the suit of Cups, another negative card, though one perhaps with a more apparent message of hope, is the Five of Cups. Using the Rider-Waite imagery again, we see a figure seemingly absorbed in his own thoughts and missing something important.
Here is a message of loss, but with that, not a complete loss. Again, we see that there seems to be a question of perspective- the figure in the card is so occupied with the three spilled cups that he seems unaware of the other two that remain. The suit of Cups is tied to emotion, and emotion can be a volatile aspect of the self. Sometimes irrational and sometimes overwhelming, emotions can sometimes mean lack of perspective, and this seems to be a theme throughout the negative cards. The message here is again, take a step back and assess the situation- what did you lose, what do you still have, and what can you do with this present situation? Often it's not as bad as you might think. One thing that struck me about the card is that the figure is solitary and alone. Perhaps he is so wrapped up in himself (pun kind of intended, look at the cloak) that he doesn't see what might be obvious to someone else.
Next is a similar message, in a different suit. The Five of Pentacles is a message not of loss and hardship as it is overlooking something. In this card from Egypt Urnash, we see a figure out in the cold, in a manner of  speaking. She seems distressed, and the Five traditionally means hardship and trouble, and this card takes an interesting turn on things, showing that all is not well apart from the protagonist of this card. Two people are arguing in the background, and it seems the woman would like nothing better than to simply get away.
The message here is that again, these things can seem overwhelming, especially in this suit, often related to things like health, home and finances. Again, these things can seem overwhelming, but as before, there's a call for perspective and insight. Another interpretation of this card is often missed resources and missed assets. The two people in the Rider-Waite version of this card seem to be missing the lighted window behind them-
Again, we see that these two are so wrapped up in their own troubles that they don't see a potential source of help. Someone has their lights on, and might welcome them in out of the cold, if only they would ask!
So throughout the negative cards of the Minor Arcana, we see that there is a consistent message of needing perspective- it's easy to get caught up in negative thought patterns, negative emotions, or even negative patterns of behavior. Often the cards can indicate something needing to be released or changed, and it's often the easiest thing to overlook. It's important to remember also that the ultimate force for change in our own lives is us.

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