Intellect devoid of emotion is somewhat hollow, lacking in a deeper sense of fulfillment. Emotion without any logical thought or direction can be confusing, misleading or distracting to the point of leading you down a dark rabbit hole with no light to see the way out.
One morning a feeling of sadness came up for me, so I chose a tarot card to show me what I needed in order to move forward. I shuffled the deck and pulled the nine of swords, not the most uplifting looking card, but I chose it.
I was compelled to look at The Spiritual Study of the Tarot by Louise Fimlaid, which incorporates kabbalah, numerology and astrology to interpret the tarot cards. According to the book, number nine is pure intelligence and is associated with the Moon and Mercury, which are linked to the ability to comprehend and communicate. The Moon, which represents emotions, shows us that we need to be emotionally driven in order to accomplish. It also represents habits. When we set our mind and emotions on something, we can accomplish anything.
I know personally I can use my strong will to complete tasks, but in order to accomplish bigger goals, there needs to be a stronger connection or desire to reach the goal. Choosing this card reminded me of this important concept: being emotionally and intellectually invested in a goal or outcome brings with it a balance of energies.
Awareness of emotions—sadness, anger, fear, excitement, joy—can be likened to logical thought, as it brings perspective and is a thoughtful observation of what is. Being mired in feelings, especially negative ones, without awareness, we can get lost in the muck without a clear exit ramp. However, we can feel emotions without getting lost. If we feel and neither try to run away from emotions nor get lost in them, we are truly present while keeping perspective.
When the sadness that prompted me to choose the tarot card came over me, I was at a choice point. I could dismiss the feelings (run away) or I could wallow in the feeling (get lost) or I could from my current state of awareness—provided by my personal process, the books I am reading, and my spiritual path—make a new choice. The first choice I made was acceptance. It sounds clear, but there is a distinction between acceptance and wallowing. Wallowing is getting immersed in a feeling. It is not accepting the feeling as it truly is, rather it is to some extent believing that you are that feeling. All perspective is lost and the feeling takes over and runs you rather than you being the center point and having an experience of a feeling. Your power is given away.
With acceptance you still feel, instead of running away, but you keep perspective and you are empowered to experience, feel, assess and choose where to go from there.
You have options:
- You can stay in the feeling and think about what it is trying to tell you,
- choose a tarot card to help you understand where it comes from,
- talk to someone,
- enjoy the catharsis or
- channel the energy into something creative.
Do whatever works for you, to keep a more objective perspective and hold on to who you are in the process. Then you can use the experience to move forward rather than get stuck.
Why Can’t I Use Denial?
Now some of you are thinking, I can move forward by denying my feelings and moving on with life. But denial is also getting stuck in a less obvious way. Stuffing away feelings doesn’t remove them, it packs them away for another day, and you can’t control when they decide to appear unannounced and uninvited. Repressed feelings take your power because they subconsciously run you, meaning they cause you to act and react without your conscious awareness or control. You may get angry, upset or sad in a way that is out of proportion with the situation. You will either not know why you are doing so or you will feel completely justified: “What do you mean I should calm down, that driver is an *******!! They are the one who is driving too slowly! They should have their license revoked!!”
Both emotional extremes, immersion and denial, can lead you astray. We all have encountered these extremes in ourselves and in those around us. And, no doubt, we will experience them again in the future. The key is to recognize it when it occurs. That is the first step. You can’t stop other people from wallowing, denying or reacting, but you can understand them better and bring acceptance to the situation when they cannot. You may not be able to stop yourself from wallowing, denying or reacting, but if you recognize what is occurring, you can keep some perspective even while in denial or wallowing.
As a result of practicing awareness, one day you will be at the choice point, and knowing you are empowered with that choice, you will choose thoughtful acceptance and move forward in a new way.
As the summary for the nine of swords describes: “Our mind (swords) brings us sorrow if we allow it. Understand that difficulties are lessons for growth and development. … Bring the memory forward form the unconscious mind to the conscious mind. Understand what the difficulty is, accept it and let it go. You cannot change the past, only learn from it. Even though the swords are coming from the West, they point East to new beginnings when the sun rises.”
I interpret this as awareness—understanding brought to the conscious mind—followed by acceptance, which allows us to move through feelings or situations in a way that leads to the freedom of letting go and moving forward to new beginnings.
Sarah A. Sporn – The Evolving Intuitive
Acceptance as a Means for Being Present