It's somehow ironic that, being the wrangler for this particular hop (which entails choosing the theme), I would experience writer's block, but that's just what happened between Beltane and Litha. I knew I wanted the focus to be "joy" because we spend so much time focused on what we can improve, or what needs tweaking, and not nearly enough time really basking in the glory of the joy that threads through our lives (at least that's how it often seems!). I'm a joy-person (not THE Joy Person - that's Arwen Lynch Poe!) and this is Litha, The Sun Celebration, so it all seemed very fitting!
|New Orleans Voodoo Tarot|
The divine light and joy within us!
So writer's block had me down, and then I found myself at the public library one evening with the three Joys of my life - my children! As the little ones were climbing and arguing their way through the aisles with me, I happened across the Tarot for Life book by Paul Quinn, which I'd never seen before - neither at the library nor any other place that sells or rents books - (and after looking at its positive reviews on Amazon I realize I'm a late-comer to that game, and that it's completely crazy that I'm so in-the-dark) so I snatched it off the shelf. After settling the kids in the children's section with books and blocks and crayons, I myself settled down to give the book a cursory sifting. It took about 1.3 seconds for me to realize I'd found a wonderful source of Tarot wisdom, and one of the aspects of the book that most attracted me was that it covered the "shadow" aspect of cards in addition to the upright and reversed meanings. It's actually brilliant, and it resonated with my own reading experience quite potently. I've written before about cards in readings, where their upright orientation belies their true essence, and though I hadn't given it a title before, "shadow" aspects were indeed what I was encountering.
Did it mean that joy or success were difficult for me to achieve, or that I'd spend my life always working on improving those things? Not really…..
Was it that my natural happiness wasn't accepted by my community (per Jung) leading me to try to diminish my own capacity for joy? No….
As I was flipping the pages of Tarot for Life things started to fall into place, like pieces of a puzzle. I've always been drawn to happiness like a moth to a flame, in order (perhaps) to create an environment that reflected my inner world. As a result I stayed as far from sadness as I could manage. This wasn't a conscious decision, but a visceral reaction.
I remember that I never liked melancholy music. One important memory I have from childhood is that my older sister would request that my mom sing her the song "Clementine" before she would go to bed. I hated it. I would plug my ears and bury my head in the pillow in order to avoid hearing it. I thought it was such a sad song (a miner lost his daughter when she fell into the sea and drowned!!), and I hated feeling sad. As I grew up that never really changed. I always preferred happy, vibrant music (for the most part - incidentally I've always been a big Blues fan!), I avoided any movies that highlighted pain and suffering (for the most part! - I did actually choose to watch Schindler's List because the Holocaust is something we should never forget). Sorrow was an extremely difficult emotion for me to process.
|Zingdoodle Lenormand by Rootweaver|
Don't get me wrong, I don't - and didn't - see the world through rose-colored glasses, nor did I shy away from difficult truths, or the bittersweetness that sometimes comes from living. Looking back it occurs to me that much of that connects with being empathic, and not knowing how not to absorb others' emotions as my own. It makes sense then that I would have cringed at hearing Clementine - I was brought into the story, and felt the miner's pain, and the terrible sorrow of death (as funny as that may sound, as it's a children's song!). I've always felt a brilliant, joyful light shining from within me, and I wanted to just glow all the time, the full expression of my soul. And since life isn't happiness and light all of the time, my Shadow has truly been learning to face the pain and darkness that shows up from time to time along the way, and coming to understand through experience that while I still prefer being surrounded in positivity (who doesn't?), those painful times in fact provide valuable opportunities to grow, to understand myself (and others) better, and to become, ultimately, a more balanced human being. Additionally, as an empath a vital lesson is also to learn how to be supportive of others while learning how not to internalize their pain.
|Ochun - Joy and Love|
Image by Black Oshun Eternal
So what better time for this light of understanding to hit me than three days prior to the Litha Blog Hop, a time of Sun and Joy, a day of celebrating our fires before the gradual descent into the elongating shadows of Autumn….
To conclude, I want to bring this post back to the simple topic, so I will include a list of what brings me great joy:
-My children (as previously mentioned)
-My husband (I couldn't ask for a more supportive partner)
-Divination (as an extension of my sense of purpose and Will)
-My Joy (because it's simply joyful feeling an abundance of joy, and I'm grateful for it)
-My spiritual practices (with all the surprises, challenges, and stunning, awe-filled moments)
Go forth and be joyful, and build your Litha fires brightly!