I sat down with it and decided that for the inaugural reading I would ask: "What message do I need to hear in this moment?" I shuffled, and cut, and I drew one of the four "Dreamer" cards which represent the self, or soul of the reader.
Then I turned it over to read the wisdom, consisting of a keyword and an excerpt from the "dat Black Mermaid Man Lady" production. It was: Deep Emotions.
Gah. Yep. I was feeling a lot of things at that moment. In fact, I'd had a pretty decent day until I received a series of emails in the early afternoon regarding a few (more) difficult meetings that I will be mediating next week. My heart immediately sunk deep down into my gut and made a nice little nest there. Why this reaction? I mediate well. The meetings won't necessarily be anything out of the ordinary for their type. Why was I feeling so...blue....about it?
I decided to ask the Tarot of the Cat People to help me identify the source of these deep emotions. I pulled two cards - the Ace of Swords, and the Hanged Man.
The Ace of Swords, the truth. Fairness and clear speech. This man is ready for battle, though his face is calm. The truth hurts. I'm not afraid to speak it. I use my words well. Like this warrior I'm not afraid to meet conflict when necessary. In mediation it's quite interesting to listen to the parties speak, to parse out the grains of truth, the utterances, the perceptions, the thoughts that illuminate the heart of the matter; they are little swords of their own that help me to cut away the excess fibers and fog that build up around and between two people when they are at odds and don't know how to communicate their experiences to each other.
Why would this make me sad, why would it evoke such a deep emotional response within me?
I thought... the truth does hurt. Just because I am not afraid of it doesn't mean that the edges aren't sharp. I am empathic by nature, absorbing the hurts and joys alike of others. I believe that this is, in part, what makes me effective in mediation, but as able as I am to help others navigate the hazy straits of conflict when called to my duty, it has an impact on me. I have always been a peacemaker, I have always supported harmony. Conflict has always been difficult for me to process and integrate. I like to be alone, in fact, as a general rule (not counting my family, of course). And here I am in a position that requires so much communication, that stretches my diplomatic nature to its limits at times, that pulls and pushes on my desires to be free of all of these ties that come with this responsibility that I have: to navigate a group, a department full of unique souls, through waves that can be choppy at times - that can threaten to toss some people overboard every once in a while. I mediate as part of my work, and while it can be extremely rewarding, it can also, if I'm truthful, be really hard sometimes.
So, today it is hard. Today, I'm not in the mood - I want to push it away, off my plate, I want to fast-forward to September. I want it to be over already. Yes, I will have to do this thing that I'd rather not do, but I owe it to myself to at least acknowledge that it feels uncomfortable today.
The Hanged Man is Odin singing in my ear that there is no sacrifice without wisdom on the other end; that pain is instructive; in fact, sometimes it's the only way. What challenges us makes us stronger, opens the way for personal growth to blossom forth (particularly when accompanied by a healthy dose of self-reflection). There is ultimately great good in doing the hard thing (and in remembering to take care of ourselves in the process).