Lamplighter Tarot Challenge Exercise #2

[Note: I rewrote this somewhat extensively compared to the original post on Instagram. Over the intervening days, I’ve given these cards and information additional thought. This is reflected in the revision published below.]

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Prudence, Gain, and Wealth are the focus of the second exercise from the Lamp Lighter Challenge hosted by Hermit’s Mirror. The three decanic minors for Virgo in the Osho Zen Tarot are Ordinariness (Eight of Pentacles), Ripeness (Nine of Pentacles), and We Are the World (Ten of Pentacles).

When I do these challenges, I cleanse the deck beforehand and turn the cards right way up. That way, if there are reversals that pop up, I know it’s from fresh energy on the deck. In light of seeing that all the response cards are showing up reversed or mirrored to the focus cards drives home to me the point that these answers are within the context of what’s going on inside of me.

  1. Prudence/Ordinariness: Where would I benefit from greater diligence and care? Courage — “When we are faced with a very difficult situation we have a choice: we can either be resentful … or we can face the challenge and grow. The flower shows us the way, as its passion for life leads it out of darkness and into the light. Be courageous enough to grow into the flower you are meant to be. The seed cannot know what is going to happen, the seed has never known the flower. And the seed cannot even believe that he has the potentiality to become a beautiful flower … a dream possesses the seed and the seed moves.” [Hi Leo! When I get stressed or exhausted (by work and family), I tend to retreat into my own space. When depression or grief is the aggravating factor, this goes up a few notches and I find it hard to get out of bed. I just want to stay there and hide and sleep instead of being active and writing. Even if I didn’t have the financial and fiduciary responsibilities that come with handling my family situation, I would still have to guard my energy and recharge because of my empathic nature. For many years, I refused to admit to myself or anyone that fear of failing stopped me from trying a lot of things, whether it was competitive video gaming (Nerd Alert), going up for certain types of jobs, or even certain hobbies. I used to have this thing where if it required an exam or some kind of demonstration of ability and I knew I could ace that then that was “enough for me”. Deep down I was really afraid that all I could do was pass the audition, but wouldn’t be able to keep up once in — that people would realize I didn’t know what I was doing even if I did know. It’s like Spanish. I’ve studied Spanish for six years, probably very dedicated and focused for the last three. I watch Spanish news, shows, and films. I read Spanish news and books. While I am, by no means, fluent. I could probably say to a potential employer that I know the basics. I don’t though because I’m afraid that when they try to speak to me in Spanish, I won’t be able to understand or respond. Same reason why I don’t communicate in Spanish even though this slows me down from advancing. I’m afraid I’ll try to talk to somebody and I’ll realize after six years I really don’t know anything. I don’t have a college education, but I come from a family that has always pushed for it. Most people in my family have degrees and this has been a source of many heated (and hurtful) conversations. I know I’m a good writer. I know that what it takes for me to be in the business field that I’m in — I have it in spades and I’m fucking brilliant at my job. Outside of those two things, I think I’m somewhere slightly above incompetent and delusional. Having really thought about it since pulling these cards, being afraid of negative feedback from family once I’m published and also that the public won’t connect with the content is what feeds my avoidance these days in finishing writing projects. The idea of reviews and critics being full of how awful and incoherent and verbose my writing is terrifies me. That means the one big thing that I connect my value to is shit. As I write this, I’m coming to grips with the realization that writing is the only thing my self-esteem is connected to. That and maybe my job. If I fail at writing, I won’t be worth anything. The thing that makes me special or talented or worth people’s time will be taken away. While it is very important for me to push through sadness and stress in my daily life that pulls be away from my writing and back to bed, it’s fundamental that I learn how to push past the fear of not actually being a good writer and figure out how build a strong foundation for my self esteem independent of working and earning money. I need to commit to push through like a seed pushing through its own shell.]
  2. Gain/Ripeness: Which of my talents could help me achieve comfortable independence? Existence — “She knows that ‘home’ is not a physical place in the outside world, but an inner quality of relaxation and acceptance. Now is the time to look at whether you are allowing yourself to receive the extraordinary gift of feeling ‘at home’ wherever you are.” [Looking back at my young Gemini self, I was so in that mutable Gemini groove in my teens and twenties. If only I had continued my path back then to fully understand the energy I was tapping into and also projected outward. So many opportunities, so much money. Dreaming, manifesting. And I didn’t even realize that that head-space was golden. I was quite literally traversing the state every few weeks for work and family and I didn’t mind it all that much. I enjoyed it for quite a while really. Of course, the five hour car ride alone with just my favorite music helped me to recharge and daydream. Man, I wrote so much back then. My social media was growing and interactivity was so high. In addition to writing dozens of pages multiple times a week, I was posting every other day on my original blog, going out every weekend for photography projects, had a boyfriend, ran a business, constant motion. Very extreme one might say. Was I running from my relationship problems (in one place) and then running from my family problems (in the other) like a ping pong ball? There’s truth in that assessment, most definitely. And then things started to fall apart and my movement became more and more restricted. The travelling stopped. The money stopped. For a lot of years, I lived in a highly restrictive (emotionally and physically) environment with little to no movement. This is when I stopped dreaming. Most of the time I was so exhaust that when I dreamed it was deep and for long period (usually following even longer periods of being awake). I thought I was going to suffocate. This change in lifestyle brought with it anxiety, which I still have to deal with. My life was up-ended again just a couple of years ago and now I’m suddenly unrestricted. And untethered. Returning to my path, I am working to break through this encasement of conditioning. I have a car. I have the ability to go for drives and photograph nature. I can buy food I like and cook meals that are healthy and enjoyable. I can be Airy again. It’s a matter of relearning how. There’s an element of improvisation and unbotheredness in a Gemini when she is in her Gemini Groove that I miss. The talent of harnessing the positive qualities of my mutable nature and focusing that energy to make things happen even when things around me aren’t ideal is what I need to tap into again to be successful. I must be able to write even during a storm — to step away from that over there, get centered here, and do what I need to do. To achieve an independent life, I can’t depend on how supportive or nurturing my environment should be compared to what it really is.]
  3. Wealth/We Are the World: In what area can I create a lasting legacy? Healing — “When we are under the healing influence of the King of Water we are no longer hiding from ourselves or others. In this attitude of openness and acceptance we can be healed and help others also to be healthy and whole.” [It has been books that have taught me some big life skills about relationships and my inner self. There have been a few that have absolutely changed my life. At my core, I’m a very solitary person who is incredibly selective about my inner circle. Books taught me a lot about relationships and how other people process things. Yes, I have entertaining characters and stories to share. But they also have guidance in them. They have messages in them that I wish someone had passed on to me earlier in life. I want my writing to help people, to reach them, to heal them. People who read my writing know these characters. They know them because they are in their lives just like they are in mine. We, ourselves, are these characters. My hope is that people will read these adventures and not just feel their empathy for others grow, but feel it grow for themselves also. Forgiveness as well. It’s okay to not be perfect. It’s okay to not always know what to do. It’s okay to not get it right the first time. Just because you fuck up or you made a bad call doesn’t make you unlovable.

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It’s interesting. When I know I’m capable of doing something and somebody tells me I can’t — something that isn’t a ‘dream’ goal, but rather an every day task — I get really defiant. If they tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about or not experienced enough, I become rather aggressive about it. Maybe I’ll go around them or cut them out of the equation entirely and then complete job as an added ‘Fuck you!’. Sometimes it’s as simple as outmaneuvering them in the debate about facts or technical information. God help someone who tells me I don’t know what I’m talking about when I really do. Death by a thousand cuts.

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Why is it that I tolerate this dialogue from myself then? Why does the thought of my writing being judged negatively dampen my spirit rather than trigger that flame of defiance? Why do I only convert or transmute the discouraging comments of strangers or acquaintances into fuel for that drive to succeed and not those of friends and family? It must be rooted in the value I have for each person’s opinion of me. That’s not it because then I’d never be able to confront friends and family, which is inaccurate. Maybe writing is just too important and valuable to me, to deeply integrated into my self esteem and sense of self that I guard that skill set without exception.

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How would mutable air fix how I react to criticism? How would mutable earth react in the hypothetical circumstance of realizing my dream to be a successful published author?

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Flow.

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