Sunday, 4 September 2011

The Sword of Damocles

For this second daily draw with the über-modern Tarot of the Silicon Dawn (Lo Scarabeo 2011) by Egypt Urnash, we have the ever-cheerful 10 of Swords.

This image reminds me of the story of Damocles, a courtier who said to the King how great it must be to have so much.  The King sat Damocles on his throne, but not before hanging a sword above it by a single horsehair.  The point being that great power and wealth brings great dangers.  For those lesser mortals who aren't Kings or CEO's, there's still a message here about what it's like to live in a precarious situation - something which many can understand, I'm sure.  Whether it be the risk of losing our jobs, our homes, or a health question that keeps us on tenterhooks, that feeling of not being able to just relax is a sadly common one these days.

In the book, Margaret Trauth (pen-name Egypt Urnash) says that if the woman just stood up she would avoid the peril.  Still, I see it somewhat differently.  I notice that the other swords are pinning her dress down.  If she tried to stand up, it would be difficult.  And she might rip her dress, or have to take it off.  That feels very exposing.  That, along with the notion of swords as communication or ideas, suggests being taunted and publicly humiliated.  It feels a bit "damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't."  Feeling stupid or embarrassed, though, is actually a choice - it's all about our own mindset.  If we are willing to admit to our weaknesses and mistakes, they cannot be held against us.

Another thing I notice is that she looks as though she's crying, and there's a message tossed to one side.  However, blood rather than tears drip between her fingers.  Going with the old classics, it feels like she might prefer to gouge her own eyes out than see the message that she is faced with.  She might then be hiding behind the ideas represented by those swords, pinned down by her own unwillingness to face the finality of the sword above falling - unwilling to accept the message though it cannot truly be denied.  If the Ace of Swords is sometimes seen as the pursuit of truth, this card looks like fleeing from a truth which feels too painful to handle.

Is there something I'm trying not to see?  Hmm, maybe.  And if I were willing to accept that truth, rather than deny and hide from it, would that actually set me free?  Perhaps...

The truth is I hate the situation I find myself in because of my son's health issues: the not knowing what will happen in the future and how we will deal with it; the comparing him to other children and feeling the bitter bite of envy.  And sometimes that means I hate him, as the cause of such heartache and anguish.  Don't get me wrong, I also love him enormously.  If I didn't love him it wouldn't hurt so much to see him in pain, to worry about his future, to know he may never be able to experience many of the things that make life worth living.  Such a double-edged sword, this love!

And I realised a couple of days ago that I can't even get in contact with my anger about it - I just deflect it into tears, or into being angry at people who don't really deserve it.  Angry at people who don't stop for me at zebra crossings, or who block the pavement inconsiderately, or at my Dear One or my therapist, or the person who serves me at the deli, angry at myself for any silly mistake I make, and angry at parents who don't seem to appreciate the beautiful children they have.  Because being angry at my son would feel so wrong - none of this is his fault - and yet the anger is there.  Anger at the doctors, anger at the Universe, anger at having to deal with this all the time, with medical equipment and medicines and a routine that needs something to be done for him almost every hour of the day and night.  Anger at my sore back from lifting him and adopting awkward positions as I help him try to walk, anger that I have to consider myself "lucky" he can even make the attempt to walk, anger that he may never be able to call me "Mummy".

I'm still not quite sure what to do with all that anger, how to channel it into something productive, or transform it into acceptance and compassion.  I just hope that acknowledging it will be the first step...

I am grateful to be able to acknowledge my anger at the situation I am in.


  1. Wow, thank you for this heartfelt post Chloe. Your gratitude seems right on...and so much what I think this Ten of Swords thing is about. To me it's about acknowledging the hardship we feel and, where possible, using this as a springboard to move ourselves onwards and upwards.
    This is such an interesting deck too! There are some cards in it that I absolutely love...and others that I think are just awful! How are you finding it for reading?

  2. Admitting to anger is a great step forward. (((hugs to all three of you))

  3. Hi Little Red,

    Thanks for your support - I was a bit nervous about posting this, but as you say, it was heartfelt. I like your take on the 10 of Swords.

    As for this deck, I'm enjoying the readings I'm doing with it. It can be quite challenging, and a bit bizarre, but I kind of like that of-the-wall characteristic.

    Hi Sharyn,

    Thanks, I hope admitting the anger will help. And many thanks for the ((hugs)) - always welcome :)

  4. This is one of those things I can't even comment on. It's just so raw and anguished and real. Even though I have a daughter with health issues I cannot comment. I just can't. Your pain is your pain and it's intense and real. Although I can relate to some of what you write, I cannot relate to all of it. I guess that is how life is.

    I just want you to know I really admire and enjoy you so much. I know that cannot change what you're enduring and everything you must do. I'm just glad that I get to visit you here on the internet and share the pain of worrying about our children, even though I am definitely much whinier than you are and I probably have less reason to be.

    Giving you huge hugs,

  5. Dear MM,

    Please don't put yourself or your pain down. I don't think you are whiny at all! And you have every right to express your worries and concerns, they are very real.

    I have a sense that, as with the range of our hearing, there is a limited range of what we can feel. In the sense that if with hearing there's a range of potential sound from 1-100, and we humans can only hear 10 different bits, but some humans can hear an extra half either end. Still, the similarity in what we can all hear is far greater than the difference. I think it's a bit the same with emotions. Whatever we experience, our emotional range is only so big to encompass it. Some of the variation will be to do with the individual, rather than just the situation. So, if you are a sensitive person then you may have the extra 1% of feeling compared to most people. But there's only so much love or pain or anger we can feel, that's just how we're built. And therefore my pain and your pain are going to be pretty similar.

    Don't know if that makes much sense, but what I'm trying to say is that I don't think we can play at "my pain is worse than your pain". It's all pain, and we each feel it the way we feel it, and deal with it the best we can.

    Huge hugs right back atcha!

  6. That is an interesting point.

    I have no way of confirming or denying that theory but it makes sense in a lot of ways. For one thing, isn't every experience relative? And is it even possible to know how much pain someone else is in?

    I have no idea...which is why I never feel equipped to judge anyone else's situation (well, most of the time!)

    I know for me a lot of what is stressful about Pele's health situation is how tiring and ongoing it is. years and years of bad sleep, neurological issues and mood problems, and the side effects. I mean yes, the seizures themselves were scary and the fear of not knowing if things will get worse is really scary--but what really DOES ME IN is the drudgery. The constant nature of the problematic aspects of things, which either take forever to improve or don't improve. I'm sure you know what I mean by that.

    So yes, I guess sleep deprivation (and for me feeling held back) is also a big part of why it is hard, but I guess seeing your child suffer or not progress is also hard. Perhaps harder. At this moment I can't really decide.

    But I do know that I would like to have a better attitude about things most of the time. That's something I'm working on. I want to celebrate whatever is happening that is good, and there are good things happening.

    Thanks for the thoughtful comment and interesting theory. :D


  7. Hi MM,

    Yes, I totally agree that the drudgery, the every-day-is-a-struggle aspect of it is really draining. I sometimes feel if I could just get a couple of good night's sleep, I could deal better with everything. Certainly, I'm less teary when I sleep a bit more :)