Monday, September 18, 2017

Vision Seeker: Orientation & Guide Card (Day 1)

I'm a sucker for a challenge. After purchasing my Spirit Cats deck from Nicole Piar, I signed up for her Vision Seeker Journey. I finally had the time to work through the 13-day workshop, and I even have a few friends studying alongside me! Today is an "orientation" day, and so the sole task is to select our guide card for the journey. Any deck could be used to complete the study, so I chose my Shadowscapes since that's the one I need to build my relationship with the most.

The vision seeker guide didn't specify if the card is to be randomly selected or chosen. At first I was gung-ho to randomly choose a card. I always get such great guide cards when I do it that way. Then I realized I don't trust my Shadowscapes deck not to give me a "stupid" card that I won't like. Because, yes, I can be totally childish about whether or not I get a cool card. See what I mean? The worst comes out of me when I use my Shadowscapes.

I went ahead and shuffled and drew anyway. Suck it up, buttercup. I got the Eight of Swords, and no I didn't like it. I wanted the Death card. It's got a cool phoenix on it that has a woman on its breast. In fact, I plan to have that card tattooed on me one day. I thought about pretending the eight of swords never happened. You guys wouldn't know, but I'm too damn honest. Plus, I think the eight of swords was chosen to guide me through the next set of issues I need to address.

Stephanie Law's art depicts a beautiful swan caught in the nasty brambles of an evil crone. Above, a tiny hummingbird, swathed in light, attempts to guide the swan free. If the swan cannot learn to gently free itself from its binds, it will join the many who have died there before it. The more the swan struggles, the more it gets stuck.

The amount of artistic detail on the card, and on many others in the deck, can be a bit overwhelming. Often to the point that I get stuck and fall back on traditional meanings rather than engaging. The Shadowscapes, when you look deeply enough, finds a way to address each cards meaning in some incredibly unique ways, and when you let yourself get engulfed in it, can allow some striking insights.

Mine was to understand why I don't like the 8 of Swords. I hate the card because in the traditional imagery, the girl could walk away at any time. There's no immediate threat to her. So Law's version baffles me because there is threat of harm. So the understanding I've come to have of a card I don't care for suddenly makes less sense by actually making sense. I'm sure that makes no sense, so let me explain.

The eight of swords is about victim mentality. I hate the card in the first place because it implies that freeing yourself is as simple as walking away. It's not. If it were that easy, who in their right mind would want to stay there? On Law's version, the swan is surrounded by the skulls of those who failed to free themselves before. And here's the kicker, the brambles and the lure into the brambles is the doings of that horrible crone. Traditionally, it's your own fault for being there, which bothers me immensely. In most cases the binding, cutting, deeply hurtful thoughts that keep you trapped didn't just come from nowhere. In the case of a deep clinical depression, perhaps, but most of the time the swords are the assholes around you.

So if the traditional meaning bothers me so much, why does Law's version still bother me? Because despite the fact that she's kindly removed the blame, she hasn't removed the responsibility. In fact, there's more responsibility. The swan even has a sweet lil' hummingbird risking itself to help guide the swan out. There's no excuse for the swan to not escape.

But here's the thing, no matter how calm and carefully the swan navigates those brambles with the hummingbird's help, the swan will still be covered in scratches. Escape is going to hurt more than laying still and allowing death the come slowly and quietly. The choice is there to go free, but it's a painful choice with no guarantee of success.

Yet again, the Shadowscapes deck has forced me to face an aspect of myself that makes me uncomfortable. It's really good at doing that, no matter how hard I try to escape it. And so my guide is a card all about working my way free from the things that bind me to hopefully be set painfully free by the end of my journey.


Post a Comment