Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Ambivalence at Ostara: Dancing Between Darkness and Light

This morning, I noticed that the DC Park Service has pushed past the expected peak time for our cherry blossoms to April 3rd or so - March has been colder than usual, and we expect it will continue to be cold and grey for most of the rest of the month.  Spring is struggling to arrive this year - but in spite of Winter's lingering hold, little by little the season is turning... each warmish day is a little warmer, each chilly day a little less chilly.

Astronomically, Spring (the Vernal Equinox) begins Wednesday, Mar. 20th at 7:02 am EDT.  To celebrate the day, a group of bloggers who enjoy Tarot are coming together for a Blog Hop - all posting on themes of ambivalence at this time when dark and light, warmth and cold are balanced.

This spread was one I came up with to explore a situation regarding a volunteer position I hold that has been causing me some concern and stress, but is one that I also find rewarding and important - in a word, something that causes me some ambivalence!  We are having a meeting to discuss a conflict that has created some combative feelings in a few days, so I'd like a little guidance before then.

Here's how the spread looks:

Lynda's Ambivalence Spread

           2/3          1/10        6/7

1. What is the situation causing you ambivalence?
2/3.  What aspects of this situation are fading into the past?
4/5.  What aspects of this situation are beyond your control or understanding?
6/7.  What aspects of this situation are increasing in importance in the future?
8/9.  What aspects of this situation are within your control to deal with?
10.   What focus will help release your ambivalence?

To further examine the idea of light and dark and balance, I'm reading each card in both a positive and negative light.

I decided to pull out a deck I haven't used very often, because its imagery reminds me of this wet Spring we're having - the Paulina Tarot.  Here, then, is my  reading - I found it to be very helpful in examining a situation that's been causing me some grief:

What is the situation causing you ambivalence?
The Hierophant 
The Hierophant in this case is the keeper of stories - the one who has been around for a very long time and knows the history of the organization.  In the situation I'm thinking of, there are some disputes and ill-feelings regarding some long term investments that have been made in the distant past in order to provide some financial stability for the organization's future.  I am very much a newcomer here, tasked with communicating desires, but I am well aware that what I know is entirely dependent on the willingness and ability of those who have been there a long time to pass on what they know in a way that supports our organization and not simply slants the tales to suit their position.  My biggest ambivalence in my role as liaison is that I am not sure, when faced with competing stories from those who are 'in the know', which is the most objective version.  I am very mindful about wanting to be a force for ending conflict, not accidentally exacerbating it.  Additionally, this card highlights that part of what's at play here is people operating according to 'this is how we've always done it' and being less than totally willing to consider new ideas, and some strong - and competing views - on what is the 'right' thing to do, so people are feeling self-righteous and also upset that it seems their opinions are being regarded as morally suspect rather than just a difference of opinion.

What aspects of this situation are fading into the past?
The High Priestess 
I think the High Priestess does not reflect a person, so much as the committee itself as the keeper of these 'big picture' investments and a lot of details that most of our organization doesn't understand, nor really wants to understand because the details aren't particularly exciting.  The committee is sometimes seen as a barrier - blocking the spending of funds, and  this is mainly due to a misunderstanding about how the invested money can be used according to the bylaws.  But because people don't really realize how it works, they think the committee is deliberately keeping them from that understanding and blocking access rather than protecting it from actions taken in ignorance.  I would like to see this idea of the committee as acting in the role of secret-keeper and thwarter done away with, but I do think it is very important that they maintain a layer of protection for and from those who haven't spent the time becoming informed first.  If that goes away, I am afraid several years and a lot of donations of time and treasure will be wasted, at the expense of our future financial security.

The Emperor 
The Emperor is tasked with maintaining order in this situation and this aptly describes one of the people involved - he's done an incredible job leading and managing the investments and feels a solid sense of responsibility for them.  At the same time, he is often seen (possibly unfairly, in my opinion - but again, I think I have been absent for a lot of the history that is feeding this conflict) as authoritarian, and not being willing to give up any decision making authority to those with different views than his.  If this is an aspect that is fading into the past, I strongly hope it is that view of his role, and not his willingness to continue to work on that committee.  It may require him to give a little on his position so  that people see him as working with them rather than over them.

What aspects of this situation are beyond your control or understanding?

5 of Pentacles
there is a sense of 'not enough' pervading our organization right now - a lot of hard choices had to be made due to lack of funds and everyone's feeling pinched and, I think, a little abandoned because they know this long-term money is  there and that it would - at least for a short while - solve the shortfalls we've experienced.  This card also suggests that by coming together, even those "out in the cold" can warm themselves by hanging onto each other.  But I do not know how to engineer this sense of co-operation in difficult times, and with this in  this position, I think perhaps this isn't what I should focus on trying to do.  People feel neglected and deprived, and it's not up to me to convince them otherwise.... these are fair emotions to have.

Page of Swords

The expression on this Page's face looks so combative.  As a Page, he's a student of information.... doesn't know all he ought to yet, but he seems to be looking for a fight.  This is also out of my control - some people involved aren't going to be satisfied with any answer they get, because they are looking mainly for reasons to feel angry.  And this is also something I can't control - while I can make an effort to communicate between committees, I cannot make everyone happy, and I shouldn't waste words trying to do so.  There is a lot of anger coming from several quarters, and perhaps what's most needed is that they be able to express it and get it out, instead of the way it's been brewing and festering (possibly for years and for reasons  that have nothing to do with this particular situation).

What aspects of this situation are increasing in importance in the future?

Ace of Pentacles
Some new material ideas are in the air - perhaps as a result of having this out, some of those who have felt mystified and left out of the investment decision making will take the opportunity to actually participate and donate instead of resent what others are doing?  At the very least, it's an opportunity to understand better why certain things are done the way they're done.  At it's best, from my perspective, this would indicate everyone getting back to regarding this as being about money and investments, and not using it as a platform for every personal dissatisfaction they have with others.  At its worst, this could indicate that this week's meeting is just the beginning, and we have a lot of conflict over this still to come.  But, even in that, there is opportunity for eventual growth and resolution, so I am taking this as a positive (if challenging) sign.  This problem was long in making - it will be long in fixing, I think.

9 of Swords
Coupled with that, the anxiety of the 9 of Swords seems to suggest that this isn't going to resolve itself easily.  This is in  the realm of ideas - fears, anxieties, nightmarish 'what-if' scenarios, and these worries are likely to drive people's perceptions and decisions.  Understanding that high emotion is being driven by fear is probably a good thing for me to keep in mind, and in this position, it's likely to get worse before it gets better.  I think I need to keep in mind  that this also includes my own anxiety and stress over this, and to take time to take a deep breath before speaking out of  worry and upset myself.

What aspects of this situation are within your control to deal with?

6 of Swords 
While this woman doesn't appear to be exactly happy, and seems to be a bit mired in place, with her swords about her, she is releasing a small bird which is singing a song of love.  One thing within my control is to operate from a place of compassion - the advantage of not having personal experience with all the history that feeds into this conflict is that I also am not burdened with that baggage - so I can be the voice that assures everyone  that they are worth hearing, and that this can get better.  Not to force it along, just to provide a little hope for improvement.  The downside is that while it is within my control to speak to better days, I can't hurry anyone through this process - the speed is slow, and I have to move at their pace.

2 of Pentacles

This card made me laugh - this perfectly describes how it feels to liaison between squabbling factions - juggling both perspectives while standing on one foot on the back of a galloping unicorn splashing along the shoreline.  I really, really don't want to drop the balls, or lose my footing or get hurt in the cross fire, but sometimes the whole thing seems ridiculously and needlessly complicated.  I like the assurance here that I can do this, as well as the reminder that the best way to get through it is to take it seriously but lightly, and that inserting a bit of humor into things make help others do the same.

10.   What focus will help release your ambivalence?
King of Pentacles
This King is riding a goose - feet on the ground, but able  to take flight,and looks quite comfortable, too.  As far as this situation goes, I would be best served keeping my focus on whatever bests keeps our investments stable and well-maintained, and not let conflict and wanting to make everyone happy distract me from that ultimate goal.  The happiness this card illustrates will follow as a result of keeping that purpose in mind - that all of this is about how to best preserve the future stability of our organization, and to remember that everyone involvd has a sincere stake in seeing to it  that that happens.

Final Thoughts - this is all combative mental energy and practical money matters - while the situation is greatly impacting relationships and raising emotions, and is a battle of wills, neither cups nor wands are involved.  This isn't ABOUT feelings, or ego - it's about conflicting ideas over how best to develop and use our material resources.  While I do think there are some grudges at play, that is something for those people to  work out on their own time.

Finally, the Major Arcana cards all occur to describe the overall situation and  those things that are fading - I take this as an indication that the larger concerns may be coming to an end, and everyone can work on the actual mundane details so this isn't sucking up so much energy for all concerned.  It might be wise not to attach more importance to the conflict than it warrants - it comes from a place of 'who are we as a group' but working out the actual details needn't define or destroy us.  It's new to me but they've been doing this - and surviving it - for a long time.

To travel the Bloghop, you can go back to Cloe @TABItarot or onward to Ania M, and Gleamings from the Golden Dawn has the Master List of everyone participating.  Happy Ostara!


  1. Like how the spread is read in pairs! thank you!

    Ali x

  2. Excellent spread. I like the layering you did.

  3. Interesting spread, thanks for sharing it. I liked seeing how you used it in practice, reading each card as both dark and light, and your final thoughts and overview were clear and helpful. Hope the situation has resolved somewhat by this time :)