Today's Draw: Five of Wands from the Rosetta Tarot. Do you see struggle and strife as necessary things? What gifts have these moments given you? What have they taken away?
This card depicts Sekhmet, an Egyptian warrior goddess and goddess of healing, standing with hands clenched. Behind her are a scythe and a phoenix headed wand, then two lotus wands. The phoenix symbolizes renewal through fire and the lotus wands speak of healing through destabilization.
What it comes down to is that sometimes you've just got to go through unpleasantness in order for change and healing to happen. Sucks, but it's true. When I look back through my life and look at the worst stuff that's happened to me, all those moments of conflict, struggle and discord have given me the biggest opportunity for growth and evolution. And—this is the important part—the amount to which I've clenched my fists against the strife or opened myself to experiencing the fullness of it was key to what kind of a net impact those circumstances would have in my life.
From those moments I've become less needy in my relationships. I've become more able to stand in my own sense of accomplishment and capability. I define myself more by what I feel to be true of myself than what others project upon me. I've become less gullible. More honest with myself. Stronger. More forgiving. More compassionate. And, through struggle, I found a set of beliefs that define my character and spirituality, regardless of circumstance.
On the flip side, I would say those same instances have made me less trusting, more jaded, less "available" in the romantic sense, less likely to trust in the American justice system and, while these times may not have built any new walls within me, they certainly didn't do anything to chip away at the ones that were there. And I also have to admit to losing years of progress in one case in particular, due my inability to just let the experience flow. I clenched my fists. I got stuck.
For me, the thing I mourn the most from my own most difficult moments, though, is the loss of innocence. And I mean that in the sense that "ignorance is bliss". Struggle and conflict often begin with the lifting of eyelids...and often end with eyes wide open. You gain a new vision of the world that is less Utopian—and more realistic—than the one you had before. The reality makes you more capable of dealing with the slings and arrows of the world. But the loss of innocence leaves callouses where there was softness before. I'm glad to be who I am today as the result of the struggles in my life. But I'm also sad for the bits of fairy dust that were shed in its wake.
A new chapter of struggle and strife has begun for my family over the past couple of months, as one of my siblings is seriously ill. I have a good idea of what I'm losing in terms of innocence and human loss, but not quite sure of what gifts will come in its wake. My greatest wish is that, once the focus moves from the pain of our loss, the opportunity for healing and growth that this phase brings will be used to its fullest...that everyone involved will approach this new phase of our lives not with clenched fists, but with open arms.