Inspiring Enchantment & Illumination with Tarot & Intuitive Guidance

Tarot Card of the Week – April 18-24, 2011

There is no grief like the grief that does not speak.
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Like a rather unwelcome, but all-too-familiar guest, the Nine of Swords comes calling this week.

Nines are the cards that complete the energies of the suits, and bring the cycle to its conclusion. (Tens are transitional cards of “overflow,” which point towards the renewal or next phase).

And of course, Swords are the suit of the mind, communication, memory, intellect, attitude and perception. So the Swords, so full of difficulty, are completed as lonely sorrow.

The carving on the bed shows some kind of conflict, where one figure is defeated, awaiting the final blow. On the blanket, we see roses – symbol of love and passion – interwoven with the signs of the zodiac, which points to the inclusion of others.

This is also one of the few Tarot cards in the Waite-Smith deck in which the central figure is of uncertain gender – pointing to the universal nature of this situation.

Obviously a card of grief, it may depict the burdens we sometimes feel we must bear alone, and which rise before us in our dark hours. This card often speaks to our suffering on behalf of those we love, not just our own pain or fear.

Perhaps the person shown has had a terrible premonition in her or his dreams. Perhaps s/he feels regret, guilt or doubt concerning a loved one. Or perhaps it is just a deep awareness of loneliness and isolation.

It seems that nearly everyone I have spoken to recently has told me they are having unusual trouble sleeping at night. I have struggled with this myself.

Typically, the problem is not with falling asleep; it’s what one client of mine calls the “3 a.m. Club.” She describes popping wide awake around 3 in the morning, mind racing. From what I can tell, she certainly has plenty of company.  Ranging from simply hyper-busy thoughts to actual anxieties and nameless sorrow, the intensity usually dispels by morning. Only to return the next night.

I believe that those of us who are intuitively open are being impacted deeply by the enormous changes now occurring around us.

For people who are psychically sensitive, how can we not be profoundly aware in our deep consciousness of the massive deaths of over 13,000 men, women and children in Japan (according to the most recent official account)? Who would not feel the ongoing desperation of families who are looking for the more than 14,000 still missing?

Not to mention all the other global pain that is amplifying and echoing all around us. Who with any heart at all can ignore the wars, the environmental destruction, the injustice, greed and lies that are corrupting our political systems, the squeeze of the economy, and on, and on?

You know it. I know it.  No wonder we might be having trouble sleeping.

The Nine of Swords, as unhappy as it is, is an invitation to get real.

If you are sensitive to the cries of the world, the first step is to acknowledge and understand that this is so.  And, despite the fact that it is painful sometimes, realize it is a gift to still feel in a world so seemingly intent on denial and numbness.

Perhaps it is time to name and acknowledge the shadow that haunts you in the night. What troubling news have you received, or perhaps dread to hear? What insistently calls to you in your dreams, though you may wish it would not? What wrong needs to be put right?

The resolution can sometimes be found in taking remedial action (Wands). Shifting our focus to our blessings can bring hopefulness and healing (Pentacles). Or it may be that we simply need to allow ourselves to feel and accept what we are going through (Cups), rather than hiding behind our daytime game face.  In so doing, we may well discover we are not as alone in our silent suffering as we thought.

There is great love behind this disturbing image – and therefore, there is hope. When worry troubles us, when loneliness or dark thoughts enter our dreams, remember that such times come to all of us.  While never pleasant, they are the wake-up call in the night, summoning us to deepen our compassion for ourselves, and for all beings.

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  • April 18, 2011, 1:56 pm Wendy

    Whoa, this is as intense as i feel right now, right down to the waking up at 3am and feeling all this sorrow. Things are ending….things are changing….my heart feels so heavy. Saying goodbye to ideas that you don’t want to end… ughghgh.

  • April 18, 2011, 8:00 pm Beth

    Hugs, Wendy.. you are not alone…

  • April 18, 2011, 11:45 pm Joanna

    I frequently wake in the early morning hours as well. Found this scholarly article “Sleep We Have Lost: Pre-industrial Slumber in the British Isles,” which documents patterns of sleeping which once may have been considered normal, and which included waking between 2 and 4 am. Since reading this, I have found myself able to be much less stressed when I am unable to sleep soundly for a full night.

    I especially like “I am awake, but ’tis not time to rise, neither have I yet slept enough . . . I am awake, yet not in paine, anguish or feare, as thousands are.” A seventeenth-century religious meditation intended for the dead of night.

  • April 19, 2011, 10:55 am Carolyn Cushing

    Yes, I am part of the 3am club! The past couple of nights it has been feeling very much like the 9 of Swords time, too. But your post, Beth, helps me feel less alone and that helps. Often times, I do what I call ocean breath, deep in and out inhalations that remind me of waves. This soothes and feel broadly healing. Many mornings, I wake up rested just from this (just these recent days have been intense!) so Joanna’s point is interesting and I have heard this idea before. Perhaps we humans do need a little communing with the night.

    Looking forward to seeing you at Readers Studio, Beth!

  • April 19, 2011, 11:25 am Ellen

    I have dealt with the dead hour issue for years. I realized finally that this was my subconscious telling me, hey, you need to attend to some things before they get out of hand. What I find interesting is the correlation between the reading we are given of the Nine of Swords and the Fourth house, especially after the explosive and unpredictable storms that keep sweeping across the country.
    We clean our physical homes, because, well, otherwise we end up on reality TV or in therapy. I know that sounds glib, what I am trying to say is we at least attempt to keep the real estate we occupy reasonably clean and habitable most of the time.
    When our inner real estate needs attention, we are plagued by insomnia, forgetfulness, irritable moods, what ever it takes for us to deal with the issues at hand.
    When the greater whole, the human race, has things that need attending , when the earth is dirty, out of balance, is nature now doing the same thing? We do not own, have dominion, over the earth is reality. We co-habitate, we share, we tentatively perch on the very crust, cannot even begin to go to the core. We wound, we scar, we rape, we abandon, we force out of balance. Why would we not have to deal with the consequences and results?

  • April 19, 2011, 2:23 pm Beth

    Thank you so much for sharing that you’re a part of our little club, Joanna and Carolyn and White Owl (alias Ellen)! Great article, Joanna! I only scanned it since, I have to say, it is a bit long and academic, and may contain within it a cure for insomnia! 🙂

    White Owl – you are so right.. I had started to actually rant a bit in my post about .. how can we sleep when some 80,000 acres of rainforest are being destroyed every day, and each day, according to some estimates, 137 species of plant, insect or animal become extinct. But I decided against it, as my post was already a wee bit longish!

    I do breathing exercises, too, so that, as you note, Carolyn, my body is at least getting some oxygen nourishment and relaxation, even if my brain won’t let me go back to sleep.

    I did have one additional theory (guess when I thought of it!).. As we are increasingly attuned and ever more sensitive to the activities/thoughts/energies of the world, note that 3am Eastern time is 8am in London and 9am in Paris, where people are starting their work day. Is this contributing to the difficulty? Something to muse on in the middle of the night…

  • April 20, 2011, 12:20 pm Maria

    I can tell you one thing NOT to do at 3 a.m. when you can’t sleep: send positive energy out to a friend — especially if that friend is also sensitive. I did this once when I was awake, fretting about finding work, and thinking about a friend who needs a job too. Turns out she felt the energy and woke up from a sound sleep, then had trouble nodding off again. Whoops!