Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.
This week, as many prepare for a new school year and Summer vacations wind down, we receive a visit from the Eight of Swords.
This is a card that, at first, is rather disturbing, for here is the quintessential damsel in distress. She is trapped, surrounded by swords, blindfolded and alone. But, as is so often the case in the Tarot, this is a card that beckons us to take a closer look.
For is she, in fact, so helpless? Where are her attackers? Whose power holds her?
There are no enemies to be seen. It would seem instead she is simply ringed by eight swords, all of which are safely stuck into the ground.
Eights are about organizing, expansion, and how we overcome challenges in order to move forward. And the Swords are the suit of air, thought, perceptions, and attitude.
Echoing last week’s Seven of Cups card, showing the dangers of dithering, as well as our first card this month, the Two of Swords, there seems to be quite a lot of uncomfortable, unproductive decision-making being postponed.
With her blindfold, and hemmed in by the swords, it would seem that intellect, ideas, perception, and opinion are preventing her from taking action.
Procrastination, perfectionism, or victim-thinking may be in play here.
Where Is the Danger?
So what is the hold-up?
Because after all, as distressed as she seems, is she actually lost in some trackless wilderness? No, it appears that safety and shelter are quite nearby, as you can see by the castle in the distance.
Is she on the edge of some precipice or about to be swept off by roaring wind or waves?
No. The sea, or maybe a lake, is off in the distance, but near her there are only shallow, remarkably tame puddles, and the land is flat and nonthreatening.
Are her legs and feet tied? Is she truly unable to move? It would seem not. Her only challenges are her bound arms, and her blindfold. It might not be easy, but she could simply walk away.
What do we believe binds us to our own unhappiness? In what ways might we fear we are doomed? What guru, lover, savior, healer, or leader do we wait (and wait, and wait) for, to sweep us away from our current circumstances? What triggers our thinking that we are stuck and helpless?
What we can see, that she cannot, is that the swords are no threat.
From behind, they form a protective semicircle. And before her, as intimidating as it might seem, the one sword that stands alone could help her cut her bonds.
Her liberation is only a few paces away, if she could just trust herself to walk forward and find it.
How often is this the case in our own lives?
We fear the universe is out to get us; that we are surrounded by enemies or some dark fate about to destroy us. We give up on our dreams, struggle with “analysis paralysis,” and stay stuck in our self-pity and blindness, rather than risk the discomfort of change, autonomy, and the unknown.
Whether we choose not to see, or whether we have indeed fallen prey to misdeeds, deception, or even co-dependence, there is, in truth, absolutely no reason not to change whatever our unhappy circumstances might be…except that we so strongly believe in the reality of our prison.
Keep Your Eyes Open and Watch Your Words
My astrologer friends Diotima Manteneia and Elisabeth Grace have both noted that Mars could be stirring up trouble this week, interacting with heavy authority figure, Saturn, as well as squaring fantasy-prone Neptune.
Beware of imposed blinders, and be on the lookout for angry flare-ups, sudden military activities, and dramatic news about health or disease.
I would also advise an extra measure of prudence, especially regarding claims about terrorism, threats, and the learned helplessness that some who are currently vying for leadership would have us swallow.
Who benefits when a nation’s people give up their power to those in authority, in order to be rescued from enemies, real or imaginary?
We’d also do well to back up our data and watch our words, because Mercury has entered the so-called “shadow-phase” of its retrograde, that starts next week on August 30.
Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself
As this strange Summertime of 2016 ebbs away, world events will be certainly grabbing our attention again. But for now, we are given an opportunity to take stock of what holds us in check.
In what ways might you feel thwarted from your desires and goals, or your ability to fully express your authenticity?
It may be true that there are challenges, but are you so helpless, really? What hesitation, fear, or illusion is acting as your blindfold? Do you really need even MORE information before you decide?
Perhaps it’s time to invoke the greater Eight of the Tarot, the Major Arcana Strength card, to help us break out of victimhood and take the needed steps forward.
When all our smart strategies, plans, intellectualizing, and arguments fail us, it is time to dig deep for our faith.
Real courage may be needed, but it is time to walk free from a bad situation, using our own wits and intuition.
Insisting that we are stuck makes it so. Waiting until things are perfect, or for a fantasy savior to appear on the horizon just leads to more waiting.
Get your bearings, and then go. Now.
Confidence and courage come through action, not overthinking.
The very good news of this card is that we do not need to be rescued. We are as free as we dare to be.