“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”
I love this quote! It’s not an “Everything is going to be OK!” type reassurance. It’s a real-world metaphor about what it’s like when a truly earth-shaking event happens in your life. Can you relate to this? If you can’t, just save this page anyway.
Most people I work with have had such an event happen or a similar ongoing struggle. I’ve been through a few myself. I think that’s why I like the quote so much. This can be grief over a divorce, the loss of a loved one, a job, loss of health, addiction and anything that causes deep emotional turmoil.
Can growth occur in such an event? It can; in fact, this is a common outcome. But I know that this is the last thing someone wants to hear during their grief though. Grief first, then growth. You need to grieve. Denying grief doesn’t work. As John Edward, the renowned psychic medium said at an event I attended in San Diego, “Grief is very patient.” It will wait for you for a month, a year or a lifetime, but you need to experience your grief.
I like to tell the story of an episode of Xena, Warrior Princess (Lucy Lawless). Don’t laugh! I love fantasy and science fiction. I’ve been reading these genres since I was 12. I earned a B.A. in English Literature and went right back to my reading roots! OK, I might have a crush on Lucy Lawless too.
Xena is a warrior from ancient Greece and has a dark past filled with deeds that she deeply regrets. Many of the plots have to do with her quest of redemption for these past dark deeds. She is powerful and brooding. Her traveling companion, Gabrielle, is lighthearted and engaging.
During one episode, they are resting by a pond. Xena sits at the edge on a rock. She is somber and brooding about her past and throws a rock into the pool. Gabrielle comes up, sits by her and asks her to lighten up and forget her past.
She says “See, when you throw a stone in the pool, the ripples are large, but then the surface is smooth again.”
Xena responds “Yes, but there will always be a rock at the bottom of the pool.”
When the storm comes you won’t forget it. It will change you and yet will always be part of you. You will be different and that’s the point. Xena has committed her life to redemption and journeys throughout Greece, Rome, the underworld, the heavens and now uses her formidable skills to help people and gods.
After the Tower (16) comes the Star (17). Why is that? The Tower is an image of cataclysmic destruction. The Star is an image of a beautiful woman kneeling by a pool, pouring water from two vessels. She has one foot on the land and one in the water. These sequential cards present such a dichotomy, or is it?
Alejandro Jodorowski developed a mandala of the Major Arcana with the Fool (0) and the World (21) as the beginning and end of this progression and yet outside of it. The first half of the Major Arcana (1 through 10) is concerned with matters of the world while the second half (11 through 20) is concerned with matters of the Divine.
Cards 11-16 are concerned with the dissolution of the ego as growth occurs. Strength (in the original order), the Hanged Man, Death, Temperance, the Devil and the Tower. Divine power has been given or discovered, change has come, ego has died, fears have been confronted and utter dissolution has occurred. Is there anything left?
In one version of the story of Pandora, Prometheus stole fire from the gods on Mount Olympus and brought it to mankind. In his anger over this Zeus created Pandora to vex mankind. She brought a box or jar with her that released all matters of evil into the world. But there was one thing left after all these evils were released:
“Only Hope was left within her unbreakable house,
she remained under the lip of the jar, and did not
fly away. Before [she could], Pandora replaced the
lid of the jar. This was the will of aegis-bearing
Zeus the Cloudgatherer.”
Hesiod, Works and Days, 96-9
So, in the trumps progression, after utter destruction occurs the Star appears. A common association for the Star card is “hope”. After the Tower the road is much smoother: The Star, The Moon, The Sun and Judgement with the World as the ultimate destination. In the progression on the Tree of Life, we are back at Kether (Crown, the sphere of the Sublime) having started there, traveled down to Malkuth (Kingdom, the sphere of Earth) and back up to return to Kether.
Life and spiritual growth is a journey. It will likely not be smooth and easy. The lessons are hard, but worth it. To be at the Star we must experience the Tower.
Watersprite Tarot – A. Muir McDonald – available on the artist’s website here