Tarot Tuesday: Your Pain is Valid

Tarot Tuesday: Your Pain is Valid

It is a painful time. Collectively, interpersonally, individually. This reading is an offering of love and compassion dedicated to all those who are suffering.

Imbalances that have been lurking on the down low are now boiling up to the surface, erupting. The ugly effects of fear-based action—the full expression of a neglected wound in desperate need of salve—are exposed now, and on display for all to see.

The Tower speaks of a reality slap, the lived experience of a foundation crumbling beneath us, of a rug yanked from under us that leaves us naked and exposed to the harshness of the environments we live in.

Something that has been built on a basis of delusion, deception, force, greed, and otherwise fear-based motives is disintegrating. 

The level of disorientation and upheaval represented by The Tower is known to usher in a period of confusion, depression, and despair. The pain you feel is the result of the courage you possess to view something that is sick and dying with open eyes and clarity. The truth can demolish the rickety tower, and will annihilate false feelings of safety or security. It may be excruciating, but often the heart must break for transformation to occur.

Chögyam Trungpa said:

To be a spiritual warrior, one must have a broken heart; without a broken heart and the sense of tenderness and vulnerability that is in one’s self and all others, your warriorship is untrustworthy.

The Nine of Swords recognizes that you are at war with thoughts from the moment you wake up; your mind tells you that things are damaged beyond repair; that you are powerless to make changes; that you have been stripped of all authority. You are perhaps feeling small, lost, and helpless. There is no card that tells more of a time like this than the Nine of Swords. You—and many others—are experiencing anxiety, despair, fear, worry, rumination, and an overall sense of being in a prison of cognition.

Your pain is compounded by the judgments you place upon it. Your mind may tell you that the pain will never go away. It may use the pain as evidence to prove that the world is just a dangerous, punishing, and evil place. Your mind may tell you that what you are experiencing now means that your fearful and anxious thoughts are indeed facts. Take a step back. Look at the thoughts that the pain generates. Do not be passive; actively evaluate them. Decide from your true, wise self which to believe. You can’t change the thoughts that come, but you can choose how seriously you take them. 

The Queen of Pentacles is a healer. Because you, too, are a healer, you are drawn to situations that will facilitate ever-deeper levels of healing. This is why you may repeatedly find yourself in situations that make you feel as though you’ve made no progress and learned nothing. Do not be fooled.

Your purpose on this planet is to heal—both your self, and others. You will never reach a time when pain stops seeking your gifts in this realm. In this way, your gifts may be seen as both a blessing and a curse, because for as long as you live, pain will be drawn to you for resolution. If this feels overwhelming to swallow, consider that pain is neither good nor bad, it is simply a part of your spiritual path. 

Now notice the effect that your pain has on your willingness to experience compassion for your self and others. Notice the constricting, the pulling and pushing away, the recoiling in fear that occurs when you’re resistant to pain. Notice the reluctance to be soothed, and the urge to isolate and separate. Notice how difficult it can be to allow others in when pain is there, even those who come with love intentions. Notice, notice, notice. Watch what your pain makes you want to do.

The Queen of Pentacles asks: What would it feel like to do the opposite of what the pain is telling you; to move gently and kindly forward into it, to allow it, to nurture it, even, without seeking an escape. You don’t even have to do any of that, just think about how it might feel.

It’s cliche as hell, but your work begins with healing yourself. Only to the extent that you are able to access compassion when you’re up against the things in you that you fear and loathe, will you be able to access that same pure quality to offer to others in truth. 

The Queen of Pentacles also has a gift for creating nurturing environments that are ideal for growing families, gathering friends, and building community. The way she works her magic in Tower situations is by creating a space for all of the pain, grief, loss, sadness, anguish, despair, insecurity, anxiety, hopelessness, anger, and rage to exist together for as long as is needed for true healing to occur.

Approach pain with an attitude of validation and deep allowing. It is scary to hold these emotions, whether they be yours or those of others, but it is a necessary part of the learning and liberation that you will earn as a result. Treat your pain as though it deserves to be felt. 

No good growth can come from pain avoided. Be aware that refusal to face painful truths and the aversion to confront discomfort rather than defer it is likely what paved the way for this ‘Tower’ moment to arrive.

Recommended Reading

The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times

Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of the Buddha

Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself



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