So, a lot of us human beings have residual boundary issues that we’ve carried with us into adulthood from the relationships we had as kids with our parents and siblings. Many of us have no idea how to say no well into our adult lives, and the ability to be truly selective about the way we spend our energy just evades, and evades, and evades us. It can take years of setting intentions and practicing for a lot of us to learn the art of saying no to things that make us feel weird in our stomachs. Shit, it can even be tough to say no to things that hurt us in much more violent, harsh, and direct ways.
We watch ourselves struggle. We watch others say no. We want to say no. We know it is a skill so we read books that promise to help us acquire it. We look up to and idolize those we consider to be good at saying no. We put them on pedestals and yet we go on saying yes, yes, yes, as if our tongues can’t even touch the roofs of our mouths in that same way that theirs do.
When the day comes that we cannot bear to say yes to wrong things any longer, we do start to learn. It is a slow and clumsy process for many of us. We may try, and fail, and curse our selves, and say we’ll never learn. Over time, hopefully we start to feel that “no” muscle strengthen.
And then, it may become overly developed, it may start to throw us off balance.
For the first two years or so when I was learning to DJ, I wanted nothing more from life than to play with my turntables and mixer. I’d rush home from work at the end of the day to play with the newest dancehall riddims, and to see how they sounded matched with the older ones. I’d cancel dates, call in sick from my job, even—so I could stay home and drink tea and spin tunes. I’d invite people over and barely talk to them. Just put food in front of them and spend the rest of the time blasting dancehall in their faces.
When we first learn to say no, we’re like I was when I first learned to DJ. We so enjoy the feeling of doing this new thing—this thing that we’d longed to know how to do for so long—that it can start to take over our lives.
New skills take time to integrate. The art of saying no takes time to master. When no is one of the few things in life that has ever given you the feeling of safety, it makes sense that you might find yourself on a no binge. And it can last for months, or years.
The Seven of Wands in this week’s spread is about learning to start saying yes again after a long period of saying no. You have fought your way to being a person with boundaries and you have built many walls around yourself in that process. At the time, you needed those walls. You were entirely right to do it and it was critical to your well-being and health that you did. You learned to make a safe space for yourself that was unlike anything you’d ever felt before.
You have fought hard to find this space but even when the spring and summer times come, and you begin to miss the feeling of openness that they used to bring, it may feel hard or scary to start to sprinkle your life with “yes” again. Sure, you are safe. But you may also be beginning to feel isolated or lonely. The tables have turned; yes is now the harder of the two words to say.
Typically, the Three of Cups represents the celebration of an announcement of some kind, a birth or a marriage, maybe. We’re again reminded that these important life events in which we feel the deepest connections with others begin, in one way or another, with someone saying “yes.”
Yes to connection. Yes to friendship. Yes to love. Yes to giving and receiving. Yes to vulnerability. Yes to kindness, goodness, and relationship. Yes to letting our selves be seen when the small child in us who still craves safety may rather stay home and hide in bed with a book.
And lucky for us, The Magician showed up in the spread to represent balance and the masterful use of energy, which is exactly what’s called for. After all, yes and no are tools we use to distribute our energy properly. The magician has the tools, the skills, and the consciousness that are needed now. There is nothing to do but remind yourself that what you need is available to you.
Notice that The Magician has one hand to the heavens and one to the earth. He is a bit like a DJ, actually; he symbolizes the seamless blending and mixing together of the unseen world—creativity, intellectual, and spiritual knowledge—with the material world—intuitive knowing* and the physical realities we find ourselves in.
Everything you need to know, and all of the tools you need to use what you know, are available to you at this time. You know the language of saying no now. You can speak it fluently. The language of saying yes is also useful, and will bring you many good things. That perfect balance between the two is where the magic happens. Remember to be patient with yourself as you learn.
*New research published earlier this month in the journal Psychological Science has shown that intuition involves physiological response and is actually unconscious information in both our body and brain. In other words, it’s not “just a feeling.”