One woman's journey and dawning realization of the slow destruction of her spirit while trapped in the jaws of disability.

Disability is at first an affliction of the body, then a state of mind and finally a shackle upon the spirit.

Lydia M N Crabtree, 2012

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Destiny or Survival?

Illustration by Will Worthington
Wildwood Tarot by
John Matthews and Mark Ryan
Since my award of disability, I have been furiously taking care of issues that have long been outstanding in my house hold. My son has clothes that fit again. He is getting a bed better suited to his long body than the twin he currently sleeps on. We paid off long standing debt and set money aside for future expenses that we know are coming.

               For me the biggest change is that I have entered an online course that is about Renaissance or Medieval astrology. I have wanted to do this for two years or more. Ever sense I ran into John Michael Greer at PantheaCon and discovered Geomancy. He in turn directed me to Christopher Warnock and and I have been driven to take his courses ever since.

               When I finally signed up and got my books ordered, I decided to go back and refresh myself in regards to geomancy. I had also acquired a new tarot deck by John Matthews, Mark Ryan and illustrator Will Worthington. Matthews is a scholar whose books I have been collecting for years. His insight into ancient Gallic structure and spiritual beliefs are simply unparalleled. I was excited about the The Wildwood Tarot because Matthews uses his knowledge of Gallic belief and myth coupled with Ryan’s knowledge of tarot and the beautiful art of Worthington to create a deck that called to me.

               So I started to do a daily study of these two divinatory tools. My refresher in geomancy has gone very well. I am enjoying it immensely and find, as I did previously, that geomancy is a powerful predictive tool with layers and layers of insight and meaning.

               Matthews Wildwood Tarot however, is still confounding me. It is the first time I have ever STUDIED a tarot deck. In the past, I have simply read the cards allowing Divinity to lead my definition of the cards and being completely unconcerned with the intent or meaning behind the decks creation. However, my respect for Matthews has me pulling a card per day and trying to decipher out what I think it means. After writing my impressions, I read the book definitions and then try to fit that into what is happening around my life or what I anticipate for my day ahead.

               Unlike my geomancy figures, this deck has me scrambling. Today’s card was the Knight of Vessels – Eel. I was surprised to learn that the Morrigian transforms into the eel in battle and that Cuchulainn’s famous spear, Gae Bolga takes its name from the eel. The book describes the meaning of this card as:

Purity of intent, your destiny defined, you’re able to bring wisdom and maturity to your tasks. Embarking on a quest of personal revelation, your vision leads you onward. Your deep feelings are expressed at every turn. (page 128, The Wildwood Tarot book) 

               What amused me about this is that this is the time in my life when I feel like I have no defined destiny. My life is about survival and daily health. Do I have enough energy to finish the laundry? Do I have enough energy to run the errands I need or want to run? I feel that I have been relegated to dissection of the baser of my needs. In Maslow Hierarchy of Needs, I often feel I am working at the base on safety, shelter, food and safety (I realize I said that twice). 

               It is the constant battle of those of us surviving incest, abuse and long term illness. Our world narrows and revolves around just making it through one more day. We aren’t as social. We don’t reach out as much and when we do our emotions are like sunburned skin. We want the sense of feeling community without the close personal contact. We are raw and fear anything that will rub against our already exposed nerves.

               I have lost so many friendships that have left this feeling of bereft-ness within me. I do not know how to restore the balance in some long time friendships or how to be of benefit to some from my past. I do not know how to rectify perceived wrongs. I do know I can try and move forward and hope I do better this time. I am a social person – very social and the interaction with others is another therapy for me.

               And none of these things are a well defined destiny. My well defined destiny in my past was to write and publish Family Coven and it hasn’t gotten done. Before that my well defined destiny was simply to write a book and be published and it hasn’t gotten done. The only constantly held destiny in my life is a belief that I have been called by Divinity to serve Divinity. Since my illness, I am simply stuck, feeling like my destiny is champagne in a bottle whose cork won’t give. My current pursuits are attempts to let some of the pressure of my excited champagne out in a controlled and measured way so that my bottle doesn’t explode.

               I am also struck by the correlation between destiny and the symbol of protection that the eel represents in ancient Gallic culture. I am unsure if I am subconsciously saying I have been protecting my destiny from scrutiny by hiding behind my disability and illness or if my illness and disability manifested to protect my long held beliefs regarding my destiny from scrutiny.
And you shall be naked, to me, in your rites.... Charge of the Goddess, Doreen Valiente with modifications by Lydia M N Crabtree
               Recently, when talking to my son about performing music, I told him to be an artist is to be willing to walk naked, emotionally, onto a stage in front of strangers and hope that what they see and hear of your emotions is something that resonates with them.

               Being called to priestesshood as I have been, I can say with certainty that walking out in the world and trying to uphold the oaths taken to the Lord and Lady is the same. You walk out and bare your naked self – emotionally, mentally, and spiritually – to the world around you and pray that what you say is what Divinity wants you to say. You do this without any guarantee that what you need to say is being said properly or heard as it needs to be heard or understood as it needs to be.

               In a way it is worse than displaying art because by nature spirituality is your core and your being. Someone starts critiquing how those are for you and they are saying that you are spiritually lost, not properly calibrated. It took me years to realize this. In this realization, I am able to see how often I did this to others which make the happening to me sharper because I feel the guilt of knowing I am feeling what I have caused others to feel.

               I woke today hoping to work on my book and end up writing a blog instead. I feel equal parts disappointment and relief. I wrote something, after all, which is always preferable to nothing and simultaneously I feel I am giving no benefit. The only destiny I feel I am living is to continue to learn and grow and develop. I serve when and if the opportunity arises and mostly I am left isolated from my past desires and without a road pointing to my “destiny defined.” I do not feel I am embarking on anything, just trying to get through each day and bring some type of meaning to the living of that day. It leads me to wonder if living to the best of one’s ability is destiny or survival.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Lydia! I found my way to your blog via Lisa Lloyd's tweet. I too have been blogging with The Wildwood for over a year now.
    I love your interpretation of the Eel. I also find that he's an ability to do what is necessary, he's prepared to get out of his own environment, cross another and get back into his own, to survive. If his goal is two rivers away, he'll get there. He has to.

    Blessings and I'll book mark this blog to come and visit it again! :)