Many of you have asked me why I have not posted since the election. You long for something I would offer that is uplifting, that will help you make sense of what you see; something that will make you feel better because everything will be OK. Perhaps you long to know that tomorrow will be just like today. It won’t be just like today, but that doesn’t mean I know what it will be like. I just know it will be different.
Frequently during times like these, times of confusion or unease, I turn to the Tarot, to see what I am not seeing. In an odd sort of way the Tarot, astrology, sometimes the I Ching, help me see more clearly—they help me refocus on the big picture. These oracles show me there is a mystery to the universe that I do not understand.
For the past year the Tower, one of the clearest cards when it comes to Tarot card meaning, keeps showing up. It means that false structures, false institutions, false beliefs are going to come (or have already come) tumbling down, suddenly, violently and all at once. In practically all renditions of the Tower card, disaster is striking or has just struck. The demons of madness and despair are released from ancient hiding places, and nature conspires with human failings to destabilize a society. The upheaval is collective and impersonal.
The Tower card shows a bolt of lightning, a fitting karmic payback for those whose fortunes come from the exploitation or abuse of others. This is a card about war, a war between the structures of lies and the lightning flash of truth. It is a card about anything we believe to be true, but later learn is false. I find solace in the fact that nothing built on a lie, on falsehoods, can remain standing for long. Better for it to come down so that it can be rebuilt on truth-or not rebuilt at all.
This awareness usually comes as a shock. It is fitting that it shows up before and after the election, which says to me, it is far from over.
Almost half of those who voted voted for change. What they get may not be what they anticipated. This rude awakening is not going to be pleasant or painless or easy, but it will be for the best in the end.
The good news is that it could portend “revolution,” indicating that through drastic social change, oppressed people can find renewed hope of better times. But right now, instead of avoiding our discomfort and heading for the light, let us consider staying uncomfortable, unsettled. Let us go fully into the dark. Let’s not race to our “hopeium,” which we are so good at doing.
In a recent Rebelle Society post, Vera de Chalambert summed up all of my thoughts in a precise manner. She spoke of the Dark Mother, of Kali. (I highly recommend you read her entire article.)
“Donald Trump might already be picking his deplorable cabinet, but it is the Dark Mother, the destroyer of worlds, oracle of holy change, the tenderhearted be-header, that won this country. Kali has brought down our house in a shocking blow; all the illusions of America, stripped in a single night. We are not who we thought we were. Now we must get ready to stand in her fires of transmutation. We need them.
Listening to Hillary Clinton’s concession speech, one had the impression that this was a different woman from the political candidate that we have come to begrudgingly accept as the champion of the Democratic Party, assured by the establishment to become the first Madam President.
Stripped of her hopes and lifelong dreams, speaking honestly and transparently about her pain, this woman in a dark suit was a far cry from the controlled, manicured version of her shiny political persona. Stripped of her agenda, stripped of her certainties, this Hilary might have won the country. This Hillary touched our hearts. This is what we look like after the Dark Mother has had her way with us.
We stop shining of the false light. As our heart breaks, as our veneer cracks, we open to more integrity, more truth, more tenderness. We stop trying to be all things for all people. We become this one small thing, feigning nothing.
“Only to the degree that people are unsettled is there any hope for them.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Paradoxically, the price of true hope, it seems, is being unsettled beyond repair. And this is exactly the opportunity our political moment is presenting to us all. Right now, from all corners of our shocked culture, there are cries of hope, demands of needing to become even brighter lights amidst the spreading darkness. I disagree.
Before we rush in to reanimate the discourse of hope prematurely, we must yield to what is present. Receptivity is the great quality of darkness; darkness hosts everything without exception. The Dark Mother has no orphans. We must not send suffering into exile — the fear, the heartbreak, the anger, the helplessness all are appropriate, all are welcome. We can’t dismember ourselves to feel better.
We can’t cut of the stream of life and expect to heal.
Cutting off the inconvenient is a form of spiritual fascism. By resolving to stay only in the light in times of immense crisis, we split life; engage in emotional deportation, rather than hosting the vulnerable. Difficult feelings need to be given space so they can come to rest. They need contact.”
It’s Winter Solstice and we have long, dark days. It’s a good time to embrace Kali, the Dark Mother.