TAROT & NIGHTMARES

Back in 2005, when I was living in Pingelly, in the wheatbelt south-west of Perth,  Western Australia, I had the one and only nightmare of my life.  It left me feeling deeply upset, stirred up, and up in the air because basically I couldn’t make head nor tail of the images. This past week I felt strongly I had to tackle it and I’ve been quite surprised at the result.

The reason I returned to this nightmare is that, in the past few weeks, I’ve been clearing out a whole heap of issues which have cluttered up my life – my tendency to swallow hurtful comments instead of standing up for myself; my driven behaviour (which is much better but still rears itself from time to time!); my need for approval (probably common to a lot of people); and my dislike of confrontation.

The confrontation thing I can understand because, being a Libran Sun and Libran Ascendant, I do try to promote harmony, diplomacy and tact. I really hate confrontation and aggro behaviour. Well, this tendency I overcame this past week when I stood up to our neighbour who was trying to make our life awkward around the fact we have four rescue dogs. We appreciate they can be noisy and were in fact a complete pain when our neighbours first arrived. But we’ve taken steps to rectify this issue and things are a lot quieter now.  I had tried to resolve the situation through discussion but my neighbour simply wasn’t interested and I was really pissed off that she’d implied I’d lied.

Usually I let my husband handle any aggro as he’s a Leo Sun, Aries Rising and Aries Moon so is quite feisty and not afraid to be forceful and stand up for himself. But on this occasion, I’d had a rotten night, was in a bad temper so stomped into the garden and tackled our neighbour in a polite but very determined manner, to point out that she was being unreasonable, she was misrepresenting us, creating unnecessary trouble, and we weren’t going to put up with it.  And I do have to say that it was a very good feeling indeed.  So much so, that I intend to take this course in the future rather than trying to keep the peace.

In facing up to our neighbour, though, I also started working on various other issues which have been nagging me lately, particularly the nightmare I had at Pingelly.  I recently held a workshop on understanding dreams and one of the ways you can work with dreams is to break them down and then draw cards from the Tarot to look deeper into each part of a dream and perhaps get to understand the images that may have not been clear when trying to understand the dream.  So this is the spread I created for my nightmare which went as follow:

“I’m walking along a narrow path beside a deep ravine. Suddenly a  Dementor swoops towards me and I scream that I can’t go any further. Then the Dementor asks me what happened when I was six. (A Dementor in the Harry Potter series was a sort of living dead character, all in black, with a rattling breath, it sucked the joy out of you and, if you were really unlucky, sucked out your soul.)” That was the nightmare.

So I broke the nightmare down as follows in the reading:

The Heart of the Matter: 4 of Swords

Tarot reading for Dementor nightmare
Tarot reading for Dementor nightmare

The Dementor: The Fool

The Ravine: 8 of Coins

What needs to be released: 8 of Swords

The Result: The Sun

Here’s my interpretation, which really was quite eye-opening and allowed a big emotional release:

HEART OF MATTER

4 of Swords

This dream relates to my transfer from our local public school to the Sacred Heart Convent when I was six.  I had no friends there, was extremely lonely, felt isolated because I had no connection with or respect for the Catholic Church, but worked like a Trojan as everyone – parents and nuns – heaped expectations on me of academic success.  If I didn’t come first, second or third, I was accused of being lazy and found out my parents had had talks with the nuns about my academic progress or lack thereof. It left me with a pattern of over-achievement, anxiety, and need for approval so I was a classic Type A personality as a result.  This card underlines the need for me to slow down, stop putting pressure on myself to perform, and to take things easy so I take much better care of myself.

THE DEMENTOR: The Fool

This figure shows me that I need to let go of all the past reactions to pressure and expectations, to live my life true to myself and to have fun and enjoy adventures. Far from being a fearsome figure, the Dementor is, in fact, a liberating figure illustrating the heavy burden placed on me as a kid to always be the best and showing me the need to ditch this heavy weight and jump into the unknown, feeling fearless and knowing I’ll be supported as I fly.

 THE CHASM: Eight of Pentacles

This card illustrates the pressure I had on me to perform from an early age until I graduated from university.  While it has had a detrimental effect on me, I do feel with this card that it’s reminding me I have a good work ethic, can really work hard to complete a project, and I  need not to be so critical of myself in relation to my health challenges.  Do what I love, when I’m able. Otherwise, rest and take care of myself.

WHAT NEEDS TO BE RELEASED: Eight of Swords

I hold myself back because of fear of being criticised or not being good enough, trapped by criticism, bullying and aggro from my father as a child and young woman. But now is the time to realise that I can let this go, it’s only myself holding myself back.

THE RESULT: The Sun

Really, this is one of the brightest, most positive cards in the Tarot pack. It heralds fresh creativity, outburst of energy, good times opening up, happiness, clarity, good health.

I thought I’d share this experience because the issues I’m dealing with probably arise for other people, plus it’s a way of approaching dream analysis which can provide insight if you’re a bit stuck.

And if anyone else has any other ideas for this reading they’d like to put forward, feel free.  Every little bit helps to put together all the parts of the jigsaw and building up a complete picture!

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