King of Cups with Ace of Swords

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Quantum Tarot 2.0 by Kay Stopforth and Chris Butler

Someone’s parent or teacher or pastor or guidance counselor probably gave them this advice at some point: It was something to do with making clear logical decisions by setting aside one’s emotions. Yeah, I don’t know about that.

That’s all fine if you want to don a lab coat and tote a clipboard around (or is it a laptop these days? Probably a tablet, I’d guess…). Decisions devoid of an emotional influence are best made with control groups and data sets.

I am an advocate of making emotionally-based decisions. Before you start pecking at me like a bunch of territorial crows, let me flush this out: I believe how one feels about the outcome of a decision, paired by one’s truest desire, provides for the absolute purest compass for the direction to take.

I’m not talking about that kind of flailing-wildly-in-a-state-of-panic type of emotion. That’s what comes to mind for many people when referencing the idea of deciding by feelings. I would be so bold to say that fear and panic are more reactions than emotions. They are more byproducts of the klaxon of the adrenal medulla figuring out how to get the heart out of a box on fire. The ensuing actions we take due to panic are rarely based on any thought whatsoever during episodes of an epinephrine surge.

The clearest decisions we can make are the ones that trace directly back to what we want. This is actually the trickiest part, as our truest desire is often layered and stacked and dogpiled with several other subsidiary wants. Many of these are based on what we think we are supposed to want, gifted to us by cultural expectations, social mores, and all things obligatory. We will find many of these lesser wants battling it out, vying for psychological dominance.

At some point, we need to strip away all of the little wants that are in essence superfluous in the background of our true desire. We have to distill down to the single most emotional intention that catches that glint of light in our solar plexus. We have to identify what we want most as it is left standing on its own after clearing away all the emotional flotsam and jetsam, leaving only the purest of aspirations. It is from here that we make the best, clearest, and most focused decisions, and these are the decisions that yield to us the greatest growth and success.

 

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The Moon with King of Cups

Quantum Tarot 2.0 by Kay Stopforth and Chris Butler
Quantum Tarot 2.0 by Kay Stopforth and Chris Butler

My wife Jacque once worked with a woman who would frequently extol the virtues of how much of a “manly-man” her husband was. He was the quintessential hunter/leviathan-pickup-driver/beers-with-the-boys/did-not-believe-in-cooking-if-it-didn’t-consist-of-slapping-animal-meat-onto-a-grill kind of guy. I say that past tense, though he likely still is.

I believe she found great attraction in his predilection for all things rough and noisy and strong and tough and all adjectives that personify male hormones at their peak production from the masculine gonad factory. She likes her male archetypes unambiguous, with anything weak, fragile, and sensitive completely distilled out to leave a shot of testosterone that will put hairs on the copious hairs on your porterhouse pectorals.

Something tells me this manly man’s man’s man of a manly man has emblazoned on his resumé in lion’s bold face type Never cried a day in my life. It brings to mind a couple of lines from the song Leave the Biker by Fountains of Wayne:

And I wonder if he ever has cried
cuz his kitten got run over and died

In this society with its vestiges of heralding sabre-tooth tiger clubbing prowess, there is still a tendency to equate the outward emotional display of sadness with weakness. There’s still the male coaches’ inspiration via emasculation taunt of cry like a girl, while ironically I’ve met many females of whom you couldn’t pull tears from with a Bigfoot Monster Truck.

If we want to look at where non-aggressive displays of “negative” emotions are concerned in the arm wrestling between who’s tough and who’s weak, I put my money on the one whose mascara is running. There are no Herculean feats of strength demonstrated in the suppression of one’s sadness. There is only a demonstration that raw emotions are a scary monster that will consume us alive, rampaging through the skyscrapers of our psyche leaving only a quivering mass of destruction.

I am aware that this post appears to be chiding the “tough guys”, but I am addressing any of the emotionally stunted promontories of stoicism, resolute in their vows to not show weakness. This applies to those on both sides of the gender aisle. When we squash our sadness down into a tight, tiny ball and swallow it in hopes that it will surreptitiously make its exit through our descending colon eventually, we rob ourselves of the opportunity for rich self-examination and personal growth. Our unabated expression of grief and despondency is the irrigation of our mental wounds; it allows us to flush the infections that are born from the illusions of victimhood and guilt. To attempt to disavow our sadness is to deny an aspect of ourselves, cutting off the psychic blood flow to that part of our identity, causing a rich and valid part of who we are to inevitably necrotize.

Be strong, the stoic says upon experiencing the onslaught of the urge to cry. I say if we are truly strong, we will let the water flow and come face-to-face with that emotion that can feel so overwhelming. Strength is demonstrated through displaying our certainty that we will not drown.

Queen of Cups

Queen of Cups
A queen gazes upon an ornate chalice, waters completely surrounding her throne

What gets results in manifesting our desired outcomes is taking action on the intentions we’ve set. However, without the original intention, we have nothing to act upon.

Our original intentions are born of desire, of want, of a vision of something so compelling we find ourselves called to action without having to conjure up any motivation. Nothing reconnects us with our intentions more than tapping into the emotions that gave birth to them in the beginning.

The feelings behind our desires may sometimes seem larger than ourselves. We might be intimidated by the intensity of our wishes, fearing that the raw emotion may engulf us, leaving us out of control of our actions. We would find our every move dictated by our feelings, our logical mind having been dismissed and leaving us susceptible to potentially hazardous decisions made based on unbridled enthusiasm.

While careful consideration certainly has its merit, it has the potential of forcing us into an approach that is too calculated, that has become devoid of the drive that our emotions inherently provide us. We surgically plan each action in a way that prevents misstep, that provides the safest route, the methods most free from error.

Through this overly clinical process we rob ourselves of the rich lessons gained from our trials. We sacrifice the opportunity for the greatest degree of learning that occurs through the mistakes we make. Being truly tapped into our emotional intensity reaffirms the strength of our desires, reminding us that the reward in what we desire to achieve is far greater than the cost from the mistakes we make along the way.

 

King of Wands

King of Wands
A king sits on a throne illustrated with lions and lizards, gazing to the left, adorned in vibrant yellow and orange robes

The wellspring of manifestation is desire. Before we can set an intention we have to have a desire upon which to set it.

Desire is not a calculable thing. Our wants cannot be carefully constructed. Desire is born of pure emotion, of feeling, of a draw and an attraction to something. It needs no words to describe it, it is merely felt.

We can stand in our own way of attracting a desired outcome into our lives when we lose ourselves in analysis, rules, and minutia, by over-calculating the origins, means, purpose, and function of what we are wanting to manifest. We need to return to the pure inspiration of desire that fueled the intention as often as we can.

We may be concerned that if we allow ourselves to fall untethered into the depths of our desires, we may be consumed by the fires of our emotions. We may fear that without a well planned and constructed safety net the gravity of our wants will smash us down into the hard pavement of reality. However, this dampening down of our impetus and impulse to grab that which we want can serve to bind and restrict us, rendering us immobile, preventing us from moving toward our goal.

Our passion for what we wish to attain provides us with tremendous fuel. It is the ignition behind the drive that allows us to punch through obstacles, most of which are constructed from our own critical thinking. We excel in our endeavors when we shrug and laugh at the possibility of error, when we know we can potentially fall flat, yet our desire is strong enough to move us forward despite this possibility. We will stand triumphant knowing that at the end of our journey , while examining each and every scar earned throughout, we will declare they were all worth it.

Knight of Cups

Knight of Cups
A knight steadily rides on horseback carrying a chalice, a river, mountains and a clear sky in the background

As our emotions serve as the fuel for our inner creative force, it is important for us to experience them and allow them to flow in order to understand them.

We often learn from an early age that some emotions are negative, harmful, or undesirable. As a result we have developed ways to surpress these unwanted feelings. Boys are taught in our society that it is not appropriate to cry or appear vulnerable through their emotions. Anger is frequently labeled as being negative and unwelcome. Yet all these emotions have their genesis, and to stifle their expression or deny their existence is to surrender the opportunity to use their powerful force to align ourselves with our own creative energy.

That is not to say that we would do well to fully act on our emotional state without discretion or restraint. Rather, it is to acknowledge our feelings as valid, even embracing them and our right to their presence in us as a natural byproduct of the expression of who we are as unique individuals. To surpress our feelings is to say we are not entitled to that which we truly desire in life.

While we can intellectualize what any given emotion means for us we will fall short of discovering our personal truth until we allow it to run its natural course. Emotions function like currents of a body of water, they propel us in a given direction based on the desires that gave birth to the emotional state. Only upon embracing our right to the emotions will we find the current carrying us to our goals. To deny their right to exist is akin to fastening our intentions to a heavy weight and sinking it to the depths of the lake of emotions, only to remain adrift on the stillness of stoicism, moving in no particular direction.

Though an emotion may be uncomfortable, it is not an indication that it is wrong. It is functioning as does a grain of sand in an oyster. The oyster embraces the irritant rather than denying its existence, from which is produced a wondrous pearl of beauty and value.

Page of Cups

Page of Cups
A young man contemplates a chalice from which a fish emerges to look back at him

The true source of power behind our ability to manifest is our emotional energy. Learning the language of our feelings brings us closer to creating the outcome we desire most in our lives.

As human beings, we are perpetually manifesting from our emotional states. There are many times we find ourselves unwilling to accept this notion, especially when we encounter circumstances that we consider undesirable. As a result, we will consider external events the cause of our tribulations. It is easier for many of us to give our power away than it is to engage in the due diligence required to change the emotional energy that is creating our undesirable circumstances.

When we find ourselves in an unpleasant emotional state, we must learn how to trace the genesis of what awakens that state. This is most due to a conflict between how we see ourselves versus how we believe we should be. When the pain of self-examination becomes too intense we will then deflect the cause to an external factor in order to justify the hurt emotions.

If we can take a brief step outside of ourselves, even if only for a moment, we can give ourselves a better chance to follow the trail of emotions to its true source. By first allowing the emotions their true function by not denying their right to be expressed and felt we can stave off the immediate impulse to look for blame. This also allows us the room to provide compassion to ourselves and prevent a spiral of self-criticism. This approach allows our emotions room to breathe without the need to take immediate action in an attempt to make them go away.

Learning to understand the source of our emotions allows us to shift and channel the energy behind them into a more creative conduit that matches the outcome we truly desire. As we learn the language of our feelings this opens us up to trusting our intuition, which enables us to more naturally make decisions which foster the manifestation of our most desired outcome.

Dealing with the aftermath of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami

The earthquake and tsunami in Japan occurred on Friday. Three days later and I’m still trying to process the whole thing.

The craziest part is I’m trying to understand my emotions in relation to the whole event. For some odd reason the way I’ve been dealing with the event is in a compartmentalizing sort of way. To break it into chunks, one chunk deals with my level of compassion… the devastation these people must be experiencing, the horror, the panic, the loss, the struggle. All very natural, understandable, and human responses.

So why am I not in a state of depression? Continue reading Dealing with the aftermath of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami