Year at a Glance

Year at a Glance

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


High Priestess, Key II:
Don't Annoy the Crazy Woman
(c) Cheryl Lynne Bradley 2011

Morgan Greer Tarot: High Priestess Key II

Before you can inspire with emotion, you must be swamped with it yourself. Before you can move their tears, your own must flow. To convince them, you must yourself believe.
-Winston Churchill

Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Nothing makes us so lonely as our secrets.
-Paul Tournier

Tears are best dried with your own hand.
-African Proverb

The High Priestess, Key II in the Major Arcana, is a card full of feminine mystique and feminine mistakes. This card represents knowing without knowing, spiritual knowledge and all the things we have yet to speak, feel or do because it is not yet the right time. It is a card full of the secret sorrows of our hearts and our deep seated fear that someone just might see how dangerously damaged and unloved we really are. This is a card that tells us our seeming detachment for self-protection is being mistaken for aloofness, coldness of our heart, or disinterest. People are most apt to think we are funny peculiar than funny ha ha. The High Priestess also reminds us that people are always watching and judging, especially those of us with tendencies that come under the realm of dysfunctional eccentric or who have an off the wall sense of humour (which I do). Somewhere in there, behind that thousand yard stare and those bleary far away eyes, is a spirit of tremendous beauty and glory, well hidden from the cruel vagaries of our world but deeply affected by everything that goes on around us. This card always gives me a feeling of great sadness because unless you are looking very closely (and people are too self-absorbed for the most part to bother to look), most people miss the flicker of light hiding in that tiny sparkle ever present in the eyes of every damaged soul.
“…when she has “that look” in her eyes, it does not mean she is a vacant lot waiting to be filled. It means she is balancing a big cardhouse of ideas on a single fingertip, and she is carefully connecting all the cards using tiny crystalline bones and a little spit, and if she can just get it all to the table without it falling down of flying apart, she can bring an image from the unseen world into being. To speak to her in that moment is to create a Harpy wind that blows the entire structure to tatters. To speak to her in that moment is to break her heart.”

Clarissa Pinkola Estes, “Women Who Run with the Wolves”
I live in an area that has seen and will continue to see rapid residential expansion. Development of this nature is eating up farmland at an alarming rate but provides employment for many of my friends and family. It reminds me of the theme song from the series “Weeds”: “Little boxes on the hillside, Little boxes made of ticky tacky. Little boxes on the hillside, little boxes all the same. There's a green one and a pink one and a blue one and a yellow one. And they're all made out of ticky tacky and they all look just the same.” Let’s face it, we live in a world that has at least 50 shades of beige – neutral is the way to go apparently. I couldn’t afford one of these houses, and I know that they are beautiful inside, but they are all built with about 3 feet of space between them and they look like row upon row upon row of boxes – expensive boxes mind you, but boxes nonetheless, and it would literally make me crazy to live in such a neighbourhood. I much preferred the green fields and roll of the hills that used to be there that are now just a memory.
I am a collector of boxes - music boxes, pill boxes, porcelain boxes, glass boxes, china boxes, carved wooden boxes, hat boxes, blanket boxes, trunks and, of course, boxes and boxes of Tarot cards – you name it and I have one somewhere. They are scattered all over my house, some are on display, some are in my fancy cabinet and everyone one of them has some little treasure or keepsake in it that only has meaning to me. Many of these boxes were gifts but I have just as many that I bought for myself over the years. Life may be like a box of chocolates as Forrest Gump was fond of telling us, but sometimes life is a whole lot of little boxes, some full, some empty, some pretty, some ugly and some made of ticky tacky, that mark our passage through this world. While I may like to collect boxes, the last thing I would ever want would be to be trapped inside of one. I remember when I was 4 years old and I had to have my tonsils out. At this sweet and tender age, I was already in love with George Harrison and had the blonde little girl version of the Beatles cut. It must have been in the summer because I remember light streaming through the hospital windows. I was carried into the ward room, put in a large black metal crib and then my Mother said goodbye and walked away. All I was wearing was a blue hospital issued shirt with back snaps made of quilted underwear material that only came to my waste and that I had no underwear on. I don’t know if the nurse changed me from my own clothes or if my Mother had, I suspect that my Mother had. I was not happy about this and I remember standing up in the crib asking the nurse for my underwear which she refused to give me saying that no one wore them in hospitals as it made people stay in their beds. In this ward room were 4 other beds, the crib was on the wall inside the door. In each of these 4 beds were grey haired women. The woman beside me lifted up her bed sheet and said to me, “See I don’t have any on either, none of us do.” The other ladies all nodded in agreement.
For a 4-year old that just might have been too much information. I do not know at which point in this I hit meltdown, but I knew I didn’t want to be there, I tried to climb out of the crib and I knew I wanted my Mommy!!!!! The nurse thought otherwise. She put me in the crib and proceeded to put the top of the crib on – also made of black metal bars – so I was now in a cage. Needless to say, I freaked. I do not remember anything more as I am pretty sure they had to drug me to calm me down. The last memory I have of that hospital visit was having my arms wrapped around my Mother’s neck as she carried me back out. I remember lifting my head up a little bit just once and I knew we were leaving. I hugged her so hard and went back to sleep in her arms. Needless to say, my tonsils still did have to be removed and getting me back to the hospital was an all- hands-on-deck family production. My Mother was a fine knitter and she started knitting me a pair of socks to wear the next time I went to the hospital. She involved me in the whole process of the creation of this precious pair of white socks with a mint green and pink stripe at the cuff. I loved those socks. I got a brand new pair of flannel pajamas – white with a green, blue and pink all through it and a ribbon on the shirt. I got a new doll – she had chestnutbrown hair in pigtails and a red summer outfit. It must have been in the late fall when I went back in the second time; that would explain the flannel pajamas and the wool socks. My Grandpa Bradley carried me into the hospital. I remember him holding me on his left side, I had my arm around his shoulder and his neck. In my other I hand I was holding my doll. It was a peaceful stroll up that hall, protected in his arms. He carried me like I was precious cargo. Grandpa and I didn’t say a thing, he just kept looking in my eyes. He had the prettiest blue eyes my Grandpa did. This time I was in a room with 3 other children and the tonsils were removed. I remember waking up in my room and my Dad was standing there smiling down on me. I scored another new Tammy doll (she had on a turquoise short set), got to eat a lot of ice cream and no one tried to lock me in a box.
The High Priestess is here to remind us that we have boxes inside of ourselves that contain every friend we ever made, every tear we ever cried, every time we laughed, every time we made someone else laugh, every book we ever read, every movie we ever watched and every song we ever heard or sang. There are boxes for every time we loved and every time we weren’t loved back or that we didn’t love back. There is a box that contains all our smiles, hugs and kisses and there is another box for every frown, shove or blow we ever gave or received. There is a box for every lover we have taken and one for every relationship we passed on or ended thoughtlessly. There is a box for every kindness or cruelty we have shown and every kindness or cruelty given to us. There are boxes for all of our unkind words and all our words of comfort. There are boxes chock full of everything we should have said but didn’t and everything we shouldn’t have said but did.
There is a box for every fear, anxiety or doubt and for every triumph, sacrifice or failure. There is a box for every lucky escape; every time we conformed to try and be “normal” and every spontaneous, authentic crazy and just plain fun moment we ever enjoyed. There are boxes full of shame, guilt, poor judgment, bad decisions, emotional breakdowns and anger. There are boxes for every unclaimed dream and every memory; every thought, word, deed, hope, wish, sigh, prayer or wonder; every missed, delayed or denied opportunity; every apology given, received or owed; every promise, made, kept or broken; every death and every birth; every lie and every truth; every experience and every satisfaction; every please and every thank you said or left unsaid; every argument, fair or unfair; every trap we set or fell into; every time we were right and every time we were wrong; every heartache and heartbreak both given and received; every joy and every sorrow; every false judgment and assumption made about us or that we have made; and a box for each and every secret that we keep.
Is it any wonder we spend so much time staring out the window, lost in our own thoughts or thinking that we have lost our minds completely? Does it sound like it might be getting just a little bit crowded? The view is certainly getting blocked. I have no doubt that my interior world is as disorganized as my exterior world. Those boxes are falling down and around all over the place, I could get crushed by the weight of it all, worn out trying to hold them all in place or I could just let them all fall down and start throwing some of the clutter away. So this one didn’t love me back – his loss – over the shoulder, toss. So these people hurt me and think I’m nuts because I live a self-made life – I’m still standing and they were never worthy, another box for the garbage pile. I said things to my Mother and brother that I can’t take back and they said things to me that they can’t take back– these are vain regrets, all that is in the forgiveness box now. The forgiveness box is always the biggest one and usually the emptiest – time to fill it up with all of those things that can’t be changed or helped; time to abandon all those old debts and mistakes that we keep punishing ourselves for. It is time to let the secrets go especially if you have knowledge of a serious crime such as a missing person or an unsolved crime; if you are holding onto something that is tearing you apart, you need to tell someone and let the healing begin. It is time to take our minds back to the green field and the rolling hills. The High Priestess reminds us to ask ourselves what do we really want and what does our deeper self desire.
Society wants us “normalized” and some of us just refuse to go there. We live in a time of cosmetic psycho-pharmacology and cosmetic surgery; if we are going to go through life blonde then we had better well be as perky as our nipples. Generally speaking, women (especially once you hit the tender age of 40) are still viewed as hysterical and “Mother’s Little Helpers” are over-prescribed; as if a pill could fix our spiritual deprivation and hunger, help us survive poverty, the normalization of violence, honour our grief or let us have a creative life in more than 5 minute intervals. If you genuinely have a chemical imbalance or are dealing with heavy situational issues that require medication, please take your medicine as it truly helps but you still have to take care of your own spirit. Open up the box where we have been hiding our light and let it shine. It is time to live only from the boxes of sweet memory, forgiveness and peace of mind. George Carlin said life was about finding a place to keep your stuff and he was so very right. The High Priestess puts on her “Don’t Annoy the Crazy Woman” t-shirt and starts tossing boxes – she needs the room to grow. 

Thanks to for a great article on The High Priestess.

1 comment:

  1. Exceptionally well written and percieved.
    Thank You Cheryl!!!