You are who you are because of those who preceded you. Your grandparents shaped the personalities and lives of your parents who shaped you. The lessons they learned freed you from having to relearn them for yourself; their unresolved issues became part of your inheritance. The issues you resolve in your lifetime will free your children; your unhealed wounds will be passed on to them. This is true not only of family groups, but also of communities and whole cultures. Estrangement from the values and visions of your forebears prolongs separations in yourself and creates obstacles to your understanding. Opening to the truths of earlier generations builds bridges between your internal conflicts and between yourself and others.
Tarot — like the I Ching, alchemy, astrology, and dreams — is a symbolic language about complementary differences between archetypal masculine and feminine life forces. It is not concerned with gender roles, which are cultural adaptations. Anyone can receive cards depicting the Emperor or Empress, High Priest or High Priestess, Hermit or Star, Sun or Moon.
For example, when consulting an on-line tarot site which asked for the birth dates of both partners, one couple was surprised to find that the husband received the Empress card and the wife received Strength. Whereas their initial associations (conditioned by their particular culture) caused them to assume it should be the other way around, especially since the husband was extremely hard-working and the wife very relationship-oriented, they soon realized that the wife was indeed more driven by a powerful visionary need to succeed in her work, while the husband was more flexible, spontaneous, receptive, and emotionally intelligent. In recognizing the truth of this assessment they grew more accepting of each other’s differences and less attached to stereotypical expectations.
Spirit warriors develop both life forces, masculine and feminine, to their fullest potential in ways that complete their souls. In most people one force is more conscious and well-developed than the other. This is not simply a function of physical factors like hormones and gender, but also of genetic inheritance, experience, personality, and cultural conditioning.
Observe where your true interests lie and how you use your energy to pursue them. Use this knowledge to discover which life force is stronger in you and which needs more attention. When they work together, they flame the spark of light that is your soul. Light is the symbol of understanding and knowledge. When held up, it removes the darkness so that others may see. Seeing the differences between your inner opposites and tapping into the wisdom of each as needed will enable you to follow your path and help others find their own way.
You cannot change the world by yourself but you can contribute to a fresh start. If the history of your family and culture is unknown to you, take advantage of this time to learn more about it from elders. Remembering that they too, were once young and idealistic, use a gentle and respectful approach to find out what obstacles they tried to overcome, what rights they tried to wrong. How did they lead the way for others? Which of their efforts were effective and which were not? Which were self-serving and which served others? What did they learn from their mistakes? What would they do over if they could?
Times change, and so do strategies and standards. You do not need to cling to all the traditions of your forebears, but you must not automatically discard them, nor should you perpetuate those which did not enhance the human condition. You and your generation can effect healthy and lasting change by understanding the people, mindsets and events that contributed to the present situation, then making original choices that are relevant to current times.
The genuine light of your soul can push away darkness and lead the way forward into the future. Find your voice and communicate your legacy to those who follow. Every soul has an ideal mode of communication. Spirit warriors develop their unique voices so they can share their wisdom with others as artfully and effectively as possible. To develop your particular gifts is to make of yourself a work of art which strengthens your link in the chain of humanity. As you refine and beautify the link that is your soul, you light a lantern for all who follow.
What light can you bring to the world’s darkness? What are your soul’s special gifts? What will your legacy be to your children and grandchildren? What problems will others inherit because you failed to fulfill your destiny? What benefit with others receive because of your faithfulness to your truths?
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Image Credits: Google images, the Hermit, Rider Waite tarot deck. Lantern, pinterest.com.
Jean Raffa’s The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon. E-book versions are also at Kobo, Barnes And Noble and Smashwords. Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications, Inc. Watch for her new book, The Soul’s Twins, to be launched by Schiffer Publishing this October.