For three years, I stood trapped like the Eight of Swords. I came here, to this moment of writing, from the Eight of Swords. I was born again from the cage that is the Eight of Swords.
The Eight of Swords feels like the illustration above. Eight deadly hands holding me back, eight enemy arms controlling me. I am helpless, a victim; I am vulnerability incarnate. I am the sufferer, left to rot. I am the sole dweller in no man’s land, alone by fucked fate. I am surrounded, and I have no fight left. My third eye is weary. I am beat. I see no escape. The whole world is against me, and I surrender to its assault.
But suffering is tiresome. Even the most addictive misery, the most comfortable gloom grows stale. There comes a numbness in submission, a vacancy, and in that, an instinctive need to be filled with something fresh. Searching, grasping, the sufferer examines their suffering. Bored, the self explores. Numb, and seemingly empty, the mind has lost its certainty. For the first time in a long time, questions arise.
Where are these shadowy extremities coming from? Are they groping and overpowering my body … or are they holding my hand and stabilizing me? Are those rotten, mortal wounds I have, or … are they healing in order to open as new eyes? Are the fingers sheathing my eyes so as to obscure my vision, to limit me, to incarcerate me? Or are they trying to rouse my intuition? And what of that swirling light? I had thought it was leaving me, but perhaps it is returning. I had considered them glowing ghosts, haunting me, but perhaps they are the magic of fairy tales, mending me, guiding me.
Perhaps, I see now, and seeing I believe, that these shadow eyes are not savoring my suffering; they are nurturing my transformation; they are cherishing the change, not my pain. The eyes stand guard while I mourn what’s passed. The eyes behold the bittersweet beauty when I cannot see it. The shadows are my mentors, the boundaries necessary.
Looking within, I start to see how the reasons for my inertia begin with me. I have been hurting myself. I have been making myself small and useless. I have been giving my time away. When faced with supposed enemies, I defined myself as weak; I isolated myself in a room with my fear, and I left my courage at the door. I forgot to be my friend. And so, in their pointed, mirrored ways, my shadows engulfed me, caught me in their web, took hold of me with tough love hands, held me up, and confined me to myself, as if to say, “Be with yourself. You need it.” As if to say, “When you come out of this, you will be loved.” As if to say, “If you come out of this, you deserve to be free.”
Healing is taking place within this sacred space. Surrender to growth, I am being told. Stop struggling. Acknowledge the sufferer within. Forgive yourself. Open your senses. Let yourself go. Let yourself change.