I somehow got reading an Atlantic article on emotional abuse in relationships tonight, and how women (or men) can sometimes go years and decades in a relationship that they defend to their friends and family, but then once they get the courage to leave, they slowly realize how abusive it was. I first started to think of Enneagram types that are more likely than others to abuse, or types that would

Seven of Wands

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Here is a sample tarot card description for the Seven of Wands if I were to give the Enneagram meaning of the card. The words in bold indicate how I’d use it in a reading (I think I’m on point with other tarot readers on these definitions), and the rest of the description is my reasoning.

Rejection/Refusal/Perseverance/Staying the Course

When Type Sevens are grounded in their bodies (wands), they can stay with their anxiety around not feeling enough stimuli and be deeply present with whatever is unfolding in the moment, persevering to the finish line. So the man in this picture could be saying “no” to distractions and staying on course. But with stress comes a desire to surf the high of exciting projects or exciting conversations, gobbling up the beginnings of things, and leaving a littered trail of abandoned efforts in his wake. We can look at Gurdjieff’s use of the musical scale to demonstrate the Type Seven’s place in the archetypal “octave”. Between the 3rd and 4th notes, and the 7th and 8th notes are a half-step, or a semi-tone. Gurdjieff’s writings on the octave are far over the heads of most of us layman philosophers, but suffice to say that if the octave was like our path towards the completion of a goal, those two points are where additional kinds of efforts, or different methods that had not been used prior to that point need to be inserted in order to finish the scale (he called those two points “shocks”). So at the second “shock point”, at point seven, an additional step up to a new level of consciousness is called for in order to reach the target (This is why many of us never reach our goals when we’re almost there, by the way!) Stress around life’s complications and messy difficulties settle into those points and push a Seven to seek out more, newer, and more exciting stimuli, away from the original trajectory, preventing them from reaching life’s depths and richness, which ironically, is the very thing they crave.

Of course, this is too long and would need to get cut back. Just putting it out there. Also, I’d want to say somewhere that wands represent embodiment, or right action; cups represent an openness of heart, and swords represent a clear mind. Don’t ask me yet what pentacles represent. It’s coming to me, but way too slowly. If anyone wants to send me your thoughts on the subject, please do.

I just want to add that this is not to say that a Type Seven should never leave a project or a marriage, or that they should feel bad for wanting to travel to as many countries as possible in a short amount of time. They understand more than the rest of us how short life is, and they have an acute appreciation for how much there is to experience. But insofar as their core fear is driving their action— that life is not constantly arising in newness as it should and they will feel the pinch of deprivation if they don’t have such-and-such an experience— they are reacting rather than responding to the stimuli with a clear mind, heart, and body. They are encouraged to notice the anxiety in the body as a first step toward calming the mind.

And it’s not only Sevens who will get this card, and when it appears for another type, it won’t have the connotations of the fear of missing out behind its appearance every time. If you’re dealing with a Seven in your reading, this card might come up more often, but not necessarily. I get this card most often when I’m asking about a particular thing that I’d like to do, but have been told by my cards repeatedly over the years to stay away from it. “Stay away” or “stand your ground”- that’s another way of interpreting the card, but an Eight could get this card when he’s rejecting weakness, for example, or a Nine could get this card when she’s refusing to cooperate.

So what is the point of knowing the backstory of these cards if it doesn’t even matter in a reading? As a Four, I like knowing exactly what the Tarot gods are accusing me of when I get a Four card. There is nothing so ego-arresting as having such an exquisitely detailed, granular description of the charges against me. Getting that degree of nuanced feedback is incredibly helpful to me, because there’s actually a big difference, if you think about it, between the Four of Cups- a card that would tell me that I’m pouting or withholding emotionally from someone as a silent rebuke for not rescuing me for example, and the Four of Pentacles- a card that tells me I’m being precious about my gifts, feeling “exempt from ordinary ways of living”, censoring myself or not allowing myself free expression out of fear of bringing shame on myself.

There’s something disarming about getting a rebuke from a tarot card that makes it so much easier to take than getting it from a friend or family member, if they even wanted to stick their neck out that far. This is why I love tarot. I’ve been made aware many times that I’m subtly, invisibly (even to me) mounting a defense inside, and tarot will say it without mincing words— or pictures— and I can get back on track towards presence.

Back to Blogging- Happy New Year!- and Tarot!

Hi everyone,

Someone wrote a tarot program for me for Christmas!

Someone wrote a tarot program for me for Christmas!

I said I’d take a two and a half month break from my blog, and now I’m well-rested and … actually starting to dread going back to work next week, so I’m hoping blogging will help ease me back in.

A lot has happened since my last blog post way back in October. I finished my Constitutional Law class with a great mark that I’m proud of, I studied a ton of astrology and got a few more astrology readings, I celebrated Christmas with my family over Skype while I stayed home and dealt with a health issue, I finally found a dry shampoo I like, and now it’s 2019 and pundits are anticipating a difficult financial year ahead. Whelp! But never mind the bad news— let’s talk about Christmas presents!

I got three of the best Christmas presents ever this year. One of them I gave to myself-- a total rearrangement and cleaning of my apartment from top to bottom, and I feel so great now that things are organized and labelled in storage boxes instead of stuffed in a closet and teetering on top of each other. Moreover, they say in Feng Shui that “If you want to change your life, move 27 things in your house.” Well I’m pretty sure almost everything I own got moved this week, except my couch, my bed, the cutlery drawer. They also say you should put a fountain in the area of your home that represents your finances, your career, or your family, so in anticipation of these aforementioned tough times ahead, I went out and bought a little fountain for my financial area tonight. I also discovered a trendy, but budget-friendly furniture store called Structube , and bought a nice white console for my hallway. I am so excited to see what life changes may come from my better-looking and more functional apartment.

Feng Shui really works, by the way, even if it’s just to shift the energy into an ending to something acting as a drain on your life. Last spring, I decorated the Love corner of my living room with some lovely imagery and some healthy plants, and within the week, my boyfriend at the time casually mentioned that it was probably time we got married. It had been three years and he had never used that word around me before. I was skeptical that that was the next step that we needed, or that he was ready— I would’ve been happy if he had just proposed we spend more time together— but I was just glad that the Feng Shui was working. A few months later, we broke up, and (I can say this now), it was the exact right thing that needed to happen. He moved across the country, and I went travelling in Asia for three weeks. When I came home, a lovely picture of an embracing couple I had hung there fell to the floor and the brand-new picture frame from Michael’s broke into a bunch of pieces. I reluctantly came to understand that our relationship wasn’t meant to be, it was just the Feng shui and some interesting omens that hurried it along to its natural end and helped provide closure.

Anyway, back to Christmas. I was also super excited about getting a Soda Stream machine, something I’ve been wanting for two years. I love carbonated water, even if it’s just plain-tasting- it’s such an exciting boost to the boring exigence of drinking 8 glasses of water a day.

I got a few other things, but one thing that really touched my heart was a home-made tarot computer program. When I don’t feel like shuffling and re-shuffling actual cards, I use the electronic cards at www.astrolis.com/tarot. I’ve been doing that for over three years now, but one thing I don’t like is there are only three cards. I mentioned this drawback to someone last month, and he created a program with a nine-card spread for me! I know there are a bunch of other, more exciting spreads out there, but I learned tarot from the nine-card spread, and it remains my favorite.

Taking the time to crop pictures of all 78 cards and write a computer program around them is just so special, and I want to build on his program a bit. I want to focus on what I perceive to be another weakness of the Astrolis cards- their descriptions of the minor arcana are just awful. Totally wrong, and just embarrassing for the person who wrote them. I have so much respect for the astrologer who writes the daily horoscopes on the same site (the ones I recommend are Chatty, Love and Monthly— not the rest). Whether the author is a man or woman, I don’t know, but their writing reveals a certain depth of wisdom lacking in a large swath of horoscope-writers, so the fact that this person shares his or her site with such poor quality tarot descriptions is surprising. Here is an example of a card description for the Three of Wands:

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The three of wands is one of the most positive cards in the deck (as long as you’re not an Enneagram type three and you’re getting it because the tarot gods are calling you out on your unhealthy manifestation of your Three energy), so what is with this convoluted description?? We all know that the guy standing there is a merchant waiting for his ships to come in— and he sees them on the water, arriving in the harbour. So this is a really exciting card about anticipation and the materialization of a hope. To start your description with crap about a good group dynamic is to misunderstand the basic spiritual properties of numbers handed down to us by the Greek philosophers. I’m aware that I’m getting all opinionated and twisted up about this; I know we don’t have much information about the origins of the tarot, blah blah blah, that they’re “shrouded in mystery”, but anyone who studies philosophy or the mystical arts can see that there are some eery similarities between the different Western spiritual traditions’ use of the numbers one to nine, and they, in turn, match with the work of Pythagoras and Plato on the divine properties of numbers. It just drives me crazy to still see such a basic, centuries-old understanding of the meaning of the cards when I watch tarot readings on youtube. Our understanding of psychology has moved into the 21st century with the advent of the Enneagram, and so must the cards that represent our inner lives.

The description of the major arcana, on the other hand, are fine, and the court cards are fine. Those aren’t as important to me as getting out the correct interpretations of the minor arcana for future generations.

So I want to write my own descriptions for the minor arcana. I guess tomorrow’s blog post can showcase a sample card description from a an Enneagram point of view, and see how people like it. I’ve written long, verbose blog posts about correlations between the Enneagram and tarot, so the challenge will be to distill everything down to the most basic key words and phrases. Maybe I’ll write the Riso-Hudson descriptors of the type when healthy and open, and then the descriptors of the type when defensive and constricted. I’ll also include descriptors from the Greeks, and I also love Sandra Maitri for painting in a little of the psychological sinew within the Enneagram frame.

But with this particular blog post, I would like to wish every one of my readers a Happy New Year. I am sending you out vibes for growth, balance, wealth, happiness, and health in 2019.

Seven of Wands-- Grounding Oneself when Anxiety Around Boredom Arises

Society sure gets impatient when things don't give us what we want right away.  We hear, "just get rid of it" or "just dump him/her" all the time when something doesn’t produce when it should.  Seven of wands, like most cards in the tarot has two meanings- to reject or to persevere, and you

Nine of Wands-- "Ignoring One's Aggressions Out of Existence"

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It's time to go back to tarot cards, specifically the nines.  I'm going through this phase in my life where I seem to be surrounded by people who are Enneagram type Nines on all sides, and if you read this blog, you know I make a correlation between the Enneagram and the tarot.  And if you are surrounded by Nines like me, you probably know exactly what it feels like living inside a vacuum bag when the vacuum is on: they don't allow anything to affect them so everything you project outward to them gets blown back in your face.  Either that, or the opposite happens: they stick to you psychologically and agree with and copy everything you say and do. There’s a resistance to being affected because they know that if they allow themselves to be touched, they will glom onto you and not be able to separate. So resistance is their only way of holding onto a semblance of individuality, and what powerful resistance it is. The picture at right does nothing to show how fiercely their heels can dig into the ground.

Three weeks ago, I covered how I interpret the Nine of Cups card, and today I want to cover the Nine of Wands because I had a frustrating "Nine of Wands" encounter last night.  It was a casual catching up conversation with a friend over text. The halting conversation took place over 3 hours and 20 minutes.  I took a 1.5 hour walk in the middle of it, and the rest of the time, we stayed on the surface of about 3 conversation topics, often with a good 10-20 minutes between texts.  Not easy for a chatty Type Four like me who likes to go deep and tackle difficult subjects, but I know he was trying, and I understand the reasons for the difficulty in navigating conversation with me- which to him was full of landmines- so I tried to stay upbeat for him, and I give him big kudos for his efforts to connect despite the difficulties.

The core problem for Nines is that they are seekers after internal and external peace, but are so fearful of creating conflict that will disrupt their peaceful connection to people that they insist on ignoring their assertiveness and personal boundaries away. Don Riso is one of the masters at describing the Enneagram types so I’ll let him describe their inner mechanism:

The Nine is the primary personality type in the Instinctive Triad— the most out of touch with their instinctual drives and their ability to relate to the environment. This occurs because Nines do not want to be affected by the environment. They have established within themselves a kind of equilibrium, a feeling of peace and contentment [my edit: hence the nine of cups card] and they do not want their interactions with the world to disturb them. Similarly, they do not want to become unsettled by powerful feelings that their instincts would stir in them. Nines have sufficiently dissociated from the intensity of their passions , their drives, and their anger to allow them to remain tranquil and even-tempered.

This dissociation from their aggression gives Nines a false peace that comes with the cost of being out of touch with reality, and by ignoring their problems, they create even more conflict than if they had just given voice to their desires and impulses in the first place.

But they have a choice. Riso describes the outcome of either taking the high road, or taking the low road— continuing to react unconsciously to the fear of separation:

Thus, when they are healthy, they work to create a peaceful, harmonious environment around themselves. They may do this directly by soothing others and healing conflicts and hurts, or indirectly through creativity and communication which appeals to the idealistic side of human nature, to innocence and gentleness. In this way, Nines contribute to their world, but also influence it so that it will support their inner peacefulness. When Nines are less healthy, they maintain peace for themselves by ignoring those aspects of the environment which they find disturbing or upsetting. Eventually, this can lead to a highly dissociated approach to life in which Nines to not relate to others or the environment as they really are, but instead relate to an inner, idealized image of others which is more pleasant and less threatening.

The more you try and provoke them into action to solve the problem, the more they retaliate by disappearing into a wall of stubborn silence and denial.  You can't really win unless the Nine in your life is fated to see the red flags that their behavior is seriously ruining their life and destroying their relationships, and takes conscious action to change their behavior. (I say fated because I’m also a student of astrology, and some of us are not going to develop our spiritual side because there is no indication in our birth chart for it.)

Anyway, I hope that provides a fuller definition of the Nine of wands card. Tarot readers for the most part get it right when they interpret it as “defending against” or “defence”. It’s not as bad as the Nine of Cups that is always misunderstood, but it’s nice to know the inner psychology of the actual Type Nine person to give you a fuller picture during a reading.

Snake on a Plain-- And Psychological Projection

The state of Ohio is home to an important and mysterious snake effigy that archeologists have said is "arguably the most recognizable icon of ancient America."  Built by the Indigenous people of North America, the 1300-foot long undulating serpent has been declared "the largest survivng effigy mound from the pre-historic era" and National Geographic listed it as a "Great Wonder of the Ancient World". 

In my research for this blog post, I also

Artist as Leader

In North American Aboriginal culture, artistic ability was highly prized and considered a quality that showed potential for leadership.  The Western tradition, on the other hand, has arguably rewarded rationality and fluidity of logic over artistic abilty -- at least before the Dark Ages and after Enlightenment-- and there is a glaring