Trust issues. We all have them. We may start relationships with friends, lovers, business and life partners open and trusting. We look into their eyes and see their beauty, warmth, talent, and what they offer to us. We accept it at face value. Unfortunately, people have secrets (we all do) and sometimes those secrets are the driving force behind motives and actions. There is always the risk that someone we know and trust will deceive us, sneak around or betray us. Maybe it was not the original intention or perhaps it was and the deception was there all along. We just didn’t want to see it.
Our relationships with one another can be our biggest teachers. We often see what we want to see, believing intentions are genuine, blindly trusting in someone. As we experience betrayal and deception we have a chance to learn about ourselves. We start out naïve, not knowing about such behaviors and so do not recognize the threat when it appears. It happens again and we just can’t believe it did! The next time we might start to get suspicious and learn to recognize signals, but sometimes there are no signals to warn us. We continually are learning about trust and boundaries. We can learn to repay betrayal and sneakiness in kind (and eye for an eye) or we can learn discretion and come into our own integrity.
In the card above a well dressed (and probably very charming) person stands out in the open for all the camp to see. Seven swords are secreted behind the back ready to bring forward and do some damage. Like all swords of power, these swords have names: fear, shame, anger, resentment, retaliation, expectations, and greed are likely possibilities. Remember that the swords in the Tarot are about our minds, the way we think, and Truth – personal truth and discovering Cosmic Truth. To become a Master of the Swords we all have to experience what is not true so we learn to recognize those enemies and learn how to survive in our integrity when we must do battle with them. The swords used in the act of betrayal have to be mastered. When, for example, fear becomes a reality with us – for any number of reasons – we learn to be afraid and we learn to draw that sword to protect ourselves. Or, if greed is the reality, we might learn to cheat, steal and manipulate to get what we want, possibly because we learned a hard truth of not having enough. The biggest sword is sabotage – to avoid having our own ego/feelings hurt we are the ones to do the first attack so we can walk away “unscathed.”
But there are always scars. The mind keeps repeating the patterns until we are carrying our own
bundle of swords behind our backs. How do we break this cycle? As we work on our self-worth, learn from our mistakes, value our integrity, we find we do not have to engage in sword fights with others. We learn to recognize the warning signs or trust our gut when a similar pattern is presented to us in a new and oh so delightful form. Instead of rushing forward with swords drawn, we stop and give some space. What feels familiar probably is. Look at it. Trust yourself. Lay down the sword of retaliation and try some compassion. Create some space – step away from the challenge and knee-jerk response and think about it for awhile. Evaluation, discretion, and compassion are far better tools than sharp swords.
If you find you must indeed defend yourself – and we all have to do that at times – let your sword be one of personal truth. If we do not engage in the fight we are far less likely to be wounded or to cause wounds.
You don’t have to prove yourself to anyone. Do your best. We all get seduced from time to time. Eventually we find our lives full of relationships with partners who also come from their personal integrity. This place of truth, even if mistakes are made, is a place of growth, love, and transformation.
What a beautiful mirror we become for one another.
Card from The Prairie Tarot by Robin Ator
**Editor’s Note: Kathryn is offering a Private Intensive Tarot Study Program. Please inquire through her website: KathrynRavenwood.com