Hidden Sorrows Spread

Continuing on my journey to the centre of my earth, I thought the Hidden Sorrows spread from the Aeclectic forums looked promising. It does seem to me that there is a deep well of sadness at the root of my difficulties; I am in perpetual mourning for something I am not fully aware of. What did I lose? What was taken away from me to cause this wound and how can I begin to heal?

For decades I’ve fought against the concept of “blaming” pieces of myself on an outside event. I was taught that you take sole responsibility for who you are and how you live your life. Anyone who sought outside help for their personal issues was judged as being “less than”. But then there’s me; the Mad Scientist, who just has to know the Root of All. So I go where I’ve been told to stay away from.

I think, when I was very young, I must have heard or inferred an idea from someone I loved and respected that made me believe I couldn’t have x unless I was y first. Or that being a certain way wasn’t approved of. It’s completely bizarre to think of this, because I come from a family of quite liberal-minded artists and I can’t imagine what this “bad” thing could be that I’ve tucked inside me and made Law. Whether I misunderstood because I was too young and had no perspective to apply, or simply heard something that wasn’t for me, there is something. Something that defies my logic and attempts to think it out of existence. The only hope I have for forward momentum is to understand how and why I got here in the first place.


Truth-Seeker's Tarot by Sylvie Daigneault and David Fontana; Duncan Baird, 2008

Truth-Seeker’s Tarot by Sylvie Daigneault and David Fontana; Duncan Baird, 2008

The creator of the spread states that: “A question is not necessarily needed as it may be something that you, or the querent, tend to avoid anyway and may not be aware of.” So my only question is “What?”

[1] What is your Regret, your Loss – what or who did it involve?
6 of Pentacles

First impressions: Choice. But is it freedom to choose, or a forced decision? I don’t like this, what are the ugly red arrows doing messing up the pretty garden?

LWB says: 6 is a lucky number of balance & harmony, good fortune, joyful approach to life, Pentacles fortune is capricious & subject to highs and lows

And?: The 6 of Pentacles jumped from the deck while I was shuffling! I slid it back into the middle of the deck continued shuffling and cut 3 times, but it made its way back to the top. Okay, you’ve got my attention, but I don’t understand what you’re trying to tell me…

In the context of the question, I come again to the concept of choice. Oh wow. I just realised something: those pentacles messed up my idyll! Look at my reaction to the “ugly red arrows”. They seem so discordant with the rest of the picture – imposing their stark angularity on the natural scenery. Hmm.

Possibly gifts (coins)? Natural gifts (garden) and having to choose between them, rather than have them all.


[2] What was the Mistake you made? (Actual or perceived)
Ace of Pentacles

First impressions: Buried treasure, or treasure locked away so that it can’t be seen by anyone, thinking “princess in a tower”, the coin looks lonely, or maybe it’s germinating (sun shining = hope), the coin should be outside though not trapped inside a building, shame?, protection – if I hide it away nobody can hurt it

LWB says: Ace is first cause, strength & self-reliance, number of the self and personal identity as well as of unity of all (individual as part of a greater whole), Pentacles combines magic circle & 5-pointed human figure = ability to enclose & contain power of others, female power to captivate whether positive or negative.

And?: Ay yay yay. Is this a literal “burying of the self”? Because, yes, I am guilty. Thinking now in relation to the 6 of Pents: the 6 pointed star is symbolic of the unity of male (upward-pointing triangle) & female (downward-pointing triangle). I did make a conscious decision to bury the “less desirable” feminine aspect of myself at a young age. Sadly, this was motivated by misplaced shame and embarrassment based on feedback I got to things I expressed, as well as observing how women were treated due to their perceived weakness. I am not weak!

Incorporating the concept of gifts… that happened a little later, but yes, I can see that coming into play here too. Certain of my gifts were praised and encouraged more highly than others, whereas the neglected gifts were the ones that give me true joy. They still are, and yet I find them incredibly hard to access because of that early squashing.


[3] How do you Positively deal with this in current day-to-day life?
The Empress

First impressions: Head-on, face-to-face, strong but courteous, keeping up appearances, presenting a brave front, regal, dignified, put-together, mature, a real lady, prim, barring the way

LWB says: Mother archetype, approachable & practical, represents feelings & senses, essence of womanhood, uniting matter & spirit, conscious mind – aiding those who seek the truth, crown = birth gifts, orb surmounted by cross = unity of man & woman and humankind & God, acknowledge nurturing as well as dominating side of you, am I I touch with my earthy feminine self?

And?: Okay, now we’re making progress. The concepts of birth gifts and MF-unity are being expressed here, so I’m on the right track. She is wearing the crown – claiming her gifts, displaying them proudly and making them her own. She is actively working unity within herself and with her God.

I’ve got a long (long) way to go before I could ever consider myself “earthy & feminine”, but progress is being made. I am becoming more comfortable with the birth “defect” of being a woman, although I still reject the concept of Motherhood as it relates to me. I’ve never like The Empress for this very reason: she represents everything I reject. The pre-defined roles of womanhood; the limitations. It is getting easier to make peace with this, though, as I grow older and societal demands become less in the face of my passing my sell-by-date! Ha!

I can’t help but notice that she almost seems like a Gatekeeper – either blocking the way to the wildness behind her or keeping the wildness in check. Perhaps she does both. The Bruce Springsteen song “Secret Garden” pops into my head. I am teary-eyed now. I welcome the day when The Empress can step off her throne, take off her shoes and go running in the garden, unafraid of who might see (<- The Star!)


[4] How do you Negatively deal with this in current day-to-day life?
2 of Wands

First impressions: Fire & eruptions, cooking something up, but there is greenery too – life in the desolation

LWB says: divergence from Ace unity into opportunity for diversity & conflict, fertility, male & female, part of ourselves that enables us to turn and look at ourselves, allowing for self-reflection, self-consciousness, beware of “black or white” thinking, Wands = potential for conflict of ideas, what desires prompt your actions: positive or negative?

And?: Oh cards, you’re so funny. I (sort of) joke about how I have a seething cauldron of rage bubbling just below the surface and there it is. Behind the prim & calm face of The Empress, things are waiting to EXPLODE! I fight with myself, I fight with the world. I believe things “should” be a certain way and when they aren’t, I am upset. It is a very childish way of viewing the world, but then this mind-set was developed in early childhood so it’s no surprise.

The green leaves show potential for positive results. Nothing ever grows out of stagnancy – friction is required for any spark to be ignited. If the conflict can be resolved, if a truce can be declared, the inner tension could lead to staggeringly fertile output. Externally, I can either make peace with the way the world is, or I can work to change what I can. Change perceptions? Ideas!


[5] How does this mistake/loss/regret Manifest in current day-to-day life?

First impressions: She’s a good little girl, shutting the lion’s mouth, “be quiet, beast”, force, stifling natural instincts

LWB says: woman is holding open the lion’s mouth, female strength based on intuition & love overcoming masculine energy, lion demonstrates power to suppress desire to dominate the woman, don’t allow rational objective mind (lion) to overrule spiritual wisdom (woman), remember progress on path to self-discovery is made through gentle strength not severity, how can I strengthen my own sense of purpose to succeed on my journey?

And?: Quite telling how I get something so negative from a card that should be so positive. I wonder if both versions could apply, leading to the conflict seen in the 2 of Wands: trying to force both these concepts to live inside the same person = trouble brewing.

My first impressions lead from a combination of The Empress and the 2 of Wands: I see myself forcing the rage and dissatisfaction and wildness into submission. There is no gentleness or empowerment, just pure facade. This has been going on for years. I associate stilling the lion with Sekhmet, the lion-headed Egyptian goddess primarily known for her destructive aspect and dealer of uncompromising retribution. I recognised Her manifestation in me a number of years ago and even set up a “gate” several years prior to that to keep that force I didn’t understand under control.

(Sekhmet’s more compassionate alter is Hathor, who can be ideally represented by ta-da! The Empress.)

At the same time, it could represent the shift from that meaning to where I find myself now, changing tactics to be more gentle and accepting and make the transition I am seeking. Here, the eternity comes into play – a never-ending cycle of moving from one state into another, going up and down, over and under. Her purple dress could point to the 7th Chakra – spiritual connection. I am drawn to the leafy water the characters are standing on. It is turbulent, but not stormy. I’m sure there’s something I’m missing there…


[6] Who or What is really Responsible for this?

First impressions: Huh. Trickster? One who controls all the elements, makes things disappear, betrayal? I’m still so new to this that it is difficult for me to see a card that I classify as positive in so many ways, as having negative traits, although I know that nothing is that simple; it’s all shades of grey. Confusing, this one.

LWB says: Challenges us not to be deceived by the transient material world, life is a magical act with our mind as the magician, captures the crowd with sleight-of-hand (AND real magic), remember that the mind can be deceived by delusions and masquerade, objects = mental clutter that keep us from self-exploration, unites heaven & earth, unity & infinity – new beginnings & the eternal cycle of life; how can I begin to shift my focus in life from external things to my inner self? Inside is the greatest treasure.

And?: A ha! I see I see I see. Could it be – quelle shock et le horreur – that I am The Magician, hiding things from myself? Hiding myself from the world – being too much “inside” and not enough “outside”? It would have been interesting if I did reversals – would this card have been reversed? That would have made things a lot clearer. Mental clutter I can understand. I fill myself up to the brim at every opportunity, with very little time to digest and reflect. I’ll say it again: I am a glutton. Even working on this project, it is extremely difficult for me not to get stuck reading everything about tarot etc, rather than buckling down and simply doing.

Light bulb! My mental clutter makes the “real” world disappear. Sha-zam.


[7] How do you Move Forward from this?
Queen of Swords

First impressions: Watch out, here she comes! Defender, independent, fights for herself, stop being so reserved (Empress) and speak up, Valkyrie/avenging angel, she is on a sea of clouds, her hair looks like a dragon’s tail, she is the Princess pushed to the point of action – time for debate is over

LWB says: Queens possess something of the Mother archetype along with the Empress, complement & temper masculine aspect, strengths & weaknesses of human form: Swords = divisive & manipulative, sowing discord; every force that creates can also destroy if it seeks to control the fruits of its creation (ie. controlling Mother), love that gives can also be love that binds (possessiveness), examine own role as mother – to others and to ourselves

And?: Damn it, just when I think I’ve nailed it! So perhaps I am being advised on how not to act, rather than the opposite. I still see a call to action – especially in light of the other cards – to claim my birth gifts and use them, but also a warning not to try and control them and mold them into what I think they *should* be; to love them for what they are and let them run free. Guilty!

This reminds me: When I was in Kindergarten I would bring home a blue painting every day. The painting didn’t start out blue, though. My teacher told my mom that I painted something quite lovely and then, just before home-time, I wold paint over it with blue, presumably so no one else could see. Whether I was doing this to keep it to myself out of selfishness or out of fear of criticism for it not being good enough (even if only in my own mind) or even out of a desire to protect myself from the vulnerability that comes when you express yourself artistically (all three?), that hiding & secluding/controlling behaviour in relation to my creative exploits was there at a very young age.

The lonely Ace of Pentacles, The Magician, The Queen of Swords. Hey-o!


SHADOW CARD: What is the result of this that I don’t want to face?
5 of Pentacles

First impressions: Suffocation. Unbalanced, cramped, more locked away, you can bury something but it will continue growing until it bursts the confines of its prison, similar to 2 of Wands threatening to boil over

LWB says: another human card – doubly so (5 & Pentacles), 5 is traditionally unstable, Pentacles is most significant for human aspect, represents potential good fortune and adventure as well as unpredictability, attitude to risk

And?: The 6 Pentacles in the garden have been split into 1 and 5 and both are locked inside a tower! Is this the choice that was made – to forsake the many for the one? I can also see the Ace growing into the 5 over time and is now like a pressure cooker waiting to blow. The Tower alludes to the Queen of Swords barricading instead of protecting – very much my attitude to risk, the risk of exposing my soft white underbelly. My humanity. My creativity. I am being told that it is time.


Closing Thoughts

Again, there is a progression – with Pentacles – of “many outside” to “few inside”, as with the Cups in the High Priestess spread. If I express my gits, they will flourish and multiply. If I confine and control them, they will wither and destroy me from the inside.

Both of the lemniscate cards are present and a tiny voice of the back of my skull is suggesting a Karmic lesson at play here. That I’ve done this before and will keep doing this until I recognise what is going on and change things. I can force and subdue and bury and hide as much as I want; regardless, I’ll just have to come back and do it all over again.

The Empress mimics the 2 of Wands somewhat in layout and colour. She wears red and her hair is flowing lava, with her crown as the eruption. I see her “ruling” this spread. She is the most outward display of what’s going on, with the real scene being played out beneath her and beneath all that, is the 2 of Wands. It is quite telling.

Wait. OMG, I can’t believe I’m so dense! It’s the hidden sorrows spread and there’s little Pentacle, hidden, and the Magician, responsible for the hiding! Wow. Right. Chalk another one up to the TST for holding the mirror up and showing me that my ass does, indeed, look fat in these pants.


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