It’s probably the full moon’s influence, but this week I’ve been asking myself, “What is my purpose in this life? Where do I go from here? What do I do next?”
So last night after my kid was comfortably asleep, I drew a few cards for myself. For the first card, I asked the question, “What is my purpose in this life?”
And this…this is what I turned over.
The 5 of Cups.
My first instinct upon seeing this card was, “Well, fuck THAT!”
When you look at this card, what’s the first thing you see? What do you feel? I can tell you what I felt: Isolation. Desperation. Sorrow. Grieving. Longing.
Hence my four-lettered gut reaction. Who wants suffering and isolation to be their purpose in life? It certainly doesn’t sound very attractive, does it?
It took me a few seconds to catch my breath and quiet my mind before I looked at the card again. I thought of what my very wise and wonderful best friend told me a few months ago over breakfast one morning: “Jennifer,” she said over our plates of eggs and avocado toast, “Life is suffering.”
I thought of what I’ve been learning about Jyotish astrology through my Ayurvedic practitioner training, and how when we come across a chart with what some people consider to be “negative” aspects we’re encouraged to look at them as challenges for growth. And never ever forget that as human beings, we have free will. We have the power of choice.
So, with these things in mind, I revisited the card again, and started looking at the images, colors, and symbols.
Cups are the suit of emotions in Tarot, so naturally, I intuited that a huge part of my purpose in this life is to FEEL. And feel, I do… I was talking with one of my closest friends a couple of weeks ago about this very thing. The way that she and I feel things so deeply – we feel our highs much stronger than other people we know, and we feel our lows, too. Because, really, what better experience can there be in life than to just feel it all?
The first thing that I noticed was the long, black cloak. Black. Black is the color of magick, you know, and not necessarily bad magic. Black is the color of The Void, or The Great Mystery in Native American lore, where everything and nothing exists. Anything is possible in The Void, as long as you can show up and do the work required. It can certainly be a scary place for some people because in The Void, anything goes. There are no guarantees, no promises, and so it takes a certain kind of person to learn how to love freely and live in a place of freedom while living in the shadow side. Would it really be so bad if I wrapped this kind of magic around myself? Would it really be so bad if I looked at this as my challenge and my purpose in life – to learn how to be comfortable in what one of my good friends refers to as, “that sucky in-between place”?
Next I looked at the number of the card. In Tarot numerology, the number 5 represents challenges and instability, but it also carries with it a tremendous energy of freedom through action. I love that – freedom through action. It means taking responsibility for our lives. It also reminds me of one of the best things I heard at my recent weekend at The Burlington Yoga Conference during a teaching from Lama Migmar Tseten: “Unless we are challenged, we will not thrive.”
Challenge is how we grow, how we thrive. I know this about myself: if I’m not challenged, I get bored. And I get pissy when I get bored. Bring on the challenge, please!
Next we have the cups themselves. Jeweled, golden cups. Three of them have been knocked over (or kicked over, remember that I get pissy when I’m bored, right?) and the blood, wine, Hawaiian punch, or other red liquid of choice has been spilled all over the ground. Pretty sad, eh? Those cups are empty.
There are still two golden cups upright next to the cloaked figure, and that, my friends, is where we find our strength. Our attitude is everything, and remember that these cups are about emotions. How do we feel about this situation? Do we choose to dwell on the sadness or anger or anguish of losing what was in the first three cups? Or do we choose to focus our energy on enjoying and taking care of whatever remains in the two remaining cups? Remember that whole “free will” thing? Yeah, that. We have a choice, every day of our damn lives. Of course, being someone who feels deeply, it’s easy for me to allow myself to get swept away by the anguish. But that…that’s when I need to look at my other two cups. And I have a lot of things to choose from to fill those two remaining cups: family, friends, ideas, books, even something like the place where I live or the things that I’m passionate about doing like designing, drawing, singing, cooking, or the joy I get from spending time in nature.
Oh, yes. Those two cups can go a long way for us.
The last thing that struck me about this card is the sense of isolation. You can see in the upper left hand corner a city, perched way up on the mountain. It seems like it’s very far away, like the cloaked figure is doomed to a life of isolation and separation from society.
Is that always a bad thing? Not necessarily. For one thing, I’ve always been something of a loner. I’ve never felt like I fit in – anywhere. Not in school, not in college, not at any of the jobs I’ve ever had. I’ve always felt like an outsider. But I’m starting to realize that’s okay.
To illustrate my point: last summer, my best friend and I were at an ashram in New York just outside of Westchester county. We spent a hot summer evening listening to a talk with one of her favorite spiritual teachers, Joan Suval. And Joan was recounting an incident she witnessed during a seated meditation years ago, where a couple were holding hands while they were meditating. Joan spoke up. “I told them that sure, it’s nice to have someone to go with you along the way, but you get there faster on your own.”
Intuitively from this, I understood that part of my life’s lessons are how to be with other people, and how to respect my own boundaries (and theirs).
And would you look at that. Suddenly, I’ve turned what could have been some very depressing, negatively-charged energy into something more constructive. These are my life lessons, my challenges. Do I just give up and roll over and hope that they’ll go away? Hell, no. This is what I came here to do. I came here to be a seeker, to continue the work of my mother.
The best part of the reading? I’ll have to go into more detail another time, but two of the remaining four cards reminded me that I have tremendous passion and creativity at my disposal with which I can navigate these challenges and come into my truer, radiant, and divine Self.
What are your questions about your purpose in life? Do you ever wish you had just a tiny bit more clarity in your direction? Take a look at my services page and see if something speaks to you. Let me show you how you can take these challenges and turn them into opportunities for spiritual and personal growth!