Friday, September 1, 2017

Forgiveness in the Fours

 I’ve been working on forgiving my abusive ex since the day he walked out the door seven years ago.  I was holding on to anger over his using me, abusing me, and then throwing me away.  Like many abused women, I stayed because I didn’t know how to survive without him.  However, unlike many abused women I was perfectly capable of supporting myself.  I stayed because I’d been brought up to believe a woman was nothing without a man.  While praying and choosing to forgive were the actions, it was a journey through the fours that helped me to truly find the path to peace and forgiveness.


It seemed odd to me that it would be the fours that would take me on my journey of forgiveness because they are the cards of stability, of resting, of practicality, of achievement, and of humility.  As I meditated on how the fours relate to forgiveness, the words practicality and humility were flashing at me in neon letters and I realized that forgiving is the practical action because forgiving frees my heart from the anger and resentment I’ve been lugging around and lets me move on and be happy.

Humility is the state of being humble and without pride, which for me means accepting that it’s not all about me.  Over the last week, I’d gone on an emotional road trip through my past inspired by the Page of Cups and I realized that so many of the things I was holding on to had affected me, but really weren’t about me.  My married best friend choosing to spend less time with me was about choosing to put his family first, my ex-husband’s abuse and choosing to leave after 22 years of marriage was about his emotional issues and wasn’t about me at all.  My mother raising me the way she did was about her skill set as a parent and not about me at all.  None of these things that were weighing me down were not really my baggage to carry.

Once I’d accepted the practicality of forgiving and gotten off my high horse (six of wands if anyone is keeping score), I turned to the tarot to help plot my course to forgiveness and it was the fours that provided the roadmap.

Death (XIII=4)

The Death card is all about change and when it started showing up in my readings, I knew that I had to embrace change and be willing to move on, which would require forgiving and letting go of the past.  That wasn’t something I really wanted to do because there was a part of me that really wanted my ex to pay for what he’d done.

As I delved deeper into Death, I realized that I had known the relationship was over (dead) long before he walked out the door, but I had been holding on to something that wasn’t healthy for me.  As I was reading the meanings of the death card, a line from Psychic-Revelation struck me, “Not all relationships are fixable. Don’t beat your head against a wall for very long. You’ll know when it’s “long enough.”  I had to smile as I recognized my own behavior.

As I got mired in the anger, resentment, and self-blame, Death Reversed began making appearances in my readings telling me that I was reluctant to change and that to heal I had to let go of things I knew were not healthy for me.

Four of Pentacles

Death was not the only card showing up to tell me I wasn’t accepting change.  Over and over again in readings related to emotional health and growth I pulled the Four of Pentacles.  As the greedy little miser looked out at me from multiple decks, I felt the anger and resentment course through my veins as I was hoarding these emotions and refusing to let go.  All of those negative emotions were being hoarded in my body and were slowly strangling me.

The cards often have a sense of humor and when I asked how to heal emotionally, the four of pentacles reversed showed up to tell me that in order to heal I had to release all the anger, resentment, and negativity.  In short, I had to forgive.

Four of Swords

The Four of Swords is about taking a break and letting your soul heal.  When the four of swords turned up, I knew I needed to step back and quit fighting life so hard.  I had to stop trying to control the world and I had to let go. I could no longer hold on to all the anger (swords) I was carrying in my heart.  I had to take a break from the pain I was carrying.

For someone who has carried a lot of pain around for a lot of years, taking a break from the pain was really difficult.  The Four of Swords was telling me to just STOP.  Stop being angry, stop being resentful, stop driving yourself crazy thinking about where he was, what he was doing, and why did he get to be happy when I wasn’t.  I started by consciously redirecting my thoughts every time I thought about him, every time I started to get jealous and ask why he had love and I didn’t, and every time I was angry about him not helping support the kids.  Redirecting your thoughts is often not an easy process and there were days I had to stop, breathe, and redirect multiple times, but eventually I stopped obsessing.

Four of Cups

The Four of Cups served as a reminder that I was choosing to live in poverty consciousness.  I was so concerned about what other people had “done to me” that I wasn’t accepting the wonders and blessings that were right in front of my face.  Instead of focusing on the fact that I have people who love me, I have a beautiful house, I’m healthy, and all of those blessings, I was wasting my life in anger and resentment over something that was never going to change.

The universe was literally holding out a cup of wonderful stuff and I was saying no because I was focused on the past.  The realization that I was choosing to live in poverty consciousness was a cold wet slap in the face as pulling this card made me realize that I was deliberately choosing to be a victim.

Emperor (IV)

The role of victim is not one I’ve ever aspired to and when I asked the cards how to get out of the victim role and move on, the Emperor started showing up.  At first, I wasn’t exactly sure what the Emperor was trying to tell me because I’ve relate the emperor to a male authority figure.  However, a little bit of reading soon revealed that the Emperor was telling me to take control of my own life.  I could choose to be a victim or I could choose to move on and let go.  The Emperor is all about structure and rules and one of his specialties is making order out of chaos.

The chaos in this case was my unruly ego telling me that in order for me to forgive people, they had to grovel and be worthy of my forgiveness.  As long as I was caught up in believing that, I would stay mired in misery and pain.  I had to make a conscious decision to choose the logical choice of forgiving over my heart’s choice of resentment.

Four of Wands

Following the twisting and winding path of the fours has led me to the happy and harmonious Four of Wands.    As Biddy Tarot says, “This card indicates a sense of harmony and balance as well as completion, and thus symbolises a time of peace and joy in life that come as the result of often difficult and challenging effort. The Four of Wands is one of the most positive cards in the Tarot deck and indicates general good fortune, satisfaction, and fulfillment.”

I feel after all the heartache and pain of the last few years, I have finally found the serenity and peace that true forgiveness offers thanks to the help of the Fours.

January 17, 2022 Revisit

I reread this today as I was contemplating the four of swords, more about that in another post, and I realized that even though I still have moments where I am angry about things that happened a long time ago, I've mostly forgiven and moved on with my life.  I think this tells me that forgiveness is sometimes like grief, there is no magical cure for it and that it ebbs and flows based on what is going on in life.  There can be times when I don't care about the people who have harmed me and other times when their names give me a visceral response.  And that's okay, I am entitled to my emotions and as long as they are not negatively impacting my life, it's okay.

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