Friday, September 1, 2017

Inequality in the Sixes

I woke up this week and realized I’ve lived my entire life as a six.  Before the self love crowd starts getting on me about denigrating my appearance, let me clear I’m not talking about how I look, I’m talking about tarot cards.    As I get more and more familiar with tarot, I’m learning to really pick out patterns and apply them to my own life.  It also helps when the cards smack us upside the head with something again and again.   For me, pulling the sixes over and over again has helped me realize all the ways I’ve fostered inequality in my life.

Financial Inequality
druidcraft six of cups
Druidcraft Six of Pentacles
The six of pentacles is about financial inequality.  The first six of pentacles card I saw was the six of pentacles from the Druidcraft deck and I hated the card because to me it was all about people asking more from a poor old man than he had to give.  I shuttered every time I pulled that card because it reminded me of all the times I’d been asked to give more than I had.  As I studied (and acquired) more and more decks, I realized that most decks showed a more affluent person giving money to others and not a beggar being asked to give up his last dime.
Although the traditional image was less disturbing for me than the Druidcraft deck, it still represented financial inequality as someone with a lot of money was giving to someone with less money.  I thought about the very few times in my life I’d been receiving from others and about how difficult it was to ask for a handout and admit I couldn’t make my own way.
six of pentacles hansen
Hansen Roberts Six of Pentacles
I also thought about the many more times I had been on the giving side of the equation.  Being on the giving side of the equation brings with it its own set of issues.  As a parent, we have all of the money and it is our job to give it to our children as needed.  However, I know from my personal experience there’s been a lot of times where I’ve fallen back on the “we can’t afford it” line instead of being honest with my kids and saying we could afford it, but I don’t think it is the best way to spend our money.  An unfortunate result of the “we can’t afford it” line is that my children have developed poverty consciousness and think we can’t afford anything.  I’m working hard to change that by being honest about when we really can’t afford something and when it is not the best use of our money.
Unfortunately, we live in six of pentacles society where money is a measuring stick and people who can bring in more money are rewarded more than others even though a person making less money may be making the bigger contribution to society.  Executives are paid more than teachers even though teachers make a far more valuable contribution to society.
I fell into the money as a measuring stick mind set during my marriage as I made significantly more than my now ex-husband and toward the end of our marriage money became a weapon of control.  My feelings were since I made the money I got to choose where to spend it.  I chose not to look at the other contributions he made and based it solely on who made the most.  One of the lessons I learned from my marriage is that money is not the only measuring stick and that I need to look at people more holistically.
Emotional Inequality
six of cups
RWS Six of Cups
When taken at face value, the six of cups is a charming card with an older child giving a smaller child a cup of flowers.  The card seems to be about nostalgia, about having a big brother to take care of you, and about a happy childhood or, as one site says, the card is about simple goodness.  And all of those things are true, but there is a darker side to the six of cups.
I did a spread where I asked what I had learned about love from various couples and for one couple the six of cups came up.  Looking at the textbook definition of goodness and happiness, I was confused as I’d know that this couple had a miserable marriage where she made the money and he took advantage of her.  I had an ah ha moment where I realized that the six of cups could also be about emotional inequality with one person being more invested in the relationship than the other or about one person taking advantage of the other person.
I gained an even deeper understanding of this card when I kept pulling it when asking about my relationship with a certain someone.  At first, I viewed it as a happy card, but when I started to compare it to the two of cups which shows two people sharing a cup; I realized that when it came to adult relationships, this card was either about one person being rescued by another or one person taking advantage of another.  When I truly reflected upon my relationship with this person, I realized it was both.  My friend is a guy who likes to rescue damsels in distress and a lot of our relationship was built on that inequality.  On the flip side, I know that he likes to rescue damsels in distress so if I was feeling a little sad or lonely, I’d be the damsel in distress and he’d rush to my rescue.
Those realizations made me really think about the type of relationships I want in my life and even more fundamentally about who I wanted to be in my own life.  I realized that I don’t want to be a damsel in distress.  I want to be an equal so I want a two of cups relationship and not a six of cups relationship.
Status Inequality
The six of wands and the six of swords represent the two sides of the status inequality coin:  the six of wands shows the exalted hero riding in to the cheers of his adoring fans and the six of swords shows the gondolier as servant being ignored by his passengers.  As I reflected on these cards, I realized I’m more comfortable in either of these roles than in a role as an equal.
Six of Wands
Six of Wands
My roles as consultant, teacher, and leader reflect the six of wands as I love to stand at the front of the room and lecture and give advice.  It’s not only the praise and adoration I love, it is the disconnection.  I don’t have to engage in real conversation with people and let them in.  As I look back over my life, I realize I’m really comfortable in the roles of organizing and teaching because they give a purpose to my interactions.  When I’m teaching, I’m talking on a specific topic and even if I don’t have a prepared speech, I know the material well enough that I can speak convincingly.  I’m also passionate enough about what I do that my lectures appear to be heartfelt, but they’re really not because it’s difficult for me to truly let people in and engage in a heartfelt conversation.  Being above the crowd insulates me from other people’s messy feelings and emotions.
six of swords
Six of Swords
If being a six of wands lets me be above the fray, slipping into the six of swords persona lets me fly below the radar.  As long as I do my job and meet my obligations, I don’t have to engage with people on a personal level.  I take their orders and don’t let them in to see the real me.  I’ve been working as a consultant for the past six years and that’s the perfect job for an introvert who doesn’t let people in because everyone knows the day I walk in the door that the gig is temporary.  I’ll be there for six months or so and then I’ll move on.  There is no point to getting close to people because I’ll be gone soon.
A Lonely Way to Live
Living as six is a very lonely way to live because there aren’t true heartfelt connections of equals.  Everything is about dominating or being dominated and at the end of the day it is about fear.  Fear of not being good enough and fear of letting people in.  So my challenge is to dig deep within myself to find the courage to let people in so I can be a two of cups instead of a six.

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