I got discouraged for a moment. Perhaps it was a long moment, but I didn’t count the seconds. Fear resided inside the words I read, and festering with that fear was hatred. It has become easy to hate these days in a world that appears to be ripping into shreds of immorality. That’s what we’re shown on the surface where we linger with sensationalism. The media prefers to grasp the hand of the monster that lives both inside and outside of us, holding it like it never wants to let go.
I had been scrolling through Facebook, that skewed version of reality where the darker side of humanity is allowed to run amuck with gleeful abandon. A friend was bemoaning a poll forecasting possible results for the next presidential election here in the U.S. The screen was awash with red. I could have pulled myself into her fear, but I decided I’d be better served to let go the hand that would hold me into the netherworld.
I believe there’s an upside to hatred, if we choose to find it. At the core of hatred is an insidious fear that thrives in its deoxygenated environment. It’s a terrible existence. This choosing to “live” in hatred. The fear of the “other,” and the “unknown,” deprives us of life and the soul withers inside its troubled shell. But hatred tells a story, as does the fear behind it. It tells the story of a history that is ours, but one we don’t have to hold onto.
Hatred is a ruse to lure us backwards into the spiral of the abyss. We can stay stuck there, or we can dig through the ruins and discover why the tower keeps collapsing upon itself. It is a vulnerable journey, which is why we often choose to linger with the discomfort of fear. It yells a power that has no basis in truth, yet we listen to its words thinking that if we heed them we will survive, forgetting about the countless others that will perish. Forgetting that we too will starve for want of light.
But if we listen, really listen past fear to its origins, we get ever-closer to the true self. The self that wants to be healed. The self that wants to be held. The self that desires love. And, our tower begins to crumble its mighty fortress. The walls that would contain collapse. Smoke billows and the fires rage, until the flames abate. It may take a long time to put them out, but herein lies the beauty of creation. The alchemy of self exists inside ourselves. Collectively and individually.
Beneath the angry red screen that tried predict more hatred across the land, I felt the pulse of the vein of life. Life searching to be reborn. It’s been a long time. A really, really long time, since we’ve known how to live in harmony with the life around us, and that inner life that is the self as a part of the whole. Perhaps we need to give ourselves a little more compassion. When we look at the vast and complex journey of our existence in human form, we see the struggle to survive, but also to thrive. And in the searching and breaking down, we can relearn how to balance upon the thread of light that is joy.
Humanity has reached the stage of existence marked by The Tower card in Tarot. Its number is 16 in the major arcana cycle. Balanced on one side by The Devil, and the other, by The Star, The Tower card is the epitome of upheaval. To get to the light of the star, that inner, true light of the self, the devil within and without must be reckoned with. As much as we may fear the devil outside of us, we must come to realize that he only exits because of what is inside. The chains, as the card reveals, are self-imposed. We can choose to live chained to fear, or we can break the fortress and let the light shine through.
Becoming, in essence, naked to the true self, is a vulnerable act. It takes trust, courage, and a surrender in the knowing that love is the truth of the self and of Life. If we reduce The Tower card down to its integral parts, we arrive at card 1, The Magician and card 6, The Lovers, in the major arcana. The Magician possesses the alchemical magic of the self, The Lovers, of the union of the opposing energies; the yin and the yang that exist in the individual self, as well as the self searching for union with another. If we join the 1 to the 6, to complete the reduction, we arrive at the number 7. Card 7 in the Tarot tradition is The Chariot. Here we see the individual reigning over polarity. The yin energies sit one side of the chariot, the yang on the other. The sun and the moon are in balance both within and without. Over the breastplate of the figure that is self, is a square through which the light of the heart is shining through. The light of the star shines on the crown of the head.
The Chariot card is card 7, though. It precedes The Devil, The Tower, and The Star in the cycle of life represented in the Tarot. The choice to reign with the force of the ego or with the peace of inner light is still subject to personal will. The number 7 is that magical number that speaks of transformation. Everything is possible, and so there is the promise of union through alchemy.
This breaking down and collapsing that is so prevalent in our time often feels fueled by hatred and the ego’s need for self-preservation at all costs, but when we look closer, as symbolized in the card, we can also find the light of origin. Lightning strikes the crown of power from the top of the tower and opens the pathway to the divine self. Enlightenment can occur through the upheaval, if the self allows it.
Through the rubble of fear and hatred, there exists around us and within us, so many seeds of this light. Stories of courage and truth abound as voices gain strength with the conviction that love is the essence of life. Young women are stepping into the light of the divine feminine energy in a manner the world has not witnessed for a long time. They bring to us the promise of balance as they break fearlessly the barriers of fear. There is a feeling of warrior energy, a warrior energy fed by the light of truth. Their voices are strong and clear, and the are joined by many others, both male and female, in a dance of union. It’s our choice, collectively, how to collapse the tower and find the balance of life, but it all begins with the self. The self that stays mired in fear, or breaks the fortress to find the light.