Shedding My Skin

Death from the Motherpeace Tarot

2018 is a Death card year for me.* The Death card from the Motherpeace Tarot is one of my favorites. It includes Birch trees, which in Celtic lore represent new beginnings and rebirth, but it also shows death. So many Death cards tend to skip straight to the rebirth part, ignoring that death has to happen first.

Death and transformation aren’t easy processes. You get reduced down to bare bones like the skeleton in this picture. In fact, my word of the year has ended up being “Bones,” meaning what is most foundational to me? What is most essential to me? What really matters? I’m working my way down to the bare bones of many things in my life.

I also love the image of the snake shedding its skin in this card. I have a friend who has a pet snake, and every time he molts he becomes lethargic, stops eating, and his eyes cloud over. Each time she worries that he isn’t going to make it through the molt. So far he’s made it through every time, emerging fresh and new. However, it obviously is not an easy or a comfortable process for him, and death and transformation aren’t easy or comfortable processes for us either.

I feel like I’m in the process of shedding my own skin. My skin feels itchy and uncomfortable. It feels like many things in my life don’t “fit” me any more. However, I don’t know what I’m moving towards, I don’t know what’s next. Like physical death, experiencing transformation in our lives is moving into the unknown. It’s a process, and it moves in its own time, and right now I just feel like all I can do is wait and see what happens next.

That’s why I haven’t been blogging as much—I don’t really have all that much to say. My life feels like it is in flux. I’m not quite sure who I am right now, or who I am becoming. It is both frightening and exciting. It is tempting to try and do something to speed up the process, but I’m realizing that isn’t possible. Like my friend’s snake, I have to just let myself go through it, and trust that I’ll emerge fresh and new on the other side.

I feel like I am questioning everything right now, getting down the bare bones of everything in my life. The constant questions I keep asking myself are things like, “Does xyz really matter to me?” “Do I really care about xyz, or am I doing it because I think I ‘should’?” “What do I really want? What matters to me?” It is liberating to ask these questions, but I don’t always have the answers. Sometimes I just have to live with the questions and trust that I’ll find my answers eventually.

And like the snake, I find myself retreating during this process, becoming lethargic and withdrawn. I go to work, I take walks, I go to bed early. I’ve also recently started working on old crewel kits from the ’70s that I find on eBay. They are almost like paint-by-numbers—no counting, no thinking, just lots of stitching, which I find soothing. There’s is also a sense of nostalgia, looking back to my childhood in the late ’70s/early ’80s that makes working on these kits a pleasure. Again, it feels like I’m getting down to just the bare bones of life. It’s simple. It feels right for me right now.

So I’ll most likely continue to be somewhat quiet as I make my way through this period of transformation in my life. It is feeling very good to just experience things without having to put them into words. I’m realizing that words aren’t always enough, and sometimes they even get in the way of truly experiencing our lives. I’m enjoying just being and feeling and not having to think and analyze it all.

Here’s to getting down to the bare bones and finding our true foundations!

*To determine your personal tarot year card, add 2018 + your birth month + your birth day. For example, if you were born on 2/15, you’d add 2018+2+15=2035. Then add those numbers together: 2+0+3+5=10. Your personal year card would be 10, The Wheel of Fortune. If the numbers add up to 22, your card is 0, The Fool. If they add up to 23 or more, reduce them again by adding the two digits together, for example if you have 29, 2+9=11, and your year card is 11, Justice. This system was devised my Mary K. Greer, and more information about tarot year cards can be found in her books Tarot for Yourself, and Who Are You in the Tarot? 

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