Happy Summer Solstice for those in the northern hemisphere! And as with all things in our relativity universe, this expansive light energy is balanced in the southern hemisphere with a retreat into darkness and maybe a bit more rest and contemplation. Balance is cool, and then, because everything works in spirally cycles, the longest day is followed by shorter ones and off we go into the dark again.
And of course the Tarot is full of lovely cycles of action/yang energy (see Wands and Swords) balanced by pause/yin energy (Cups and Pentacles).
Today, though, we are celebrating the freedom theme with Joy Vernon’s call to write based on the old song “Don’t Fence Me In.” In honor of the good to be found in wide open spaces, I will highlight some of the Tarot cards that speak of freedom to me.
Summer (The Empress)
Ah, the expanse of summer. The friendly (mostly) outdoors, warm and inviting. The holidays/vacations away from restricting jobs, the free growth of all things plant life (although around here in Oregon, things are turning a bit brown now, but still we have new flowers everywhere). Definitely reminds me of our Tarot Empress, with her summer green on and lots of berries and grains around her.
Fences and the American West
Is freedom the illusion or are fences the illusion? That is the question. The mythology of the American West looks back and laments the loss of free range for cattle and perhaps the loss of open prairie and the domination of the bison on the land. But there are different definitions of freedom, depending on your point of view. For the European settlers, freedom was being able to expand into and fence in/own the land they happened upon. For the Native Americans, it was the freedom to continue their roaming of unfenced lands that belonged to entire tribes instead of individuals, the freedom to roam where the hunting was good, instead of controlling food with fences.
I think the Native Americans had a better idea, since fences seem to be illusory both in abstract symbolism (in the Eight of Swords and inside our heads) and in the real world (fences soon fail if not constantly tended to and they don’t keep everything out, ever).
Even when we think we are fenced in, we can always find choice in some aspect of the situation.
Wait. Death is freedom? Yep. For one thing, ever feel that release when you’ve let go of something you really didn’t want anyway? Left a job you didn’t like? Woke up that year after you lost someone dear and realized the whole world was open to you in a new way? Got divorced (when it was your idea) or got over a relationship you were attached to?
All of those kinds of things felt for me like both losses and freedom, pretty much at the same time. Definite Death card stuff.
And of course in the literal sense, death for the person going through it is the ultimate in freedom from the restrictions that our biology puts on our conscious energy (not that I’m advocating leaving life prematurely, but I think this is true).
So, yeah, Death = freedom, and the Death card = an opportunity to grasp your freedom.
Freedom Means Nothing Left to Lose
Here’s the real loss card, not Death but the Ten of Swords. But there’s that same freedom to start over after a devastating loss, just like Janis Joplin sang in her song. I know I’ve felt that “nothing left to lose” thing before, although I haven’t always made the best choice on how to use that freedom, or have just been afraid to grab it. The card does make it look like one needs to take a long rest before greeting the dawn in the distance, but that dawn is always there, in life or beyond it in our relative universe. Life and death, gain and loss are always sides of the same experiential coin. Remember, there is always choice.
Freedom to Expand Beyond Self’s Boundaries
There are no real fences. I know I’m a bit focused on loss and the choices coming from that right now. My father passed away last month, so the idea of freedom beyond life as we know it is close to me. I truly believe in Albert Einstein’s ultimate freedom equation, E = mc2. Every atom of matter, every wave of energy, is free to constantly move and exchange, expand and contract. And therefore, so are we.
Go forth in the light of High Summer and claim your freedom to continue or to begin again, whichever you choose.
And also, please choose to explore more on this topic and Tarot with all my blog hop neighbors, starting to the left with Jenn Waltner or heading off to the right to Jay Cassels. And if you get lost, just consult the master list.