Tug of War and the Liminal Space

As I was writing the weekly reading for my Instagram followers, I was further guided to share a personal reflection about how, why, and where, this spread came from, how I work with my Tarot Journal (which is just a plain $1.96 notebook), and a little bit on how I interpret this spread to help you with your journey. As always, I share a Kundalini Kriya that can help around the energy of the spread.

This spread was created by me, and was a completely intuitive process downloaded in bits and pieces, as I evolved, and was ready for the next thread to weave into the tapestry. I’m really pleased with it, and wholly in humbled by the slow, bittersweet process through which this came through.

The Soul, Heart and Mind spread that you’ve seen on my Instagram feed, has a name. The spread is lovingly called “Tug of War” after the song by Nikka Costa that has recently reentered my brain space. I first heard it a little over a decade ago during a time of deep pressure, and suppression around my personal sovereignty. At that time, I chose to continue to suppress it, and it cost me. For years I didn’t listen to this music and I thought it was just a forgetting that humans do. But just last week, I heard another song by her in a bank commercial, of all things, and quickly remembered this one. The thoughts of compromising my sovereignty came rushing back to me as I read the lyrics, with the realization that I came around and chose myself: first with Kundalini yoga, then divorce, and then marrying my wife.

Threshold, after threshold, after threshold, and for months I stayed silent. To have lived a life that’s not yours, to shrink before it while grinning and bearing it for years, and then to finally rise high enough to say “enough”. That moment, that Phoenix archetype of rising-from-the-ashes-climax contains its own special shedding, undoing, and rebuilding. And this is where I remain.

I read something this morning that begins to bring into words the shifts of this transformative time:

“Some of us ran so far away, during a period of survival that we forgot to come back home to ourselves. Return home to yourself. You are safe now.” – Lalah Delia

Immediately, I understood that I broke the cycle of ignoring my needs because I never allowed myself to ask the questions. I muted myself for years. I now ask the questions but pause and take the time to listen. I attentively pause to tend and show my soul that she is finally safe to speak, and loudly! But the fear, the fear of what it all is, was, means, and looks like; the MIND. The MIND is in constant hyper awareness, constant need of protection. And The Work is in soothing it. The Work is in comforting the MIND as it perceives wrongness, and danger, that no longer exists.

And it’s hard, exhausting, repetitive work. It’s a double bag of Valerian tea at 10AM, pulling 8 cards a day, carrying three decks in your bag knowing full well you have just as many tarot apps on your phone, meditation when you would rather cry, crying when you would rather meditate, non-stop binging of Life After Lockup and The Oval because your mind needs numbing, asking to be held, dancing in the kitchen as you sweep to clear energy for the 5th time, asking for help, writing, asking-asking-asking and asking, unplugging from social media, going dark, serial listening to podcast episodes about herbalism, singing so loud it makes your chest hurt, chopping 26 cloves of garlic just for the repetition, finding pockets away from your job-and-being a mommy to three teen boys that need you…to even do any of this, WORK.

But, it was in this liminal space that the Tug of War spread was birthed. It was where I learned the crossroads of my heart, the seat of my soul, and watched my own personal Greek Drama play out. It was this intentional return to the place of neither here nor there, the-betwixt-and-between place that this spread was birthed, because I kept going back to listen. I visit as often as I can, and now that I have been in this Other/Underworld of my soul, I know that I am meant to return. The myth of Persephone comes to mind when I try to wrap my arms around liminality.

For me, this is true spiral soul learning, with the mastery that only comes when you’re ready to receive it. I bless this journey that I am on, and cherish the deep wisdom that wells up, when I show up.

The instant connection between the song Tug of War by Nikka Costa, and the birthing process of this spread is in this lyric:

“My soul wants to go one way 

But my heart and mind playing tug of war with me baby”

The SOUL is the seat of intuitive wisdom and creation, it helps you remember what you’ve learned over lifetimes, in this consciousness. Not a small task because we are so resistant to the strength we hold within.

Questions can look like: What is the middle path here? What is the truth between my heart and mind? What is the point of entry to where I can bring this to my current understanding?

The HEART is the crossroads of our tenderness and fierce strength. Where we are pliable and where we are also bedrock.

Questions can look like: Where is the balance between my where I am fierce and where I am tender? Where can I be tender if I am being too fierce, and vice versa? Have I found that foundation that is impenetrable, with which I can then start anew?

The MIND is where the clarity and confusion play out like a Greek Drama. The chorus is always there, telling and retelling the story, while the actors are playing out their (our) fate as we watch in horror, sadness, glee, the entire panoply of emotion. Fascinating.

What’s happening in my psyche right now? What is true to the analytical part of me? What is the chorus of my personal Greek Drama telling me?

And then, you can synthesize the information you receive. I encourage you to just take what the cards give you. What image pops first? What story comes through bright and clear like a clarion call? Which story is quieter, softer and requires that you bend to hear it?

Look at the numbers, do they tell a story? Are they meaningful to you? Yes, there is a numerology to tarot, but before you start googling “numerology of tarot”, what significance, if any, do the numbers have for you? The goal here is to start listening to the seat of your intuitive wisdom first, before seeking input from others.

Are there more Major Arcana than Minor Arcana? Majors are larger, broader arcs of energy and shifts, while the Minors are more of a day to day, energy that can play out as shorter periods of time or situations. What could that relationship tell you?

If you can, write it all down, with a date, and the moon cycle, and astrological sign it is in, because that could also be a helpful contextual thread to pull.

In this week’s reading using The Light Seer’s Tarot by Chris-Anne, we have:

Death Rebirth in the SOUL position

Knight of Wands in the HEART position

Five of Pentacles Reversed in the MIND position

Our soul knows that it’s time to evolve, to accept the changes that the Universe/Synchronistic Circumstance is trying to nudge us to shed and elevate toward, and the heart is so ready for the ride. She is excited and running free, wild, and without a care towards another evolution for its soul.

It’s ready to create on that new level of awareness, and announce its arrival in the most primal of ways. Think of music playing so loud you can feel it in your chest, as you sway to the rhythm, completely enraptured by the artist’s rendering of their soul work through the speakers; that’s where the heart is now. The mind is afraid, it can’t let go of the loop of uncertainty that it’s caught itself in.

The grip of fear around what could happen is so tight that it’s curled up like a ball, bound, gagged and white knuckled, around the heart, stifling it. Lean into your soul’s calling. Your souls work, and the mind will soften just enough for you to hear the drum of your heart, just enough to give the heart breathing room to sigh and let in the freshness that your soul wants to bring to you.

Again, from the song through which I believe this spread was born:

“There’s nothing I don’t know that hasn’t come to me yet. We’re only trying to remember what we chose to forget. Everybody’s a child that is open and free. If we can trust ourselves to be indiscreet with our love”.

I wholly recommend the Kriya for Relaxation and Releasing fear. Type it into your search bar, just like that, and a YouTube video will pop up. If you want to enjoy the fruits, you have to do The Work.

Sat Nam.

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