On episode 26 of Living Tarot, I talk about my experience working as a medium and sitting with people as they are moving through grief. There are so many types of grief that we have all experienced this year, and it isn’t all related to death or loss of a loved one.
- I explain the societal pressure of moving on and how it can invalidate feelings that people experience as they’re grieving.
- Grief is a spiral rather than a straight line, but our society often thinks of it in terms of making progress, and I talk the dissonance between that idea and how people feel.
- I talk about common phrases and expressions that I hear from people who are dealing with grief.
- I also discussed the ways in which we package our grief so that it’s socially acceptable and appropriate for other people.
- Finally, I talk about how embodying the five of cups can help us sit with the discomfort of grief without allowing it to consume us.
In this episode I also refer to episode 23 of Living Tarot with Nora Belal – in this episode we talk all about her work as a death midwife and navigating grief. You can listen here. https://www.starsagespirit.com/2020/12/02/death-midwifery-and-embodying-page-of-cups-page-of-pentacles-with-nora-belal/
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Sheila M 0:05
Welcome to Living Tarot. I’m your host Sheila Masterson. I’m a tarot reader and teacher, an energy healer and medium, and creator of Practical Tarot for Everyday Intuitives. Each week, on this podcast, I’ll share my own experience of embracing and growing intuition and interview guests about how they heard the call of intuition, embraced the adventure, and embodied the tarot along the way. Join us and learn how you can stop second guessing, empower yourself through intuition, and live intentionally with the tarot.
Welcome back to Living Tarot. In today’s episode, I wanted to dive deep on the idea of sitting with grief, of allowing it to visit, of recognizing its presence, in particular throughout the holiday season. 2020 has been a difficult year for most people in the world. And there are a lot of different types of grief that we’ve all been dealing with, whether it is the grief of a family member or loved one passing away, if it’s the grief of having to let go of something that you thought was going to be different, like a business or something like that, or just the disappointment of not being able to see friends and family in the same way that we normally do around the holidays. All of those are valid reasons to grieve or to feel grief. And I really wanted to acknowledge that in this episode and talk a little bit about what it means to sit with the energy of the five of cups. Now in the Tarot, the five of cups is in the minor arcana. It is a card that really represents acknowledging grief and taking a moment to really sit with that feeling, to allow it to exist without judgment or without having to cover it up or make it look pleasant for other people, or make it palatable. And I’ve worked with a lot of people who are grieving over the years, in particular with mediumship work, but in a lot of the other work I do as well. I do a lot of grief work in Reiki, and energy healing work that I do. And I also think that it’s present frequently in readings that I do as well with Tarot. So I really wanted to take some time to talk about some of the things that I’ve learned from doing mediumship. This year, I have not been doing this kind of work. It’s a challenging time in general for me to try to manage that energy. So I’ve been taking a little bit of a break from doing it. But I did want to take some time to talk about how the five of cups shows up in our real lives and how some of the themes that I’ve seen over the years through doing a lot of different mediumship readings, sometimes some of those ideas that I hear over and over, I think would be helpful for me to share with a wider audience. So that’s kind of what I want to do in this episode today. So starting off, when we talk about the five of cups in the Tarot, we’re really talking about acknowledging the reality of our disappointment and our grief, and not forcing it into something that is pretty or that is socially acceptable to talk about and to really like acknowledge the deep disappointment and the deep longing, the deep depression that can come along with that kind of grief. And this card is important because one of the things that I have seen a lot over the years of giving readings is that people feel like they need to achieve in grief, which might sound strange, but because in the United States in particular, we are very driven by accomplishment and by progress, people hear about things like Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s stages of grief, which are wonderful, but which most people take out of context because when Kubler-Ross wrote about grief, she was talking about the grief of people who are dying, not everybody who is left behind, so to speak. And so there is a definitive end to the dying, they know that they are going to die and so they have to move through those stages. For the rest of us who are left behind, so to speak, that is not the case. But what I hear repeatedly from clients is, I’m in this stage of grief, or I’m in this place, or I should be farther along, I should be over this by now, I should not be so emotional, I should be able to have these conversations, I should be able to talk about it without crying, or I should be able to clean up my mom’s house without getting super emotional. There are so many shoulds and have-to’s and a lot of expectations that I see people who are grieving set for themselves, that aren’t really realistic. When it comes to grief, we don’t need to achieve. We really need to grieve and sit with it, and allow it to be what it is in the moment and that is more of like a cycle or a spiral of grief. So at the center, we might have the actual event that happens and over time, you know, we kind of move farther and farther away from center, but we’re still orbiting that same pain and we will have days where we feel fine, and then days where we actually might find a little bit of joy and maybe there’s some guilt that comes in with that as well. All of that is normal. Maybe we have days where we just feel terrible and maybe it’s like a couple days or a week or two weeks, where we just feel awful again, and we thought that we were over it. But what I’ve heard kind of consistently over the years from my clients is that they feel like they should be in a different place than they are. And when we do that to ourselves, when we say I should be in this place with my grief, or I should be over this by now, we don’t take the time to actually acknowledge what is. So we just kind of shove down and ignore whatever grief that we’re feeling and that’s not healthy for anyone. It will come out in other ways, whether it’s, you know, anger, rage, frustration with the people around you. And as a general process of grief, that’s not a problem. But when it starts to affect other areas of your life, because you’re not taking the time to acknowledge what’s really going on, the grief that you’re truly feeling, and acknowledging that not just to yourself, but also to other people in your life and feeling like you can talk about those things when they come up instead of having to, you know, kind of moderate other people’s experience of your grief. So I think that’s important to talk about. Because there is a lot of expectations that we put on ourselves, in particular, when it comes to the holiday season, to show up joyfully, to show up in like a pretty package of grief. I’m sad, but also it’s okay to be happy around me, which I don’t think anybody that’s grieving thinks that it’s not okay for other people to be happy around them, but I think sometimes other people can feel guilt for, you know, celebrating when they know that somebody is having a hard time. So I do just want to acknowledge that. And when we bring that back to that sense of the five of cups, we really want to in those moments when we are feeling sad, to really acknowledge it to say, you know, I don’t want to bring the party down or, you know, I don’t want to change the mood too much, but I’ve been having a really hard time or I’ve really been missing this person or I’m really struggling this year, doesn’t mean that you can’t have a good time or that I can’t have a good time, but I’ve just been having a really hard time. And also setting yourself up to get the kind of support you need. So whether that means therapy, whether that means community, through religion, or friendships, or just having consistent time, and even though for many of us, that means not doing anything like that in person, I do think that it’s important to, you know, set up some sort of digital hangout so that you can get that kind of support that you need, maybe it’s a grief group or something like that. But five of cups is really about acknowledging what’s real and not feeling like you need to make it smaller or more socially acceptable. So that’s the first thing I wanted to say. I also wanted to say that having that more cyclic version of grief is also more of the reality of it. So you might have an extended period of time over the holidays where you feel fine and then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, you feel super angry, or super betrayed, or really, really sad or deeply depressed. And that’s really normal too. And I want to say that because there are so many different ways to express grief, and everybody’s experience is completely unique. So as much as we’d like to say that there’s rules to follow, or there’s a progress that’s natural, I don’t actually think that that’s true. And the more pressure you put on yourself to feel that way, the harder that it is for you to feel, what’s actually going on for you. So whatever emotions, feelings, ideas come up, that you’re feeling in that moment, just allow yourself to feel that, you know, you can take some time to write, you can give yourself a little bit of extra time, before or after family time, or, you know, it doesn’t have to be a huge event, you can just find small ways to allow yourself to feel that if you’re not comfortable totally sitting down and like sinking into it. And if you want to sit down and sink into it, that’s also okay. Consider this episode of living Tarot your permission to feel however you feel this holiday season. If you take anything out of this today, I hope that you will take that you can show up exactly as you are. And if there was ever a year to do that, it is this year. I also want to take a moment to talk about this year in relation to the five of cups. So there has been a lot of disappointment this year and a lot of grief this year. There has been racial violence and oppression that is gut wrenching and absolutely horrifying. And it is a deep wound that needs to be acknowledged by many people and has not been until this year, which is a travesty. There has also been widespread, at the time of recording this, I mean over 250,000 Americans have lost their lives to Coronavirus, so there has been widespread death. On top of that, we have also put a lot of pressure on health care providers, people who are working through this pandemic and dealing with unprecedented death, grief, helplessness that a lot of them have not experienced. And I do want to acknowledge that also because that is the kind of grief, even if it isn’t personal to all of us, it is a grief that exists out there right now. And is it is a whole entirely new thing to navigate.
Hey there, I wanted to let you know that I’m currently accepting bookings for my career ahead tarot readings. These readings are designed to help you see the energy of the year ahead to close out anything that’s been holding you back in the present year, and help you expand into your highest level in your career or business. Each reading happens to go through the year month by month talk about what you’ll be dealing with and how to best approach any challenges or hiccups that might come up in the year ahead. I have very limited bookings around the holidays and I’m starting to get booked up into the new year as well. So if you are interested, please head on over to the show notes for this episode or check out my website at starsagespirit.com and if you’re more of a do it yourself kind of person, I’ve also created a DIY year ahead Tarot guide that will lead you through a very similar spread to what I do with my clients and help you to define what you really want out of this year and see any challenges and how to approach them through the year. It is an entirely personal reading, it is a very accessible price point, and you can use it over and over. So it’s not specific to next year and it’s not even specific to this time of year. You can use it for your relationship around your anniversary, you can use it on your business anniversary, or your birthday. The options are really endless. So if you are interested in purchasing your own DIY year ahead guide, you can do that by heading over to the show notes today.
There’s been a lot of death and a lot of grief. There’s also been, you know, other grief, which is not getting to see family members that we love, not getting to spend the holidays as we normally do with the people that we care about, not having the opportunity to see our friends. Many people have had to really adapt huge life events. So, you know, I have friends who have had babies during quarantine that we haven’t gotten to meet yet. There are friends and family members who have gotten married during quarantine, a lot of disappointment of life’s rites of passage, and the community and celebration that goes on around them, not happening anymore. And so people have continued to do those things, but without the same sense of community and witnessing that we’ve experienced in the past and there is absolutely grief that comes in with that too. There are people who have experienced divorce and breakups, people who have lost jobs and careers that they love. And I wanted to take a moment to talk about these, you know, we might define them as lesser griefs. But I think it’s important because when we create this like hierarchy of grief, and it’s not to say that everything is on the same level, but when we create a hierarchy, we tell people that what they’re feeling isn’t valid. And that doesn’t serve anyone because then we create this, this process of feeling grief, but not feeling like we have a right to it and so we just suppress it and shove it down. And it comes out in all these other areas of our life, or it comes out in resentment and that’s not what we want. So I really want to take this time today and say, the five of cups is here for all of these different types of grief. It is here for like the heavy grief of loss of a loved one, a spouse, a child, a partner, a grandparent, a friend. It is also here for the loss of identity, of a job, of a relationship, of feeling like you are a completely different person and you don’t know who that is yet. So I think that’s really important to talk about because in our society, we have a tendency to think that grief is only for the big things. It’s only for death, but it’s really for all of these different things in our lives. And I talked about it a lot on my episode with my friend, Nora Belal, who is a death doula. And there’s no right way to grieve, which is the reality of the five of cups. It’s about honoring where you are, really giving yourself a pause and a moment to actually consider where you are with your grief, to not feel like it has to be pretty or it has to be, you know, always in in the sense of like constructive. So when people come in, and they say things like, oh, I’ve been struggling, but I’m feeling a little bit better now, or I’m going to this group and it’s making me feel better. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but I’ve noticed that people have a tendency to package their grief like that. Oh, you know, the breakups been really hard, but I’ve been trying all these new hobbies, and I feel better now, you know, best best month ever, I’m out on my own, again, new and improved self. That’s great and it’s perfect if that’s how you’re handling things, but I think that one of the things that I’ve seen with my clients is that they feel a need to show up and package that in a way that is acceptable to other people, rather than actually talking about how they feel. And it’s created this kind of surface level, acknowledgement of grief and the surface level acknowledgement of disappointment, and a very surface level support. And I experienced this, which I talked about recently on one of the episodes I can’t remember which one about talking to a couple friends of mine who have had losses this year or are in the process of dealing with some grief around family issues. And, you know, I pulled both of them aside separately at a outdoor socially distanced event and just kind of checked in to see how they were really doing because I saw some of that like packaging of grief, like, Oh, I’m really struggling, but you know, our new baby helps, you know, and it’s really joyful. And did really kind of pull them aside and say, you know, how are you really feeling, it’s okay to like tell me what you’re actually feeling like, I’m here for the heavy stuff and the life stuff and whatever you want to talk about. And I think that, you know, part of that I have a unique perspective and I think I deal in the world of grief a lot. So I have an easier time sitting with it than maybe some other people do. But both of the people that I had those conversations with recently, were like, thank you so much for asking, this is what’s going on and one of my friends who has a parent who has early Alzheimer’s, when I asked, told me that they’re happy to talk about it, but they feel like they can’t talk about it with other people, because they don’t want to make other people uncomfortable. And I hate the idea of people feeling that way, like they can’t share something that is going on with them, because they don’t want to make other people feel uncomfortable, or it’s not, like socially acceptable to talk about grief, or to talk about that disappointment and frustration and anxiety that can come up with dealing with a sick loved one, or someone who is on hospice care or someone who has just passed. So I do want to encourage you to really ask your friends and it’s not about prying. If they don’t want to talk about it, they don’t have to talk about it. But it’s about letting people know that you are there to embody that five of cups energy, and to sit with whatever grief they have to bring in. And to say, like, you know, I’m just here to listen, you know, I’m just here to listen to what’s going on, I won’t try to solve it for you, I won’t try to fix it or to you know, tie it up neatly, I’m just here to talk about it if you want to just talk about what’s going on. Because what I’ve heard over and over from people who are going through these periods of grief is that having that opportunity to just kind of air out what’s on their mind, to share what’s going on, and to not feel like the other person is trying to fix it or like they need to fix it, is a huge help. And it might not seem like you’re doing anything, but there’s something about bearing witness to grief that creates a sense of community and support without you really having to do more than just listen. So I hope that that helps. I will also say that, as we do this, boundaries are also important, which I just had two episodes where I talked about energetic boundaries and ethics with energetic boundaries. And I do want to talk about this here too. Because whether you are a person that’s grieving, or whether you are a person who is supporting someone who’s grieving boundaries are very important. And that means that you follow the lead of the person who is in that situation of sharing something vulnerable and sharing that grief. So that means you can ask questions, but don’t force the person to be where you want them to be and don’t force them to ask something that they aren’t comfortable with. And really, you know, let them talk about what they want to talk about. And if you are a person who is grieving, if there are people who are constantly bulldozing your grief or playing it down or just not giving you the opportunity to talk about it or trying to tie it up into a package for you, consider this your permission to separate yourself from that person. It’s particularly easy this year with Coronavirus to avoid contact with people. And if you have people in your life who are not providing the kind of support you need right now, it’s not that you need to permanently cut them out, but you don’t need to continue to participate in that kind of relationship where you’re having to constantly do a lot of extra work, to package everything, and to make your grief smaller and more socially acceptable in order to exist within that relationship. So consider this your permission to do what you like and to really honor yourself as you enter into that five of cups energy. So I hope that this will serve you all well going into this season and the end of the year. And I will see you all back here in a couple of weeks. Bye for now.
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