[The Five of Wands in the Rider/Waite/Smith deck]
This post is a bit of a departure from my blog's basic focus, but certainly within the topic of The Tarot. It's an old dream exploration of mine that illustrates how dream work, in this instance using The Tarot, can occasionally offer very pragmatic help. (It appeared in 2003, in a slightly different form, in the email newsletter "Dancing World.")
In early May, 2003 I had a lengthy dream that ended with an image that intrigued me:
We have ordered lunch. When it arrives I eat it all, but avoid the pile of orangey-yellowish very fine grain. It winds up spilled on the floor. I clean up as much as I can by hand and tell my friend I will get the broom to get up the rest.
When I did journal work with the entire dream all but this closing image yielded insights. No matter how I thought about and followed the vaguest associations to it, I could not get a decent handle on the “orangey-yellowish very fine grain.” I knew this had to be an important image to which I was resisting relating. This kind of impasse is an example of what can bring me to The Tarot when doing dream work.
I pulled a card at random and got the Five of Wands in the Tarot of the Cat People. This just sort of sat there and did not really resonate, either (1). So I did what I often do when stumped by a card, I reached for my favorite Tarot book, "A Guide to The Herbal Tarot"(2). As soon as I put my hand on the book, I remembered that the Five of Wands in The Herbal Tarot has Turmeric on it.
Gadzooks! It hit me that I had started taking Turmeric – along with other herbs and supplements, losing weight, and exercising – to see if it could help with osteoarthritis pain in my knees. The fine grain in the dream looked just like Turmeric in its spice form, and was the color of the Turmeric tablets I’d been taking.
Why had I resisted seeing this? It was so obvious! Then I remembered what I did in the dream: I did not eat the fine grain. Oh, my, I then became quite sure that the dream image was saying that I should not take Turmeric, that it is not good for me. In dream work this sort of image is called “prodromal” – a message about/from one’s body.
And my resistance to seeing Turmeric in the dream image? I spend a great deal of time researching and then deciding on which herbs and supplements to take, as I have a lot invested in finding healthy alternatives to NSAIDS for pain alleviation (3). So I tend to resist letting go of even one of the many things I have placed a lot of hope in.
Being endlessly curious, I then began to wonder how it was not good for me. As I read what “A Guide to The Herbal Tarot” says about Turmeric, the fact that it stimulates digestion jumped out at me. I’d been having a noticeable increase in appetite that I could trace to starting on Turmeric, as I keep a detailed food and supplement journal. OK. Turmeric was definitely not good for me.
Then I locked on to the part of the dream image of “clean up…by hand,” relating it to the recent increase in the itchiness of eczema patches on my palms, that I had attributed to the healing process. OK. I’ll bet Turmeric was starting to aggravate the eczema(4).
Need I say it? I’ve stopped taking Turmeric as a supplement. I hasten to add, this is based on my own body’s responses. Many, if not most folk might tolerate Turmeric fine as a pain management supplement. (Always, of course, under a doctor’s management.)
Ultimately, this experience has reminded me that no matter how carefully I research and think over anything in life, nothing is certain until I risk doing it.
(1) Since the five of wands can be seen as representing “the struggle of life,” I did briefly wonder if what the very fine grain symbolized might be stressing me.
(2) “The Spirit of Herbs: A Guide to the Herbal Tarot;” U.S. Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT, USA; 1993; ISBN: 0-88079-525-5.
(3) Over-the-counter, anti-inflammatory pain relievers like aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen.
(4) Still curious much later, I looked up the Five of Wands in The Tarot of the Cat People deck on Tarot.com and got a chuckle out of the comment that one might need to develop a thicker skin!
* * * *
Resource: see footnote (2) above.
til next time, keep listening to your body and enjoying The Tarot,
[aka: Patricia Kelly]
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Labels: Five of Wands