Handmaid’s Tale, 9 of Cups, and Giving Up

Insight from 9 of Cups

When loss and change have us feeling weak and ineffectual what can we do?

“I use to think of my body as an instrument for the accomplishment of my will. I could use it to run, pick things up, make things happen. There were limits, of course, but my body was nonetheless one with me. It obeyed my commands mostly without complaint. Not anymore. Now there’s tending to be done. …Pain makes your world very small.”

-June, Handmaid’s Tale

My adult daughters don’t understand why I watch that show. Maybe they haven’t had enough life intense experiences to be able to relate to June, the protagonist in the story.
We’ve all suffered change and loss due to covid (and if you are the rare bird who hasn’t, may life continue to favor you).

I’ve aged and freaked out my knee and foot by walking/jogging since unable to go to the gym. If only I had a spin bike (but where would fit it into this ridiculously small one-bedroom apartment) but no sense in looking back.

Where I am now is f_____’d to be blunt. Limping doesn’t flatter me and neither does it help the rest of the body.
And then we face it — we have to. We’re aging–this body and this self. Yep. Feeling plenty old and fat and depressed too. There it is, it’s out there now. Half the battle, they say, is admitting where you are and ‘what is’.
It’s the other half of the battle that seems like a tall concrete wall.

What’s the answer? Who knows; it changes every day and like June’s journey ( in Handmaid’s Tale ) when you think you caught a break and see a way forward, you’re hit with another obstacle from hell.

But she doesn’t give up. Or at least into season 4 she so far hasn’t. Neither have I but gosh darn sometimes I sit in my room like June does and flashback to my old life when I was thinner, stronger, and by far healthier. Well, at least I’m not pregnant like a handmaid. Ha! Those days are over — me looking on the bright side.

I will pull a tarot card seeking insight. In case you, like me, are feeling disheartened from time to time — what’s a girl to do? What’s the guidance? Well, out of the deck it flew. The card: 9 of Cups.

Well, this is the “Wish Card” and I have to laugh at the irony. I’m using the Connelly deck and there’s a rose in the middle cup–significant to me since I’ve just been tracing two roses to paint with watercolor. Loads of meaning there I suppose. But when feeling disheartened what is this card’s advice?

IMHO this card is suggesting that one use one’s own intuition to help one’s heart. How? by allowing one’s self to be drawn to or attracted to what feels nurturing. That, it seems, is the best way to manage the ‘as is’ situation for right now.




Tarot Question and Card Answers
Tarot Question and Card Answers

Ace in the last pile (viewer’s right to left) is the YES indicator to the question that I asked.

The other two cards add confirmation to the question or additional information.

QUESTION: asked about continuing to wear a mask and continue precautions.

GUIDANCE:  I think the Ace of Swords here (in addition to being the YES indicator based on the rules of this spread) also brings a message of fortitude and persistence; being responsible and using one’s intellect.

The 10 of Swords speaks (to me) of being at a point of no turning back even though many people are going to try to do that. This is a card, too, that traditionally carries a message of keeping one’s self safe. I can only do what is right and responsible for myself and others despite what else happens.

And then The Hermit. How much clearer could this advice be? This card agrees with the Yes answer and adds to the reply to continue to be hermit-like, keeping to myself and this, of course, relates to the social distancing. The Hermit card traditionally carries a meaning of solitude, seclusion, and withdrawing from the world.

It seems to me that The Hermit and the Ten of Swords validate the question asked and, speaking for myself, I will remain very cautious.

Even if they do open the gym or library, I will continue to stay away. (Well, okay maybe to dash in to pick up a book on hold from the library but while wearing a mask.)

And on not going back to the gym, I will continue to do my outdoor running, yoga and working with my weights.

I will continue to be socially responsible and take precautions to avoid spreading the virus.

What will you do?

Awakening, Karma, Virtue, Cats and the Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama and his cat
The Dalai Lama and his cat

I recently listened to the Dalai Lama (through his translator) say something on a karma related subject. He said that even a simple act of virtue like feeding an animal (even ants) when it is done with an altruistic attitude (intention of helpfulness and compassion) with the idea of benefiting those sentient beings that this is what is meant by the term “bodhicitta”.  The word translates from Sanskrit this way:  bodhi means enlightened or awakened and citta means mind or consciousness.  So we could say that bodhicitta means awakened mind and it is the compassionate act of a bodhisattva practitioner.  To take it further, A person who has a spontaneous realization or motivation of bodhicitta is called a bodhisattva.

I would not go so far as to refer to myself as a bodhisattva but the Dalai Lama says even a simple act of conduct or action done in virtue with the intention of helpfulness and compassion are transformed into conditions of full enlightenment.  I think of conditions being transformed in such a way that awakening, at least in moments, is favorable.  So even simple acts of loving intention, he said, are like an elixir that transforms base metals into gold.

Only a true Buddhist would consider feeding ants.  That has never occurred to me to do, but maybe will since the great teacher Dalai Lama mentioned it.  However, I do feed stray cats.  There is one little Buddha-Cat who honestly cracks my heart open every time he comes with the others to eat.  He had a lot of fear right after he was born–really significantly frightened more than his brother or sisters.  Now, he is warming up to me and the other neighbor here who feeds him.  Here’s the thing.  The others dive into the food platter — a clear plastic party platter works well for them, each having their own compartment.  However, while he may be positioned to eat, he doesn’t start until he looks up into your eyes and reaches his head up so as to rub noses with you.

Each time I feed this cat, my heart opens more and he makes it easy for me to create the mindstate of a Bodhisattva.  I accept any conditions that would lead me to full awakening.  This sweet cat is helping me; may he remain protected and happy.

PS it is said that His Holiness rescued his cat from the slums of Dharmsala.