I don’t like tarot reversals. I never have. I don’t really get them. I suppose I’m a little geeky and prefer elemental dignities or astrological attributions. But, I don’t like reversals.
I mean there are 78 cards in tarot deck and many of them are already difficult. Why would one need to add another whole set of difficult cards to a reading? But, I digress… this is not a post about card reversals.
This blog post is about “Psychological Hauntings”, which is the theme of “Keep It Magic” for the month of November.
However, when I pulled out the tarot and asked the cards a simple question (whatever that means), “What are psychological hauntings?” The tarot card I drew was the Two of Cups Reversed (Rx). Ordinarily, I would just turn the card upright and move right along to interpretation. I must admit that I was “haunted” by this ordinarily graceful card that represents “relationships”.
Before I go into personally being haunted by the “2 of Cups Rx”, let me explain what a psychological haunting is.
In “Hauntings: Dispelling the Ghosts Who Run Our Lives” written by Jungian Analyst John Hollis, we come face to face with the reality that ghosts and spectral objects don’t necessarily come after us in the physical world (although in some cases they do), yet more often than not the demons we need to exercise live within and are the result of psychological traumas that the psyche has difficulty integrating. In many cases, these are a direct result of the “complexes” we have developed and/or those we inherited.
Hollis has this to say:
“We all have complexes because we have a history, and history charges our psychic life with energized clusters of valence. Some complexes exercise a benign protective role in our lives. Without some positive experience of bonding and trust, we would be prevented from forming commitments and relationships. Yet others bind us to trauma, immaturity, and outdated prejudicial perspectives. The recrudescence of these fragmentary histories invariable usurps our purchase on the present and plunges us into our replicative pasts. Some complexes even dominate an entire life.” (Hollis, Kindle Edition)
In essence, what Hollis discusses is that we are the sum of our experiences good or bad. Our experiences tend to create the foundation of our personality and as such our complexes are built around them.
In my article on “The Psychological Model of the Psyche”, I give three descriptions of complexes as follows:
The Dynamics of Complexes:
- Clusters of feeling toned associations around a common theme
- All complexes have experiences associated with them. We all have experiences with mother, father, money, work and career, and our ego (and many many more).
- Complexes make us behave in ways that are not part of our usual everyday personality. The complex temporarily takes over. This is called ‘complexing out’, and it is where the Ego (center of personality) suffers from a reduced ability to operate appropriately. For example, during your early life you lived poorly, and your family struggled with lack of opportunities and poor job conditions. You grow up and you achieve some success. An event occurs in your life, where you either lose your job, or some form of financial struggle occurs and you go back to the feelings of financial suffering in your childhood. The anxiety you are feeling and the reactions to your situation may cause you to behave in ways that you normally wouldn’t. This is called complexing out.
(Astro 101 fans we will discuss complexes thoroughly when we get to aspects)
Hollis goes on to say:
“When one has resided long enough in a toxic zone, one carries the toxin within, always, and all one can do is flush it out into the realm of consciousness and wrestle with it.”
What a powerful statement! The only way for us to deal with the psychological hauntings (this can be fear of rejection, fear of abandonment, sexual abuse, and lack of parenting) is to wrestle with them. This means we have to pull it out of the haunted house of our psyche and deal with it. Otherwise, the ghosts take over and we are then controlled or for lack of a better phrase “possessed” by our inner demons.
So, let’s go to my personal haunting created by my pulling the 2 of Cups Rx. As I stated, this is traditionally a relationship card and usually a good one. Now in a humorous synchronistic way (also discussed in Hollis’ book), if you take reversals to mean the opposite of what the upright position states, then the 2 of Cups Rx is rather fitting. Rather than being a “happy relationship”, it reflects dysfunctional relationships.
Karen Zondag in her book, “Tarot as a Way of Life,” refers to all of the two’s in the tarot as conflict cards. Although she states that the female two’s (cups and pentacles) refer to a gentler and more graceful way of dealing with conflict than the male two’s (wands and swords); nevertheless, a conflict exists. Why? Every relationship that enters our life on some level reflects a cast of inner characters. In some cases, these inner characters are a “match” and they act benign. However, some relationships stir up our complexes (even parental relationships especially in dysfunctional systems) and can then when we experience “feeling toned associations” that are similar to the initial experience, the complex then will take over or as I stated earlier, “we complex out”.
According to the tarot, the key to “psychological hauntings” is our relationships. Psychology says that our outer relationships are also inner relationships. A cast of our own characters. Creating relationships with these inner characters helps cure our internal hauntings and as a result our “complexes” can be used in a creative rather than a destructive manner.
You can learn more about ‘psychological hauntings’ on the next episode of Keep It Magic which will air on November 12, 2013.
Storm Cestavani is the co-host of the top rated metaphysical show “Keep It Magic” and the co-creator of the “Tarot Magic” with Coventry Creations. Storm is available for consultations by setting up an appointment to speak with him. Simply click on Book A Reading with Storm at the top of the page.
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