I was up most of the night feeling anxious. Again. I've actually been depressed and anxious since the beginning of October. There have been several major stresses in my life during these months, and that together with my seasonal affective disorder, together with my generalized anxiety disorder have had me in quite a state.
I'm not ignoring it. I've had a couple of appointments with my doctor. My blood work showed that I'm anemic, but that is resolving with iron. Otherwise, I'm healthy. Well, except for this anxiety and depression. My doctor wants to prescribe an antidepressant. I've been on them before, but I'm trying this time to see if I can get to the root cause instead of masking it with medication. I may still opt for medication if I can't find better relief, but in the meantime I'm working with a naturopath who has tested my estrogen and progesterone levels along with a saliva test for adrenal function. I have an appointment with him today to find out the results.
I'm also trying to make some lifestyle changes, so far with some minimal success, but success nonetheless. I'm kind of hit or miss with walking or other exercise, but I know it would make a big difference. I'm working on better sleep hygiene and eating healthy whole foods while taking a few supplements.
I've been reading lots of different works dealing with spirituality and positive thinking as well, trying very hard to challenge negative thoughts. I acknowledge the thoughts, but then I try to determine whether they are actually true, and I notice how those thoughts make me feel. It's all hard work, but it is helping. I could probably use some guidance from a counselor, but I've been dragging my feet when it comes to actually finding one and making an appointment.
Whew. That's the background. I'm trying to get to my tarot reading today, and I will, but there is one more big piece to my anxiety puzzle.
For my entire life I've had death anxiety; thanatophobia, a term I recently learned. I was around five or six years old when I had my first panic attack after realizing that I would die some day. I was up every night for months, and though the intense fear faded and didn't bother me for years at a time, it would return during times of higher than average stress. I have talked to therapists about it in the past and haven't been that comforted by their words. I've been told we really all live in denial. That's how we function, by not thinking about it much, and then, "spiritual beliefs," said with a shrug. As if it is just that easy.
I have been comforted by my spiritual beliefs in the past, but in the last few years I've experienced a spiritual earthquake. The ground below my feet feels shaky now. I want to believe. I'm willing to believe,...anything. Something. I've been having trouble with that.
And this brings me to my reading today, which I did in my bedroom after a night of gripping fear. Fear of nothingness. Fear of being obliterated.
I asked, "Are angels with me? Are my departed loved ones with me and guiding me? If so, how can I connect with them?" While I was shuffling my deck, two cards popped out:
|Eight of Wands, King of Cups - Tarot of the Magical Forest|
The King of Cups immediately brought to mind a reading I had done when my uncle was dying. In that reading, I saw the King of Cups as God in heaven or a blissful afterlife. The Eight of Wands is about movement with purpose. Together with the King of Cups I thought of angels moving around us with their majestic wings. This made me smile, and I thought about ending my reading right there, but I put the cards back in the deck, continued shuffling and drew these three cards:
|King of Wands, Ace of Pentacles, The Empress - Tarot of the Magical Forest|
When I turned over that King of Wands I smiled with tears. It came in answer to the question, "Are angels with me?" If I were to combine the two cards that popped out of the deck earlier, the Eight of Wands and the King of Cups, into one card, it would be the King of Wands, of course.
In answer to my second question, "Are my departed loved ones with me and guiding me," I drew the Ace of Pentacles. Pentacles speak to me of earthly, tangible things, and my relationship with my family and friends has been earthly and tangible as opposed to my relationship with God and angels, but the image in the card certainly appears divine and heavenly. According to these cards, yes. Yes, angels are with me, and yes, my loved ones are with me.
How do I connect with them? The Empress card tells me that I connect with them the way I always have, through nature, through all of my senses, and through music and art and all of the things that bring me peace and pleasure.
I've always seen signs in nature, music, and literature, like the times when I've spotted a blue-jay at just the perfect time, after asking for a sign from my grandma, and I knew that she was looking after me. (My cousin's wife insists she comes to us from Heaven in the form of a blue-jay.) Or the time I saw the most perfect and vibrant rainbow, minutes after praying, and I knew that God loved me more than I could fathom or the sunflowers that started appearing to me at just the right time after my dog, Pepper, died last year. She loved sun bathing, and I thought that sunflowers would be our little sign. They have been.
And then, just this past Summer I had a love affair with red dragonflies. I was reading the gospel of Mary Magdalene on my back deck and something flew by my head. I thought it was a humming bird, but when I looked up it was gone, so I went back to reading, and it whizzed by my head again. This time when I looked up I saw a great big red dragonfly. I had never seen a red dragonfly before; blue, green, black, yes, but never a red one, so I thought this was significant. I researched the different spiritual meanings associated with red dragonflies, and it jibed really well with what I'd been reading about spirit in Mary's gospel.
The next day while I was doing some more research about Mary Magdalene I read this:
A legend in the Eastern tradition has Mary of Magdala traveling to Rome and appearing before the court of Emperor Tiberius. When she tells Tiberius about Jesus' death and Resurrection, he challenges her story, saying no one could rise from the dead any more than an egg in a dish on the table could turn red.
With that, according to the legend, Mary picked up an egg and it turned bright red in her hand. To this day, icons of Mary Magdalene often depict her holding an egg, and Eastern Christians still color their Easter eggs a bright red. (Who Framed Mary Magdalene?)
Later that day I received a book I had ordered called Reveal: A Sacred Manual for Getting Spiritually Naked by Meggan Watterson. In the first chapter she writes:
Through the stories of the Divine Feminine in Christianity's Mary Magdalen, Catholicism's Black Madonna, Hinduism's Kali Ma, and Buddhism's Green Tara, for example, I began to see that I wasn't as much of a spiritual misfit as I had thought. There was a red thread that became visible to me. It ran through many of the world religions, especially through their mystics, relaying that the way to find the Divine is to go within.I had goosebumps, and I cried. That red thread became a spiritual thing for me too, and I continued to see red dragonflies throughout the Summer. One time a dragonfly rested in my garden for hours while I swam in the pool with my daughters. I was able to take several pictures of it while it sat there appearing to watch us with curiosity.
My reading today was perfect for me, such a comfort. Maybe it's a bunch of hooey, and maybe I'm silly for buying it, but my energy before the reading was constricted, afraid, and depressed. After the reading I felt hopeful, loved, and light, and that is real.
I know this doesn't cure my anxiety, but it's another one of those signs to file away so I can pull it out later when I'm feeling scared and alone again.