The Hierophant and Other Triggers
The first part of this is in reference to pulling The Hierophant for a Daily Tarot Challenge. The second is a letter I wrote to a friend. Both encompass my intense anxiety about being noticed or shining my light.
∆ The first question is “Who am I?” ∆What a fucking loaded question. What a fucking loaded answer. I wanted to be hella clear when I came to my deck for this one. Not just because I personally have a hard time defining myself, but also because I didn’t want it to be like, “How am I feeling about myself and my archetypical expression lately?” So I asked, “How do You see me? Who am I to YOU?” to Goddess and Earth Spirits. And man was I in my fucking feelings about getting this card. I was pretty triggered, to be honest. This card has been a big part of my journey, and it’s been giving me a lot of anxiety the past six months or so. Since my Saturn Return started, I’ve been evolving a LOT. The constant pulse of expansion and contraction, the dance between finding my limits and exploring my boundaries, and the evolution of my relationship with women, my parents, and my partners has been a fucking RIDE, y’all. I’ve been overwhelmed with what I’m learning, and aching to share with those who seek to listen. At the same time, I still feel like I am lost, and need someone to tell me what’s next, or explain why something is happening, or give me any kind of answer. And, for the first time since I was 12 years old, my decks will not give me shit.
∆ Don’t get me wrong. She still talks to me. But she won’t answer this question. She just says, “Keep going, you’re on the right path. It’s all good!” And even when *multiple other people* have pulled for me, they get the same fucking message, and it was just INFURIATING. Especially considering *I DON’T KNOW WHAT THE FUCK I’M DOING?!* I wouldn’t call it imposter syndrome, per say. I’m definately showing up, doing the work, and saying Yes to Universal invitations. But…does that really count? Am I even making an impact? In a sea of other spiritual-whatevers, I can feel like I don’t matter. And not in a feel-sorry-for-myself way, but in a, “Oh, cool! Looks like people got this” way. If that makes sense. I don’t worry about competition; I still give money or energetic exchanges to people who read Tarot/Astrology, and I strongly endorse therapy as a primary way to mental health, with spiritual tools and exercises as a bolster or equally important to self-healing. I know the right people will find me, just as I have found the right people on my journey.
∆ The triggering part of all of this is that I know I’m being called or invited to take a more authoritative role—a teaching role. And that makes me super uncomfortable. I’m afraid. I’m horribly insecure and unsure. Doesn’t matter that I’m a Leo. Doesn’t matter that I’m constantly lecturing people when I’m just feeling comfortable and think I’m “just talking.” Doesn’t matter that my life path is 11—the Teacher number. Doesn’t matter that all my life, everyone assumed I was going to be a teacher or professor. Doesn’t matter that I myself was on track to become a professor. Because I’ve had some humbling. I’ve had some setbacks. I’ve become afraid of my own light. I’ve been shrinking and working in the background, being the support, the prop, for everyone else, and I’ve been damn happy about it, and I’m super great at being support. (Even in League, I love playing support). But, here’s the catch. Being in a supportive role wasn’t something I was doing because I felt called to it. It’s been because I’ve been afraid to shine myself. Being a teacher or leader means having to take a fuckton of responsibility—responsibility for what I teach, to whom I teach, my research, my attention, my tone, where I teach, not to mention finances, charging or not charging, video or podcast, book or blogs, lectures or webinars? I want to cry, hide under the covers, and say, “Someone else do this, please! I can’t handle the pressure!” I want to do all the work, stay small, hand it to someone else to publish under their name. I’m afraid of judgement.
∆ I am afraid of the judgement that comes from being a hierophant. More than the risk of falling into ego traps about pride or inauthenticity, I am afraid of the judgements of others—which is me projecting my judgement of judgement onto other people. DO YOU SEE HOW FUCKED THIS IS? Do you understand why I, as someone who pulled the Hierophant to indicate someone else being my guide, have dreaded the day when I myself am to be called to step up and be that for someone else?
College was probably the most fun I’ve ever had in my life. Not outside the walls, mind you. Just inside. In lecture. Doing homework. Writing papers. I received a lot of praise from my professors. I’m a smart kid. One of those “gifted” ones. They begged me to go to grad school, always stating how creative and bright I was. I knew it. I was happy I was good at something. I didn’t brag about it. But I was under the impression, for a moment, that my peers would admire what I had to say and the way I thought too.
I was a goofball in class. I swore a lot, talked a lot, and asked and answered a lot of questions. I was loud and loved making people laugh. This, however, gave off the impression that I wasn’t a serious student. Or wasn’t intelligent. Or something. I found this out one morning before class started, via a couple of my peers comparing grades from the latest essay. They didn’t do as well as they had hoped, but seemed okay with their Bs. One guy turned to me, and asked, “what did you get, Arianna?” I replied casually that I got an A+. His eyes widened. The girl he was speaking to burst out angrily, “SHE scored higher than ME?!” And stormed out of the room. A third student followed, just as upset. The boy who asked me sat down in his seat and began pouring over his essay again, visibly upset. I had never received this type of aggression before. Most people either moaned or asked how I did it. No one ever was *shocked* that I received a good grade. Before college, I just *was* the smart kid. The one everyone wanted to cheat off of. I was suddenly in a world where people thought because I didn’t “act” studious, I didn’t deserve my grade. Not that, I had my own way of understanding texts. Or that, while literary analysis came to me like breathing, social graces were basically non-existent. Or that I could barely read a manual clock.
So, when you proudly announce your accomplishments for the world, big or small, I want to tell you to hush, hush, hush! Don’t tell people your grades. Don’t show off. Keep your light dim. Don’t shine bright. They will piss on it, they will try to take it from you, they will say, “You don’t deserve this.” They will say, “You haven’t earned this.”
That event was really a fucking moment for me. I grew up in a very strict home, with a severely mentally ill mother. While I have forgiven her, and our relationship is being restored, I am still aware that what transpired during the 18 years I lived there was psychologically damaging. I was not allowed to speak. I was not allowed to show emotion. I was not allowed to have facial expressions, real or imagined. (Very often imagined). I was constantly in trouble for talking--too much, too loud, too sarcastic, or "with a tone", whatever the hell that meant. I definitely had my mouth washed out with soap. I learned that safety equalled silence. And in my relationships, my boyfriends who were so thrilled to be dating a "smart girl" soon changed their songs into sour notes of insecurity and jealousy. So often I was told to shut up, was cut off, or physically removed from a group I was speaking to, pushed behind or away the MAN. One ex used to yell out, "NERD!" in the middle of me talking over and over again for four years. I just simply wasn't allowed to talk, to answer questions, to be excited about anything. I could feel myself becoming more and more dim.
I wanted to be an author, but I stopped writing at about 20, because I felt, not that I had nothing to say, but that I no longer had a way to say it. Eventually, after years of abuse and then that shitty event in college, I just stopped speaking. I stopped blogging. I stopped putting shit on Instagram. I barely write in my journal anymore. All creativity ceased.
This was an intense Throat chakra block.
About three or four months ago, I finally get up the courage to compliment my neighbor's shoes. That night, she runs into me while we are again walking our dogs, and she asks me if I want a mixer, and suddenly I'm in her house, watching her dog, and reading her Tarot on her bed. A month later we had started a podcast.
And my creativity and my voice are coming back. That doesn't mean I'm healed. That doesn't mean I don't have anxiety and I don't still feel lost, or suffer from feeling some imposter syndrome or that these old thought patterns of "You need to shut the fuck up. You're annoying everyone. No one likes you. You're a know-it-all. You're obnoxious. People would rather be heard." It's a daily practice of breathing and laughing, again, at that tiny mad idea of fear.
I will chose love. I will chose to speak.
I have Litha celebrations to be had in a few minutes, but I needed to get this out. I feel overwhelmed and still confused at what exactly I'm supposed to do. I'm gonna sit with this card, meditate with it (and my beautiful Lemurian Seed Quartz which is so healing, y'all), and really work on surrendering and trusting even more. I can't and won't hide behind a screen forever. I promise to step up, step out, and to shine. To quote one of my all time favorite poets, e.e. cummings, "You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way."