Card of the Day – 9 of Swords, Cruelty

I'm going to write about the meaning of the Tarot cards in my deck, but rather than doing it in some dull old logical order I thought I'd just cut one out of the deck when I have the time and see which one turned up.  With time this may even turn into a complete, if slightly eccentric, guide to how to read the Tarot.  

Card of the Day – 9 of Swords, Cruelty

Tarot Card: 9 of Swords - CrueltyI see this card a lot when I read, and I don't think anyone is unfamiliar with the concept it represents. Cruelty simple represents pain and suffering inflicted through thoughts. Whilst it can represent the cruelty of others, it more often than not represents the cruelty that we do to ourselves.

Being of swords this is a card primarily about thoughts and mental processes. At some point we have all found our own minds a very unpleasant place to be – full of anger, recrimination, criticism, negativity and hurtful ideas. Whilst we may sometimes feel that we are suffering from the cruelty of other people, one of the important messages of this card is that the only words and ideas that can hurt us are the ones in our own mind – it doesn't matter what is said to us, it only hurts us when we make those words a part of ourselves, when we repeat them in our own mind, when we hold on to them.

Cruelty comes up in a range of situations in readings – it is remarkable how often we are cruel to ourselves. It often appears as a 'current state' if someone is stressed, or as a limitation when someone is getting in their own way through constant self criticism. It will occasionally appear as part of a relationship spread, when someone in a querent's life is causing them to constantly question themselves.

It has become a cliche to say 'be more kind to yourself' or 'treat yourself gently' but like so many cliches there is great truth in it. Self recrimination so rarely helps. We may tell ourselves that we need a 'kick up the backside' in order to get on with things, but that rarely actually helps us be more productive. More often in provokes inner rebellion which slows our progress further, and we have simply hurt ourselves for no reason.

There's a thought experiment I often do with clients to illustrate this point. Think about the boss, or leader, or teacher who has made you the most productive, the most effective, who has got the best work out of you. Who in your past have you enjoyed working with the most and do you feel you worked the best for? Now, how did they speak to you, what tone of voice did they use, what kind of feedback did they give you? Now, compare that image of a person who really helped you achieve more with the way you speak to yourself when you feel you need to motivate yourself.

Almost universally people tell me that their 'ideal boss' was a person who was positive, optimistic, encouraging and enthusiastic. And that their internal voice is critical, negative and disparaging. We know, damn well, that we respond best to positively and encouragement, yet we often create an internal landscape of criticism and recrimination. Worse, when we are exposed to positivity from those around us we often filter it out, whilst negative comments and criticism we hang on to, repeat to ourselves, replay in our lowest moments.

Cruelty achieves almost nothing of any worth. It's a bad habit, a result of feeling it's what we 'deserve', what we 'need' to prevent ourselves from being a bad person. This is utter rubbish. We aren't animals who can only respond to threats. We thrive on encouragement, positivity, optimism, compassion, understanding and love. This isn't weakness, this is simple sense. The card Cruetly is a warning sign – it says something has gone wrong, and we need to change our internal monologue. Cruelty never helps.

One Response to "Card of the Day – 9 of Swords, Cruelty"

  1. Lorrine Spinola says:

    This is great,It just keeps me moving, i can't imagine how strong and confident i have become after reading the fear of failur quotes..

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