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Closure Equals Freedom

Updated: Jan 6, 2023

How to Give Anything Closure, Including 2022 with the Ten of Swords and Capricorn's Card, The Devil

Here we are, in the final days of 2022. The reindeer have returned to the North Pole, but the Yule celebration doesn’t end until January 1st, and so I’m excited to share one final message before the New Year.

Personally, I’ve found it liberating to orient my calendar to the Wheel of the Year, which begins in March. Springtime is more energetically aligned with new beginnings; however, because we honor the Gregorian calendar as a collective, January 1st has its own transformative power.

By honoring the date, as opposed to the season, we’re approaching change with a linear mindset.

Linear thinking can be very useful, but it may also be the reason I’ll inevitably hear, “What a dumpster-fire of a year it’s been” or “20XX has been hard on everyone.” No such generalization could ever possibly be true.

When we look at change as something that takes place externally along fiscal quarters, our expectations breed disappointment.

In reality, winter is an entire season that’s dedicated to renewal, and we’re barely in the first few weeks!

Painting over the past with broad black strokes is a lazy and disempowering way to bring closure on a year that was actually filled with all flavors of wonder and delight.

Instead, today I’m offering a different framework to approach our end-of-year reflections, and a ritual for gaining closure you can use any time.

On December 22nd we left Sagittarius, and entered Capricorn season.

Each Zodiac sign is aligned with a card from the Tarot’s Major Arcana. The Majors can be divided into three lines, like a three act play. Act one would be titled “I am”, act two “Who am I?” and act three, “There is no I.”

When we left Sagittarius season, we shifted from “Who am I?” to “There is no I.”

Since we began this journey in March with Aries and The Emperor, we’ve done some major growth and exploration. What started in the early spring has blossomed, ripened, and been harvested.

Now that we are in winter, it is time to rest and reset. Line Three’s energy is very different from what’s preceded it.

In Line Three we are asked to explore the Buddhist concept, “there is no self to defend”. This will require us to look beyond the initial discomfort of stillness.

I chuckle each year when, right around Christmas, I get to introduce Capricorn’s Major Arcana card, The Devil.

The card for 2022 has been The Lovers (2+0+2+2=6 and Major Arcana 6 is The Lovers), so you may also find last year’s post on The Lovers and The Devil supportive in releasing this year’s lessons.

First off, when I write about The Devil I am always referring to Major Arcana card XV and not any religious scripture.

Second, The Devil is not about a descent into hell or sin or Satan. Quite the opposite in fact.

In The Devil, we get to work through the ego’s false narrative that says, “The material world is all there is. Give the brain whatever it craves, and that will keep you safe and in control.”

In the image above, we see a reversed pentacle atop The Devil’s head. This symbol is like an imaginary ceiling above our spiritual bodies, blocking our continued growth and freedom. It doesn’t exist, but we act as if it was real.

In Milton’s Paradise Lost, Lucifer says, “Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven,” because he fears giving up control. “Serving in Heaven” doesn’t mean begging for love, it means trusting that we are infinity loved by something bigger than ourselves.

In reality, control is only an illusion, and abandoning our desire to be in control is the only path to experiencing true freedom; but the brain fears and hates that idea!

In order to unpack how The Devil can help us grow spiritually, and bring us a new framework for closure, I want to call on the Ten of Swords.

The Ten of Swords is probably the most visually arresting image in the Smith Rider Waite, but like The Devil, there’s nothing to fear.

In the Minor Arcana, the Swords represent the intellect. Our thoughts, our speech, our brain chemistry all fall within this suit. Ultimately, when we are working with the Swords, we’re seeking the truth.

The truth is that you are love, you come from love, and you are hard-wired for connectivity. The end.

Why then don’t we all live in the comfort and peace of the truth at all times?

Because the ego wants to keep us safe. It does so by constantly identifying danger and need, fear and separation.

The ego’s drive to keep us safe is a beautiful one, but like the double edges of the Swords, it only has the tools of ‘good’ and ‘bad’, or ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ to guide us. The ego gives zero F’s about the truth.

While the Swords are about the brain and the intellect, a wise interpretation of the Swords takes place from the soul.

Once we understand that, we can see that the Ten of Swords isn’t a representation of some violent horror about to befall us, or some betrayal that’s taken place. It’s an expression of how the brain feels when it knows the soul is about to leap forward.

The Devil is all about leaping forward, but to do so, we must be willing to let go of our demands for control.

Addiction is the keyword most commonly associated with this card, but I don’t think that gets to the whole truth.

Most people see addiction as a physiological pathology, and sure The Devil can absolutely show up when we’re battling an addiction, but even without a substance or a behavior abuse, the brain can generate its own chemical warfare.

When we look to the Tarot for soul guidance, we see addiction is just a symptom of a spiritual vacancy.

The brain is a problem-solving/problem-seeking, I-making, My-making machine. It’s loud because it wants to drown out the soul's truth. The ego knows that it's nothing compared to the soul, and so it offers consistent and intense volumes of need. This is the The Devil, the not-self.

When we identifying with anything stressful and inconstant, we’re in The Devil, the not-self: not worth clinging to, not worth calling your self.

As we endeavor to surrender the not-self, there will inevitably be some uncomfortable invitations from the mind, and some brain chemistry too. This is why the Ten of Swords is such an ally.

I love the evolution of this card in the Light Seer’s deck, because it reflects the evolution about to take place in the mind.

The Tens of the Tarot are both endings and beginnings. We’ve gone on a journey beginning with the Aces, and we are about to enroll in a masters program with the Court cards.

The revelation in the Ten of Swords is that we can change our minds.

When we recognize that not all of our thoughts are true, we begin to change how we relate to our thinking. When we choose which thoughts to follow with our soul, we begin to change our thinking.

This is neuroplasticity. We can literally change our minds!

Both The Devil and The Ten of Swords usher us into a new phase of spiritual growth. To appreciate the gifts that these cards bring, we must be willing to surrender, but in exchange we get to experience a new freedom.

As we look to bring closure to 2022, instead of simply saying what a hard year it was and how much better we hope this next one will be, I offer this ritual instead.

Gaining Closure

1. Appreciate What Is Ending

Write down all the things that brought you joy this past year. What surprised you? What do you feel grateful for?

Are there relationships that have ended, or that you are ready to let go of? What are the old ways of thinking that no longer serve you? Have you related to your thoughts in ways that brought suffering?

What doors are you ready to close, not because you were bad or someone else was wrong, but because they open to a dead end?

2. List Your Terms

What do you feel like you need to control in order to experience happiness?

Your living situation? Your partner? Your job? Your appearance? Your health?

What feelings or thought patterns are associated with this list? Fear, anger, abandonment, blame, shame, resentment?

Notice from where you are observing these feelings. It's not the brain, it's from the soul.

3. Let Go

This list of conditions for happiness is the list of demands with which the brain holds hostage your authentic expression, your soul.

They can never be met. No ransom will ever be enough. There will always be more. Satisfying this list will not lead to any release.

Instead, you can decide to be unconditionally happy.

This doesn’t mean that you won’t have upset feelings. It means that you will observe the not-self thoughts and feelings from your soul-centered-self.

4. Moving Forward

If discomfort or contraction arises in the wake of this evolution, that’s okay, so be it. It will pass. In its place arises a new freedom.

The Ten of Swords will help you surrender the old mental patterning of The Devil.

Now that you have committed to surrendering the illusion of control, you can enjoy the prospect of what is to come. You’ve accepted that you don’t know what is ahead. You never knew before. What a delight it can be to feel surprised!

By changing your thought patterns, you no longer need to relate to the future as if it were going to resemble something that displeased you in the past.

The slate is clean. The past was always dead. With this closure, you are free to create a new happiness, free from conditions.

I am wishing you all a safe and happy New Year celebration, and if you are in the Bay Area, I hope you will join me in San Francisco on January 21st from 12pm-3pm for EnVision 2023!

At this Vision Board Workshop, I'll provide you with everything you need to create a vision board that will help you to manifest your goals and dreams for the New Year!

I'll provide all the supplies. We'll have mimosas, tea, and refreshments to enjoy, alongside a huge stash of magazines, and a vast palate of tools for your creative expression.

In advance of the event you'll also receive tools and goal-setting prompts, so you can come feeling empowered and prepared.

January 21st is the first New Moon of 2023. The New Moon is the best time to set manifestation intentions, so this event will have extra auspicious timing.

Vision Boards are visual representations of your goals and dreams. By creating one, and using it the right way, you will be amazed at how you are able to manifest those dreams into reality.

You'll leave this workshop feeling empowered, inspired, and you'll have a beautiful Vision Board for the year ahead. You'll also have instructions for that evening's New Moon manifestation ritual!


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