Queen of Cups

44/78, 34 cards to go!

It seems that all my plans to write this week have fallen through. Tonight, half an hour until midnight, I am determined to persevere until this entry is completed and posted. The Queen of Cups actually reminds me of my writing, the majority of which seems to have water as the dominating theme. This isn’t just a recent pattern.

Even when I was about 12-years-old, determined to write about an archaeologist on a dig in the Saharan desert, I couldn’t resist incorporating this watery theme. One of the characters was a marine biologist looking for mermaids in the Nile. I don’t write much poetry, but there are two poems that I have saved for a number of years. One was about “a piece of driftwood” and the other is titled “The Ocean Doesn’t Want Me.” More recently, I am working on a story for children that is about a girl who is swallowed by a whale.

This attraction to write about the ocean, the sea, anything to do with water or ships or mermaids, didn’t occur to me until I attempted this writing exercise: Write about your relationship to the four elements. (Deena Metzger).

I was able to write about water fluidly. I could write about my relationship to earth. I found I had very little connection to fire. Instead of writing about my relationship to air, I wrote about asthma. Water was the only element that I had a strong connection to.

Water represents emotions. I am often swept away by emotions. It’s what inspires me to write. The Queen of Cups is a lovely, feminine, extremely creative spirit. She is like the ocean. Alluring. Always changing. But like large bodies of water, extremely moody and reflective of her surroundings.  “In the creative moment she is able to harness her intense emotions, without constricting them . . . Much like another creature linked to the sea—the oyster, she has the rare ability to transform an irritant, originally experienced as painful, into something lovely.”Art seems to be the only thing capable of grounding these powerful emotions.

I often feel I am drowning in my emotions. It’s very difficult to surface from my moods and emotions once I’ve gone under. It’s also difficult to see past myself when I’m caught in my own undertow.

I recognize many of my own characteristics in the Queen of Cups, and the obvious lesson seems to be about not getting caught up in emotions. What she really  makes me wonder about, though, is my writing.

Next week I’ll be going to a writing workshop where I am having a manuscript critiqued. It’s something I have really been looking forward to. I am so grateful for the opportunity to do this.  Writing is extremely important to me, and I want it to be more than just a hobby. I don’t want to be just a writer-by-night. If someone asks what I do, I’d like to say “I write,” or “I’m an author.” Rather than, uncomfortably explaining my occupation for the moment. I want my career to reflect, in some way, who I am.

Anyway, I’m really off track. The thing is, I don’t know what to think of the Queen of Cups. I have thoughts, but nothing conclusive. She just makes me realize that much of my writing is a way of working through difficult emotions. Her throne faces west toward (from where I am sitting, at home in Arizona’s high desert) the Pacific Ocean, and California.

When I was about 16- or 17-years-old, I lived near Laguna Beach. It was a very dry period for my writing. I felt completely contained, locked up, like that strange vessel the Queen of Cups is holding in her hands. It was impossible to express myself. It didn’t feel safe. It’s kind of interesting, because I recall also having some severe skin problems at that time. My skin was so dry, thin as paper. I had terrible fears of blowing away, piece by piece. I used to skip class in the mornings to sit by the creek that ran behind the school, watching a woman feed the birds, reading sad & morbid novels.

When I look at the Queen of Cups, and I think of that time in my life, I’d like to grab that vessel out of her hands, and smash it to pieces against a coral reef. Emotions should be free to make waves and move around. Instead of remaining stagnant, conforming to the shape of whatever container they’re locked up in. Even if that container is ornately decorated, guarded by winged seraphs or mermaid cherubs. I want my emotions to be able to pour out of me.

The problem, it seems, is not that moods can be stormy and unpredictable. It is the amount of time that those emotions had been contained before they were released. In those instances, they’re often released in an unhealthy manner. In an extremely creative moment, however, when emotions aren’t constricted, they are able to simply take their course and eventually pass.

That is, sometimes. I have to admit, sometimes I’m just moody and cranky, making waves, and trying to knock over sailing ships. It’s funny how “taking a dip” can be so calming and cleansing, but it’s also a force that can be dangerous and menacing.

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