I Like Metaphors More Than I Used To

Princess Swords

I used to roll my eyes at people’s use of ritual and symbolism. I remember being 25 or 26 years old, in graduate school, and attending some kind of weekend retreat in which part of the discussion was about whether progressives needed to develop rituals that would bring people together and provide them comfort and hope. I argued for the side that said ritual and symbol merely perpetuated old ideas that oppressed people and restricted their ability to develop a better future.

Okay, well, I was young and oversimplified things. Since then I have come to appreciate and value the layers of meaning that symbols and metaphors can bring. And I repeatedly surprise myself with how playing with metaphor, sometimes not even that seriously, can bring me to a deeper understanding of where I am in my current healing process.

Four years ago, when I was just starting this high-pressure job I’m about to take leave from, I went on a women’s do-it-yourself retreat in Mexico. Essentially a good friend invited me, her sister, and two of her sisters’ friends to rent a palapa for a week, relax, and explore ourselves through conversation, writing exercises and tarot cards.

I’m well past my graduate school days, but I was still by far the most scientific minded member of the group, which included a midwife and a spiritual healer. They made fun of me (kindly), and I tolerantly participated in their plans.

I had forgotten this until recently, but when we drew tarot cards, I got the Princess of Swords.  She seemed like a good omen for the start of a new leadership job. As I revisit her now, she seems like a good companion to take with me up on my upcoming three-month leave, time that I hope will allow me to become, like the PoS, one with my intentions.

*** * ***

In these days leading up to my leave of absence, I have been a stress monkey, running around chasing competing priorities, not catching many of them but wearing myself out with the effort.  It was good for me to read these words this morning:

I welcome both the peace and the chaos. Without the chaos, peace has no meaning.


  1. Love this. Reminds me of my hippie days of tarot and natural healing. I studied foot reflexology and was convinced I would heal people. I’m happy that you will be shifting from chaos to peace soon 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • My friend organized it. It cost us each around $900-1000 for the whole week–we jumped on some early low-price tickets to Puerto Vallarta and from there took a boat to a village my friend knew of (can’t get there by car, which means everyone there takes boats, donkeys or walks). The palapa is a sort of half house on the hill, with the hill as a back wall the other walls pen, wood and palm on the roof. There was electricity but no internet or phone. The palapa was also open so you wake up and see the sun shining on the waterfall just outside the room. Very relaxing and scenic but not expensive like luxury hotels. Now as I describe it, I think I should organize something like this. It was so peaceful…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sounds heavenly. 🙂 My in laws own some property about 3 hours from where I live, up in the woods, on a river, about a half hour from the nearest town. There’s no cell reception, the only electricity is in the camper they keep on the property, and whenever we get to go up there I love it. I love being cut off once in a while from so much of modern inter-connectivity, to simply connect with nature and God and myself. It’s wonderful, and a few days there renews my soul as if I had stayed for a month.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I just got into it over the past couple of years (being raised conservative Christian took a while to wear off 😉 ), but I’ve found it to be incredibly interesting and it has given me a lot of insight when I’ve really needed it. If you ever want to get an online or phone reading (for free of course, it’s an offer as a friend), let me know, I’d be happy to do so if you wanted to dip your toes in the Tarot water again. 🙂

        You can email me at anotheranonymousoutsider@gmail.com if you are interested.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I try to keep an open mind about ritual, I do weekly Christian meditations, and I’ve had some pleasant times and good advice from the I-Ching. The universe can speak to us in many ways, I daresay. That closing quote is sheer brilliance…

    Liked by 1 person

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