A spread to help you let go, forgive if you want, forget if you can…
This is a personal spread, but I decided to share it here because I feel others might benefit from it as well.
My dad passed away this weekend. I haven’t got the fondest memories of him, he was a hard man to love.
For a very long time I did not have contact with him at all, I saw him a few times in the last couple of years but by then, his mind had started to slip.
I feel like I never had any closure, no opportunity to discuss why he acted like he did when I was younger, how his actions made me feel, and wether he regretted them or not.
So I decided, rather than hanging on to resentment and anger, to find some understanding and peace through this spread…
Sometimes the closure you get stems from letting go and allowing yourself to move through and past your pain – not from receiving an apology or being asked for forgiveness… Here’s what I got from this spread:
1) The Emperor Reversed – my dad inspired fear rather than love or respect – he could be a tyrant, his alcohol issues did nothing to improve his disposition and he was often abusive (verbally and physically). His presence was imposing, even just his being in the house determined how we all acted, where we sat, what we could or could not do. To others outside our family home my dad may have looked like a man you could have a laugh with, the life of the party, but behind closed doors the laughter soon faded.
2) Death – I choose to let go of the past because it will do me no good to hang on to feelings of anger and resentment now my dad has passed away and I have to accept that there will be no more opportunity for him to apologise for the hurt he caused to myself, my Mum, or my siblings.
3) 5 of Wands – the constant arguing, threat of violence or actual physical hurt when he resorted to using his fists have had a big impact on my life, how I saw men and how I reacted in other significant relationships throughout my life. Things may have been improved through communication, but in my dad’s mind, children should be seen but not heard and should show respect to their elders (whether that respect was earned or not).
4) 6 of Pentacles – despite his issues, his aggression, his emotional absence and his unfaithfulness, my dad did provide for us, he worked hard and although we were never well off we always had food, clothes, the opportunity to go to school. He also could be generous towards those who didn’t have much in life, his work often took him to poor regions in Africa and he would provide families there with clothing, toys, school-supplies… (even if he did take those from my siblings and me without asking).
5) The Hanged Man – I need to try and shift my point of view, not to make excuses for my dad and his actions, but to understand he grew up in a different time, in a family that never thaught him how to show affection or how to show your vulnarability as a man, try and gain an understanding of people and events in his life that contributed to how he acted.
6) Temperance – I certainly learned that moderation is a good thing, especially where alcohol is concerned! I also learned that I can get by with less, that having the most or the best of anything is not what matters in life and material possessions are replaceable. And I learned that “Honor thy father and thy mother” comes with an adendum… “when they deserve it”. Respect has to be earned, not blindly given.
7) 5 of Cups – He regretted what he lost but couldn’t see what he could have had – I think my dad did feel bad about how things turned out, but maybe not for the right reasons. Despite having 6 children and a lot of grandchildren, he ended up a lonely old man – he would have liked more contact later in life but could never really see his part in what happened, to him it wasn’t my mum’s black eye or him kicking the dog or bruising my arm that caused us to become estranged, but rather a lack of respect on our part.
8) Justice – I believe that there will be some karmic balance, some lessons learned, some understanding his soul has, now that he is free of the earthly restrictions of his ailing body. I feel like he got some comfort from the people who were with him in his last days and he could let go of his hard-man attitude and show himself as more vulnarable. Perhaps in his final clear moments before he passed on he finally gained some insight as to who was there, and, maybe more importantly, who was not – and why.
9) The Moon – I have to understand that I can’t see everything, there is much that I don’t know, hidden facts and events I was never told about. The relationship between my Mum and dad has it’s secrets. I don’t know how the death of their firstborn child impacted on my father, he never talked about it but there must have been a lot of bottled up pain, helplessness, anger, frustration… all of which could have contributed to his alcohol problem later on, and to his reluctance to build up a strong emotional bond with the children he had after my oldest brother passed away.
10) 8 of Cups – I have to accept that not everything in life can be neatly tied up with string, sometimes you just have to acknowledge what is lacking and accept that moving on is the best thing you can do. Regret and wishful thinking will not get you far. Try not to keep looking back on what caused you pain but let the pain pass through you, then let it go… I can look forward to my own path, knowing which mistakes and pitfalls to avoid and use the lessons learned from the past in order to do better myself. I will make sure my daughter knows she is loved, she feels safe and secure with me and will never have to feel fear like I did. I don’t feel obliged to forgive but I will forget – holding on to painful memories will only cause more hurt…