I have a feeling my reading with the Four of Cards spread the other day is going to follow me for quite some time. On my way out to errands I drew some cards as tarot guidance for the day with the Slow Holler and got my heart caught in my throat once more.

Five of Knives & The Navigator from The Slow Holler Tarot

I received a very interesting rendition of the Five of Swords and my birth card in the form of The Navigator. As always, when your birth card shows up, it’s best to pay close attention.

The real gut twister here is the Five of Knives. A vulture clutching three knives in its talons stands over the bones of another vulture, long dead, two knives buried deep in its ribs. It feels like a shadow, a mirror image, the vulture’s own reflection; however a closer look brings it closer to the vulture looking at itself through a portal into another time- past or future, I can’t decide. The question is as cutting as the daggers- So you think you won? Except the battle here doesn’t feel like it was against an external force. This is an internal struggle

Trauma is the gift that gives on giving, I tell you. Recovering through it can look like this.

You make a choice in order to survive; to keep going you separate yourself from the part of you with the daggers caught in between your ribs and you do your best to bury that past pain. You are trying to survive.

Except now, you arm yourself against that pain. Except now, you realize that one of the easiest ways to do that is to employ the same tools used against you. So now you carry daggers- more than were you used against you. You won’t be harmed again. And they are pointed every which way, and at least one of those ways is at yourself.

You look so much like what harmed you, that it shouldn’t be a surprise when you hurt yourself (it is). You are still trying to survive.

Which is such an Emperor approach to trauma I had to give myself a wry smile when I realized it. Make a plan of survival; stick to it within the rules the hurt set- because pain makes you forget that you can create a vision for your healing that isn’t bound by where your trauma came from but where your love wants you to go. Which is why I love the Slow Holler’s version of the Emperor so much.

Where your love wants you to go, affirms The Navigator. The ocean, my love, is boundless and so is the sky above it- a union of heart and mind. Which isn’t to say it won’t be treacherous- La Mer can be a cruel mistress. The ocean is also Yemaya and all the mother femme spirits and ancestors who are always ready to hold and rock me. The ocean is also Olokun, reminding me of the boundless abundance treasured within the depths of my shadow waiting for me to uncover.

And within this vast expanse (boundaries, what boundaries?) is my direction. The Navigator reminds me that I have the tools and wisdom to find my way back to my true self and face what is hidden, long since dead and haunting. It is one of my own making, drawn from the stars that promise hope and limitlessness that invites me to dream up a healing not bound by pain but unbound by love.