Sunday, July 12, 2009

five warriors

Before I left yesterday, I pulled this card from my new tarot deck:

My new deck is a gift. I wasn't sure if I liked it until I pulled that card. The five of wands is a card of conflict and competition. Pulling that card seems to imply that there might be strife within a group.

Note that there is a redhead, and the other four women have varying shades of dark hair. Now, here's a group shot from yesterday:

Although there appear to be several blondes in the group, you have my assurance that their natural shades run from ginger brown to dark brown...or perhaps grey by now.

I'm sure that more than a few of you scoff at the idea that tarot cards are an effective method of divination, or that any form of divination is even possible. That's okay. What I think is that the energy around us is not bound by linear time, as our bodies are, and it holds information about our past, our present, and our future.

The Five of Wands, in this instance, is about a group of teenage girls, a group of young misfits who bonded and banded together in order to protect ourselves and each other. We had each others' backs. And we needed each other badly.

My high school was probably a typical small-town high school. Small, of course. Insular. Closed. Hierarchical. When I first started attending, in 1979, my hometown was still pretty small. Lots of the kids who attended came from nearby farms and small towns. If you had a recognizable last name, you were in - especially if your family had lived in town for generations. If you were attractive, you were in. If you were sporty you were in.

Being smart could not save you.

Being shy and withdrawn only made it worse.

Being obese was hell, unless you were from a family that had lived there for generations, and even then it was hell.

Having a local police officer for a father in a town of drinking and pot-smoking teenagers made you a target for mockery and some measure of violence. If you consider obscenities scrawled on your locker door, firecrackers in your locker, spit in your french fries and moldy lunches mixed in with your shoes and books to be violent.

Being from the country was sometimes a strike against you.

Being the daughter of a school superintendent (and later Director of Education)created a "smart kid" label that helped with academic success, but hindered social progress greatly.

Being the daughter of the town pariahs (oh, the rumors)most often led to rumors and vicious lies, and the snubbing of most of the girls.

The teachers stood back and watched the bullying that went on. They ignored it. In my mind, they condoned it. Some of them participated in it. After all many of them had taught the parents of the kids I went to school with. Many of their families had lived in the town for generations.

We found each other at the end of grade ten. Actually, two of the women in the picture had been my friends since grades four and six. Elementary school was really not that much better. Our group formed out of self-defense. We needed each other. And in needing each other, we all found common bonds that have kept us in touch and together over the years. Most of us live within an hour's drive of each other. Except for one of us, who has spent the last 20 years about six hours east of here.

One of us is a teacher, like her parents before her. She's married, with three beautiful children.

One of us is married, has two boys, and seems to be second mother to every small tot that wanders through her yard. She has a big kitchen and a big heart, and both are always open.

One of us married, and divorced after many years. She's dating someone new, and I have never seen her look so good -radiant and happy.

Two of us had gastric bypass surgery. In fact, the surgery is what brought us back in touch with each other after so many years - I told her, she had it done a year later, and is happy and dating.

One of us is an ECE, an itinerant blogger and a writer. She's a mother, a lesbian, a feminist, and inclined towards compassion. The kids who made our lives hell really didn't know what they were doing, or the long-term effects it would have on all of us. I can't speak for anyone else in the group, but for many years, I suffered from extreme social anxiety. I was depressed and withdrawn, and I had panic attacks whenever I went out. I couldn't speak in public, let alone sing, which is why I don't perform any music in public, to this day. To this day, new situations cause me to feel anxious and I tend to either babble or stop talking. I taught myself the social skills I lacked. I forced myself to learn to talk to people again.

And I'm okay. We're all okay. Because we had each other.


Margo said...

love this Camlin.
love this.

Solo Homo said...

I know nothing about Tarot, but I totally get the concept you laid out, and by & large, agree.
I've been a weekend Student of Budhism for the last couple years and sincerely believe in Karma. So, the energy you speak of, I am certain exists.
Really, really great post, Camlin!!

Anonymous said...

High school is seven shades of hell for most people. For the rest, it's their glory days, and they never recover from that either. This social system we have set up is beyond bizarre.

I live in Los Angeles at the moment, and I just realized while reading your post that it's like a giant high school. Hmmm.

I am so very glad that you survived high school. This is a very good thing. And I so get social anxiety. That one is a familiar challenge to me.

I have not been hanging around your blog long, but I very much enjoy it and your sharing of both your intelligence and your compassion. The world could do with as much of both, in combination, as it can get, in my opinion.

And I use the tarot myself. My favourite deck is one you'd probably like. It's called Daughter of the Moon Tarot and it's a feminist deck. Complete with a choice of Lovers cards, one with a man and a woman, one with two women.

B said...

Your post reminded me so much of this song :

Nulaanne said...

That tarot is beautiful would you mind sharing the name of the deck. I have one and have been thinking about getting another one.

Camlin said...

Margo - thank you!

Solo - the more experience I have with tarot and divination, the more I am convinced that it works. The errors are human errors - seeing what you want to see instead of what's really there. I had an amazing reading done yesterday. It seriously rocked my world because it validated all the messages I was getting.

Em - I probably would like that deck. This one is very good - I have a problem with a couple of the images. The figures are predominantly female - including The Lovers.

B - three out of five of us were country music fanatics back in the day. When we were just finishing high school, that song was around I think. KT Oslin was a favourite!I was not one of the country music fans, but that song brings back so many memories!

Nulaane - It's called the Mystic Dreamer Tarot by Heidi Dorras. I found it at my local Chapters (equivalent to Barnes and Noble I think).

Ang said...

Awesome blog thanks for sharing this story about your friends and you. I am glad you all had each other to lean on. Some people never find people to lean on like that.
I am thankful that you gained confidence over the years. I am glad you all are okay. :)

Earth Muffin said...

It's amazing how everyone has some kind of "scarring" from high school experiences. What a tumultuous time in almost everyone's lives! And Em really hit the nail on the head about how it's the "glory days" for some people and how they never recover. A short visit to my hometown always reminds me of that! I have shied away from using my maiden name on Facebook just to keep some of those people from finding me...and while part of me feels silly for that, another part acknowledges that I simply want to keep the past in the past.

It's great that your group is still in touch!

Anonymous said...

You are a wonderful bunch! Thanks for sharing.

Laura Lee said...

be well