The Lovers, The Devil, and Being Thrown Out of the Garden

Karmic relationships and how to leave them.

The Lovers Tarot card is a sort of a snapshot of a story we’re all familiar with:  Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.  The image is all the more poignant because we know the end of the story.  This picture was taken when the beautiful angel was hovering over them as a guardian and protector.  The very same angel would later cast them out of the garden because – horror of horrors – Eve munched on an apple and that pissed off their psychotic, bipolar god.

In many ways, this is a perfect metaphor for the process of, “falling in love.”  And falling out of love.

When we first meet that perfect someone and fall in love, our brains and bodies are absolutely saturated with pleasure hormones like oxytocin.  We become enchanted with the mere presence of our love object and the entire world seems to glow with a peculiar brightness and joy.  Basically, we’re high as a kite and we feel like we’re living in a beautiful garden.

That oxytocin high lasts about two years (coincidentally, about the same  time it takes to conceive a baby, gestate it, and get it on its feet) and then it just disappears.  Suddenly our brains go back to normal.  This is the, “reassessment period,” in a relationship where we take a good, hard look at our partners and decide if we really want to stay with them.  If, all in all, we feel satisfied and happy with them, we stay in the relationship.  If, after we come down from our oxytocin high, we discover that we’re living with a frog  rather than a prince, we leave.

In other words, we fall out of love.  We’ve been cast out of the enchanted garden.

I’ve been thinking about that process because of a subset of relationships that the amazing Sonia Choquette refers to as, “karmic relationships.”  In her videos, she explains that these are relationships that involve a sort of a, “Soul agreement,” with the other person.  The agreement is that we and the other partner are going to teach each other some serious lessons that will help us grow into our spiritual evolution.

And, “serious,” is the salient word there.  These tend to be very, very heavy relationships.

There’s an element of compulsion in them, for one thing.  We meet someone and suddenly feel a deep compulsion to be with them.  It may not even be someone we particularly like.  They may have values that are completely at odds with our own, or perhaps they’re physically or emotionally someone who is just not our type, not someone we would normally EVER be attracted to.

Yet, we are.  It’s a feeling like two magnets suddenly coming into alignment and pulling us toward each other with an irresistible force.

They also tend to be . . . uncomfortable . . . relationships.  In a romantic karmic relationship, we may feel a HUGE sexual attraction toward someone, but really, really NOT enjoy living with them.  Or we may feel a strong emotional attraction to them but have a terrible, terrible sex life.

In one way or another, it feels like a bad fit for us, because it is.  We’re not there to have a perfect relationship, we’re there to learn some heavy, hard lessons from being in each other’s lives.

That’s where it gets interesting because the timeline on a karmic relationship, the duration of it, is determined by when we learn those lessons and are ready to move on.  It may happen in six months or it may take decades.  In Sonia Choquette’s case, it took 31 years of marriage for her to get the lessons she needed to learn from her ex husband.

Which brings us to one of the most fascinating features of karmic relationships: leaving them.

When a karmic relationship is over, when we’ve finally learned the lessons we were supposed to learn, it becomes massively uncomfortable to stay in those relationships.  As Sonia said, the price we pay for overstaying in them is absolute emotional misery.  We really experience it as if we’re being spiritually expelled from them, as if we’re being thrown out of what we mistakenly thought was a garden but was actually full of weeds.  The same forces that compelled us to enter into the relationship are now compelling us to leave.  Lesson learned, relationship over.

If we ignore those compelling forces, if we insist on staying in the relationship even after the lessons from it have been learned, then we devolve into the couple from The Devil card.  This is the same couple of people from the The Lovers card, but now they’re living in misery and pain.  They’re chained to their karma, refusing to move on from the relationship and grow spiritually.

And, of course, if we examine The Devil card closely, we can see that the chains are very loose.  They could easily lift them over their heads and be free if they CHOSE freedom.  Instead, they cling to their misery.

Both Sonia Choquette and Louise Hay point to a very simple truth which our culture likes to deny:  relationships end.  And they end frequently.  When they d end, we can either choose to be miserable, choose to stay ensnared in the karma, or we can stop to absorb the lessons that we learned from the relationships.  We can either be bitter or we can bow gracefully toward our former partners and thank them for the lessons they helped us to learn.

And if we mutter under our breaths, “Thank you, you son of a bitch,” that’s alright, too.  We’re just humans and this is just a school.  We don’t have to get an A on our report cards every single time.

The Fool, The Magician, and Laughing With the Angels.

Playfulness as a major force in the universe.

I was watching a Sonia Choquette video recently that was about getting in touch with our spirit guides and angels.  She made the point that the first step in that is to get in touch with our own spirits, because spirit talks to spirit.  And she also said that sometimes our spirits are NOT hanging out in our bodies.  The basic idea is that, if we are constantly depressed, angry, and fearful, then our spirits don’t really WANT to be in our bodies because our bodies are so toxic.  Who wants to hang out in a room full of anger and sadness?  Who wants to hang out in a body full of anger and sadness?

Huh . . .

The cure for that is – surprise – to be happy.  Laugh, play, be light.  Make our bodies and minds into places where our spirits want to be.

It started me thinking about two Tarot cards, The Fool and The Magician.  Not the cards from the Waite Tarot deck, which was designed in the early 20th century, but the original, older portrayals from the 14th and 15th centuries.   The portrayals in the Waite deck are stunningly beautiful, but, in some ways, are not at all consistent with the original meanings of the cards.

Here, for instance, we have the Waite version of The Fool.  He/she is a beautiful, elegant, sexually indeterminate youth who is dancing along the edge of a chasm while a little dog dances beside him.  The basic meaning of the card is someone who is so high on cosmic energy, so in tune with universal energies that if he dances off of the cliff, he’ll just keep on dancing on thin air.

Now compare that to The Fool from the old Marseille Tarot deck.  This Fool is kind of a scruffy looking dude wearing the actual clothing of a Fool from the medieval royal courts.  The dog has torn a hole in his britches and he’s not even watching where he’s going.  He’s wearing a funny hat and he has jingle bells hanging off his cloak.

Not exactly elegant, is he?

But he does remind us of the original Fool who would entertain the royal courts.  He had a very, very special status in those courts because he was the only one who was actually allowed to laugh at and make fun of the King.  He was considered sort of a mad idiot, someone who had either been cursed or blessed by the gods with a somewhat insane, totally irreverent sense of humor.  His purpose was to mock the pompous and remind the all-too-serious that life can be seen as a joke.

The same point of view was taken of what we remember in our language as, “the village idiot.”  We might think of him as someone who was perhaps mentally deficient or brain damaged.  To the villagers, however, he was seen as someone who had been touched by the finger of god, someone who was viewed as a blessing to the village and so should be fed and cared for, for free.  He was a treasure in large part because he made people laugh and get in touch with their love.

Again, look at The Magician from the Waite deck.  Once more, we see a thoroughly elegant, physically beautiful individual who is very much in charge of his magic.  This is a master of the occult, a Wise Being who channels magic from the astral realm into the physical plane.  

Contrast that with The Magician from the older decks.  This Magician looks a little clumsy.  He, too, is dressed in Fools clothing and isn’t paying attention to what he’s doing.  Displayed on the table before him is a cup and dice and coins, and other random items.  Far from being the magical symbols that we see in the Waite Magician card, these look like things he might have dug out of his pockets and we almost wonder if there might be a few balls of lint scattered in there.

The older Magician was not a master occultist.  The older magician was a street entertainer, much like the stage magicians that we see today.  He might not be sawing women in half or disappearing into a magical box, but he could still put on a hell of a show.  He could make the dice do what he wanted them to do and he probably wasn’t above taking a few pennies from people who couldn’t guess which cup the pea was under.

He was a flim-flam man.  An illusionist.  Someone who knew how to shuffle a deck of cards and astonish us by picking out the Ace of Spades every single time.

He was fun.

That’s what’s missing in the newer, Waite deck portrayals of these two cards.  The sense of fun.  The sense of goofiness.  The sense that life really isn’t supposed to be taken all that seriously and a lot of it is just plain silly. 

Here’s a radical proposition:  what if angels like to play?  What if angels actually have a rip roaring, hilarious sense of humor?  What if that’s the vibration that they actually exist on:  laughter and play?  So then think of the Western approach to prayer.  You know how we get all serious and somber and . . . church like . . . when we pray?  Prayer, after all, is a VERY SERIOUS business.  We all know that, because we’ve been in churches and people weren’t doing a hell of a lot of laughing.

But suppose . . . just suppose . . . that everytime we get all serious and somber, we automatically tune out our angels and guides?  Just like changing to a channel that they’re not broadcasting on.  They’re still there.  They’re still wanting to help us.  But we just tuned them out by completely losing our sense of humor.

It could be that laughter and play are underlying forces in the universe and when we’re playing, we’re in harmony with our true nature and our Higher Selves.  Think of little kids and puppies and kittens.  These are beings who have JUST transported in from the other side and what do they do all day?  They play.  They play and play and play until they fall over exhausted and then, when they wake up, they play some more.

Wouldn’t it be ironic if, by being SO serious about our spirituality, we were turning our backs on our spirituality?  Maybe we need to set up some playgrounds in our churches.  Maybe we need to find some pastors and priests and rabbis and mullahs who can tell a good joke.

Maybe we need to lighten the fuck up.

Laughter lights us up inside, sometimes like a warm, glowing candle and sometimes like fireworks, but it always brings light and lightness.  Laugh and get en-lightened.  Works for me.