how to heal the king of cups reversed

Hi Angie, 

I loved your description of the King of Cups posted on January 8, 2014 .

cups14.jpg

I live with a King of Cups.  She is an empath with strong emotions and equally strong resistance to them, meaning she cannot express them.  As a result, she has extreme difficulty relating to people and is literally breaking apart, spiritually and physically. How does the King of Cups heal himself?

She drew the King of Cups in position two, the crossing card.  I know that only she can heal herself but she has all but given up. Can you provide suggestions or reference material that may help?

Thank you, Yvonne

Wow, Yvonne, what a fantastic question. It really nails why I read Tarot and what I think the goal of Tarot should be--to read the energy around a situation and find a path to healing.

The King of Cups generally embodies both the positive and negative attributes of any suit. Remember that when you are reading and a Court Card comes up either in the upright or reversed position, most people aren't all positive attributes or all their shadow (though some people might project all shadowy elements in a certain situation, like work.) Particularly in the obstacle position, we can see how the King of Cups' shadow attributes can be the challenge for the person, rather than their strength. You can read about the King in this post, I am not going to rewrite what that person looks like

The Cups rule emotions, so the Heart and Sacral Chakras are really illuminated with Cups people. Though Heart is traditionally an Air element chakra, it seems more fitting to me and in Tarot work to be associated with Water. Emotions and what we feel are intrinsically tied to Cups people. Sacral chakra, ruling our sex relations as well as creative endeavors, is also a Water chakra, so we can see how our emotions and sexual relations often are fundamentally tied together. Empaths are often represented through Cups Court Cards. What you describe about empaths with strong emotions and equally strong resistance to them is entirely normal. We learn to survive our sensitivities and gifts. If your partner was not taught how to shield her emotions from other people, or not given healthy and strong boundaries as a child, she had to survive that experience through shutting down feeling of emotions. 

We must remember that this survival was necessary for her, rather than punishing it (I am talking more about her punishing herself for not feeling her emotions) to honor it in some way. I always like to do release ceremonies and to thank my shadow self for keeping me together at a time when I had no other allies or emotional tools. (The New Moon is a great time to do this type of ceremony, or the Winter Solstice.) I often thank my alcoholism for getting me through my life. Alcohol worked for me when I had no other emotional tools, but then it stopped working for me, and became the blockage to my emotional growth and connection to other people. When I do a release, I honor the ways in which I survived, but also how I truly want to live. So, release, then invite a new way of being into your life.

I am a huge fan of the book Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff. She has some great insights on how to become self-compassionate, and how to feel an emotion without falling apart, or allowing it to become an obsession. This is another of the reversed King's attributes--being obsessed with a story about a negative emotion. "So and So hurt me, and this is how they hurt me. Isn't So and So a terrible person?" It is being mind-centered, rather than heart centered, and it is a way of not feeling the feeling. Emotions change fairly quickly, but we often sit in the story, because it is more comfortable for us than the emotion. So a story about hurt, betrayal, or chaos becomes more comfortable than anger or forgiveness. I love Pema Chodron's article on anger. But if we sit in anger, and do not react to it, and get deeper with the feeling, we often note it is a deep childhood pain that has arisen again. Often, when someone is empathic, we often see them shut it all down, so they cannot feel emotions at all. But this comes at a deep cost of connection with other humans.

But as you have identified, the King of Cups is a ruler of his emotions, not an escaper. He embodies the wisdom of his Suit, meaning, he has come to understand his own emotions and how to feel the feeling and then move to the next feeling. Kings of Cups who have not learned this lesson come to deal with their emotions in escapist ways, like addiction through alcohol, drugs, food, other people, gambling, anything to get out of the feeling that is uncomfortable. Dealing with addiction, if this is what your King of Cups is facing, is a whole post in and of itself, but naming it, owning it, and getting help is so very vital. You can email me privately if this is something you are facing, and would like some help navigating this part of the healing for King of Cups. But on the larger issue, I would first suggest examining where the fear of emotions comes from--Was it picking up other people's emotions too intensely? Was it being ridiculed or punished for her emotions? Was there no one there to walk with your King of Cups, to allow her to feel her vulnerability in a safe place? There are probably a thousand questions here. Once you identify that, you can take a course of action. 

For the first question, I would say, learn grounding, shielding and empathic tools. There are so many resources online for empaths right now. I recently wrote about my healing work and empathic abilities in my newsletter. I also have written a ton about protection and grounding. This work is so so so important for empaths, healers, lightworkers and any of us who run away from emotions. Ground. Understand one's self. Great stones to help with grounding and shielding are Black Tourmaline, Hematite, Smoky Quartz, Onyx, Obsidian, Garnet, Dravite (Champagne Tourmaline), and Shungite among others. Get barefoot. Visualize your protection shield up in public and know you are allowed to feel your feelings, but not allowed to feel other people's feelings.

 If it was the second, then some healing needs to come around the childhood wounds of being a sensitive person. We often hear, "You are too sensitive" being bandied around as an insult, but it is a beautiful quality to have. To empathize and live in compassion. Of course, it is a detriment if we feel other people's feelings for them, and I have found Pixie Campbell's courses on Shadow work and Boundaries absolutely invaluable in learning about our shadow self and how it plays out in our daily life, and how boundaries are so vital to the empath. (I wrote about working with Shadow here.) Carolyn Myss also does amazing work around understanding and working with the Shadow. Her book Sacred Contracts is a wonderful resource for understanding how archetypes come to play out in our life. Tarot deals with Archetypes too, so I find a natural connection there. One thing that Pixie says is that you can talk to your Shadow self when it begins to rear up. When your King of Cups begins to shut down at an emotional time, she can talk to her Shadow child. "It is okay, babe. I know that used to work for us, but it isn't anymore. I got this one. I am an adult now, I can protect us both." She tells of the image of putting your protective Shadow self in a papoose and carrying her with you. It isn't a punishing stance you take with those instincts, but an understanding that they are no longer working for you.

For the last question, remember that our vulnerability, our authentic self is worthy, beautiful, and compassionate. She wants to emote, express, and be whole in front of someone. This is why she feels broken apart. She is literally broken apart. Her insides aren't matching her outsides. A great practice is to have your King of Cups choose someone to be absolutely herself in front of. This might be you, though do not take it personally if it isn't. We often first have to choose a therapist or neutral third party. Make sure the person is trustworthy. This is the thing-- Vulnerability is a Gift. Each person gets to decide who is worthy of this gift. (Of course, Brene Brown is a wonderful amazing resource in the world of Shame and Vulnerability. If you haven't heard her TED talk, run right now to hear it. I will wait right here.) It is a good thing to practice boundaries and not share all our intimate feelings with everyone we meet. But it becomes a problem when it is no one. Our human push is to connect with others, even us introverts. This person simply will hold space while the person gets comfortable feeling his or her emotions. They may prompt to go deeper into a feeling or story. What was behind that hurt? Go deeper. The most important aspect of this is to make sure this space is safe. The King of Cups's experience in the past was one of ridicule or punishment when they did express emotions, so it really is so vital to ensure she is safe in this space.  When the King of Cups emotes, it will simply be met with what works for her. She may determine that before the session. "If I cry, can you hold me? If I cry, can you cry with me? If I cry, can you simply close your eyes and breathe?" If you are abiding the person crying, resist handing them a tissue. That is often a mark to people that crying is inappropriate and needs to stop. Also know that if she doesn't cry, there is nothing wrong with her. Some people emote by laughing or screaming or moaning.

The goal is to become more heart-centered. What does that mean, exactly? Heart centeredness is, what my teacher called, the Highest Form of Spiritual Love, or rather the unconditional love towards the self and others. To achieve heart centeredness, we must release judgment of ourselves and others. We filter through the heart rather than the mind, and we often work actively to feel our own feelings and not other people's feelings. This work is lifelong work for the Empath. I can tell you in my crystal healing practice I often help my clients move into the heart space energetically through crystal healing, Reiki and simple space holding. Great crystals for heart work are Rhodonite, Rose Quartz, Rhodochrosite, Green Aventurine, Jade, Pink Tourmaline, Ruby in Fuschite, Kunzite, and Watermelon Tourmaline. I often manually open the heart chakra and allow my clients to cry. Touch is also vitally important for water healing, so think massage, Reiki and other healing modalities where gentle touch happens in a safe environment.

Your question reminded me of an episode of a local NPR program on WHYY called Voices in the Family. This episode features Brene Brown and Kristin Neff. Amazing stuff that might help shed some insight too. I hope this helps, and please let me know if you want some follow-up here, or if something doesn't make sense. 

Much love, Angie

healing from friendship loss

In my newsletter this week, I began writing about vulnerability and shame. It morphed into a piece about friendship losses. Losing friendships has been such a profoundly difficult part of my life--one where I feel most vulnerable perhaps. Friends truly are the soul family we create. I have valued each person I call a friend throughout my life as a teacher, a collaborator, a spiritual partner, and a gift. Upon reflection, some friendships were there to show me parts of myself I would have rathered stayed cocooned in the back closet of my soul, yet those instances have been the greatest teacher, catapulting my spiritual growth. You can read the newsletter piece here. I wanted to share thoughts and tips on how to deal with friendship loss on an energetic level and healing oneself. I am not going to be giving any words on how to heal the broken friendship, but rather how to heal the broken heart.

Here is what I believe is important to care for yourself and nurture your spiritual growth through a friendship loss.

1. Don't call every person you mutually know to tell them about your friendship fall out. Allow yourself one telling of the story to another person--your sister, best friend, mother, therapist, or sponsor. Gossip lowers our vibration. When you retell the story, you stoke your anger. You feed that particularly wolf. If we don't play back the storyline of injustice that we are inventing in our head, and just sit, we can begin to feel the feeling that we've been pushing off and ignoring. So, just allow yourself to feel the hurt, rather than tell the story. See how the first is heart-centered and the second is not. The latter is getting yourself out of your hurt, and moving into other fiery places like your sacral and root where justice can be perverted into revenge. 

2. Take responsibility for your emotions. Your friend did not make you angry. You felt angry as a result of your friend speaking her truth. Very different. If she is purposely trying to hurt you, then take responsibility for not putting up your guard. It is not that your friend is not culpable at all, it is simply that we must be able to, as the Serenity Prayer says, "...accept the things we cannot change...change the things we can...." We need to understand what is our emotion, and what is an issue in the friendship. I had a friend who told me she needed space. First thing I did was shoot off an email to her telling her I was there for her. She just told me what she needed, and I did exactly what she asked me not to do. In my desire to fix things immediately, I overstepped the boundary she created. So also take responsibility for your role in the friendship loss. It is important, without beating yourself up, to own your role in the friendship. That takes pure heart-centeredness and self-compassion to own your role without taking all the responsibility. It takes practice to not judge yourself, so allow yourself to be quite terrible at this in the beginning. Just know you'll get better the more you do it, and the more heart-centered you are.

This grid is centered with Rose Quartz tower with Rose Quartz coming out from the center, then Dravite (or champagne Tourmaline, a wonderful stone for self-compassion), on the outer ring, Rose Quartz, Malachite, and Rhodochrosite.

This grid is centered with Rose Quartz tower with Rose Quartz coming out from the center, then Dravite (or champagne Tourmaline, a wonderful stone for self-compassion), on the outer ring, Rose Quartz, Malachite, and Rhodochrosite.

3. Remember you are hurt, injured, and grieving, so treat yourself as such. Self-care is A Number One. Baths. Meditation. Lots of rest. Detox from Social Media. Eat clean, whole foods. Don't drink alcohol or use drugs. Feel the hurt. Cry. Practice Reiki or energy healing on your heart chakra. Or get energy work done. Surround yourself with stones for self-love--rhodochrosite, rhodonite, rose quartz, green aventurine, jade, watermelon tourmaline (or rubelite or pink tourmaline), and any other heart chakra stone you have close to you. I often do a grid for self-love during these times. I use aromatherapy for the heart and healing--rose, bergamont, sandalwood, orange, lemon, neroli, ylang ylang. 

4. Write a letter from your Shadow Self. When you are fired up, a great tool is to allow your Shadow self to write a letter. See, your Shadow (a term coined by Carl Jung) is your shame, the part of yourself you might not accept. Maybe you want to believe you have evolved so fully from being petty, angry or unforgiving that giving your Shadow any voice would give her power. If we do not accept these normal human parts of ourselves, our Shadow comes out in all kinds of dark ways. Give her voice. Listen to her. What you are listening for is where your hurt stems from, what places in your childhood this situation is activating, what other situations in your life (past or present) does this pain remind you of, and what you can release. I reassure my Shadow Angie that she is not alone, or that she is not diseased or a damaged person. This is a key to healing. It is not the suffering that is the problem, or the failure of a friendship, it is the feeling of shame, isolation, and loneliness that leads us to numbing behavior, seeking revenge, or self-punishment and depression. "I am the only one who feels this way," our terrible suffering tells us. No one is ever the only person to feel that way. Even if it is the ugliest, most horrible thought, others have had it. 

I allow my Shadow Self to have a say. I let her write a letter to God. You can address it to your guides, the universe, or your Higher Self if you struggle with God. Just sit down. Alone. No one else in the entire world will read this. It is secret medicine, and it is the point of the thing. Now, with your vulnerable, most open self, write about every feeling you have had regarding the loss of this friendship (this works with nearly all issues that come from shame.) All the ones you have called ugly, petty, shameful. Write it all. Don't hold back.

Dear God, 
When so and so did that, I was so mad, I wanted to punch them in their stupid nose. How could they be so cruel to me? Don't they know who I am? Why don't they like me? Why do I keep suffering like this? I will never love another person again. If I could talk to so and so, I would tell her that She doesn't know what she is missing. I'm a great friend. When she said I was self-absorbed, I was so angry, because my grief is a big deal, and I need to be self-absorbed right now.
Love,
Angie

Spirit can handle all these thoughts and does not judge. Give them release. When you are writing, you may cry and get angry and say WHY ME?!? a thousand times. That is okay. Give those shadow thoughts a voice. Let them see the light of day. What is giving them power is their darkness. And in the sunlight, you will be able to see that you are just a hurt person. Not a bad person. Here is where you tell the story for the last time. And then you fold up the letter, and put it in a box that can be a kind of God Box, or a Spirit Box. Some people use a shoe box, or a wooden cigar box. Once you put that letter in the box, you have now turned this entire situation over to God, or to your guides. You are allowing them to take it from here. So stop saying the same thing in your head that you just wrote down. Once you put it down, you don't have to pick it up again. 

5. Invite your Higher Self into the Conversation. I journal after a God Letter, and ask the question, "Spirit (or Higher Self), what do I need to learn from this situation?" This is where I invite my Higher Self into this conversation. Compared to your Shadow Self, your Higher Self is the part of you that knows your Soul Purpose, your life lessons, and taps into the Divine Source. You can get there through meditation and receptivity. Breathe deeply. Create a Sacred Space. Ask for guidance. 

I first write the things I have recognized from my Shadow letter. We hopefully learn the things we need to release (and accept). In my fake letter above, I ranged into self-pity. I also thought I should close my heart chakra. I had a lot of unexpressed emotions for my friend, which is a throat chakra issue. I also had that deep-seated feeling of being rejected. As an adult woman, I can work with that little Angie and comfort her from the rejection she felt as a child. These are things I then write on slips of paper--Self-Pity, Closed Heart, Shut Off From Speaking My Truth, Rejection. I write those out, then I write them on separate pieces of paper as transformational statements:

I transform self-pity into self-compassion. 
I open my heart and trust that my Guides will provide me with friendships that are meaningful and important. 
I speak my truth with compassion, calm, and love. 
I am accepted wholly and fully, just as I am, by Spirit.

One thing to remember, when I asked the question, "What do I have to learn from this situation?" in a Spiritual Counseling session with Rita Strough, she told me, "You are ascending and need to attract like-minded spiritual beings. These friendships fall away so others can come in. You did nothing wrong. They did nothing wrong. You are just making room for new people." That truth I see over and over again in my own readings with people--friendships fall away, so people with similar vibrations can come in. There isn't anything wrong with person A or person B. When we raise our vibration, we attract people with similar vibrations, and release the ones who don't resonate with us. Why would that make us angry? Even when someone hides their fear in attacks against us, we need to realize they are simple not resonating with us. Isn't that a much different perspective than "I am a bad person" or "I'm not likeable"?

6. Release what is not serving your Highest Good. I find ritual very cathartic, and so on release days--Equinoxes and Solstices, as well as Full Moon rituals, when I am absolutely ready to be done of this friendship drama, I might burn the God letter with the slips of paper containing that which I want to release from this situation. If you are working with a medicine bundle, or intention setting, remember that Spirit often gives us these situation specifically SO we release the things not serving us. I keep my transformational statement to carry in my medicine bundle or on my sacred space/altar. I say them every day for a moon cycle. When you are releasing something using the moon cycles, I release during the Full Moon or waning moon period. I set intentions during the New Moon period, and ask for growth in the waxing moon period. And also, I don't just do this. I wait until I am ready to release. Give yourself time to process your loss and understand what it is you are releasing and why.

7. Forgive easily and often. My first and final act (so this should be 1 and 7) is to pray for my friend. I don't know how to forgive in any other way than to begin praying for the other person. It requires nothing but willingness. I don't even have to release any anger or guilt or hurt. I actually get on my knees for this one, because it signals to Spirit that you are ready to embrace the humility needed to heal. Ask for your friend to have everything you want for yourself--peace, friendship, health, happiness, joy and understanding. Ask for your friend to know Spirit. When and if you have more karmic work to do with your friend, ask to bring them back into your life in a way that is peaceful for each of you. Express gratitude for the lessons (no matter how hard) they brought to you, and for showing you the places where you need work releasing attachment and ego. This is the way I have learned to forgive someone--to see them as a Divine Being of Light, as a hurt person, as someone who needs healing in the same way I need healing. If you have a healing or love grid, add their name to it. And add your own. I pray for them, whether I am still angry or not. I believe prayer (to the universe, or God, or your angels) activates your readiness to forgive. Does it mean the anger or hurt immediately dissipates? No. It means, you are showing Spirit you are ready to have this anger removed.

8. Ready yourself for new friends. I do this by working on my heart chakra. Heart opening crystal grids and layouts are wonderful. Yoga can be a great way, and just practicing self-care. Lots of self-care.

What do you think about the end of friendships and healing? What do you do when a friendship ends? Share it in the comment section of this blog.