Expectation of family togetherness are intrinsic to the holidays. We see the joy and contentedness other people seem to experience around their families and we want that. The Ten of Cups speaks to that idealization. “This is what you could have…” the card seems to whisper.
Of course idealization is just that, an idea (and a flimsy one). Most of us experience deep shadow when we’re around our families and that's how it's supposed to function. Familial relationships are where we generate the material necessary to do our spiritual work. So we immerse ourselves in the strange energy of those individuals for 18 years and then we leave; we go into the world to practice our lives, work our processes and we forget.
And then the holidays come along and we think “Hey, this will be fun- I miss these people!” You gather, you celebrate and in the midst of all of that, you're unexpectedly slammed with your old historical disappointments. Your parents and siblings don't see you, they don't appreciate you, hell, they don’t even know you! Suddenly you feel like you're a 10 year old child again and find that you're acting from that place.
This card reminds us of what we wish it was like. Whether we want our family of origin to be more accepting or we’re feeling overwhelmed with our immediate families, there’s always that place where fantasy comes head to head with the reality. And the reality is that it’s not always so good, its not always so perfect.
But there are perfect places. There are moments (albeit fleeting) where you look around and find yourself laughing and relaxed and content. Those are what this card reminds you to recognize.
Family relationships tend to be more work than ease but that doesn’t mean there aren't nuggets of gold to be mined. So this weekend and this month; there will be cold water and there will be dirt under your nails and it’s going to be messy. But here’s the message: when you happen to pull a golden nugget out of the icy river of family frustrations, roll it around in your hands and appreciate it. Notice the way it sparkles and gleams. And when it slips through your fingers and back into the water, have no fear. Know that there are more of those to come, even if they are few and far between.
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