Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Nine of Swords — The Enchanted Tarot

Amy Zerner Monte FarberArtist: Amy Zerner
Text: Monte Farber

 

“In the night, a sleeping figure lies trapped in a dark, nightmare world existing on the edge of sleep. Strange demons, repressed hurts and childhood fears range freely. […] This is a lonesome place, far from help and comfort. Shadows of pain, suffering and depression overwhelm the sleeper until she becomes a victim of her own thoughts and, like a martyr, repeatedly impales herself on their hurtful points. […] The only way she can escape from these nightmares… is to open her eyes and awaken to what is really bothering her. She must confront it in broad daylight…. The alternative is torment.”

 

This is a good description. I like the Nine of Swords. I do.

 

From childhood through college, I suffered terrifying nightmares. Oftentimes, the dream itself was abstract: something akin to the task of counting backwards from infinity. It was represented by the perpetual division of an infinitely large form that filled my field of view. I would divide until my field of view was clear but for a tiny speck of what I had begun with. At this point I had to look closer, and the tiny speck would once more be infinitely large. I could do nothing until the task of infinite division was completed. When finally I passed the point of dream paralysis, I was completely hysterical and totally incapable of speech.

 

As I matured, the dreams became more conceptual and less abstract. I would dial a friend again and again, but the buttons would swim around and fall off the telephone. Panic. I needed to turn on the light, but the string came off in my hand. Over and over. Panic. Helplessness. Terror. I could not breathe.

 

Eventually I learned to face my nightmares. I learned there are things I cannot do in dreams. For example, I cannot dial a phone: numbers use the other side of the brain. I appreciate dream terror for what it teaches me about reality and waking life. I know there are things I cannot wrap my conscious brain around, but if I fail to learn from my mistakes and injuries, I go mad. I will not run down that same dark hall.

I like the Nine of Swords. I do, I do.

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