Today I begin a new daily card pull using The Celtic Book of the Dead deck by Caitlin Matthews. This deck is based on the Voyage of Maelduin I’ve posted on earlier. However, instead of randomly pulling a card I’ve decided to work through the deck in the order of the islands visited by Maelduin to give it some kind of continuity. Of course when using the deck you would shuffle the cards and choose a card randomly. so, the first island encountered by Maelduin was the Island of Giant Ants.
Here’s what Caitlin Matthews says about this card:
When we first set out upon an immram, the wide expanse of the sea is around us like a great void and we are beset by fears. This island presents us with the challenge of facing our worst fears realised. Insects become terrible when they are large as beasts, similarly, our worst fears are not normally looked at too closely for fear of their implications.
Look closely at your fears and analyse what they are based upon. You will be shown the strengths and weaknesses they obscure. By facing fear you can partially overcome it.
This challenge isn’t an easy one for me because fear and anxiety still play a rather dominant part in my life, which is why I have trouble getting out and about. People often ask me if I’m agrophobic and I immediately answer ‘no I’m not’ because the truth is I’m not at all agrophobic. I would say I feel more claustrophobic when I’m with other people because the horrid truth is that what keeps me from going out is other people and their energy. But I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently and I have to admit that along with that, I also have a fantasy of me in my ivory tower. Mixing with the masses feels like a chore to me, so my fear and anxiety taps into my narcissistic side also. However, if I delve a bit deeper it also taps into my fears of interacting with people because I fear being rejected. As a child I always felt on the periphery of things, never really being included and sometimes just tolerated. I learnt distrust at an early age which I think is really very sad. But the reality of life is that you cannot trust everyone for the simple reason you don’t actually know everyone. However, when taken to extremes it causes a person to live a really unbalanced life and that causes stress. In trying to overcome the imbalance I try to overcome my fear of mixing with other people and I like Caitlin’s way of expressing this…’By facing fear you can partially overcome it’…because I think this is true. I have partially overcome my fear by being reasonable with myself and others. Some people will reject me but others won’t and it’s learning the difference and accepting those who won’t into my life and learning slowly to trust them. This takes a lot of time and effort on my part. It means dealing with my narcissistic side too…I am not all things to all people. I am no better or worse than others…I just am! The work I have thus far done on facing my fear has meant that I have partially overcome it to a point. I don’t know if I will ever overcome it fully but I have made headway, and that is good enough. I used to hate that expression ‘good enough’ because I wanted perfection in all I did but again, understanding that I cannot and will not ever be perfect has helped me to be a lot gentler on myself. Good enough is in fact good! It does not matter what other people are doing, it’s what I (you) do that counts.
Analysing and really reflecting on our worst fears and where they actually come from is not easy. It means being really honest with yourself and unpicking a lot of threads. I like to think of it as unpicking a piece of tangled knitting and if you’ve ever done this you’ll know it takes time and patience. But in the end, if you really want to, you’ll get there. It also helps if you have someone who is not emotionally involved with you to bounce things around with; a friend you can trust, a therapist or someone like that. I’m really fortunate in that I have both but even if you don’t, you can still achieve this challenge.