Daily Card: Island of Sorrow

Today’s card is apt for it is the Island of Sorrow. Right now I feel deep sorrow and I know my closest friend is feeling it too. Both of us have arrived at this island but for very different reasons I think. It is the way of life to visit this island more than once in our lives, for it is part of life. In the card we see a pillar stone on which is an image of extreme grief, with a woman lamenting. Here’s the background:

Many Celtic stories juxtapose regions of happiness and sorrow, which are not seen as positive or negative conditions. Irish musicians would play three kinds of music – the sleep strain to bring dreams, the joy strain to bring happiness and the sorrow strain to bring tears. All three are necessary for a balanced existence.

The Meaning

Primal misery or angst. Sorrow. The gift of tears. Mourning. Inability to express sorrow. Sharing pain with others. Loss

The Challenge

Social convention bids us hide away pain and sorrow. It is permissible to mourn. Do not allow yourself to get out of touch with your feelings. Are you living in the past?

Grief shows itself through many emotions – sadness, fear, anger. Neither one is wrong…they just are the manifestations of grief and just as we show our joy through smiling, laughter and happiness so too we need to show our grief through equally important emotions of tears, anger and sadness. At times we feel wounded to our utter core and it quite often feels like a huge blow to the solar plexus – our breath is taken away and nothing happens except we feel utterly ripped open. The important thing is to not allow our grief to turn inwards, we need to let it out. If we don’t allow our grief to flow freely outwards then it becomes stuck and hardens – I always think of this rather like a glacier, yes it moves but extremely slowly and does a lot of damage to the underlying ground – scraping and scoring the earth and leaving great scars across the countryside. This is how sorrow can be for us if we don’t give it some outlet.

As hard as it can be for us to do it, we do need to share our grief. No man is an island – as the old saying goes. Of course there will be no answers to your grief but sharing it does help. It won’t lighten the load but it can take the sting out of it. however, what if you don’t have another person with whom to share your grief? Such is the case with me right now but I am not alone. I share my grief with my patron deities and with my spiritual guides. While this means I don’t actually have physical arms around me, I do have spiritual ones and I can feel them supporting me. It’s not much different from physical ones but can take some getting used to if you’ve never done this kind of sharing before. You see, in our anguish and sorrow we are never alone. There is always someone there to listen and support you, even if you can’t actually see them with physical eyes.

Grief and sorrow is part of life – we all will visit the Island of Sorrow in our lives; some of us perhaps many times. However, there are important lessons to be learnt from visiting it; you may not see them immediately but in hindsight you will.


2 thoughts on “Daily Card: Island of Sorrow

  1. Touching and moving blog . But when does one know when its time to leave the grief behind ?And to forgive and move past . what if forgiveness only lets the other make the other give you more reasons to be troubled , and wonded . Medically speaking wounds heal . But do wounds of the soul heal ?

    • Ah yes indeed. I’ve thought about these same questions many times. I think it is different for different people. There’s no one-size-fits-all in life. We are all different and unique individuals so we all deal with grief and hurt differently. However, there are constructive ways and unconstructive ways. I have had a lot of sorrow in my life in one way or another and it has taken me a long time to get over this grief. for some things I still grieve I think. I think getting over wounds of the soul takes action on our part. Just like if you have a cut on your arm you do something active to help it heal – you cleanse it to stop infection, and you dress it and watch over it to see if it’s healing ok. Well it’s the same with the soul. you have to tend it and look after it. It takes time and wounds of the soul take time to heal but in my experience the DO heal. It just depends on how much you want them to heal. For example, when you’ve been greatly wounded by someone you are angry, hurt and incredibly sad – that’s perfectly normal. However, over time (and it might be quite a while) you might get to feeling that the anger and hurt inside you is doing you no good. You forgive not so much for the other person but for yourself, because the hurt and sorrow is doing you no good. In life we will be hurt by others and that’s a given, just as we will hurt others too. I think, for me, I had to get to a point when I just realised that the feelings were no longer doing me good and I had to release them. It’s not so much about saying to another person ‘I forgive you’ and everything being fine and dandy, it’s more about saying to yourself ‘I forgive because not forgiving is hurting myself’. There does come a time when grief dissipates and no longer stings but it doesn’t happen straight away. Things that really helped me were being gentle with myself, trying to stay in the present moment and dealing with the feelings of the now. I wrote letters to the people that had hurt me expressing my feelings about what they’d done. I didn’t hold back, I really let my feelings out. However, I did not send them, instead I burnt them in a simple ritual I had in my back yard. Sending them wouldn’t have achieved the purpose – it was about me dealing with my grief. By doing this I released the venom and hurt and it helped. Sometimes I had to continue to do it but in the end it worked. There are times when you might have to confront the person eventually and express that what they’ve done has hurt you to your core. It’s ok to do this too but we need to ask ourselves ‘why’ we are doing it. Is it to hurt back, in which case it will probably make the situation worse. When you are ready to forgive, do it first for yourself, for your soul. The other person’s karma is theirs to carry not yours. You have your own to deal with. I hope this has helped you a little. Feel free to reply if you need to.

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