I went to Chapter’s Indigo yesterday to browse around a bit while my daughter had some coffee time with a friend. The mall was packed with parents taking their little ones to see Santa and the Grinch and I couldn’t help but wonder that things hadn’t changed much since I was a young parent. I saw the excited children (some struggling in their parents arms) with flushed cheeks and mussed up hair and clothes and wondered how many of the parents were questioning their mission to capture little Susie’s terrified expression while sitting on Santa’s knee.
Call me cynical (I prefer the term “realistic”) when it comes to Christmas and the fabricated air of happiness that is pumped into shopping Centers worldwide this time of year. People look miserable, and as an intuitive empath, I feel their miserableness as it tries to claw its way into my being. I put my psychic defences up prior to my arrival to such a place (of course!), but I still see and feel the tension put out by the people desperate to find ‘THE PERFECT GIFT”, the concept of which is purely preposterous when it comes to the concept of lasting happiness. It didn’t escape my attention either that the book store (usually my favourite haunt) features an unusually large number of books and Tarot decks geared towards finding your happy-place. Happiness, joy, love and charity are things I see very little of this time of year. People push and bump into me without so much as an “oops, sorry” and no one appears cheerful in the very least. The Tarot deck section, I notice, is saturated in Doreen Virtue decks featuring pastel hued Angels and Cherubs that promise the delivery of nurturing and kindly messages to help you get through your day. Fear not, dear DV fans, this is not another rant against her disjointed approach to spirituality as of late. But I did realize that the ratio of DV decks to other decks was significantly higher, and that her ‘Mornings with the Lord’ book did not appear in the Christian section, but was instead in the New Age section. In fact, some chaos magician shopper had placed the Satanic Bible right next to it….a fact I found ironically funny. But I digress…
The fact of the matter is that I am keenly aware of how increasingly un-happy people are despite the numerous books claiming to have the answer to our problems and offering a source of profound and lasting joy. Humbug! No one, except me, was even looking in the ‘Well-being’ or ‘New Age’ sections featuring products of an uplifting nature. No one was in the Religion section (looking to adopt Zen Buddhism or get closer to Jesus) either for that matter. What I think it comes down to is that more than ever people aren’t buying the ‘think and grow rich’, ‘ happiness isn’t something that happens to other people’ kind of self-help books and Tarot/Oracle decks that promise relief from our suffering. Not even the Bible is featuring very prominently on the shelves. I do, however, notice a lot of Vampire and Viking fiction and a resurgence of Stephen King novels like the Dark Tower series being sold in boxed sets. People it seems are having a fascination with darkness and apocalyptic tales and superhero’s.
It’s this reason that I tend to choose decks that are not of the ‘light and fluffy’ variety. Or if they appear light and fluffy, they feature a realistic ‘reversal’ that keeps everything tapped in to the dark side of the cards meaning. I like my Dark Angels deck, my Moon Goddess Tarot, the I-Ching oracles and the THOTH deck that always can be counted on to give me an honest appraisal of a situation. While I think there’s some benefit to be had in looking on the bright side of life (and I have a LOT of brightness in my life right now!), I also realize the value of acknowledging the dark side. Without it there can be no teacher, no little dog to keep us from plummeting off the cliff unawares. It’s horribly unjust to blindly accept that happiness can be had by simply putting your mind to it. And I also think that the reason people are not clamouring for Angel Messages decks and books on someone else’s happiness philosophy, is at the end of the day, is that people find it disingenuous that anyone would be making money of of people’s suffering. People just can’t think themselves happy naturally (if they could there would be no self-help books necessary) which is why we need the Tarot. We need it because it is a mirror for people to get real with themselves and their situation. They need to see a little darkness in their superficiality, their judgmentalism, their greed and materialism in order to have something to reject….in order to choose the opposite of that. It took a visit from the Ghosts of Christmas past to make Scrooge a true keeper of the spirit of Christmas.