Navigating the Unknown and Opening to the Message of Dreams.
“This is going to be the year I put an end to my shame,” I declared to myself at the start of 2016.
All the stifling voices that had overcome me in moments of vulnerability my entire life, telling me I didn’t deserve, didn’t belong, wasn’t worthy, it was time for them to go. For good.
This declaration turned into a New Year’s intention. Through a combination of events, including a women’s moon circle and the realization that 2016 was, according to the Tarot, my year of the Moon, I realized that the timing couldn’t be better.
I read Tarot, and am infinitely familiar with the Moon card: it is all about exploring the depths of your unconscious where memory meets creativity. It is a hidden realm where we hide our shadows and discover our inner truths. It often provokes fear because one doesn’t know what one will discover when stepping through its veil.
To release my shame, I would have to dig down into this part of me that remained in shadow.
I knew I could and would do it, because I never desired anything so purely from the core of my being. My shame had been holding me back my entire life, and I just couldn’t afford to be its bitch any longer. But I didn’t know how I would do it. So I opened myself to receive guidance from the Universe. And the Universe heard my request.
My tools were my Tarot deck and my dreams, both of which provided me with a window inward and connection to my intuition. “I’m ready,” I told the Universe. What followed was a year’s journey through many doorways taking me further and further toward the essence of my soul. I learned more about myself than I ever could have imagined, and I transformed myself in surprising ways.
Here’s what happened.
Door I: Opening to the Message through Dreams
Shortly into my journey, I came across a webinar on releasing internal blocks, and at one point, the facilitator asked us to ask ourselves, “What will it take to let this go?”
“Yes, that is precisely what I need to know!” I found myself thinking. And so that night, lying in bed, I asked my highest self, “What will it take to let go of my shame?”
A few nights later, my highest self responded with a dream. I was on the rooftop of a building. I had just finished a radio broadcast and people had gathered, disapproving of my message. Then I saw my very best friend huddled on the floor and sobbing. “How could you do this to her?” everyone shouted at me. And my friend looked me in the eyes and told me how much I had hurt her with my words.
“I’m sorry,” I said, “please forgive me.” But she wouldn’t, and I woke distraught. The dream sat on the surface of my memory all day, shaking me, perplexing me, leaving me gutted on the inside.
That evening, the meaning of the dream hit me. My dream self knew it would pain me the most to see my dear friend respond to me in such a hurt way. But my friend actually represented myself; it was the only way to get my attention. “This is what your shame is doing to you,” the big me was telling the little me.
The first step to letting go of my shame was to confront the harm that I was perpetuating by complying with it.
That night I cried and cried, faced with accepting the truths of my own self-harming beliefs. I cried for my inner child who had suffered far too much, and needed me to end the cycle.
Door II: Recovering Sensations
In March, I began to dream of men stalking me, breaking into my apartment, pointing their guns at me. And in each dream I feared for my life, I ran, I woke shaking and covered in sweat.
I drew Tarot cards to help me interpret the dreams, and each time the same card appeared front and center: Death. The Death card represents change, transformation and rebirth. But before we may be reborn, something must die. And we must actively let go of these dying parts of ourselves, sometimes by killing them off.
I needed to face the killer in my dreams, and so I went to bed, letting my dream self know I was ready. In the early morning hours, I dreamed of being at a party. In the center of the room was a coffin, and I stood next to it. “I will not run away,” I told myself. The coffin opened, and a man sat up, pointed a gun at me and shot me right in the chest.
I woke to the taste of death in my mouth. There is no other way to name it: a mixture of garbage and decay. I brushed my teeth, I ate breakfast, but still the taste lingered. I didn’t fight it because I knew this was an initiation. Something from deep within my unconscious, past words and past memory died and was set free.
This was the beginning of my transformation.
Door III: Feeling the Fear (and Doing It Anyway)
I now felt brave enough to face my shame head-on, to tease it to the surface where I hoped I would find the strength to knock it down.
The Tarot encouraged me in these endeavors: the Five, Six and Seven of Wands pushing me into action, into the fray, letting me know that I would never be able to prove myself wrong if I didn’t try. I knew I couldn’t wait around for myself to change; my actions would lead me to the change I desired.
I embraced my passion for leadership roles. I confronted those who had hurt me. I revealed myself in all my realness and vulnerability on social media. And the shame came, and even flooded me at times. But I didn’t let it stop me. I kept pushing forward.
Door IV: Welcoming Home my Inner Child
In June, my inner child began to speak to me. She was quiet at first, directing my fantasies, leading me to pick up her favorite books, recovering her joyful memories. I could tell she was still wary about whether there was a place for her.
I began to pull the Page of Cups in my Tarot readings, and I knew this was her spirit coming through, wanting to speak but not having a voice. My wounds of shame were her wounds of shame. And so I spoke back to her, letting her know I was listening.
She came to me in a dream, but her demons came with her. She was a naked doll with mangled hair, and as I picked her up, she dug her nails into my skin. I couldn’t pull away from her grasp. The more I pulled away, the further she dug, tearing open my flesh.
I was frightened. I didn’t want to accept this darkness. Until I realized, this darkness was not a part of her — it was assigned to her, it trapped her. She was asking me to set her free.
And so I told her I would keep her safe, and that I would fight her demons for her. When my shame came, I countered it with affirmations, telling her I was proud of her, telling her she was courageous, telling her of my love and joy to see her shine.
Door V: Communing with the Elements
By the end of Summer, nature was calling to me like never before. The trees, the ocean, and yes, the moon. I needed to be outside in the elements. I needed to feel my direct, physical connection to Source.
My Tarot readings were filled with the suit of Pentacles. Pentacles cards connect us to everything we can see, smell, hear, taste and touch. They keep us rooted to the earth, and allow us to manifest and experience abundance.
I got myself outdoors, knowing this was part of the journey. To heal my wounds of shame and release its hold on me, I would need to call in my connection to the earth and all the strength, rootedness and guidance it provided. I would need to believe in the manifestation of my own reality.
During a camping trip in the California desert, I lay in my sleeping bag starring up at the Full Moon, and I heard her speaking: “You are never alone, you always have me,” she said. “You are complete, you are wise, and you are loved.”
I heard the moon speaking not so much to me but through me. I knew the moon was me and I was the moon. We were one; had always been one. This gave me the final strength I needed to complete my journey.
Door VI: Shifting the Energy
My dreams began speaking to me almost every night, filled with scolding and mocking family members, home intruders and crowded outdoor spaces.
My highest self was pushing me. I knew this was the moment; I knew I was ready to create a dramatic shift.
I opened the floodgates to my hurt and sadness so that I could mourn and fill my insides with love and compassion. I allowed my fears to scream at me so that I could face them with fire, courage and willpower. I allowed my outgrown beliefs to lecture me so that I could release myself from every contract I had made.
My Tarot readings brought forth the Tower. A card of destruction and breaking down of the ego. I faced my ego honestly, acknowledging the crutch of external approval I used to compensate for my moments of shame. And I let it go too.
What emerged was empty, wide open space. I was free.
Door VII: Navigating the Unknown
I sat with this empty canvas throughout the late Fall months. I lingered in the unknown, allowing myself to embrace the idea that I didn’t have to know or fill in the blank space. I gave myself permission to be still and just listen.
The Strength card became my guide, the card of opening the lion’s mouth and trusting one’s instincts. And I realized, a new part of me that had always been in hiding was emerging. A wild, imaginative, magical, gives no fucks part of me.
I was so focused on releasing my shame that I hadn’t realized there were jewels trapped behind the shame, waiting for me to shine the light.
With these new parts of myself now integrated, I felt finally full, finally alive. Ready to paint a new picture. Ready to manifest that picture into reality.
Charlotte Eléa is an Intuitive Counselor and Tarot Coach. She guides her clients toward discovering their hidden strengths and connecting to their inner wisdom, and is passionate about facilitating inquiries, connections and discoveries that alchemize growth, healing and transformation. She offers sacred group circles and individual intuitive coaching, working from a foundation of feminist psychology, alchemy, counseling principles, Jungian archetypes and elemental spirituality. She has been reading Tarot and analyzing dreams for herself and others for over 16 years. She can be contacted via her website.