Health Concerns: Stress and Recurring Inflammation

Five of Swords reversed -- Yoga Tarot
Five of Swords reversed, from Lo Scarabeo’s Yoga Tarot


reversed Seven of Cups, Yoga Tarot
Seven of Cups reversed, from Lo Scarabeo’s Yoga Tarot

What’s tying us up in knots today? What are we reflecting upon? Today’s cards, from the Yoga Tarot, have to do with looking inward and self-reflection, but, also are connected with pain and health problems, especially inflammation. Though the background of the Yoga Tarot’s Seven of Cups is meant to show a close-up of a lotus, to me this card has always looked like body cells that are inflamed and sore, and the green yogi doesn’t look like he belongs there. It seems as though some irritant is causing inflammation in a tube-shaped part of the body–of which there are many: blood vessels, intestines, the throat, the alveoli in the lungs, or maybe even parts of the sinuses. It also seems to me as if the green yogi looks like Mercury (the feet behind his head look like wings) — and we’re in the middle of Mercury retrograde (which will be over July 20). During Mercury retrograde, things that have bothered us in the past often flare up, so I wonder if old health concerns are likely to flare up today. With the blues depicted on the Five of Swords card, I also feel as though there is a part of this situation that involves being honest with ourselves — speaking truth to ourselves about our own health. Or possibly simply a throat condition unrelated to what we actually are saying.

Because I see a lot of health concerns in these cards, I drew a third card from a deck focused on healing, Doreen Virtue’s Archangel Raphael Healing Oracle Cards: Leave a Stressful Situation Behind.

Leave a Stressful Situation Behind -- Archangel Raphael cards
Leave a Stressful Situation Behind, from Doreen Virtue’s Archangel Raphael Healing Oracle Cards

Often the driving factor behind poor health is stress, not just in terms of the toll that stress can take on the body, but also because stress drives us to pursue unhealthy habits such as drinking too much, smoking, and eating things that don’t agree with us (to put it gently). We think we can deal with those habits by being disciplined with ourselves. But that won’t work. If we need comfort, then we need comfort. We need to be gentle with ourselves, rather than turning into strict disciplinarians. If you are facing a health situation that you need to resolve, and it’s connected with a personal addiction to something that isn’t good for you (and I am facing one myself: gluten and dairy, which I am totally addicted to and which don’t agree with me at all), you will likely find that the health concern is unlikely to resolve until you fix the situation that is causing you to have such an addictive need for comfort. Until the stress eases, trying to lose weight or stop smoking or whatever it is, seems like an impossible dream.  Not that the habit won’t continue even after that, because we can also become addicted to the routine of it. But at that point, it becomes more doable to set goals and work toward them — then we can try a 21-day plan to change a habit, for example.

Finally, I want to note one more commonality that I see in the cards from the Yoga Tarot above: both yogis are doing handstands (though not the same handstand). These positions take strength, balance, and calm. The reversal of these cards says to me that we are falling out of balance — and that our hands could support us in returning to a state of balance. What do you do with your hands throughout your day? How could your hands support you in releasing stress?

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