Remembering Our Ancestors At Samhain
I wrote this blog post as my contribution to the Samhain 2014 Tarot Blog Hop. To my blog readers who do not know what Samhain is, it is a Gaelic festival celebrated on 31 October, that marks the end of the harvest and the beginning of the winter when days get shorter, and darker quite quickly and the weather gets colder.
At Samhain, the veil between worlds are said to be thinner as it was a day that ancestral spirits were thought to return to visit the homes of their living families. That was the reason why many called it the Day of the Dead and anyone who celebrated the festive revelry at Halloween with all the ghoulie costumes and morbidly shaped candy, would hopefully understand why, beyond these, and the “Belladonna Beefeater Gin Cocktails” and “Vampire’s Vodkatini”, that this festival was actually a very meaningful one for those who valued the importance of kinship and respect for our ancestors that had passed on.
An Invitation To Tea
As a Catholic, I celebrate All Saints’ Day on 1 November and All Souls’ Day on 2 November. Every year, Mum would visit the memorial niche of grand dad at the church at which his remains had been placed, and she would lay some flowers, wiped the surface of the niche and said a silent prayer to remember grand dad. As the certified weirdo of the family, beyond saying my prayers to remember the family members that had passed on, I would also leverage my intuitive gifts to have a conversation with them. So it was very apt that the wrangler of this year’s Samhain Tarot Blog Hop, Louise Underhill from Priestess Tarot, had tasked us to discuss within this blogpost whom we would like to invite to tea on this occasion, with the help of our Tarot cards.
Training As A Kickboxer
I did not have to think too hard on this one. As many friends are aware, I have been training very hard at the gym 6 days a week with the goal of wanting to compete hopefully next year. Training had been hard and grueling, particularly for me because I had recovered from a knee surgery 2 years ago, had been extremely unfit, is of the age when most would be doing lawn-bowling instead and I started kickboxing lessons only at the beginning of this year. My coaches had been unrelenting whenever I felt like giving up or when I wallowed in self-doubt during some of my more difficult training sessions. Last weekend was one such moment, when I was pummelled mercilessly during a sparring session. Other than a headache and a bruised ego, I crashed into a complete funk for almost a week because I felt like boxing was not a sport for someone my age and that I was so bad at it that I could not even defend myself at a sparring session. I thought perhaps I had better stick to lawn-bowling, knitting or at best, geriatric line-dancing.
So, with my Tarot cards, I had decided to channel my favourite martial artist and childhood inspiration, Bruce Lee. I needed advice.
First, let me explain why I love Bruce Lee. Like me, he has a spiritual life path of 7. This was a life path of one who was a thinker and analyzer who had the capability of processing complex information, and who approached profound subjects like philosophy and spirituality with a lot of curiosity and enthusiasm to learn more. Like Bruce and myself, people with life path 7 prefer to be alone and live by our own ideas. Like him, our lifepath 7 makes us a perfectionist at heart. I shared some aspects of that life path 7 that made up the Bruce Lee that we know. I enjoyed the technicalities of kickboxing and worked with a few coaches who were specialists in their respective fields from a kettlebell specialist, a strength and conditioning coach, a boxing coach and a Muay Thai coach to hone the different aspects of my skills as a Kickboxer.
Like a perfectionist, I worked hard and expected to be ring-ready in no time, but that was not to be and it disappointed me when my boxing coach said, "You will not be performing in the ring for at least a year and a half yet." I was clearly not ready, and disappointingly so.
The below is a glimpse of the conversation I had with Bruce Lee, using my Tarot cards.
The Advice Of The World's Greatest Martial Artist
Me: Tell me more about yourself Bruce, I am fascinated by the legend that you have become.
Card picked : Page of Pentacles
Bruce: Since young, at the urging of my Dad, I was committed to learning new skills like martial arts. I worked hard to train and study martial arts. My dad thinks it will be useful for my future as there will be opportunities to do something with the skills I had learnt, like coaching perhaps. I have always said, "Life itself is your teacher and you are in a constant state of learning."
Me: What shaped your career as a martial artist?
Cards picked : The Moon + The Tower
Bruce: I went through my youth getting involved in street fights. One of the street fights involved a member of the triad or secret society and my Dad became very worried that the gangs would put a revenge contract on my head. It caused the family a lot of anxiety and with a heavy heart, I was sent away very quickly to the United States to pursue further studies. My life took a sudden turn in the United States where I got to meet new friends, build a new life, teach martial arts, and I spent time honing my martial arts skills and adapting other skills that I had picked up to create my own brand of martial arts.
When I was living in Hong Kong, I trained in the martial art form of Wing Chun under my master Ip Man. Then when I moved to the U.S., my skills evolved into a martial art form I had created and named after myself called Jun Fan Gung Fu (Jun Fan is my real name by the way) and as I started getting more exposed to other forms of combat sports and started to build more flexibility in my approach to martial arts, I created what is known today as Jeet Kune Do.
Changes in life are just opportunities for you to rebuild yourself with new skills and knowledge. Flexibility is key and never be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. For example, I adapted the footwork of fencing and striking skills of western boxing in my martial arts. Although it was traditionally forbidden for a Chinese martial artist to teach and impart skills to non-Chinese people, I did so anyway and am proud to count many Western students who have been true to the teachings of Jeet Kune Do. Growth comes from flexibility and willingness to open your heart and mind to new learnings and experiences. Remember my words, " You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.”
Me: I am beginning to feel that this might not be my sport. I feel upset that I can never be as quick, as fit, as strong, as nimble as other kickboxers I know. I keep getting pummelled at sparring sessions. If I cannot even survive a sparring session, I will never be ready for the ring.
Cards picked : Ace of Wands Reversed + 8 of Pentacles Reversed
Bruce: Yes, I can see how frustrated you are with the slow progress and you feel that in spite of training everyday, you are not progressing as quickly as you want to. However, that is not the way a true martial artist thinks. You are approaching martial arts with impatience and a fear of defeat. You have let your ego get in the way of what a true martial artist should be. Remember what I had said, "Defeat in anything is merely temporary. Defeat simply tells me that something is wrong in my doing. It is a path leading to success and truth." Continue to train hard and never give up.
Me: What other advice can you give me to pick my gloves up again and get more committed to my kickboxing training?
Cards picked : 5 of Swords + 3 of Pentacles
Bruce: Your kickboxing journey like the journey of any martial artist, is not an easy one. It will be riddled with a lot of obstacles, even more defeats, injuries and other setbacks. I had said before, " Without frustration, you might not be able to discover you can do something on your own. We grow through conflict." Even when you feel daunted, you must press on in your training to get better everyday. Even when you have won a fight, that is not the end. The journey continues, so that you fall again, get up again, lose a few more fights and go on to win a few more fights. A martial artist's journey is always a work in progress. Do not be afraid of this ever-winding road and just continue to work towards your goals. Do not allow defeat and disillusionment to dampen your enthusiasm.
By continuously training hard and with the help of your coaches, you will be able to fulfill your goals as a Kickboxer. There are no egos, no barriers and no limits as long as you approach your journey with flexibility, determination and diligence. Remember, "If you always put limit on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them."
Bruce Lee's short but meaningful life had inspired millions after him to pick up martial arts. Many have gone on to become great martial artists but many have failed. I have got many odds stacked against me like my age, my fitness level and an imperfect knee. However, so did Bruce. He was a foreigner in a strange country, he met his fair share of racial discrimination, and he was even pushed back by his own fellow Asian martial arts teachers who saw his teaching of martial arts to foreigners as a betrayal of the code. That never stopped him. He went on to become one of the greatest martial arts teachers and a legend. Even after his death, he continued to inspire people like me.
Happy Samhain, Halloween, All Souls' Day or whatever you might be celebrating. I hope you enjoyed my blog post. Before you think I am woo-woo crazy just because I talked to the dead, I would like to remind you that the best gifts to those who are in the present are the lessons from those who had lived in the past.
I thank the Bruce Lee Foundation for being the resource I turned to for my research for this blogpost. The cards I had used in the reading, was taken from the Radiant Rider Waite Tarot deck updated by Virginijus Poshkus.
If you like this blogpost, do follow my blog at http://sungoddesstarot.blogspot.com and LIKE my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SunGoddessTarot
About The Writer:
The writer of this blog post is a marketeer by trade, and an intuitive reader by accident who deploys the combined modalities of a Tarot, Numerology and Astrology overlaid with her Clairvoyant and Clairsentient skills to deliver her readings with authenticity. She was awarded a Certified Professional Tarot Reader qualification from the Tarot Certification Board of America (TCBA) and is also a certified numerologist. She is currently running a consultancy based in Singapore called Sun Goddess Tarot, which provides confidential intuitive readings combining the metaphysical disciplines of Tarot, Numerology and Astrology via face to face and emails as well as readings at corporate and private events and workshops. A member of the American Tarot Association (ATA) and the Tarot Association of the British Isles (TABI), she also mentors Tarot protégés on behalf of the American Tarot Association