The trick to using the fire of anger is not to turn it outwards but to turn it inward. Fire always burns itself out. That is its nature. When you turn it outwards at others or the world sooner or later you end up exhausted and defeated, the burden of the world on your shoulders. But when you contain the fire of desire and ego inside, it burns out all that is impure in you; what is sick, dying, weak, fearful and ungenerous. Everything that must die. With every encounter you have that enrages the ego... keep hold of that fire. Don't let it dissipate into fantasies of revenge or, even worse, into actual outward directed action. Keep that fire for yourself. Use it to burn another tiny bit of ego out; to fuel the long, slow transformation of your Self from mud into Diamond.So... I've been dealing with issues of anger, of self-defense and protecting oneself from all the slings and arrows of living in a cold, hard city like New York. Every day brings endless (ENDLESS!) encounters with the millions of other New Yorkers all doing their best to annoy the shit out of you: the idiots who block the doorway of subway cars, not letting people get off or get on. The people who cut you off to save a couple nanoseconds... that you catch up to at the next red light. People constantly trying to get one over on someone else, or being angry when they can't. Biking in the city in particular has become an exercise in maintaining my zen despite almost unbelievable idiocy and rudeness.
I've always been one of those people who'd rather avoid confrontation and just let things go but recently I've felt the urge to "defend my space". And I have. And MY GOD IS IT EXHAUSTING!!! When people get onto a train with plenty of extra space but feel the need to crowd into you and lean on the pole you're trying to hold onto, and you try to bump them out of the way, but they decide they're not going to let you be the boss of them and bump you back, and then shake their umbrella on your leg like a dog peeing on his territory. Countless incidents like this.
At one point I realized that, although this was something I was glad to have done to prove to myself that I could, it was absolutely exhausting! And totally not worth it. But it got me to thinking about certain types, like Heras and Zeuses (like my grandfather), people for whom this kind of jockeying is a way of life, and I thought no wonder they're angry all the time!! I'm not sure about Zeuses but I've noticed that Heras' sense of hurmor tends to be on the bitter, angry side. And they're always, always so angry! Like, all the time. Well, I know why now; being constantly obsessed with not letting others "get one up on you" makes you angry!
This realization didn't happen until I gave up trying to defend myself, and getting all angry about it. But I still had to figure out what to do with all the anger being generated by living in a city filled with rude assholes, so I went back to being zen but this time with just observing the emotion and not trying to make it go away; just letting it be and burn itself out. And I found myself feeling stronger and calmer each time I did it. Then I had the dreams, and did the reading. And this morning, as I was thinking yet again about the issues of anger, and Heras, it occurred to me that that's what anger is for; anger is the purifying fire that burns out whatever needs to be destroyed. In one of my dreams was this part:
A huge enemy army is outside our walls, attacking us. Many of the walls are broken. I get a weapon and start shooting them. Then I realize heat is coming from my hands. I aim my palms at them and concentrate. They become hot. I go out of the defense and among them. I set them on fire, but its with compassion. I hold them and tell them they can rest now. As I’m doing this all, these sad people are being burned to charcoal. My people are safe, though. I had given them a message to take the group far away, to a certain location, and I’d meet them there. I take the burning hot fire and blow it back over the rest of the army, completely destroying them.I realized that the "sad people" in the dream were these parts of myself that needed to be burned out, that were tired and exhausted and needed to rest.
I'm not sure where all of this is going but the following part of my dream reminds me of the final outcome card in my reading:
We try to leave, but a woman (commander?) catches us. She sees the girl’s “knife” and takes it. I say it belongs to the girl. I’m very strong, powerful and relaxed. I’m also angry and I want to hurt the woman commander. I take her by the wrist (her arm is very thin – she herself is pretty thin as well) and life her whole body up, levering it at her wrist. I won’t let go. Finally, I feel it start to crack. Then I put her down. She says I’m really strong, that I must work out a lot. I tell her I don’t (implying that I’m just naturally strong.)When I interpreted the reading, this part reminded me of the above:
His decisions are almost always the right ones, because he sees the big picture and never lets his heart sway his judgement. Though they might not benefit the King directly, his decisions are always in everyone's best interests. When this part of you starts to manifest you'll know it right away. The King of Swords' arrival in your life is an event that almost never goes unnoticed simply because he commands attention from everyone around him. He does not linger waiting for something to do; he appears only when he is needed to drive raging emotions from you, or when his impartiality and cold judgement will help you solve a problem.The dream seems to imply that I'm dealing with the masculine female and the feminine male. The masculine female I think is what I used to be - to try to use the sword of my will to defend myself. But something was wrong with that. The tarot reading also indicates it has something to do with masculinity and will. It appears that all that time I spent in the last year or so trying to develop a relationship with my animus is finally strarting to come to fruition.