In this theater event each major arcana card is represented. We all write and perform our own monologues. We do our best to bring the cards to life and each year the message each card brings is different. This year a lot of us had very personal stories to share.
The order of performance is determined by the audience who draws the cards in random order.
After this past year and as a culmination of my life thus far, the Strength card really resonates with me.
Also, this year, we again had an interactive Fool which really helped as a foil for the heaviness of my presentation.
I'd like to share my monologue with you here. I hope it inspires you.
(Strength comes out to Kelly Clarkson's, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" Instead of a lion, Strength is carrying ChocoCat from Hello Kitty. The Fool pesters Strength as she walks out. Strength, clearly frustrated and tired does her best to fend the Fool off.)
That which doesn't kill you makes you stronger? (shouts) Ha!
Things have been really tough for a lot of us these days!
Sometimes it's circumstances. Bad luck.Sometimes we make poor choices that bring pain and chaos into our lives.
Sometimes life hands you a "shit sandwich!"
(Fool puts a sandwich in Strength's hand. Strength gives the Fool a WTF? pissed off expression and looks at the sandwich in her hand with disgust)
And sometimes life continues to force feed you "shit sandwiches" until you decide you don't want to eat shit anymore and you learn to say, "No thank you."
(Hands sandwich back to the Fool)
Well, the "Shit Sandwich" life handed me was a "submarine." From the age of three I experienced just about every kind of abuse you can imagine. This continued into my adult life because I had not learned that I didn't deserve it. (Self esteem is a recent discovery of mine. ) And, I didn't know how to avoid it;I had not known any other way. I was eternally spinning on a wheel of "bad fortune!"
Long list, but just to name a few: Rape, incest, domestic violence, life threatening health issues, chronic pain, financial worries, car trouble, legal trouble; really, really bad love decisions!
For a long time I thought I was strong because I had learned to endure. Then I realized that Strength is about making choices.
Things came to a head when I made the choice to give up a relationship where I had financial stability rather than lose my life at the hands of an alcoholic with an anger management problem.
That choice led to the worst year of my life; extreme poverty, homelessness, humiliation, learning to keep asking for help even when people clearly wanted me and my problems to go away, well meaning people wanting to help and actually making my situation worse, predatory people taking advantage of my vulnerable situation and lots of unsolicited advice and commentary.
Some of my favorites:
- "It's been two weeks. You have a job and a new place to live & everything's just fine now right?"
- "It's only stuff. Let it go."
- "God doesn't give you anything you can't handle."
- "Maybe the universe is trying to teach you a lesson here. Could you have made better choices?"
- "Let Go. Let Goddess."
The worst year of my life culminated in the loss of nearly all of my possessions.
You may be thinking, "Wow! That transmission repair my car needs and the broken washing machine don't seem so bad right now!" Or, "What's she bitching about? I have terminal cancer!"
All pain is equal in the eyes of the universe. Your pain is as real to you as mine is to me.
We have choices. Strength is how we choose to deal with that pain.
(Holding up ChocoCat)
Sometimes you need to let the lion roar a bit. Stand up for yourself! Speak your truth!
(Cradles Chococat and puts a finger on his mouth)
Most of the time, it's best to be calm, quiet and let your truth shine out from within.
Strength is making the choice to dig deep within yourself no matter how hard it is and find what you need to push on through!
I've made the choice to put that "shit sandwich" to good use, as fertilizer. And finally, some beautiful flowers are starting to bloom.
- Yeshe Rabbit includes her unusual, witty and wonderful, Wheel of Fortune" piece here!
- Derik Cowan's Post P-Con debrief. Derik is an OLT veteran and directed this year's presentation as well as portraying The Magician in an oh so wonderful way as a whirling dervish to Queen's, A Kind of Magic!
- Dr. Hayden Reynolds, talks about his P-Con experiences as a member of the Circle of Dionysos, including this year's ritual theater production of , A Modern Dionysian Initiation (A different twist on the Rocky Horror Picture Show) and includes his monologue for The Hierophant also!
Below are some various depictions of the Strength card. I don't have links or info on all of them and some don't come from completed decks. If you recognize an image, please clue me in! If you click on the image I have lined it to an associated website whenever possible!
This is called, "You are Not Alone." It's beautiful, it's valuable. Give it a go, especially if you are going through a rough time or are trying to figure out how to help someone who is struggling!