What is His Sorrow?
It is common to use "happy" or "positive" cards in blogs, especially when they are trying to promote the deck. But to be honest, I find the ones that portray those harder moments of human life to be more poignant and interesting. This is one of those cards.
4 of Cups
Through the Looking Glass
The Mock Turtle is one of the saddest creatures in the text. “…Alice could hear him sighing as if his heart would break. She pitied him deeply. ‘What is his sorrow?’ she asked the Gryphon. And the Gryphon answered, very nearly in the same words as before, ‘It’s all his fancy, that: he hasn’t got no sorrow, you know…’” We never really know why he is so sad, except that he used to be a real turtle. We don’t know how or why he became a Mock Turtle. This chapter, in fact, leaves a lot of questions unanswered and many Carroll lovers dissatisfied. Many who’ve analyzed the story say that this part lacks the richness of the rest of the story. It is entertaining and clever, but it’s all sizzle and no steak. Which makes the Mock Turtle an even more appropriate choice for this card.
If grief or heartbreak are not processed, they become a pointless cycle, leading nowhere. There is no transformation or redemption. Even the fishes in Wonderland value having a purpose. “‘They were obliged to have him [the porpoise] with them,’ the Mock Turtle said, ‘No wise fish would go anywhere without a porpoise.’” In this card, the Mock Turtle has forgotten his own wise advice, as we often do when we are in the depths of despair.
Down the Rabbit Hole
In a reading, this card shows someone who is unhappy, disengaged, and lackadaisical. This is not a card of mourning nor of heartbreak, although either of those emotions could have been the starting point. When we hold our emotions tightly, rather than letting them flow to be experienced and processed, they stagnate. Like the Mock Turtle, you’ve dwelt too long in the past. You’ve held on too long to some slight or some disappointment, and now it has transformed and filled your heart and mind with ennui. You are dissatisfied with what you have. You cannot see any fresh possibilities even though they are right under your nose. The card does not indicate whether you shake this off or keep stewing, so it is completely your choice.
Keywords: discontent, dissatisfaction, ennui, boredom, lack of gratitude, depression, resisting change, stagnation, lack of inspiration
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