Given that we have been blindly navigating the terrain of relationships without the guidance of ancient sacred knowledge to steer our ships for many centuries, the majority of modern day relationships have mot matured past the stage of falling in love with a projected ideal. This coupling of the inner maiden and knight is depicted in the Tarot as the ‘Three of Cups’ card. This level of relationship is where we feel ‘in love’ with our own unexpressed aspects, projected externally on to another. So we feel incomplete without them, hence the old relationship paradigm term, ‘my other half’. This relationship model is known as co-dependency, a dynamic where we rely upon ‘the other’ to do that which we think we are unable to do for ourselves. Understandably, this status quo eventually creates feelings of neediness, disempowerment, suffocation & resentment until we individuate from the other in order to grow into a fuller version of ourselves. If we don’t use this time on our own to embrace the White Path of Tantra: Creating Sacred Union Within we simply fall in love again with our projection of the perfect partner & then reject them when we realise they too, are human & incomplete.
Unconscious partnerships play out in three stages:
1. The Honeymoon Phase. This is when we fall in love with our opposite or disowned self externally in someone else. Our euphoria is fuelled by the expectation they can save us from the suffering we have unconsciously created for ourselves. This is when we revert back to ‘baby speak’ giving each other pet names as we take it in turns to soothe & parent each other’s wounded inner child in exchange for affection, reassurance & the perception of emotional security. At this stage of relating we unconsciously try to get from our partner what we feel we didn’t get from our parents.
2. Polarisation. This is when we lean on each other’s strengths to the point where we completely avoid doing those activities we don’t feel confident doing. To disguise our growing sense of disempowerment we start to develop a sense of superiority about the tasks we are good at. This leads us to minimise & judge the tasks our partner does so resentment grows & the passion dies. When we don’t appreciate & respect one another we end up bickering like siblings. This creates a dynamic of unconsciously competing with each other which undermines any effort to build something lasting & sustainable together. This is marked by both parties putting the other person down, either directly or behind their backs to their friends or shared children to bolster their own sense of self-worth.
3. Rejection To Reclaim Personal Power. This is when we have become so polarised that we feel righteous and superior to our partner. To avoid taking responsibility for our own imbalance, we blame our opposite for sabotaging our happiness and then break away in order to reassert our sense of authority over our own life. It is women who are usually the first to leave. Not because they don’t love their partner but because they don’t know any other way to end the destructive dance of polarisation & conflict. This stage can be very frightening when we love our partner but feel we are betraying our own values by staying with them.
This stage is inevitable if you value truth & recognise something needs to change if you are to continue to grow. So rest assured, if you are currently in this place of needing your relationship dynamic to change & contemplating ending your partnership…you are ready to enter the new paradigm of Sacred Union.
4. So What’s the Solution?
When we embrace the path of ‘Sacred Union’ in partnership, instead of trading our partner in, only to repeat the same process with someone else, we strive to take responsibility for embodying our disowned selves. We do this by acknowledging our partner as our teacher, one who mirrors everything we need to see and accept in ourselves. Whilst they may act out our core wound in the opposite way to us, the issue they are illuminating is what we have not healed in ourselves. Similarly, their thoughts, words & behaviour toward us reflect our subconscious beliefs about ourselves & what we think we deserve.
The Key to Everlasting Love
For a relationship to grow beyond the honeymoon phase & survive the polarisation phase with grace & mutual respect it is imperative that a sacred practice be entered into which assists each partner to see & own their disowned selves. This focus shifts the ego’s need to blame ‘the other’ to one of personal responsibility so both parties remain humble, open & receptive. In other words, if there is not an agreement to regularly face the other in complete vulnerability & acknowledge your unconscious thoughts, words & actions they will be projected on to the other. These will accumulate over time, destroying trust & mutual respect, making intimacy on any level impossible.
This process needs to be holistic (honouring of the whole self or soul) rather than just a psychological negotiation as often occurs in couples counselling. A soulful approach encourages couples to ‘get out of their heads’. As viewing a situation from a rational perspective of right & wrong can further entrench polarisation. Instead, both need to be encouraged in a safe space to reconnect with their feelings which their righteous indignation has been trying to protect. For only then can they connect soul to soul with their partner.
When we view our relationship as a path to enlightenment we become gracious about the lessons learned through our human flaws & hurts. So instead of becoming increasingly bitter & cynical about love, marriage or an entire gender we come to appreciate how every experience in our relationship is highlighting what we need to do to resolve our own inner conflict & imbalance. It is this shift in our perspective that restores harmony as we genuinely feel gratitude towards our partner, warts & all! This is because we understand how both their strengths and their weaknesses serve us. This makes it possible for us to feel truly safe, loved for who we truly are, rather than pressured to be perfect or face rejection. The only essential ingredient is that both partners are willing to show up & do the practice to regularly own their shadow. Given the pay off is multi-orgasmic sex & the alternative is divorce or a cold war it seems an obvious choice!
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Creating Sacred Union Within Book
When I turned thirty I married myself in front of all my guests at my birthday party. Some, I suspect thought this a desperate act by a woman who, according to my patriarchal dictionary was, by definition a ‘spinster’ as an unwed woman over the age of thirty. Regardless of how unconventional it seemed at the time, I just felt an inner need to do it. In the three years leading up to this I had felt inspired to create & facilitate ‘Tantric Bridal Showers’ which offered an alternative to the degrading pub crawl in a tulle veil & hen badge. In these ‘Secret Women’s Business’ nights I would veil the bride “to” be & ask her to take three vows to herself. These included agreeing to uphold her personal values, educating her partner & children as to the gifts of the feminine & honoring the needs of her body, mind, emotions, & spirit in every choice she made. This commitment to Self was witnessed by her inner circle of soul sisters in the Red Tent who would then support her in married life to uphold her vows. The idea behind this was that I questioned how we could truly take vows to commit to another when we hadn’t first made that commitment to ourselves For it seemed to me a precarious act to make vows of intent to another if we didn’t start from such a solid commitment to self to back them up! Formally stating that we can count on ourself to not compromise our truth is an act of self “love that I see as a necessary condition of entering into conscious partnership. When we consider that people treat us according to the standards & boundaries we set as acceptable, this simple but profound act of power ensured a mutually honoring union one could commit to whole” heartedly without hesitation or fear of commitment.
The Art of Being Consciously Single
Growing up in a largely unconscious culture that ostracized people who were single as ‘wallflowers & losers’, it is ironic that what makes someone a truly good partner is how much time they have invested in knowing, understanding & healing themselves, (which is undoubtedly easier without the demands of a relationship or family responsibilities). That said, there are certain lessons that can only be learnt through relationship with others, so ultimately it’s about finding a balance between what we learn from both time with self & time with others.
When we consider the nature of our universe is holographic, meaning everything we create in our subjective experience of reality is a mirror of our conscious thoughts & unconscious expectations, it makes sense that to create a truly committed & loving partnership we must first make a deep commitment to love & honor ourselves & since love is a verb that means making loving choices & actions. How we feel about & treat ourselves will be mirrored back to us in those who we attract into our reality. In addition, the greater the capacity we develop to truly love & honor ourselves through conscious choice, the greater our capacity for truly loving & honoring others without fear based agendas.
Committing to ‘The One’
Before we can commit to another with the best of intentions, we must also make a commitment to that which is greater than us alone (the ego) & for the highest good of all. Call it what you will “Spirit, Source, God, the Universe, the Force or whatever ‘Tupperware label’ sits comfortably with you. Making this commitment to serve our collective, ‘Oneness’ marks the shift from ego to soul. This is the second birth, when one is ‘born again’ not into a specific doctrine but to the realization they are here to serve the greater or true self, the Soul which is part of the one ‘World Soul’. For unless we have made this decision to serve the Divine plan by fulfilling our potential in service to the greater good, we will look to our partner as ‘The One’ & expect them to save us, by being the center of our world & fulfilling the infinite abyss within us which is not a fair expectation of a fellow human being & one which only creates such a clingy dependency that one’s mate soon feels cramped by their overwhelming need.
When we make this commitment to embark on a path of spiritual growth, seeing every experience as a lesson, we make the transition from the child who blames others & feels sorry for themselves whilst unwittingly hurting others into a conscious adult. I see this as one who examines their thoughts & actions so they become wise & humble through self “reflection & the seeking of a higher truth. It is important to add here, that it doesn’t matter what path you take so long as it deeply resonates with your own soul. Personally I’m not a fan of ‘off the shelf’ doctrines, groups or philosophies that claim to have the only exclusive path. As our truth is ultimately dictated by our own conscience if we take the time to listen & is reflected in all paths just as the Divine is. It doesn’t matter what practice you adopt, whether it’s a traditional sacred path like Tai Chi or just sitting by a lake or talking to the Higher Mind by reading the symbology of the clouds “all that really matters is that you make regular time to do it. I like to take inspiration from a wide range of spiritual paths, just like I enjoy cooking & eating foods from various cuisines. It is all Divine in essence so it’s not as if you’re a naughty child disobeying your parents by honoring the Divine in a form that is different from the standard Judeo/Christian meat & three veg equivalent you perhaps were fed growing up. So if you feel like creating a meditating Buddha & lotus water feature in your garden to create a serene sanctuary where beauty can uplift your soul or if you were raised Hindu, there’s no reason you can’t sing your heart out to Aretha Franklin’s Gospel CD for a DIY Spiritual high!
A Solid Foundation for Soul Mate Union
Both of these marriages to Self & to Spirit are the essential building blocks for the new paradigm of Sacred Union, a conscious partnership that honors the holy trinity of self, other & the all. This creates a pyramid energetically, a temple of mutual growth so the union fosters an upward spiral of evolution, rather than a downward spiral of entropy which is what occurs despite our best intentions when we only focus on the other as a way of getting our needs met.
In the Tarot, this level of codependent partnership is illustrated in ‘The Devil’ card which portrays a couple who are operating unconsciously from their lower selves, outwardly pursuing that which they desire rather than developing those qualities within themselves. This is indicated by them focusing only on each other, a level of awareness which keeps them shackled as they unconsciously expect their partner to fulfil them & then resent them when they don’t. This anchors a dynamic of dependence & need as the wounded child within each seeks to be unconsciously parented by the other.
In the card, ‘The Lovers’ the same couple are featured but the woman is instead focusing on Spirit…this symbolizes that the feminine aspect is now fulfilling her soul’s potential rather than looking outside herself for someone to save her from her misery & sense of separation.
This dynamic occurs both internally & externally in partnerships. For example, externally it is often the woman or more feminine partner who will pursue a relationship with Source in order to explore her inner self & connection to the All. She will then try to inspire her more masculine partner to do the same. If they awaken their own inner feminine the partnership will grow to the next level by ascending the Tree of Knowledge. If they however, reject her feminine inspiration to grow! she will either suppress or compromise her inner truth & need for growth at a cost to herself or eventually leave the partnership to be in alignment with her core values. Internally this dynamic also occurs within us, with the feminine part of us seeking out greater inspiration & meaning. This increases our receptivity to intuitive guidance so our rational ego (our masculine self) may then externally act upon it. For women or feminine dominant males who lack confidence in the external world they may first need to awaken the courage to act upon their convictions before they can empower their inner masculine to take action.
So unless we reawaken our connection to the Divine & honor ourselves accordingly by creating harmony & balance of the sacred feminine & masculine through the embracing of teachings & practices which foster our upward spiral of wholeness & reconnection, our relationships will spiral down the toilet into Hell. (That being the mindset of fear based reality we have been living, based only on the thoughts & perceptions of the lower senses.) To do that, we need to replace the subconscious programming that has kept us focusing on our fears, perpetuating an experience of Hell. For when we focus on the Divine, an eternal source of love & see ourselves as reflections of the Divine by delighting in our archetypal Gods & Goddesses, we become filled & inspired with love
This fuels us to create situations that reflect this. Then it is possible for us to live Heaven on Earth in every aspect of our lives, as in this card we are the embodiment of love so we attract a reflection of this in every moment.
If you found this article insightful, check out these related resources & events:
Creating Sacred Union Within Book