Sweet Daughter of Cups! You may not know you are a swan yet. Are you still looking for your tribe? Are you still wondering if you belong?
I have always loved the Ugly Duckling because it is a divine archetype of the journey of the outcast. Even as a young child, I derived great hope from the story of the funny looking bird who became the graceful swan.
As an adult, I was reconnected with this powerful archetype when I read Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ Women Who Run with the Wolves. She retells this story with fantastically drawn out details of the ugly ducklings death defying journey through the dark aloneness. What I love best in this story is the truth that the Ugly Duckling is transforming into a swan the whole time and she has no idea! It seems like (but it aint!) an overnight transformation when she finally finds her tribe and sees her reflection in the pond…. realizing her beauty and finding belonging.
The Daughter of Cups asks us to look at our own painful journey to finding our true nature. Have you ever felt like an alien in your own family? Have you ever experienced being an outcast? How did it feel?
On a deeper level, if we are willing to ask ourselves, what is our “inner ugly duckling” that we have rejected? What parts of our own psyche have we abandoned and exiled? Could these possibly be the key to our greatest fulfillment? Let us bring them home. This is also called shadow work. If we are willing to go into our selves and move through some of our false personas, we can evolve into our true beauty. This first requires some serious honesty with ourselves. One way to become aware of our inner ugliness, is to be aware when we are judging others. Whatever seems to annoy us about another person will hold a key to an aspect of ourselves that we have denied. This is difficult work, and requires practice – but we can learn so much if we take the time to question our assumptions and perceptions. They hold the key to our powerful subconscious beliefs.
In traditional Tarot, the page of cups represents a being who is innocent and cautious about the world, unsure about her feelings, not really knowing who she is. The youthful energy of the Page and the watery, emotional realm of the cups is a challenging space. Youth looks outside of itself to be told how to feel or act or be. This is all very normal in the stage before we begin to piece together the mystery of our true nature, and develop the strength to hold true to it.
I love this representation of the duckling swan, who casts a rainbow light of reflection, symbolizing her beautiful and magical beingness, which may not be apparent to those merely perceiving her physical being.
The daughter of cups is a profound symbol of transformation and a reassuring symbol that who we will become is beyond our wildest dreams, if we allow ourselves to unfold in time…