Okay, this is one of the Slow Holler interpretations that has always puzzled me. Like, what are the images supposed to mean? The branches, okay, it’s got to have seven. I kind of get the bars/crossed sticks thing—standing your ground/boundaries. The polka dots confuse me a bit, and I’m not sure what to do with the cut stump. But also… the teeth? Why are there teeth?
This card is about strength and conviction and resistance—not collective resistance, but personal resistance. It’s about standing up for what you believe in and being willing to fight for it. That sounds great, right?
But it’s so much more complicated than that. We can destroy ourselves in the pursuit of activism, so focused on our personal relationship to power, on our shame or guilt or need to atone or crushing grief, that we fail to understand our communal relationship to power and our need for connection; our need to be human. We can be so determined to stand up for ourselves in relationships that we can't see others as people who are fighting their own battles, or attend to our own most vulnerable needs and hopes and fears.
I think the pulled-out teeth and the sawed-off stump (the LWB says the wood is petrified) are about the tension between the need to be unyielding in what we know is right, and the ways that hardness can cut us off. About how it can pull us to pieces.
“Your fierce protection of yourself is honorable. Sometimes, however, the best use of your fire is not casting out demons, but illuminating them and preparing for their eventual transformation into qualities and skills that serve you rather than harm you.” –Slow Holler Tarot