Symbolically the storm represents the chaotic moments of upheaval we all face at some point in our lives. When all the things that have brought us stability and serenity are taken away and the very foundation of our identity is removed. This can be the death of loved ones, the ending of significant relationships, the ending of careers, the loss of health or any other experience that feels like it untangles the very fabric of the lives we build.
We attach so much to the identities we’ve built that sometimes it’s hard to imagine ourselves without the titles we have adopted: artist, wife, adult, parent, child, sportsman, conservative, hippie, feminist, vegan etc. I think this is the role of the Tempest. It enters our lives with force and destroys some or all of the identities we have built, often identities we would never have the courage or self-awareness to question or change. In doing this it provides us an opportunity to start a new, like the burning of a forest, which lays a fertile layer of soil for new life.
These times are tumultuous, they show us life in all it’s bitter sweetness, the deep pain of loss with the possibility of a raw, lust for life, the excitement of new opportunities un-bound by previous expectations. This can sometimes be in a physical form, in terms of moving away or leaving a relationship but equally it can be a slight shift in the way we think that allows new possibilities and ways of perceiving the world to open up.
Undoubtedly, finding the light in these situations can be incredibly difficult and maybe impossible at points, I think it can take years to see any positive, particularly in grief. But I think it’s hard to deny that with the pain comes something else, an opening to human experience, a depth of feeling and an overthrowing of complacency, a sudden remembering of the impermanence of everything, which acts as a fuel to true living.
Somehow in those moments we are opened up to something deeply human that is masked by our barriers, roles and self-protection mechanisms we uphold in daily life; in those moments something sacred and true emerges. It feels like we get a brief glimpse of our true nature.
So for me this is the role of the Tempest. To destroy the temporary and illusory identities we build and in amongst the pain and conflict find something truer, something of deeper humanity and grace; the possibility to connect truly to what it means to be alive.