4 of Cups: Frozen Fear
(c) Cheryl Lynne Bradley 2004-10
"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself - nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance".
Franklin D. Roosevelt
"To melt your icy blue heart, where do I start
To turn what's been frozen for years, into a river of tears."
"Icy Blue Heart" by John Hiatt
Traditional imagery of the 4 of Cups shows a young man seated under a tree with three cups in front of him and a fourth cup being offered to him. He looks uninterested in that which is being offered to him and his demeanour is generally interpreted as brooding and discontented. It is a card that can indicate an inability to be open to new things, world weariness, an overloaded plate and other disempowering behaviours. I think it can also indicate a fear of interaction with the outside world based on past disappointments and traumas which have made us both rigid and frigid. Some people theorize that the Frozen Fear is a result of traumatic deaths is a past life.
Agoraphobia, which is also called Frozen Fear Syndrome, is a form of Panic Disorder. Frozen Fear typically affects a person by creating feelings of being so emotionally overwhelmed and fearful of their interaction with the outside world that is causes them to minimize or avoid contact with people, places and uncomfortable situations. These behaviours can severely reduce the person's ability to move forward in a harmonious way in their life. The symptons can vary widely from one individual to another. If untreated it will progressively worsen.
Frozen Fear is often first rooted in the fear of being embarrassed or humiliated during events that are part of what an unafflicted person, would consider a normal daily life. It is often the fear of a having a panic attack or becoming overwhelmed while doing simple things. Attending a social gathering and using public transportation are typical situations which can create feelings of anxiety. There is a basic fear that other people would not understand or help them in their duress and that something bad would happen as a result. Usually there has been a trigger in the past where something bad did happen due to an embarrassing circumstance, brutal humiliation, bullying, lack of social poise and lack of knowledge on how to behave appropriately.
Some people deal with their anxiety by constantly looking for an escape route or a way out of a situation or a relationship. If they know they can leave or escape a situation easily it will keep the fearful feelings of being trapped and the associated anxiety at bay. If the planned route is threatened or they cannot find an alternate route or way out, they will leave the situation immediately. Some people theorize that this type of behaviour is based on a past life in which the individual experienced intense suffering from which there was no escape except through death. The worse the suffering and the death in the past life, the more intense is the desire to get away or flee in the present.
Other sufferers have a tremendous fear of wide, open places like shopping malls, movie theatres, stores, stadiums and even parks. They try to avoid any place where large groups of people might gather. In the past life sense, this is thought to indicate a past life where the individual was killed by an angry mob or during a riot. The panic symptoms will start in this life at the same age the event occurred in the past life.
Some seek sanctuary and are unable to leave the comfort zone of their own homes where the environment is viewed as safe and controlled. The are in full retreat from the tests, temptations, trials and tribulations of the day to day world. They have become trapped by their fear of debilitating attacks occurring outside of the comfort zone. The fear and anticipation of an attack is often a trigger for an attack. The greater the fear of a panic attack the more the dependence on the safety and sanctuary of home increases. In the past life sense it is thought that this extreme of Frozen Fear relates to a violent death experienced after leaving a place of safety.
There are important life lessons to be assimilated by all of us, in particular those of us plagued with depression, fear, anxiety, frozen emotions and doubt. Perhaps our past lives hold valuable clues for us in many regards. Courage is not an absence of fear, it is a willingness to go forward despite fear, no matter how debilitating that fear may be. Once the fears are disempowered and thawed, we can release ourselves from the prison of our past, embrace the present and have no fear of what will come.
Past Life Tarot Layout (c) Cheryl Lynne Bradley 2002-6