The other day my sister sent me a link to an article called, “7 German Words We Should be Using in English”. She highlighted one word in particular, one that beautifully expressed a not so beautiful tendency that we both have (although I think more so ME than her). That word is “Kopfkino”. Literally, this means something like “head cinema”, the idea of a movie that plays in your head, in your mind’s eye.
The Lure of the Kopfkino
You, the viewer, cannot control the kopfkino. That movie plays from beginning to end at lightning speed whether you want to see the action or not. Your imagination runs away with you…usually something you are worried about pops into the forefront of your mind, and the little goblin in your head creates a cinematic masterpiece of everything that can go wrong.
Or perhaps you are a planner, someone who likes to be in control of minute details and prepared for all scenarios. In this case, the kopfkino takes you on an exhausting ride that shows you all the myriad of steps that need to be taken or tasks achieved before you reach your goal. This has it’s useful side, I suppose, but it can make even a pleasurable project (like planning a trip or a party) seem overwhelming and all consuming.
I’m aware of this tendency. People often point out to me that I’m doing it (thanks, darling xo!). And I’m working on calming that kopfkino down, at least moving from a zombie apocalypse or alien invasion action movie to a charming human drama. However, sometimes people aren’t aware that they are living like this, and wonder why they feel so tired and anxious all the time.
Tarot as a tool to calm the Kopfkino
Turning to Tarot, I thought about which cards may appear in a reading with the purpose of pointing out that the person is letting themselves get caught up in the whirlwind of their own personal movie theatre.To me, the intellectual and cerebral suit of Swords is the land of the kopfkino, for example:
- Nine of Swords – feeling stressed, worried, waking up at three in the morning thinking, “What have I done?” or “How am I going to get out of this?” or “Why did I agree to this?”
- Eight of Swords – being so caught up in your thoughts that you simply can’t see the way forward, you feel trapped, unable to act
- Four of Swords – telling you that it’s time to rest, be calm and heal, reflect in a meditative rather than anxiety-driven manner
But there is help available! If you find yourself trapped in a negative or frightening pattern of thoughts, turn to these cards for an alternative, for inspiration:
- The Fool – live in the NOW, be spontaneous, trust that everything is just going to work out for the best
- The Hanged Man – surrender, calmly look within to find the answers that you need, watch that movie from a quiet, detached place
- The Chariot – consciously direct your course, exercise discipline and force of will, go strongly towards your goals and the end credits
I don’t think I’ll ever be able to get rid of my kopfkino, but over the years I have been able to tame it somewhat, and to shift it in many cases to something useful.
When reading Tarot, that tendency allows me to react quickly and instinctively to the images that I see in the cards…patterns and stories quickly come together and flow without overthinking things. I am able to use my knowledge and discipline to keep me on track with what I see in the cards, rather than letting the movie have a life of its own.
In my personal life, I have learned to recognize when my kopfkino is gearing up to follow a negative, pessimistic or unhealthy imaginary storyline, and I consciously move myself away, pull back from that, and shift to a more optimistic and uplifting screenplay. I like to balance between those Fool and Chariot cards, joyful optimism combined with discipline and will, to achieve my goals and dreams. Now that’s a happy ending.
What kind of movies does your kopfkino play? What do you do when you need to get out of your own head? Please comment below!