Prince of Swords with Seven of Wands

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Cosmic Tarot by Norbert Lösche

Someone said the best offense is a good defense

…or is it the best defense is a good offense?

Either way, someone said it. Likely someone military or game or sports oriented, like George Washington or Lao Tsu or Guy Lombardo… or is that Vince Lombardi?

The idea here is that if you are constantly pressing an aggressive offense onto your opponent, they exhaust themselves in their defense so that they have no time or energy or provisions for a counterattack.

Enter American Football. The adage in today’s 21st century gridiron is that it’s the defense that determines the outcome of the game. In other words, an excellent defense against a good offense is more likely to win than an excellent offense against a good defense.

Are you confused yet? You should be.

Enter David and his warped-ass concepts, birthed from the carnival of his cognizance and conceptualization…

Much to the condescending contempt of colonels and coaches everywhere, I would dare to say these two sides of the coin of conflict are indistinguishable. Offense and defense may seem different on paper, but the only true difference is no greater than the color of the chess pieces on either side of the board. If you’re in an offensive position you are simply exercising proactive defense. If you find yourself on the defense it is because you are offended.

Let me take this one step further, a step away from merely waxing philosophical and toward practical and functional: whichever side we believe ourselves to be on during any melee, skirmish, scrimage, or campaign, it would behoove us to not purely consider ourselves merely on offense or defense. Each side must acknowledge and embrace the other aspect in all engagements, or we will lose whatever battle we are embrawled in.

As offense, we need to be ready to defend ourselves at a moment’s notice. When we are on the attack, the assailed will fight back. During our attack we constantly need to parry against defensive countering. On defense we cannot simply brace our shields and hope for the best. We must counterstrike each blow to drive back the aggressor.

This concept is not restricted to sports and military and fisticuffs. It benefits us to apply a well balanced mix of offense and defense in any challenging situation. Any time we need to apply energy to get through an obstacle or we need to steel ourselves against an adversity life decides to throw at us we need to apply this principle. A purely aggressive or defensive position in any endeavor leaves us vulnerable, no matter the power of our onslaught or the thickness of our fortification. Like all other things in life, balance in the mode we take toward our conquests assures us the strongest position.

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Four of Cups with Four of Pentacles

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You know what a blessing is?

If we go with the standard definition of blessing it’s as follows:

blessing | ˈblesiNG |

n.
a thing conducive to happiness or welfare

When is a blessing not a blessing? When we no longer see it as a blessing.

Maybe it’s too much of a good thing. Maybe we are jaded by these wonderful things we have been receiving and the exhilaration has worn off.  Let me be honest: how many of you have watched a kid open one present after another, listened to them squeal with delight and wonder with each toy freshly naked and exposed how long will it be before they get sick of playing with it? Maybe it’s because I don’t have kids. Now who’s jaded?

I wonder if becoming jaded to the point where blessings transform into slag piles, where treats become same-ol’ same-ol’s, where we say oh, another meal to satiate my hunger, what a bore is the result of a broken full gauge? Are we continuing to receive well past the point of enough or when and we just don’t know it? Is the recognition of the MAX line blurred by the Western consumerist idea that it is better to receive more than to receive?

I believe so. I believe we Westerners or First Worlders or fast food aficionados take for granted so many of the blessings and gifts that we inherently receive from living in a culture of means that we continue to fill our tanks long past the point where the automatic shutoff was supposed to kick in. We find the fuel of our desires sloshing onto our Nine Wests or Jordans or Uggs to the point that the smell of the spilled excess nauseates us.

If it is indeed the case that our desire tanks are way past full then we need to empty our tanks. We can’t make room for more by hoping to burn off that fuel. We have become too bloated with the acquisitions we now take for granted to be able to roll off the couch. We still salivate at the idea of sitting at the table of More but we know we couldn’t eat another bite once we get there. Yet the idea still sounds appealing.

The only way to purge the excess is to hit the pause on acquiring and get to releasing. We need to direct the fuel line to others that are riding on fumes. We need to pass around the hose and offer to let someone in need siphon off our reserves. Few acts serve as profoundly as inspiration than witnessing someone in need becoming overjoyed by our generous provisions.

Strength with The Chariot

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Legacy of the Divine Tarot by Ciro Marchetti

This goes out to all the control freaks out there and to the control freak that lies within us all.

Control is like trying to grab an eel swimming through an aquarium full of vegetable oil. It elusively works against itself. The harder we work at asserting control over any situation the less control we actually have over it.

Think of the times when we felt if we could only get everything in order, if we could get everyone to cooperate with the plan (the plan of course being our own plan), if we could get all the pieces to stay in one place. We feel like we’re trying to figure out how many dollars we have but we’re trying to stack it into neat piles while in a wind tunnel.

The less control we feel like we have, the harder we work at maintaining control. We apply a greater assertion of our will, we lay down more decrees and demands, we build a higher wall and a deeper moat to keep the critters more tightly contained and the predators at greater bay.

What we seem to fail to realize is that the more we exert our control, the less control we really have. It’s an ironic oxymoron wrapped in a contradictory dichotomy. Ever watch someone try to organize an event to their level of expectations that needs to be measured with a micrometer? They run around frantically, dashing from place to place, task to task, lackey to lackey like a pinball between bumpers. To step back and view the panorama of control corralling, it never appears they have much of it. In their attempt to have everything perfectly set and timed they behave like a mechanical whirling dervish that had coffee spilt on its motherboard.

To continue this concept of contradiction it is when we lighten the reins and loosen our grip that we exert the greatest control. True control is moving the greatest weight with the least effort. When we exert our will over others despite their wishes, our demands are met with inherent resistance beneath the surface, which maintains and accumulates pressure over time. However, when we align our will with the desires of others, we will find that we hardly need to exert much energy at all to accomplish what we desire.

True control is found in the midpoint of the fulcrum. It is found in the place of balance of any situation. On one hand, there is effort required on our part, but there is also required a release as well. It feels so counterintuitive to gain control by letting go, but this is all too often the case.

If we want to guide a situation in the direction of our intention, we have to not only know where to apply our energy, we have to understand where we need to pull our hands away from it. This points to the most often overlooked yet important aspect of maintaining control of any situation; it is in the act of self-control. It is knowing when our efforts are best applied and knowing the point of where our efforts yield very little. Beyond this point we are only applying our efforts to avoid feeling helpless when the situation is beyond our influence. We are simply reinforcing the illusion and expending our precious reserves. The practice of self-control has at its center the act of acceptance and allowing, which is one of the most challenging truths for any control freak to embrace.

Five of Wands with Nine of Cups

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Tarot Illuminati by Erik C. Dunne

To the victor goes the spoils is one of those expressions that makes me cringe. Maybe because it sounds so self-congratulatory, the fact that someone bested their opponent means they are now entitled to their stuff, their land, their tv, their wives and husbands, their pet ferrets.

Doesn’t it just fill you with pride when you reflect on how apropos this expression is in reference to those moments in our past that make us giggle and smile, like the European displacement of indigenous peoples from the lands of [insert territory or continent here], or the cute and charming slap fights that replay endlessly in the Middle East over abiogenic petroleum?

The whole principle distills down to this: someone was worse at a challenge than you so you get to take whatever they previously owned. If they can’t defend it they don’t deserve it. Makes you feel all warmy and glowy inside, doesn’t it? This aggression-fueled avarice ain’t big enough for the both of us.

If we have to obtain something by way of defeating another and taking it from them, then that which we have taken is essentially hexed. I’m not talking about game or sports oriented attainments, such as trophies or belts or titles or other events that make us sit shoulder-to-shoulder with other aficionados or on our couch with a bowl of chicken rinds. I’m talking about conquests, muggings, exploitation, Manifest Destiny, Operation Freedom, congressional votes won by way of which corporations can best afford the most pliable members of Congress.

I say to gain through someone else’s loss is essentially hexed because the acquisition plays host to the viruses that are carried on the backs of the victims’ grief and misery. We may believe that which we’ve taken brings us joys and pleasures through padding our source of means, but those means have within its inherent bones and DNA and internal structure the decay which inevitably consumes itself from the inside.

With the exception of battles which involve points and mascots and fans that can disperse to their beds and homes and cars when all is done, no conflict has any winners if it has losers. There is no gain that occurs at someone else’s loss. When someone suffers a profound loss, we all do. As long as we stand on the same terra firma and breath the same nitrogen/oxygen mix, we are all interconnected. We can talk ourselves into the illusion of perceived insulation (thanks, ego) so that we can take from another with a false sense of impunity, but we are really only taking from ourselves. A gain by way of another’s loss is really a loan that is impossible to pay and encumbered with soul compressing debt.

Four of Cups with The Empress

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Quantum Tarot 2.0 by Kay Stopforth and Chris Butler

Are you feeling jaded and bored? Be homeless for a day.

You say, “David, being homeless sounds boring. I see those people sitting around doing nothing all day with a cardboard sign that asks for money.”

Well let me tell you this… most homeless people I encounter are busying themselves. They are searching for food and provisions that will get them through the day. There is nothing boring about constantly being in a state of survival mode.

Well I’m not here to talk about social welfare or the plight of the homeless. I’m simply trying to make a point.

Being jaded and uninspired seems to be a symptom of middle class and above. We surround ourselves with a myriad of trinkets and toys and distractions until we inevitably find that none of these things seem to do it for us. We land in between the new and the used, the sheen and lustre and chrome plating has become dull, the gadget has been played with for the thousandth time and has become predictable and stale.

So I say if we find ourselves in the throws of ennui it’s time to get rid of our comforts. If we can’t seem to entertain ourselves any longer with the shiny trappings with which we crows have crowded our nests, perhaps it’s time to do away with them. It’s interesting to see what yields from the deep dark well of deficit.

Inspiration is not derived from objets d’sire. We have fallen under the Madison Avenue induced trance that has convinced us otherwise. We believe we are inspired by the fascination that novelty brings in the heads-up display of our new car or the slick features of that new smartphone. Yet these are merely distractions as they do not inspire outward expression drawn from the well of creativity. They are merely the tools of Mesmer that hold us transfixed until the newness sloughs off like so many dead skin cells.

Creative expression is drawn from the great void of isness. It is processed from the syrup that flows from the tapping of our soul. When we can turn inward to the cornucopia of our inexhaustible and boundless inner landscape we will find an array of flotsam and jetsam strewn out of the collision of countless beautiful experiences, tiny fragments of the constant re-creating and defining of the utterly broken and errant yet perfect and beautiful self.

If we find ourselves in the throws of the dulls, it is time we stop looking outside ourselves for inspiration. Our numbness is an indication we have become disconnected from the kernel of who we are and our inner voice sounds like din or worse yet, we have completely soundproofed ourselves against the call of introspection. What we are hearing is a clarion call disguised as boredom and numbness. Once we release the agitated ego that is attached to the ennui we find we were actually yearning to retreat within yet we were afraid to do so.

Two of Swords with Wheel of Fortune

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Cosmic Tarot by Norbert Lösche

A for-sure guaranteed inevitability that will definitely happen at some point in life is where we come to a crossroads, that place of indecision. Chicken or fish? The one that comes in gray or the one that comes in black?  Date the one from Arkansas or the one from Missouri? Call an Uber or call a cab?

Of course I cited examples that could be filed under small potatoes minutia. There are the biggies like coming out of the closet, or taking a job in another state or province, whether or not to quit our job, or whether or not to deliberately disseminate our glorious bouquet of DNA throughout the universe. Those are the ones that make us lay awake at night with our eyes wide open, counting bits of ceiling popcorn.

These episodes of paralysis-inducing ambivalence on what we truly desire is not as it seems. We like to believe that our vacillation stems from the fact that we want Option A as badly as we want Option 2. Let’s keep telling ourselves that we are the flag on the tug-of-war rope with the equally covetable options vying for our final decision.

But here’s the truth: the very thing that gets us stuck between Scylla and Charybdis is fear. Fear of being permanently encumbered with the result of making the wrong choice. It’s not that we want what’s in the left hand and right hand equally, we are afraid of being disappointed with what we ultimately chose and letting the unchosen option get away, never to see it again.

It seems to me that we stand at these crossroads looking in one direction or the other as if the road will always continue in that chosen direction. The reality is no matter which decision we make, that path will lead us to another bifurcation at some point. Every choice presents us its reward through what it used to tantalize us, yet it also calls for sacrificing something else we desire.

We are never permanently stuck with the results of a decision. What we chose inevitably leads to the next mentally rending decision at some point down the road, like a set of Matryoshka dolls with another point of decision within the preceding one. We could decide to bivouac in the middle of the intersection and refuse to take a path if we find ourselves that paralyzed. However, life is avaricious for change, it insists on exacting its toll of metamorphosis, it throws entropy in the face of the static. If we think we can avoid regret by not choosing, life will choose for us and we will invariably receive neither option.

Ace of Wands with The Moon

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Witches Tarot by Ellen Dugan and Mark Evans

Simple question: Who doesn’t like to be tantalized and titillated, mesmerized and mystified, enthralled and enraptured?

Did you raise your hand? Did you say “No, I’m not one for wonderment”? Probably not. I didn’t. I like to have my senses all atingle. I am much like most people I know; we love to find ourselves enthralled by some stimuli that widens our eyes and pries our mouths agape.

This might come in the form of a plot twist in a movie or tv show, it might be the high conflict in a novel or a story, perhaps it is a juicy piece of news about some big event that happened to someone famous, or innocent, or notorious.

Maybe our senses were stimulated by something new in the form of the material; we bought a new car, we tried on a new fancy wig, a puppy was introduced into our home, we just powered on the latest version of the smartphone we just received.

I don’t know if it’s a cultural thing or a human condition thing, but we are addicted to newness. New events, new circumstances, new things, new technological advances, even new concepts and ideas. We love the moment when we cross the threshold from the banal to the thrill, we love to gasp at the reveal.

The problem is, the eternal stretch of the jejune that lives between the moments of delight inevitably rises up. It is during those lingering moments when we leap out of staying in the present like a cat walking across a hot stove. We play in our mind the highlight reels of the past events which tickled our senses, or we drum our fingers on the table waiting to be delightfully surprised again.

We as present-day people are jaded by peace and quiet and solitude. The irony is that true inspiration is found in the still space beyond the senses. We believe we are moved by all the little twinkles of delight that we so fervently seek, but these really are just distractions.

In all honesty, we are quite often afraid of those quiet moments where we are left with nothing but our own thoughts and feelings. The unspoken and unseen recesses beneath our senses are regarded like under-the-bed monsters. We live in fear of facing the part of ourselves that is meant to be grounded indefinitely without tv, phone, or dessert. We do anything to avoid having that long overdue nonverbal conversation with our subconscious. We know it will tell us what we need to do to be who we want to become, who we need to become, but it requires of us the work we aren’t willing to sign up for. It requires ripping the bandaid off our tender ego to reveal the shadow side that comprises our wounds and begs to be washed, rinsed, and exposed to the air in order to heal.

If we find ourselves frequently uninspired, with an insatiable itch to be tantalized by the next distraction be it through acquisition of the next latest and greatest thing or through a volley of escapisms, that is our queue to seek out the quiet space within. That realm may seem like it offers nothing but void and formlessness, but in all actuality it is the source of that which propels us toward our own rich becoming.