Three of Swords with The Sun

Legacy of the Divine Tarot by Ciro Marchetti
Legacy of the Divine Tarot by Ciro Marchetti

It’s time for me to revisit my rant about the lottery dreamers. Like in some 80s movie where the protagonist wipes the sweat from his forehead with the back of his hand despite the fact he is wearing a headband ala Mike Reno from the band Loverboy, whose magnum opus hit “Working For the Weekend” plays in the background while the scene does a wavy dissolve into the dream sequence where our main character is driving a Lamborghini, mullet tails blowing back from his Oakley framed face, up the quarter-mile long curved driveway to his mansion he purchased with his lottery winnings.

Thank you society, for the make-believe ideology of the panacea of wealth, of selling us the snake oil from the inside of fashion magazines and sitcom storylines that ensures us that copious wealth will cure us of hangnails and bedwetting and ever having to wait in line at the DMV.

I know, I appear to be casting aspersions at the media and culture and modern entertainment. But I lay the blame squarely on our own shoulders. We as human being creature animals are constantly looking around to see how we can once-and-for-all permanently avoid adversity. We dig furiously in the sand or through heaped tables at garage sales looking for a lamp or amulet or candlestick that is serving as the domicile of the djinn that will grant our wish of never stubbing our toe on a doorframe. We look for anything that will guarantee in perpetuity that we never again suffer heartache or loss or trauma or a mosquito bite.

Here’s the sad truth for all of us cake-eaters: If we can find a way to guarantee we bypass times of discomfort and sadness, we will end up tossing out the times of joy and jubilation with that bathwater. Joy and sadness are a married couple that attends every party of life and holds hands on every ride. They are as inseparable as day and night or hot and cold. One simply cannot exist without the other. Much like these, pleasure and pain are aspects of duality that reside on the same pendulum.

Am I saying we should run straight into every burning building, or rub our hands and get excited about hard times? Not in the least. I’m just saying challenges and obstacles and the resulting disappointment of them are unavoidable. They will come. These abysmal lows serve to illustrate to us the dizzying highs. They let us know through their delicious contrast just how sweet life can be when the honey starts to flow again. The problem is, when we spend all our time, energy, and effort creating escape routes and practicing bugout drills, we find the space between our times of trauma where joy would normally seep in ends up getting usurped by anxiety and worry for some-aggedon that may or may not occur.

So what do we do? We take those moments of joy and we absorb them and appreciate them while they are here, as they are fleeting at best. When they finally slip away through our cupped hands and adversity comes to land on our shoulders, we will recognize that this too shall pass, knowing the sun always comes out to shine after every storm.

Advertisements

The Star with Two of Wands

Legacy  of the Divine Tarot by Ciro Marchetti
Legacy of the Divine Tarot by Ciro Marchetti

…and they all lived happily ever after.

This is the end to every fairy tale we heard as children, then years later read aloud to our children as parents as we prayed for its hypnagogic effect to kick in so we could catch some iteration of CSI before we ourselves have to get to bed. All the while we are either completely unaware or in total denial that these tales originally had enough sex and violence to be potentially optioned by the Fox network.

Along came early 19th century romanticism that called for these tales to become sanitized to make them match the level of idealism that could be found in any middle school girl’s diary. The fae, otherwise known as fairies to our Western whitewashed sensibilities, are replete with bells and dust and wands and wispy wings and benevolent magic, transformed and bastardized from their original character of being mischievous, spiteful and conniving supernatural assholes.

This is the state of the human condition… we either focus on the devastating atrocities committed by the avarice and wrath of humanity or we create Disney-wrapped ideals for ourselves to attempt to attain. The optimists like to believe that Vlad the Impaler could have become a lightworker if enough people had meditated on opening his heart chakra, while the pessimists merely claim to be realists.

I have to step aside and confess to being 82% optimist and 18% I don’t know what the hell is going to happen. Having said that, let me share my perspective on perspective: One of the most important things we can have is hope. Hope moves us through dark times, hope propels us toward taking another step forward to a future that we want to see come to fruition. Hope helps to prevent us from resigning to a bleak situation with a potentially dark outcome.

Now here’s the advisory label I’m going to slap on the idea of embracing hope: Hope does not come with a lifetime 100% money back guarantee of happily ever after. It is foolhardy to believe that any circumstance for which we hope to come to pass will serve as a permanent panacea for all challenges, struggles, trials, tribulations, knee scrapes, angry spouses, sick pets, unsatisfactory meals at a restaurant, or other such malignance.

Here’s what we often fail to realize… the seeming fulfillment of our desired outcome tends to come with a rider. What happens is we find that we have recovered from a physical condition or we find ourselves in a better work environment than our previous one, or we have come into more money, only to find that there was some secret hidden choice presented to us. We find ourselves faced with having to continue on our golden path having learned there are ruts and dead possums and bumper-to-bumper traffic up ahead, or there is a different unknown path that might be more appealing than the one we are currently upon, the one where hope’s taxi cab let us out.

The unfortunate trap of hope is that it springs from the well of dissatisfaction with our current circumstance, so it is simply the escape we envisioned, the lawn with the greener grass. It was less of something compelling that we really really really really-to-the-tenth-power wanted and more of wanting to break free from the embrace of the ogre of our current situation. Invariably what happens is when we land somewhere over the rainbow and that outcome for which we have hoped has been sworn into office, along comes the litmus test we have to take to determine if our new condition is what we truly want.

Am I saying to embrace Dante’s inscription above Hell’s entrance and dispense with the notion of hope altogether? Not in the least. Pave your path before you with the the gleams and twinkles of hope. Just remember when you get there and have thrown the you’ve-finally-arrived party, the next morning you may be waking up to wonder if this is where you really intended to end up. But that’s a good thing. It means you made the right choice. Soon you will be making another.

Death with King of Cups

Legacy of the Divine Tarot by Ciro Marchetti
Legacy of the Divine Tarot by Ciro Marchetti

A couple of days ago I was talking to a former coworker of mine who is a computer technician for another school district. He’s been trying to implement a new system for managing the computers but finds himself getting pushback from the field technicians. His goal has been to make this change as seamless as possible so there are very few differences between the old system and the new system. Some alterations are unavoidable, however, and it is those differences that the field techs are locking their jaws onto and digging their heels into resisting.

You know where in this scenario I find the irony? These particular folks who are demonstrating a staunch resistance to change are working in technology, a field that is rife with change. Perhaps these people would be better suited for a career in measuring the height of mountains or working for a feed store in a town with a population of 73.

One of life’s greatest paradoxes is the constancy of change. Not only is the shifting sands of circumstance beneath our feet a perpetual phenomenon, the occasional rip tide that yanks us off our course of comfort is inevitable. Sam Cooke tried to remind us of this unwavering truth in song, yet we all too often find ourselves clinging to the lamppost of consistency while Dorothy’s house whirls around us through the digestive tract of the tornado of major life events.

There are times we see the pull date of life-as-we-know-it approaching yet we try to freeze and preserve it in an attempt to make it last indefinitely longer. What is it about major life changes that awaken the Kraken of fear within us, even though we acknowledge that these types of change are inevitable? How many major life changes have we passed through up to this point and become all the better for having survived them? Yet we treat the next molting of our old way of life as an apocalyptic event.

Here’s the theory on this one that I’m going to offer up:  When tremendous life-altering events appear on the horizon, they are arriving in a timely manner. The current way of life we are residing in needs to come to a close as it no longer serves us, and on the other side of this upheaval is our catalyst for accelerated personal growth. I believe there is a part of us that is keenly aware of this impending expiration and the necessity with which it needs to come to pass. Yet despite knowing that this transformation is for our greatest good, we still wish to cling to the old ways, the tried-and-true, the way things have always been.

So why do we resist crossing that threshold? It is due to a lack of faith in ourselves. It is a faltering in the belief that we are greater than we realize, that we are well equipped to confront and tackle the new way of life. Fear of the unknown is essentially the ego’s fear of the dark, afraid it will not be able to navigate uncharted waters and will shred its keel on the reef of adversity. We prefer to dine with the devil that serves us dry turkey, overcooked green beans, and good ol’ mincemeat pie as we sit on folding metal chairs at a table no taller than our knees. We at least know what we’re being served at this meal and there are no scary surprises. We are secure in our disappointingly subpar meal that we have come to expect.

When the big changes come, we don’t have to be ready. We don’t have to know what to expect. We don’t even have to want to go through it or to even like that it’s happening. We simply need to acknowledge all the other major changes that have transpired in our past and that we were not only able to survive each and every one, but each provided a tremendous and rich field for our personal growth that we would not have had without the great change imposed upon us.

Three of Swords with Five of Wands

The Witches Tarot By Ellen Dugan and Mark Evans
The Witches Tarot By Ellen Dugan and Mark Evans

Our emotions form the impetus for every intention we set. The choices we make in life are based on these very intentions set from specific emotions. When these emotions are heavy, dark, and difficult we often forget that the strife we experience is generated by the emotion. We believe the inverse to be true, attributing our hurtful disposition to the struggles we have been facing.

Heavy emotions such as heartache, loss, and depression can be more compelling than we realize. When we find ourselves in this state for long enough we can sometimes forget what it is like to feel joy. We may also feel deserving of our state of despondency, so when joyful moments come our way, we might believe we are not worthy of being happy, that we need to remain in our dark place.

As the pain of loss begins to subside over time, we can find ourselves out of balance for a moment, seeking the “devil we know”, the familiar state of sadness we had resided in for so long. When a sense of lightness shows itself in our lives, we unconsciously find ways to push it away. We will create challenges and adversities to invite conflict into our lives. We can become confrontational with those close to us that have helped us through dark times. We may unwittingly sabotage events that promise to yield positive results for us.

One of the most difficult things to do is to break this cycle of self-destruction. Believing we are victims of circumstance is the clever trap we create for ourselves to keep us in that oh-so-familiar state of despair. When we step back and acknowledge that we are the architects of the flow of events in our lives, we can more easily see that we are creating a state of conflict for ourselves as an easy means to pull ourselves back into a state of sadness that we know it is time to move through.

Two of Pentacles

Two of Pentacles
A man juggles two pentacles in an infinite loop, two ships ride large rolling waves in the background

If we follow the ideas behind the Law of Attraction, manifesting our desired outcomes in life should be simple, right? Yet all too often it seems to be anything but simple.

We learn that we are supposed to focus on our desired outcome and believe we will receive it unquestionably. We are taught to show gratitude for every thing that comes into our sphere of experience – good, bad, or otherwise. We receive wisdom that stresses the importance of maintaining a positive attitude in order to foster positive results. Yet in the meantime the challenges continue, the struggles manifest, the strenuous effort required of us does not seem to ebb. We begin to wonder if none of these tips on manifestation are working.

The fruits on trees are not the result of a string of unending sunny days. The trees welcome the rainy days, knowing the water from the sky is required to plump its fruit. Several blossoms wither and its petals fall to never bear fruit, giving way to other petals that will produce a greater yield. Strong winds come to strengthen the tree’s trunk, roots and boughs, and some limbs crack and give way to provide necessary rebalancing of weight and energy.

The fruits of our endeavors function the same way. The juggles and struggles create the necessary momentum to bring our desires to fruition. The adversity we encounter strengthens our tenacity and determination, reinforcing our certainty in what we want to manifest. If a given desire falls away during a specific challenge, that desire was meant to expire to ensure the success of an even grander goal.

To use a belabored analogy, life is indeed like a roller coaster. In order to experience the thrill of the exhilarating descent of the car, the air rushing past our face, gravity and inertia pulling the blood into our heads as our endorphins swell with the acceleration, the car first has to make that laborious climb up the steep grade, requiring greater effort with each foot gained as it works against gravity’s relentless demands.

Each obstacle yields a reward, and with each reward received a new obstacle unveils itself. This is the rhythm of life. When we sit beneath the tree feasting on the fruits of our labor, the fruit is that much sweeter when we know it will only last so long. The tree bears only so much fruit, and that which it does bear will fall into decay well before we can consume it all. At that point we must work to help foster a successful crop for the next season, having only the memory of the sweet fruit to sustain us until then.