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.

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Death with The Sun

Quantum Tarot 2.0 by Kay Stopforth and Chris Butler
Quantum Tarot 2.0 by Kay Stopforth and Chris Butler

Who doesn’t love a good movie cliché? Me, that’s who. Every time I see some formulaic theme copied and pasted from one Hollywood script to the other I find myself shouting at the screen “Oh, come on!” with an obligatory eye roll, all the while completely unaware of the irony of shouting a tired old movie catchphrase elicited by any character from a quasi-comedy whose wingman is a simian in a tutu and a fedora.

This particular chestnut I’m referring to is the ol’ riding off into the sunset, or the holding hands while walking toward the setting sun, or basically any person or people or mounted equestrian or muscle car heading into the direction of dusk. It’s taking closure and stenciling it into the story’s ending with jejune broad strokes; it shoves the audience’s face into the notion that the story has ended, just like the day has ended. It’s basically a one-piece jigsaw puzzle. Solve for x… and by the way, x = 6.

Meanwhile as we are getting up from our theater seats and brushing popcorn kernels off our laps, some of us are continuing the storyline beyond daylight hours and rolling credits, realizing that night has now fallen on our protagonist, where they now wander in the dark with its scary and disturbing denizens in the form of wolves and boogeymen and ghosts and drunken frat guys leaving bars at 2am.

What we need is a Hollywood script writer that took a kick to the head from a mule, so now for them up is black and white is left. I want this writer to tear the page in half (or hit Select All then Delete) and say, “No! Let’s have them walk into the sunrise at the end of the film!”

That’s the thing about our culture; we often see endings as final, like we walk through the door and it closes behind us only to be suspended in nothingness. As a result we cling too tightly to continuing a chapter of our lives that is well past pull date, finding ourselves stalling so we don’t have to drop the curtain. It’s as if we are convinced that the sweetness and joy and thrill of this phase will never be experienced again on the other side of that wall.

The best thing we can do to wrap up our storyline is to recognize it is only a chapter in our book, that every ending holds hands with a new beginning. We can close our eyes and allow us to enter the fugue of inbetweenness, letting time hoist us over the threshold through the Hora in celebration of our passing through stages. When we open our eyes, we will realize that it is not that we have lost anything in what had seemingly ended, but we are greeted with a rising sun that shines upon us and declares we are facing a brand new day, with new beginnings, and it will warm us as we begin our new venture.

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.

Death

Death
The angel of death approaches on a white horse, all matter of people before him unable to deter its inevitable arrival

The intention we set on the life we wish to manifest is born of desire. These desires are often based on a life we wish to attain that we are not already living. What we desire is what we currently lack, so we imagine how much more fulfilling our life would be once we attain what we want that is currently not part of our experience.

One of the most challenging aspects of manifesting our desired outcome is crossing the threshold that lies between who we are and who we want to become. This threshold can become an insurmountable wall as it requires a mental shift to overcome. The mental shift is a shift in our identity, in redefining who we are.

We have based who we are on what we lack. The person we are is the person who does not yet have what we desire, while the person we want to become has not yet been realized. When we identify with our deficit, we operate from this place. We make choices and decisions based on the person we have defined ourselves to be, the person who does not have the things we desire. So while we would very much like to become the person who has attained these successes we’ve envisioned, we still do not believe we are that person, as we have identified too strongly with our lacking.

In order to become the person we have envisioned, the currently defined self has to die. We have to shed our ego and leave it behind. To strip away from an identity we have long held may seem appealing in theory, but it is one of the most difficult things to do in practice. Our current identity is like an animal whose life is being threatened. No matter how unhealthy our self-identification may seem, our ego will fight as hard as it can to preserve its existence.

We can most easily recognize this in cases where we want to walk away from our current way of life but find ourselves saying we cannot picture a life without this particular aspect of our lifestyle, no matter how appealing the other side may seem. This is when we do well to immerse our minds and inner visions into that desired lifestyle, mentally becoming the person who has attained that outcome to the point that it is no longer foreign to us. In the process we must recognize our current self as our past self. We must say goodbye to who we thought we were and leave it to be devoured by the fears that the ego was using to prevent us from moving forward.

Wheel of Fortune

A wheel in the sky is surrounded by the four creatures of earth, the Sphynx seated atop, a snake descending and Anubis ascending around it
A wheel in the sky is surrounded by the four creatures of earth, the Sphynx seated atop, a snake descending and Anubis ascending around it

Manifestation is far from being a static, predictable process. The journey of creating our desired outcome is fluid and ever changing, with many shifts and turns, twists and surprises.

We do best when we allow the dynamic nature of manifestation to unfold as it will, in a myriad of ways. All too often we set such an intense focus on our desired outcome that we will attempt to force the process to move in a given direction, the direction that we expect it to take.

The truth is, if our desired outcome unfolded exactly as we expected it to, we would have no need for the journey toward our goals. Manifestation would be an instant process, occurring at the snap of a finger or the blink of an eye, tantamount to asking a genie to grant a wish. However, the true process of creation is embedded with blind alleys and unexpected turns. It is these unexpected events, these seemingly random blips in our travel plans, that serve as tools of manifestation.

When we try to force the process of manifestation to follow a presupposed path, we actually risk stifling the process. We put a chokehold on the tributaries of creation. We prevent the river from flowing as it is naturally inclined, following the landscape in the direction most appropriate for the way it flows. The direction may seem counter to the way we expect it should travel, but all rivers eventually end up reaching the ocean. We do best to trust what we know is inevitable.

 

Eight of Wands

Eight staves in flight approach their descent, nearing impact
Eight staves in flight approach their descent, nearing impact

So we envision what we want in our lives, we take actions to attract and manifest the things we want, and we can see the new life we have been wanting is now within our grasp. Are we ready?

When we envision attracting anything into our lives, whether it be a new career, finding the love of our life, moving into a new home or to a different state or country, we can be certain our lives will change. There is no “safe” route per se, a route where change comes at us head on with a guarantee we will remain comfortable and cozy throughout the change. When change comes, we may have to hold on and be ready for whatever hits us.

The truth of it is, once the momentum of manifestation has its force behind it, there is no turning back. We can only accept what comes our way. No matter how thoroughly we board up our house it does not lessen the impact of a hurricane. We can have the nursery painted, the crib prepared, the swaddling skills honed, but nothing can quite prepare us for caring for our first newborn baby. Every significant life change is accompanied by a myriad of unforeseen curveballs.

Can we ever be truly ready for the next big event in our lives? Can anyone be truly prepared for the unpredictable? The best preparation we can provide ourselves in the face of imminent change is to let go of the suitcase that we have packed with our old way of life and surrender to whatever comes our way. We adapt best to change when we bring with us no preconceived expectations.