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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The Fool with Wheel of Fortune

Cosmic Tarot by Norbert Lösche
Cosmic Tarot by Norbert Lösche

When I was a little kid and I first heard the expression when you come to a fork in the road I had a vision of pronged cutlery laying on blacktop. I wondered why it wasn’t a spoon or a knife or an entire set of silverware. I wondered who had lost that fork, and what were they doing eating food requiring cutlery while walking down the middle of the road, and how dangerous that would be as one’s attention would be on getting food to mouth rather than oncoming vehicles. Then I thought maybe that’s how they lost the fork, finding themselves suddenly dodging a Dodge, leaping to the shoulder, thus losing the fork with the quick maneuver.

So as a little kid I ended the question of what to do when encountering a fork in the road with Don’t pick it up as you don’t know where it’s been; most likely in someone’s mouth.

Still, finding an eating utensil on the street as well as reaching a bifurcation in one’s path places us at the point of decision, doesn’t it? In the 49 year old version, it’s whether I take the path that veers left or the one that goes right. In the 6 year old version it is whether or not I pick up the dirty fork or leave it in the road.

Coming upon a utensil in the road might not result in the same degree of ambivalence as choosing between Path A and Path B, especially if we have no idea where either path leads. It becomes even more vexing when we actually know exactly where each path leads but we are not sure which destination we we want. We might wish to experience or avoid one just as equally as the other.

If you spend any time on Facebook or reading those how to make your life more shiny through these inappropriately coined “life hacks”, you’ve likely encountered this tip on helping one break out of the entropy of incertitude: Flip a coin; once you’ve designated sides for each option and while the coin is in the air, you’ll find yourself hoping it lands a certain way, thus clarifying which option you truly prefer.

Here’s what I say; if you were hoping to come up heads to give its nod to Path A, then take Path B. Maybe the devil to whom you are acquainted mans the toll bridge on A Street and, after all, you’ve already met. But I bet you haven’t met Robert Frost, and he’s the tour guide on B Street. Maybe you know A is a smoother ride where B voted down the road maintenance taxes, I don’t know…

All too often we focus on the result or ramification of one choice over the other and we make our decision based on our speculation. We will even find ourselves agonizing and gnashing our teeth over the fact that the road has split before us and, God forbid, we have the anguish of having to actually decide upon something. But let me ask you this; what would be worse, finding we’ve made a bad decision, or having a bad decision made for us?

We hold in each hand the power to control our destiny. Whichever one we open defines our fate, created by our own hand, our own choice. We are not driven by the genetic control system of nature, to go south on instinct when the temperature starts to drop. Sure, we may have chosen to turn left at Albuquerque to find ourselves in the middle of the desert with a warm liter of Mountain Dew, but the beauty of it is the fact that we created that outcome. We carved that circumstance with our bare hands.

Wherever our choosing takes us, we find it will lead us to a new choice. There are no dead ends in living; only for the dead. The truth is that God did not give us free will, it is the power of our free will that makes us gods.

Five of Wands with Two of Pentacles

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

One of the most tear-jerkingly beautiful aspects of the internet is the fact that it is a bastion of steadfast opinions and convictions. At any time when there’s that little argumentative tickle waving a feather across your uvula you can hop online, sling your bag of world view talking points over your shoulder, and wander the landscapes of Twitter and Facebook and the comment sections of blogs and articles to scatter your seeds of stalwart convictions on all things political, social, and ethical.

Where else can we dive into the deep end of dispute, armed with confirmation bias and an absence of eye contact, or even an ad hominem or the Godwin’s Law nuclear option in case our talking points turn to tissue paper, and walk away knowing we are right? What a fantastic venue social media and forum threads provide us for wiping away any niggling self-doubt we might hold toward our own personal convictions. If we can’t be troll slayers in our own right, we can be their king.

What about when we lose power to our house and we have a low battery warning flashing at us on our smart phone? Then what? Who do we argue with then?

Whenever we find ourselves having trouble making a decision, we are essentially in a heavy debate with ourselves. This lacks much of the satisfaction of debating with others; when we argue with other people we can simply glance at the cue card displaying the right buzzwords, memes, and pundit points and deliver them adroitly with a parenthetical so there! When we argue with ourselves, however, we either hold dearly to opposing ideals or wants, or there is no driving desire to nudge us toward a particular choice.

The irony here is that our ambivalence is fueled by the same Sterno that keeps our online contentions hot. It is less about having a need to be right and more about being afraid of being wrong. We juggle one option over another in fear of choosing the one that will send us down the well of wrongness, and we lack the self-trust to be able to climb out like the proverbial mule if we end up getting buried for dead.

If we can take ten steps beyond the myopia of the moment, we can see what lies beyond our indecision. Often it’s a matter of looking at the bigger view, at seeing our greatest goals even if they are seemingly unrelated to the bifurcated path we face, and working backwards to see which choice will take us in that direction. There may be something we need to give up in the short term that has contributed to our vacillation, but it is easier to surrender when we see the greater vision.

Interestingly, our ambivalence invariably comes from not knowing who we are rather than not knowing what we want. When we see ourselves from the perspective of who we are and who we want to be, the ability to move toward a given option becomes much clearer.

Wheel of Fortune with Eight of Pentacles

Cosmic Tarot by Norbert Lösche
Cosmic Tarot by Norbert Lösche

Once upon a time when I was hanging with my mother, we took notice of the once popular Shit Happens bumper sticker that was displayed on the back of some non-luxury vehicle. Mom proceeded to express her distaste with that particular slogan. I’m not sure what about it she found distasteful; whether it was the vulgarity of the expletive displayed publicly to fall upon the eyes of pious women and the young offspring born not of longshoremen, sailors, and auctioneers with Tourettes, or the cavalier pronouncement that unpleasant things befall us and we would do well to accept it, or the banality of the a working class expression never to be uttered by any member of the Bronte family.

Perhaps I should have had her elaborate on it when I saw her at lunch yesterday. What better time to broach the topic of excremental transpirings, no?

Personally I don’t mind the expression. However, I do find it weighs in favor of the perspective of the pessimists who insist on declaring themselves realists. After all, lottery winning happens, love happens, family reunions happen, trees happen, street magicians happen, and Yom Kippur happens. Basically something, everything, and anything happens.

It’s too bad so sad that people often focus on the shit. As much as I do applaud the existential declaration of the inevitability of events undesirable, it overlooks that pure raw power that is inherent with being geared up with the tool belt of free will that immediately follows each shit ladened circumstance.

We human beings spend a great amount of time attempting to hedge our bets against the whims of the Fates. We hope to stack the deck and insure ourselves in the event of a fire, theft, or act of God despite what is written on the policy of That’s The Way Life Goes. The truth is, we can’t crystal ball every event on the horizon. The bumper sticker is absolutely right in its working class style of broad spectrum prognostication. Shit has happened, it happens, and it is going to happen.

Rather than trying to stock our bug-out bag for every possible contingency, wouldn’t it serve us better to embrace the truth that roses spring from the manure that gets spread around their bases? We make checklists based on our fears of what we are afraid we cannot handle rather than lists based on our ability to endure adversity. How many episodes of tragedy, misfortune, and shit luck have we encountered only to rise from the septic tank stronger than ever?

The people who appear to have the best luck also tend to have the worst luck. The trick is, the circumstances blown in by the winds of fortune did not determine their outcomes. The knowledge that the choices they made from the moment following these events would be the true determining factor of their own fate.

The Empress with Two of Swords

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

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
~
Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken

Should I have said “Spoiler alert”? Did I give away the theme of this blog post by posting the ending of that poem? Can you add me to the list of perps guilty of riding that old broken mare well past the point of her prime?

Maybe yes, maybe no…

Regarding the maybe yes, this is indeed referring to that point of decision, that choice, that fork in the road, toss of a coin, bifurcation of probabilities. This, however, extends beyond deciding whether or not to wear the black or tan pants or deciding if you want to have fish or chicken at the wedding reception of your cousin’s sixth marriage, or even if you want to go to the wedding as you skipped the second through fourth and you may not get invited to her next three if you don’t attend this one.

This goes into the realm of decisions where there are serious ramifications and reverberations of consequence that extend well into the future from whichever choice is made. We find ourselves weighing two beefy hefty thick decisions, knowing our lives will go in completely disparate directions whichever we choose.

Most commonly, this type of decision ends up getting based on what we might be able to foresee as the outcome of a given option. We examine each path and try to ascertain all the events that will follow from that choice and how our lives may turn out accordingly. We basically throw our crystal ball down the lane and hope it hits the head pin of predictability.

Frost wasn’t necessarily indicating the road less traveled as being the one that isn’t popular with the cool kids. He might have meant it to be the road that had no signposts or waypoints or hadn’t been driven by the Google Street View car. That road could have led to a Waffle House or an Ikea, to a Queensryche concert or to Rhyolite, Nevada.

The point is, he had no way of knowing where that road would take him. He could take Madison Avenue which goes to Cookie Cutter Lane with makes a right at Sure Bet Street and guess what? He ended up exactly where he thought he would. Safer? Probably. Happier? Insert shoulder shrug here. The allusion here is when it comes to making a big decision, sometimes there’s nothing more like jumping into a glacially fed lake to make all your cells come alive than choosing the decision that lies beyond the Monte Hall curtain, that takes you everywhere, anywhere, and nowhere in particular.

Got a choice? One outcome is a given the other a mystery? The choice should be obvious… it’s not the obvious choice. Me winking while I wrote that is totally implied.

Ace of Swords

Manifestation is initiated when we set our intention, but it is actuated through our every decision, through each and every choice we make.

Ace of Swords
A hand extends from a cloud, grasping a sword pointed upward topped with a crown, garland and laurels

When we begin to learn about the energy behind manifestation, we can sometimes get caught up with merely setting an intention and employing visualization. While this is certainly essential, a prerequisite to creating an intended outcome, it cannot suffice in and of itself.

The true power of creation resides in the very moment of making a decision. Each moment of decision brings us to a crossroad where we are charging up our inherent power as creative beings. Once we make a choice we are nudging the entire universe in the given direction of our decision. We are bending reality to our desire, releasing the unwanted reality and moving ourselves into a state of existence that is in alignment with the envisioned desire we originally created. Continue reading Ace of Swords

Justice

Justice
A robed and crowned person is seated between stone pillars, a raised sword in one hand and balance scales in the other

When we think about the process of manifestation, we think about that which we desire. We think about a goal we set for ourselves or the life we wish to create. We may see the process of manifestation as discretionary, as only in play when we are setting a deliberate conscious intention, as only being affective when we are applying acute focus to our vision.

We would do well to remember that manifestation is a perpetual process, bringing with it a myriad of outcomes. We are always manifesting. In every moment of our lives, without exception, we are presented with a choice. It is in this series of choices, without any gaps between, where manifestation truly takes place. Continue reading Justice