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.

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Knight of Wands with The Moon

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

I am a man of many interests. As a quintessential Gemini I often suffer from Shiny Metal Object Disorder. Just in the amount of time it took me to type those last two sentences I found myself distracted by a dozen little nigglers of attention.

As I’ve shared before in some post in this blog, my grandmother used to iterate to me “jack of all trades, master of none” as some form of sage warning in light of my numerous dalliances and dabblings. Apparently this was intended to alert the focally challenged of the dangers of only developing these splinters of endeavors to the maximum level of mediocrity. One can either be good at everything or the best at any one thing.

I’m not looking for a recognition of achievement presented by Jimmy Carter in any of my numerous avocations. I don’t need to bring out the Hellman’s in the particular project that has grabbed my attention. These multiple forays into this, that, whatever, and whatnot form a veritable smörgåsbord of delights to titillate and tantalize my attentions if only for a fortnight, a day and a half, or the ironically short length of a Viagra commercial.

At the risk of exploiting an opportune placement for a sophomoric pun… herein lies the rub:

There are times I find myself fervently and feverishly seeking out a temporary pet project like a hamster with a broken wheel suffering Ritalin withdrawals. It’s not that a specific distraction du jour has become too fascinating or compelling for me to resist. It’s more like an insatiable craving for something, anything to keep my attention preoccupied, even when there’s no source of inspiration. Think of it like being at a buffet when you really have no appetite but you feel compelled to reach under every sneeze guard into every chafing pan because everything looks so delicious.

At these times I serve myself well to stop and breathe and examine the source of this restlessness. While it may feel like there’s a fire lit under me that I have to make use of, in reality it’s merely a few embers that need to exhaust themselves to black. I’m trying to desperately fan them back into flames like a band of castaways trying to beat the rainstorm following the setting sun.

I believe any time we get restless as such, we are not only ignoring the part of us that needs desperately to connect with the deep stillness within, we are also trying to run from it. We are doing our best to escape from the inner voice that is no louder than a whisper, doing its level best to tell us what we need to hear that we may not want to hear. That’s when we put our fingers in our ears and make lalala sounds in attempt to drown out the non-noise. If we can just keep our distractions going we can prevent our psyche from getting pinned down by our inner selves and be forced to listen to what is best for us, which is certainly counter to what we are currently doing.

So when we find ourselves compelled to drown in the swell of distractions without drives, that is our cue to take pause, to hit the brakes and sink into the stillness. It is at those times that the idea of remaining still might feel like leaning into an uppercut, but once we stop we will realize we were unwittingly delivering ourselves the blows in our fervor. The quiet is the time needed for us to heal and to rest and face our own truths from which our uninspired distractions were trying to hide us.

Seven of Cups

A person is faced with several cups containing a myriad of choices
A person is faced with several cups containing a myriad of choices

As we travel down the path that leads us to the desired outcome of our lives, we often find the greatest obstacles are the ones created from self-doubt. One of the greatest of causes for self-doubt comes from our own distraction.

It is not uncommon for us to encounter diversions as we move toward accomplishing our goals. We might be drawn to something that is more appealing in the moment, something that does not necessarily lead to our destination. While on a very long journey we may decide we need to take a break to recharge and regroup, only to find the break has lasted considerably longer than we had originally intended it to. Continue reading Seven of Cups