The Fool with Four of Pentacles

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Quantum Tarot 2.0 by Kay Stopforth and Chris Butler

In this particular deck The Fool is portrayed as the Big Bang. You know, that astrophysical concept they teach in science, while forgetting to regularly remind students that it’s just a theory? Behemoth quantities such as 14,000,000,000 years ago which are capable of inducing astronomical ice cream headaches when trying to cognize them get thrown around. I wrote it in numerical form so all those zeros would force your eyes to cross.

Despite having a degree in metaphysical theology I’m not one to see Genesisian cosmology (I just made up that word) as barely more than allegory, yet when I compare this massively adulterated Sumerian origin story draped in anthropomorphic language to the fresh-out-of-the-autoclave science-based “I don’t know… it just happened” account of the forming of the Universe, I really don’t see much difference. In both, there was really nothing, then suddenly there was everything.

Let’s stroll over to the right and look at this deck’s portrayal of the Four of Pentacles. It is represented by a depiction of an elliptical galaxy. Basically, these type of galaxies don’t crank out very many new stars and as a result don’t have many young stars. Think of Branson, Missouri. Thus, they are mostly comprised of older stars and big black holes. They are essentially the Florida or Arizona of galaxies.

So what’s up with these types of galaxies? Why are they packing in the same old stars for eons of ages? With that big black hole in the middle keeping tight reins on everything, it’s suppressing the creation of all those new stars. Bastard.

This is the way I see the energy of this card. It states that we are holding onto something so tightly as a means of maintaining an iron-fisted sense of security. Change is the boogeyman threatening to crawl out from under our bed and consume us. Newness is the Jehovah’s Witnesses knocking at our door right when we’ve sat down with a dinner plate heaped with piping hot food. The unknown is a disruption, an annoyance and aggravation and inconvenience as we would have to go through the trouble of learning how to deal with a fresh situation or circumstance.

Staunch, rigid routines have the appearance of creating a nice safe stasis field, but in all actuality they rush us toward entropy. Ask how the preservation of the status quo is working out for the fly in ember. If we want to cling to an unwavering way of life, we will in the process (or lack thereof) create such stagnancy that it will inevitably become a vacuum. What did Aristotle say? Something about Nature abhorring a vacuum? We can substitute Nature for Life. If Life senses a vacuum being formed by those who “hate change”, it will seethe and punch them in the face. It will ensure an environment so inhospitable only the nastiest of creatures can thrive. Look at deserts and swamps, Nature’s poster children for stagnation. I once again reference Florida and Arizona.

Nothing keeps entropy at bay like a surprise. Life thrives when bursting through the opened door of which we had no clue as to what was behind it. Let us unlock the box of mystery and dump its contents on our dusty floor. Let us choose to take the action of which we have no idea of its outcome, for that choice leads to renewed life.

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The Fool with Four of Wands

Witches Tarot by Ellen Dugan and Mark Evans
Witches Tarot by Ellen Dugan and Mark Evans

What makes you happy?

So many of us would answer that question with the usual suspects: love, a good movie, a well built Lego castle, a leisurely Sunday drive with three dogs, a juicy steak, the sound of children cheating at the game of Sorry!, on and on and et cetera and et. al and yada yada…

Now let’s wax analytical as I am prone to do on a lazy Sunday on one side or another of a football game: if we really break down the question, it is asking us what makes us happy; in other words, what compels us to feel joy, what wrings and squeezes the feeling of pleasure from us like the last few drops of water out of a chamois, what backs us into a corner and shoves a microphone in our face forcing us to answer the question under duress disguised as euphoria.

We answer the question giving nary a thought to the way it’s phrased, how it places happiness in a container with some external event coming along to lift the lid and release it to flutter up and out unfettered on diaphanous wings. In the scenario that this question paints, happiness is sitting at home bored watching reruns of Gilligan’s Island and Full House until a catalyst comes knocking on the door to ask it to come out and play.

Maybe we can rephrase the question in the form of How do you make happiness? and give it a test drive. Perhaps we could look at joy and jubilation as a recipe where we are putting together the ingredients and cooking it for however long at however many degrees. I like this because it means happiness is brought on by our own efforts, that it is manifested by way of our own hands rather than waiting for the world to deliver it Next Day Air.

The advisory of caution I want to give to my recipe analogy, however, is the danger of seeing happiness as consistently resulting from a given formula. Any of us that cooks knows that there is no guarantee to the outcome of a meal or dessert despite following the recipe as if in a laboratory under the supervision of a Dupont chemical engineer. We may believe we know what brings us happiness, but we still argue with our lover, the brilliantly written movie plot collapsed under the weight of a jejune ending, the Lego castle is constructed with mostly wheels and tree pieces, the leisurely Sunday drive is with wet dogs, the juicy steak turns out to be a juicy seitan steak, on and on and et cetera and et. al and yada yada.

One ingredient of unbridled joy that seems to rarely get acknowledged is the element of surprise. We know what brings us pleasure and we chase the feeling of that first or best high only to come short as often as we hit the mark of delight. However, there’s something to be said for diving into an endeavor of which we have no notion as to the potential outcome. We might crash and burn, we might soar on the wings of Icarus for a few moments. When the results of an unknown foray are not the most positive, at least we went into it without expectation, for an expectation dashed is far more crushing than an unanticipated disappointment. When our venture into the unknown yields a pleasant surprise, the delight widens our eyes and tantalizes our senses far more with its newness than with the stock pleasures derived from the same ol’ same ol’ that threaten to inevitably disappoint with the increasing wear of each iteration.

To say when you know what to expect you’ll never be disappointed is true until you don’t get what you expect. As life loves to determine circumstance with the pitch of the dice, we are bound to someday crap out on what we think is a consistent safe bet on ensuring our own happiness. However, if we grab the dice and determine the coming out roll by the pitch of our own hand, there is something exhilarating in knowing we’ve created our own luck no matter whether we set the point or we crap out on the toss.

Ace of Wands

Ace of Wands
A divine hand extended from a cloud holds upright a staff with new growth.

Manifestation follows inspiration. Inspiration is the point from which we set our intentions. Without intention our manifestations are haphazard and unfocused.

At some point in our lives we find ourselves devoid of inspiration. We become jaded, unmoved, apathetic or indifferent to our current situation. There is a lack of the inspirational fire that incites us to take action, or even to set an intention. We do not know what we want for ourselves, so we have not set out to manifest anything with any deliberate intention.

Contrary to what we believe, we do not need to wait for inspiration to alight upon us. We can take action without any specific inspiration to propel us forward. The simplest thing we can do to pull us out of our entropy is to experience something new, something untried. It doesn’t really matter whether or not it is something we have been wanting to do or we’ve been wanting to try someday. It could be something that we have never considered whatsoever.

The design of experiencing the untried is to reawaken the nervous energy that comes with anything novel. New neural pathways become mapped through the static mind and the heart pumps previously dormant dopamines and endorphins from our endocrine system, generated by the exhilaration of a new event.

When we find ourselves experiencing something new, no matter how we find the experience, it is the novelty that creates bridges across the chasm of jadedness that leads us to discover new inspirations. New experiences awaken the senses to unveil our true desires that had remained hidden beneath our ennui. So we can actually create inspiration where there was previously none by experiencing something we’ve never experienced before. It simply needs to be something new.