Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Tower

The Tower card often evokes fear, simply because it warns of a sudden, often destructive, change.

In biblical times mankind built the tower of Babel in an attempt to reach God. God did not approve and devised a plan to stop them. Overnight He changed the language that they communicated in, making it impossible for them to understand one another, all attempts at communication were wrought with misunderstanding and frustrations. They were therefore unable to complete the task. Thus the Tower of Babel became symbolic of man’s fall from grace during that biblical period.

A modern-day example would be the destruction of the Twin Towers in New York on September the 11th 2001. This too was in-a-sense a fall from grace in that the aftermath of 911 saw controversial laws being pushed through and passed, for good or for bad. Laws that would otherwise have taken years to go through the senate. The passing of some of these laws has caused moral points to be raised.

In a personal sense The Tower could mean a sudden change of events for which we are not at all prepared. With the tower of Babel example miscommunication and frustration followed when friends and family suddenly became strangers in their failure to communicate with one another. When The Tower visits us it is therefore necessary to step back and to accept that what has happened has happened. It is too late to over-analyse the situation. We are urged to look at the bigger picture instead of being swept up by the confusion, panic, fears, and frustrations; and to ask ourselves whether we want to be part of the problem or the solution.

There are ways that we can make even these frightening situations work for us. If necessary, we can find other ways in which to communicate or we can work at developing the resolve and attitude to adapt to the new situation. We are cautioned against becoming aroused by the chaos that often follows the falling of our tower, guarding against allowing the sudden change to overwhelm us. Now is the time to calmly re-evaluate our position and to find a different approach or solution to the new circumstances or events.

It is often true that when we are forced onto our knees we somehow find ways to shine brightest. It takes courage and bravery but as the saying goes: “If you aren’t scared your actions can't be brave.”

A lot of good and positivity can come from the falling of the tower. The civil unrest present in many countries in current times is indicative of a power shift in the making. Ordinary civilians no longer want to stand by feeling powerless as their countries and large corporations rob them and lie to them. In such cases it is as if these civilians are rocking the tower, willing it to fall, so that irrevocable change may follow. It is probably no coincidence that The Tower card depicts the toppling of a crown as the tower starts to fall, possibly symbolizing the demise of those who abuse their power.

On a personal level, facing life’s challenges takes courage but also teaches us a great deal about ourselves. For it is not possible to find our life’s purpose without first wrestling with our life lessons – the very challenges that steer us towards purpose fulfilment once we embrace these lessons and make allies of our nemesis.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Eight of Pentacles

The Eights are about action and change. Breaking the inertia to gain momentum which is often a difficult thing to do. Eight of Pentacles is the card of the Apprentice, or the Neophyte, and speaks of the hard work that lies ahead. This card requires of us to get out of our comfort zones in order to learn or re-learn whilst taking the necessary action required to do so.

An apprentice who dedicates himself to learning a new skill or task often feels frustration when faced with repetitive tasks that are seemingly unimportant or unglamorous, tasks that are often at the ‘bottom of the ladder’ as it were. This is true especially if his teacher is thorough and a stickler for creating a solid foundation of knowledge in the Neophyte before he is allowed to spread his wings.

There is something quite honest and refreshing about the apprentice who learns a skill that will stand him in good stead, if he is dedicated.  And few things are admired as much as someone who truly knows his subject and who delivers the work expected of a qualified tradesperson. A good apprentice does not mind doing the hard work necessary to develop the skills needed to become one who is really good at what he does. Most skills learnt will improve his life on one level or another, and hard work is most definitely a requirement if anyone is to learn something new. We’ve all been there, or are perhaps going through this again.

Through trial and error we learn, we are at times perhaps humiliated as we learn what others seem to do so well, but we need to remember that they too were once apprentices and had to do the work necessary before they could excel in their chosen fields.

Upon joining a Pagan coven, for example, much learning is required from the Neophyte before he can expect to become a fully contributing member. Responsible Pagan Elders or circle leaders will insist that each new member learns the basics first before being allowed to manipulate energies in circle or exert their will on creation.  Even a respectable and wise Pagan Elder is forever learning or re-learning skills. Be those divination skills – like the tarot – or skills that fall into the camp of Magic, whether sympathetic or ceremonial, each has it’s own set of skills that are needed.
Once we have acquired the necessary skills we can move on to become accomplished in our field of expertise. We can then look back at the challenges that we faced during our apprenticeship with pride and knowledge. With hard work we have ensured that our foundation is solid. Only then can we truly make a meaningful contribution.

With the Eight of pentacles visiting us today we could challenge ourselves to learn something new or to brush-up on skills that we have not used in a while, perhaps they have become a little rusty or outdated. Perhaps we want to learn how to build a website, or how to ride a bicycle. Or we may have some larger task ahead of us for which we may need to undertake an apprenticeship. Many of us who are interested in leading healthier lifestyles for example may need to learn about nutrition and exercise. Someone who feels he may be stuck in a dead-end job may want to consider expanding their knowledge by going back to college or learning a trade. Of two things I am certain, we never stop learning and we can only improve our lives when we embrace opportunities to learn more.

In closing I’d like to recite the last part of a poem by Aleister Crowley, called "The Neophyte":

I am come into this darkness to attain the light:
To gain my voice I make myself as dumb:
That I may see I close my outer sight:
So, I am here. My brows are bent in prayer:
I kneel already in the Gates of Dawn;
And I come, albeit unaware,
To the deep sanctuary: my hope is drawn
From wells profounder than the very sea.
Yea, I am come, where least I guessed it so,
Into the very presence of the Three
That are beyond all Gods. And now I know
What spiritual light is drawing me
Up to its stooping splendour. In my soul
I felt the Spring, the all-devouring Dawn,
Rush with my Rising. There, beyond the goal,
The veil is rent!
Yes: Let the veil be drawn.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Seven of Wands

Today’s card speaks of standing our ground, even against overwhelming odds, to claim victory. When this card appears it tells us that we have made progress, and the worst is over.

Rarely in military history have the odds been so unequal and the stakes so high. One of the largest armadas ever assembled appeared off the Mediterranean island of Malta. Its 200 ships had been sent by Suleiman the Magnificent, sultan of the vast Ottoman empire to destroy the Knights of Malta who had long been a thorn in his side. Aboard were crammed some 40,000 fighting men, including 6,000 of Suleiman’s elite infantry.  Opposing this force were just 600 knights, a few thousand mercenaries and a few thousand Maltese irregulars – in all between 6,000 and 9,000 men. Once Malta fell the Turks would evict the Spanish from Tunis and then invade Sicily and Italy. However, in spite of the odds the Knights of Malta became the heroes of the age and the siege - one of the most celebrated events of the sixteenth century. Nearly 200 years later Voltaire could write, ‘Nothing is more well known than the siege of Malta’. These Knights of Malta gained glory and fame for standing their ground against overwhelming odds, which prevented the Turks from invading Italy. If the Knights of Malta had lost, as was expected, Malta would have been the springboard for the Turks to invade the rest of Europe.

Standing our ground against overwhelming odds.

More recently two ordinary people stood up against the fast-food giant McDonalds in a matter that became known as McLibel. Gardener Helen Steel and postman Dave Morris successfully humiliated McDonald’s in the biggest corporate PR disaster in history. McDonald’s loved using the UK libel laws to suppress criticism. Major media organizations like the BBC and The Guardian crumbled and apologized. But then they sued Helen Steel and Dave Morris. In the longest trial in English legal history, the “McLibel Two” represented themselves against McDonald’s £10 million legal team. Every aspect of the corporation’s business was cross-examined: from junk food and McJobs, to animal cruelty, environmental damage and advertising to children.

Outside the courtroom, Dave brought up his young son alone and Helen supported herself working nights in a bar. McDonald’s tried every trick in the book against them. Legal manoeuvres. A visit from Ronald McDonald. Top executives flying to London for secret settlement negotiations. Even spies. Seven years later, in February 2005, the marathon legal battle finally concluded at the European Court of Human Rights. And the result took everyone by surprise – especially the British Government. McLibel was not just about hamburgers. It was about the importance of freedom of speech now that multinational corporations are more powerful than countries. McLibel is the David and Goliath story of two people who refused to say sorry for criticizing McDonalds and creating public awareness about the misleading advertising claiming that the food is nutritious and offers a balanced diet. They refused to apologise, proving instead that McDonalds questionable marketing was aimed at children by using a clown mascot – Ronald McDonald – to manipulate and brainwash kids. Kids who’s choice of food as well as their eating patterns and habits would determine what they would eat for the rest of their lives. And in doing so,  Helen Steel and Dave Morris changed the world for the better.

These two ordinary people stood their ground, they held McDonalds accountable to society on behalf of society. They are hero’s of our time and perfectly demonstrate the deeper meaning behind what the Seven of Wands card is trying to tell us. Just because the odds are stacked up against us it does not necessarily mean that we are fighting a losing battle. At times it is good and even necessary to stand our ground, and who knows, perhaps we too will taste victory in doing so.


Monday, January 2, 2012

The Fool

The major arcane in tarot is a journey of self, starting with The Fool.  Therefore, we relate The Fool to beginnings. In today’s segment he symbolises the beginning of the year and the journey that we’ll take over the next 365 days. In this epic journey The Fool meets various energies and personalities to aid him on his quest to journey’s end.

The Fool is a youthful figure, energetic and adventurous. Today we seek the inspiration of youth, filled with new ideas and brimming with readiness for the year ahead.

On his journey The Fool carries with him only a modest backpack, reminding us that we too should only take with us into the new year what is necessary, leaving our old baggage behind. This is an opportunity for each of us to begin again, to leave behind patterns of behaviour and toxic energies that no longer serves us well, and to let go of unwanted hurts and pain.

The Fool holds a white flower in his hand, symbolic of innocence and openness. Sinicism and bitterness are best left behind as we enter this new journey with a spirit of openness, ready to greet each new day and situation while being mindful of the gifts that they bear.

Etched on the backpack that The Fool carries over his shoulder we notice the head of an eagle. An eagle can see his prey from kilometres above the ground, he has clarity of vision. Just like the eagle we too can now look ahead to see our future, as we design it, to see where the road may take us and where we are going.

By now most of us have made our New Year resolutions. Let us journey towards them without unnecessary baggage and what-if’s. Instead we’ll wear our Fool cloak as we greet 2012 with an adventurous spirit.

It is said that nothing ventured results nothing gained, and if we want to see a change we first need to make a change. What is it that you want to change in your life today? Perhaps you, like me, would like to shed a few kilograms, or quit smoking. Or focus on your studies, perhaps write that book that you have been thinking about writing for years. Or, perhaps it is time to rekindle old friendships and make new ones. Perhaps it is time to let go of old hurts and find it in your heart to forgive transgressions against you.

Whatever you have set your resolutions and goals to be this year, consider The Fool’s approach as he begins his journey. We can all learn from the freshness that The Fool radiates as he takes his first steps on this epic journey.

Let’s inject some laughter and silliness into our days ahead, let’s not take ourselves too seriously. We can rediscover the spring in our step and the song in our heart. We can smile, both outwardly and inwardly. Life is what we make of it and life is good.

I’d like to wish you all a very Happy New year, and end today’s segment with a fabulous verse written by the incomparable Lon Milo DuQuette.

The Fool

A pure buffoon skips towards his doom,

An abyss of profound uncertainties.

It takes a Fool to seed that womb

With all possible possibilities.

Innocence is the catalyst

The Fool's decree is clear.

By purity of heart you’ll be transformed

To greet the coming year.

Wheel of Fortune

At this time of year we commonly examine the year that has past to assess whether we have achieved our goals or lived-up to our previous expectations. This is also the time of year where many of us make new year resolutions in an attempt to improve ourselves in the coming year.

The Wheel of Fortune card shows the constellations of Aquarius, Scorpio, Taurus and Leo – the four fixed signs of the Zodiac. They tell us that the heavens are open to us, fortune is here.

We could use this time to change our fortunes, to make things work for us in the coming year. Instead of just empty words when we make our new year resolutions, we now have the opportunity to put some thought into what it is that we would like to attract into our lives or change in our lives so that the year ahead meets us pregnant with possibilities for improvement.

In the centre of the card is a large wheel. Upon the wheel is inscribed the Tetragrammaton, the four Hebrew letters that form the sacred – unpronounceable - name of God.

This card therefore further prompts us to use the inspiration of a higher power to generate something useful in the year ahead. As we contemplate our new year resolutions we could tap into the power of the Source for inspiration and divine guidance.

The alchemical symbols that are shown on The Wheel of Fortune card are water, sulphur, salt and mercury. Alchemists combine elements together to achieve certain results. These with the Zodiacal energies present on the card remind us that the energy is here, and that we should use it mindfully as we enter the new year.

Just as the alchemist combines elements to achieve certain results we also have the Sphinx represented on the card which in-itself is a coming-together of different forms to create a whole new one, like the lion body and human head combined to create something new.  We should take this opportunity as we stand on the cusp of the new year to use the available energies so that we too can create something new.

This card tells us today that everything we need is already in place, all we need to do now is to make it happen. Let us not procrastinate any longer, the snake depicted on the left-hand side of the wheel represents our darker nature sliding downward, let us strive to become the ascending figure on the right of the wheel instead as it moves upward to greet its fortune.

I’d like to end today’s segment with a poem by William Arthur Ward:

“Another fresh new year is here
Another year to live!
To banish worry, doubt and fear,
To love and laugh and give.

This bright new year is given me
To live each day with Zest.
To daily grow and try to be
My highest and my best.

I have the opportunity
Once more to right some wrongs.
To pray for peace, to plant a tree,
And sing more joyful songs.”

Seven of Cups

The first impression that this card evokes is one of ideas still up in the air, not yet manifest. It reminded me of a great figure in human history, Leonardo da Vinci.

Da Vinci was one of the greatest minds that ever lived. He delved into engineering, art, sculpture, medicine, alchemy and religion. Responsible for some of the best art ever produced, as well as many inventions that were way before their time.

To protect himself much of his work was in code because the church was too powerful and could not be challenged. He would no doubt have been treated as a heretic if the church knew what he was capable of.

Da Vinci had all these ideas, some say that he was born in the wrong century as the restrictions placed on him by the church as well as the lack of materials needed prohibited many of his ideas from being developed further. For example the glider that he invented, if the engine had already been invented by then he might have invented the first airplane. He was undoubtedly ahead of his time. It is a known fact that it was only much later, when mankind had invented more that we could use a lot of his ideas.

Da Vinci might not have been able to invent the airplane yet, but he did what he could, he painted the Mona Lisa and the Last Supper, amongst other.

The lesson that we can derive from this concept, inspired by the Seven of Cups tarot card is that we should all strive to become the Leonardo da Vinci instead of having many ideas but doing nothing with them, realizing that some of our ideas might not come to anything we should none-the-less work with the ones we can and do something with them so that others can benefit from the workable ideas that we do have. Perhaps we can’t invent the parachute when we don’t yet have the airplane, but we can paint the Mona Lisa because her smile will inspire generations to come…

So, if we have 10 ideas and 7 of these are unworkable or ahead of their time, we should focus on the 3 that we can do something with now. We should perfect or do something with the ones that we can instead of leaving them all up in the air.

In closing we hear the words of Nolan Bushnell who said:

Everyone who’s ever taken a shower has an idea. It’s the person who gets out of the shower, dries off and does something about it who makes a difference.

Ace of Swords

The Aces are often seen as beginnings and gifts, receiving a gift or chance as it were. Having a gift, and not using it is futile, but it is also important to know that once we have done what we must with the help of this gift, we should return it to the world.

The Ace of Swords is reminiscent of once such gift that was given to a man named King Arthur of Camelot. In some legends it is told that the Lady of The Lake gave it to him, in others that he extracted it from a stone.

This legendary sword was named Excalibur, attributed with magical powers that protected King Arthur when he went into battle. Legend tells us that whomever possessed the Excalibur sword and scabbard would not bleed or suffer from a wound inflicted upon them.

Armed with this sword Arthur created a world called Camelot, with all its lessons, legends, magic and myth. 

At some point he lost the scabbard, it is said that Morgan Le Fey stole it and threw it into the lake, never to be seen again. With the scabbard lost, Arthur was eventually wounded in battle. He died from these wounds but not before he returned the sword named Excalibur to its rightful owner, the Lady of The Lake. He had completed his mission, used the gift given to him in a manner that was righteous and good, and when the time arrived he returned it to the world by giving it back to the Lady of The Lake.

Arthur was given an opportunity to make a difference when he was entrusted with Excalibur. Once he was done he did not keep the gift out of greed, he gave it back to be given to the next worthy recipient.

Similarly when we are gifted with an idea, for example, we should not keep it to ourselves, instead we should give it back to the world – the Universe – so that the next one can take the idea and improve on it. Thus we become part of the natural evolution of this gift.

King Arthur could have held onto the sword and not done anything with it, instead he created a world called Camelot. A world that taught and still teaches many lessons, and is still kept alive in legend and magic.

Likewise, the gifts we receive should be shared with the world. A baker does not grow his own wheat he adds value to the gift of wheat that is grown by another hand.  So too a racing car driver does not build the car, instead he makes it fly…

The lesson in today’s card is to remind us to honour the gifts we receive. To not jealously possess them for ourselves alone but to share them with the world, to recognise that by passing this gift along to others we are keeping it alive, and becoming a part of the natural evolution of the gifts we receive.

The Buddha said The greatest gift is to give people your enlightenment, to share it. It has to be the greatest.

Three of Wands

The card shows a figure turned away from the viewer, looking out over the distance to what might be the future. He is not fixated on the past, focussed instead on what lies ahead of him.

The three wands in the card is reminiscent of the three pillars of Freemasonry, the names of which are Doric, Ionic and Corinthian – alluding to wisdom, strength and beauty.

According to W. Harland: These three pillars represent a trinity of Divine attributes. In the same way as the white light of the Sun is invisible until passed through a prism which decomposes it into seven constituent colors, of which three are primaries, so when "that Light which is from above" falls upon the prism of the human soul, the sevenfold properties then begin to manifest, and of these also three are primaries, called in the Craft system Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty.

The significance of the three Pillars has a further intimate relationship with members of the Craft, which is seldom recognized. When a candidate submits himself to the Masonic rites, professedly entering them "by the help of God" and to seek the Light as "the predominant wish" of his heart, by that act the Supernal Light is solemnly invoked upon him and he becomes brought into organic relationship with spiritual powers.

Not only does he enter the Craft in his temporal Lodge; he is spiritually incorporated with the Grand Lodge above, and, through the invisible hierarchy, with the Great Architect over all. He, as it were, "signs on" as a Fellowcraftsman in the Scheme of Divine Building, and becomes sealed as such. In a literally true sense he is "made a Mason," for a subtle change is wrought in his soul which does in fact make him spiritually different from those who have not been initiated. Indeed, a ray of that Supernal Light, whose rainbow elements are symbolized by the Pillars named Wisdom, Strength and Beauty, falls upon his soul; and it rests with himself to profit by the experience.

The terms Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty, in their Hebrew originals, are the equivalents of what are otherwise translated from the Greek as "the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory."

There is an old Masonic rhyme which declares: Who would a Master Mason be, Must always observe the Rule of Three."

The real rule is concerned with the practical experience embodied in many mystery systems, which is intended to assist earnest seekers to a conscious knowledge of the realization of Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty, but this being a matter for personal reflection and observance it must be left to the student himself to interpret.

These three pillars also represent the three stages of life: Youth, Adulthood and Old Age.

By observing these three pillars in our lives we can reflect on the virtues of each stage placing us in a position where we are better prepared to consciously live life with wisdom and inner strength from the point and object of beauty – that is us. When we appreciate our own inner beauty and the beauty of all life around us we are able to live in appreciation. As we develop strength of character through life we immerse ourselves in grace as wisdom guides us from one step to the next.

Knowing what to expect when we look forward we can prepare ourselves, we can examine and adopt these three attributes, using them to our advantage as we form and face the future.

Eight of Wands

Traditionally this card would mean haste, taking swift action and receiving an important message. This inspired today’s tale that took place in Greece as the Persians tried to invade them.

Persia had a strong army and navy, the Greeks were downtrodden and convinced that they were going to lose this battle. Athens took a defeatist approach while their soldiers tried to defend their country against the strong Persian forces in a place called Marathon.

Against all hope the Greek soldiers successfully defended their territory in Marathon and managed to defeat the Persian soldiers. However the Persian forces immediately set sail for Athens where they planned to conquer the Greeks for once and for all. The Greek army situated in Marathon had to quickly make their way back to Athens to defend their country against this mighty Persian navy and decided to send a messenger on foot to run the distance ahead of them to Athens to warn their fellow countrymen so that they could be prepared for the imminent attack. They also sent him with the surprising and wonderful news that Greece had managed to defeat the Persians in the battle of Marathon.

The messenger, Pheidippides, ran a distance of 26 miles and 385 yards to Athens to inform his people that they should not lose hope, and that they should prepare themselves for the Persian fleet that was about to attack.  Upon hearing the good news of their victory in Marathon the Greeks became hopeful and imagined for the first time that they could actually win this battle against the mighty Persians.

The official distance of an Olympian marathon is 26 miles and 385 yards, in honour of Pheidippides, the Greek messenger of hope who ran all the way to Athens from Marathon with his message. The exertion of this marathon killed him, but not before he was able to deliver this important message to his people.

Infused with hope of victory the Greeks defeated the Persians in the battle of Athens too. A victory that the people of Athens could not even allow themselves to imagine before they received Pheidippides message of hope.

Hope. It is the stuff that miracles are made of. Hope has helped countries win battles, it has helped people heal themselves of terminal Illness, and has been the single ingredient that has inspired people to allow themselves to imagine a better future – even in the face of failure and loss.

Once you choose hope, anything's possible.  Vincent McNabb said: Hope is some extraordinary spiritual grace that God gives us to control our fears, not to oust them. 

Today’s message is one that inspires us each with hope. It asks us not to give in to despair regardless of how dire our situation might look. We always have a choice and hope is often the best choice we can make, especially when we are feeling despondent.

In closing we hear the words of Emily Dickinson
 who said: Hope is that thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops... at all

Three of Pentacles

This card often speaks of a skill. The Mark Mason is a degree of Masonry. When he achieves this degree in the order he is expected to create a personal symbol or trademark using 6 straight lines. This mark or symbol is registered at the Grand Lodge and cannot be changed once recorded. It is always imprinted in his work to identify himself to others.

When we leave our identification mark on our work for the world to see we know that we will be judged according to a standard of excellence that will create perceptions of us in the minds of many – some of whom may not necessarily even need to see our work to recognize our reputation. Perceptions, once created, are difficult to change. It is for this reason that the Mark Mason would take particular care to ensure that his work is of the highest excellence, for it carries his mark and becomes the symbol of his skill – or lack of it if that be the case.

In the card we see three figures. One of these, a priestly figure, holds a set of plans in his hands. The plans represent what is still in the head of the Mark Mason, not yet real or manifest, still in the developing phase; but the real or completed building is also represented in the card. The plans on paper are being compared to the finished product – motivated by the mark or trademark on it. Did he build what he had planned to? Does it meet the mark of excellence expected of him? How will he be judged for his work?

People will always associate and generalize our mark with our work. This card reminds us to be careful of what we say, as people will hold us accountable and will judge us according to our words and actions. It takes many years to build a good reputations and only a few seconds to destroy it. It is important for each of us  to ‘stick to our mark’ and defend it as our reputations are at stake. A tree will be judged by its fruit, or in this example by its trademark. Most of us have negative or positive perceptions that we associate with well-known trademarks or brands, as an example the Mercedes Benz  symbol. Even those of us who have never driven a Mercedes will most likely already have a perception of the product that would influence us one way or the other when we contemplate purchasing a new vehicle. So too are each of us judged by our mark. Our mark could be our word. If we say we are going to do something, do we set out to achieve it? Or is our Mark one of empty promises, and our reputation known to others as all talk and no action? Our Mark could be our actions, or even our outlook on life – our attitude. Each of these add to the creation of how others perceive us. The end result equals the fruit against which we will be judged. There are many trees out there, but not all bear fruit…

Do we stand, like one of the other figures in the card, high on a chair, wanting people to see our mark, it is not hidden it is high and in full view. This figure proudly displays his Mark for the world to see.

The priestly figure in the card could represent our connection to a higher Source or Self which may be the reason he is building a temple in the first place. A temple as a place of worship and gathering for the community, so that others may be inspired to connect to their higher Source too so that they can be encouraged to place their mark on their creations and thereby inspire more to do the same.

We live by example. We ask ourselves whether the example we see is one we would want to follow. We ask ourselves whether this is someone  we’d like to be like, whether they inspire us, or whether this is someone we’d rather avoid. But more importantly, what example are we to those who observe us?

In closing today I share the following quote with you:

“Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”  Abraham Lincoln

Eight of Cups

The art of knowing when to walk away, and the courage to take that step even at the risk of emotional pain or discomfort can be one of the most empowering experiences.

Siddhartha Gautama the founder of Buddhism, was a prince born into great wealth and luxury. He lived a sheltered life and was never exposed to the suffering of the world, a world he did not know. He was not aware of pain, suffering, poverty, sickness or depravity on any level.

At some point he desired to give up all he knew and owned in order to experience the world beyond his castle walls. For the first time in his life he saw suffering and was shocked at his discovery. However, this led to his spiritual awakening and he was able to become spiritually wealthy as a result. Such a profound effect did his act of walking away from his former life have that an entire religion – Buddhism – was founded on the principals of his spiritual awakening and awareness.

We often allow ourselves to remain trapped in a situation that no longer serves us, be it a toxic relationship, an unfulfilling job, or a less than perfect location. Letting go is seldom easy however unless we are willing to leave our comfort zones when we know that the current situation is not what we want, we cannot begin moving into the direction of attracting what we DO want.

It may be the subconscious belief that we do not really deserve fulfilment and complete happiness that keeps us trapped in negative or toxic situations. Or, perhaps we are not yet consciously aware that we attract ALL things to us, the so-called good and bad. Things do not just randomly happen to us. Everything that we manifest, without fail, is rooted in the choices we have made, whether consciously or subconsciously.

Many of us do not yet realize the extent of the power that we have over our lives. Most of us do not ‘remember’ or understand the value of the lessons of less desirable situations and elements that we have attracted and manifested into our lives. But, until we do, we probably will not understand that it is equally within our power to attract its opposite.

There are no good or bad situations from the point of view that even uncomfortable situations serve as contrast to demonstrate what it is that we don’t want to manifest in our lives. And often it is in the realization of what we don’t want that we gain clarity about what we do want to manifest instead. Every time we become uncomfortable about an aspect of our lives we project a desire to attract its opposite. When this desire becomes so strong that we can almost no longer bear the current dissatisfactory situation we are often ready to act upon it by letting go and allowing the process of attracting what we DO desire instead.

Letting go of old beliefs that no longer serve us, walking away from beliefs that have kept us trapped in the illusion that we are powerless to change those aspects of our lives that we no longer desire, takes courage. It is the path less travelled. It is also the path that always leads to greatness.

As we contemplate letting go of certain elements of our lives and taking a new direction on our life’s journey I will end today’s Tarotelic with an old Irish blessing to pave the way.

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
May the rains fall soft upon your fields,
And, until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.