Monday, January 2, 2012
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