Sorry that this blogroll has been short on updates recently. It’s been a busy season of work—burning the candle at both ends, metaphorically—and blog posts had to go on the back burner for a while.
But today… TODAY… it is supposed to snow unceasingly and we are supposed to get about 8 inches on the ground or so. I tried—I REALLY DID—to drive to my workplace this morning. But after getting half way across town and my car having skidded and slipped several times along that short route, I promptly turned around and headed home in order to text my supervisor that the situation was untenable. Getting there would’ve entailed traveling over half-an-hour over the Killington Mountain pass and along a winding valley road into the wilds of Vermont, after all, and at the rate I could drive, it would’ve taken me half-a-day to get there anyway. I felt a bit redeemed to get a text message in return saying that my supervisor was working from home, too.
What to do with a surprise day off, heading into a long holiday weekend? After working so hard and so many hours over this holiday season, there are a thousand things I’d like to catch up on—letter writing, mail art, book and article reading, knitting… I can’t possibly get to everything I’d like to do, and I really should do some office-related work as well. But, well, here I am, luxuriating in the very thought of taking a breath in this busy holiday season and sharing the grounded-ness of that exhalation with you this morning.
I have many things to be thankful for recently. I have a new job in my field of experience after a long search that lasted over a year. I did some exploratory things in the interim to try to keep myself busy and possibly move into another career field. But I’m glad that I have found myself in the job where I am. Non-profit work—supporting visions of community enhancement and encouraging valuable human interactions—is for me a life affirming and hopeful enterprise in a world that can sometimes be overly discouraging. It’s entirely possible that getting this job had something to do with descerning the difference between goals and having a purpose.
Perhaps I’ll tell this story in pictures… Since this is a blog about the tarot, and since the tarot can be used in so many ways, today I’m sort of going to do a reverse tarot reading, by finding images in the deck that express the sentiments and particular facets of what I have to say. (This seems like a great game, doesn’t it? …Try telling your own story or expressing a situation by going through your card deck and finding cards that tell your tale…) *Deck images are from The Golden Tarot by Kat Black, ©2003 U.S. Games Systems, Inc.
It’s been such a long journey. It’s extremely hard to tell in the Eight-of-Cups what the circumstance might have been for the individual walking away with his paupers satchel on a stick (just like the Fool  in the Tarot de Marseille). Did he decide to venture out on his own? Was he banished from his village? Was the situation too painful to stay where he had been? Whatever the catalyst was, this fellow is on his way. I’ve been on that journey—both physically and mentally. We might have dreams of the place where we want to end up, but we don’t really know if we’ll find that imagined paradise. We’re simply in movement; we’re on the journey. In some ways we have to let the path take us wherever it leads, and we have to discover where it is that the path ends. But we’ve made the exertion to go, to be in movement; we’ve decided to make the change, whatever it is or ends-up being, and really…isn’t that the first and foremost goal of starting our journey? It is necessary to think of this journey as an adventure, otherwise we are simply “going through the motions” of trying to re-attain some kind of stasis. That’s a subtle difference in interpreting the situation, but a highly important one. We have to be willing to allow the change—the journey—to affect us, or we don’t grow. We need to learn things from it and let it mold us, otherwise stubbornness stifles us, frustrates those around us, and makes the world a very small place.
It’s almost ironic that this is one of my very favorite cards. If I am using it here to express my journey of the past few years, it represents a very arduous, harrowing, soul-damaging, frightening, and sad experience for me. My journey was along a very hard personal path. I try to think sometimes what life would have been like if I hadn’t embarked on the excursion or the path that I took. I honestly don’t know what would’ve happened or where I’d be now. I don’t know if I would’ve been happier or if things would’ve continued to be as stagnant as they felt when I left. The path took me where it led…and here I am, a little worn and battered, but in the middle of a new story-line.
Trying to adjust the path’s direction, as well as trying to survive financially, I took some turns that didn’t make for the easiest method of travel. Some hard labor was involved. (Ten-of-Wands) I am not averse to hard labor at all. But my body—being of a certain age—noticed. And whether it was a motivator to keep looking for something else or not, I kept a flame lit under that Wheel of Fortune (Major arcana X) to see if I could make that wheel turn and change my lot. Just before the holidays (note the nativity scene) Fortune would bless me with that job. What luck! What fortune! But it took the will to get there… One has to take those wands from the Ten-of Wands card—no matter how burdensome—and raise them like flags of victory (6-of-Wands); one has to fly one’s flags high, has to pre-determine victory, DECIDE on it, in order to get to the end of the battle. Even though it felt at times like all was lost, one can’t give up hope…
So in the very early stages of this new job I am feeling like the Page of Coins…trying to ground myself, but observing as much as possible and learning as fast as I can. I can attest that, so far, it has gone fairly well. It seems like I’m grasping procedures well enough (micro-stuff), while being able to discuss some of the anticipations of the department for possibly expanding the scope of what their technology can do (macro-stuff). And I am able to utilize the experience from my career work on the west coast to be able to tackle it. This is giving me confidence and initiative (like the Knight-of-Wands). I sort of feel like I might be the creative catalyst for moving this non-profit down the path of change that THEY are envisioning (bringing back in the 8-of-Cups card).
In any account, I am enjoying the new people with whom I am working. It feels like a “team” working towards common goals, and if we can bring a bit of artistry into the mix and it shines more light on the good things that the organization accomplishes, then all the better. (3-of-Coins card)
Here is another version of the Knight of Wands from another deck I’ve been working with recently (The Ostera Tarot, by Schiffer Publishing, ©2017 Molly Applejohn, Eden Cooke, Krista Gibbard, Julia Iredale) I love how this card portrays the Knight as an individual of “vision.”
Maybe the Knights—for my purposes—are on horseback because they’re not quite done with their journey; perhaps there’s further to go. Is the journey ever really over? No…the world keep spinning and swinging around the sun; the season will continue to go through their cycles. It’s nice to dream about ending up in a cozy armchair where the story can end in comfort…but eventually you have to get up out of that chair to put another log on the fire, or feed the dog or the horses or yourself, and you have to go back to work in order to afford the food to feed yourself, as well as the house within which you can set that armchair… We’re always in movement; stagnation (“sloth”) gets us nowhere.
What else can I garner from these pre-chosen story cards? They are mostly populated with Wands and Coins. These two suits (creativity and groundedness/monetary matters, respectively) happen to be compatible with one another (certain other suit pairs can express conflict with one another), so the flow and collaborative nature of these cards might reflect the flow of life right now. It also might mean that the missing suits of Swords and Cups (matters of the mind/thought and emotional concerns, respectively) may be underrepresented in the nuances of my story. But frankly, life before this turn of events was so fraught with emotional distress that a break from overthinking about my losses is somewhat of a relief right now…so I’m okay with their temporary absence. It is Cups (emotions) that the fellow in the 8-of-Cups card is walking away from, after all…
I wish everyone their own amazing stories and motion in life. The Wheel is turning… A very blessed Winter Solstice to one and all…