A couple of days ago I received my new tarot deck to use with Tarot for Writers. Since I went to bed early, I woke up early and couldn't get back to sleep. I pulled out the new deck of cards, shuffled and pulled three cards with a friend's problems in mind.
The Hanged Man
Ace of Wands
At first glance, the news isn't good, but that would be the wrong assumption. The basic meaning is that a sacrifice is required before a new and better future can take place and it will change everything. You will be transformed, but in order for that to happen you have to be ready to accept the change, and the change will be a bigger and better job or opportunity.
No, no one is going to die. Death is about transformation, change, clearing the decks. The Hanged Man is sacrifice and seeing things from a different perspective. The Ace of Wands is illumination, a gift, a powerful and different path lit by the fires of change and inspiration, but you have to be ready to accept the change and not be mired in the past or in a comfortable and safe rut.
The first thing that came to mind was Adam and Eve being forced out of the Garden of Eden. Some sects believe their expulsion from Eden was as a result of sin, the first sin, and that being cast out was a punishment. Many other sects believe that it was a good thing, the best thing to happen to Adam and Eve.
Adam and Eve were children living in a comfortable and beautiful garden with no real responsibilities and no cares. Everything they needed was given to them and in exchange all they had to do was follow the rules. But, like children, telling them not to do something put ideas in their heads, especially Eve's. In a way, Eve and Pandora are the same. They are curious and adventurous and willing to take chances. Eve took a chance and shared her discovery with Adam, but that is the way it was meant to be. Had Eve not taken the apple, she and Adam would have remained children, all potential with no results. Stagnant. Unchanged. Stuck in a rut in a very comfortable zone.
Change demands sacrifice and sacrifice is often a painful wrench. After all, who wants to give up a comfortable rut for the unknown?
Adam and Eve's sacrifice was their childhood, their innocent trust. They took matters into their own hands and had to rely on gaining skill and experience to meet the demands of a changing existence. It's the difference between a pool and a stream or river. If the pool gets no fresh water, it becomes stagnant and dries up. It dies. A stream or river is constantly moving, changing the boundaries and wearing away the obstacles, sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly, but always inexorably.
What seems like a disaster or a blow to the ego or the heart is often the Universe's way of forcing us out of the comfort zone, expelling us from the Garden of Eden where nothing and no one changes and life becomes stagnant and safe. Lose a job or become injured or ill and we see it as negative when in reality it is an opportunity for change, clearing the mind and the decks down to the bedrock to build something stronger and better. Change is a light burning in the midst of a dense forest that no one sees until the path is cleared and the dead wood moved out of the way. Then the light is visible and lights the path ahead for miles. The dark and forbidding forest is transformed into a clear road forward where more can be seen.
Four years ago I was forced out of my Eden and periodically the Universe kicks me in the hind quarters and forces me out of my comfort zone. The big transformation for me was a new job and moving to a new city. I still have the job but I was forced to move to a new place and it has turned out for the best. As I look back through the years, I see other abrupt upheavals when the Universe gave me a shove and forced me to move on and to change. It was hard at first and I grumbled at the inconvenience and sacrifice, but ultimately, every single time, the change was for the best. I gained new skills, stretched new muscles and arrived in a new and better place. Some of the changes weren't so pleasant, but they always gave me something I could use, some knowledge or skill that I would not have otherwise had if I hadn't been pushed to change, to sacrifice the status quo for a chance to better myself and my life. I didn't always see it that way and sometimes it hurt to be forced to move on, but there is truth to the saying: No pain, no gain. Sometimes you have to tear something down before you can build something new and better, and stronger.
Losing my job five years ago was devastating and the year it took me to climb out of the rut of self pity I dug was difficult. I sacrificed so much and was asked to sacrifice a little more. I thought I had pared my life down to the essentials, but the Universe demanded more. I'm sure there will be further demands if I fail to see the path ahead, but one thing I have learned is that I will survive because I have survived worse.
No matter what we do in life, if there is untapped potential, more will be demanded. It's comfortable and safe in the ruts we dig for ourselves in our relationships, jobs and choices. It's so easy to keep doing things the way we have always done them, but that way lies stagnation. We don't always have to keep changing things just to change them, but it helps to take the hurdles and detours as life's way of pushing us to see things from a new perspective. Whatever the sacrifice, it will be difficult and it might hurt, but the price of transformation is usually costly. The prize is always worth the price.
Had Adam and Eve not been kicked out of Eden, there would be no human race, no dizzying heights of accomplishment and no abysmal depths of destruction and pain. There would be only two immortal children in a stagnant world full of unrealized potential unaware that they are meant for more. There would be no interesting times in which to live only the same chores day after endless day in an unchanging landscape in eternal spring with no surprises and nothing to take the breath away. In short, existence without ever living. The best thing that happened to Adam and Eve was the apple. It wasn't sin. It was sacrifice, a wondrous gift and transformation. It was growing up.