Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Tarot: Truth, Strength and Success

One thing I've found is that the more I use the tarot cards to create stories and backgrounds for characters, the more I discover about myself. Like most writers, a piece of me and bits and shards of my life are interred in each story. Using the tarot cards helps me to see which bits work and which shine a light on the right path.

I've sometimes considered writing a story about a writer -- nothing new there -- who feels they are disappearing with everything they publish, nibbling away at their essence to create art and worlds that will spin on after the writer is gone. Immortality through writing, although that is more difficult these days with more and more people deciding they want to write and publishing their tales. With the current technologies that is becoming easier all the time. Those who would have kept their stories to themselves or hidden them between the pages of notebooks, diaries and journals stuffed into shoe and hat boxes, buried in drawers and boxes or saved onto disks for computers long gone when the writer upgraded. It has probably always been that way, but more people believe their work should be published and take advantage of the technology and send their fancies, fantasies and dreams speeding along the information highway and sometimes into print for a price. It is their truth and they want to show it to the world.

One man's truth is not another's. Truth can be subjective, depending on your point of view.

The Hermit

The hermit carries a lamp. Caped and cowled he prowls the streets and alleys looking for an honest man, looking for truth.

Diogenes he was called, a cynic who looked for something beyond the reach of his lamp, steadying his journey with a staff, the only flash of color the cord around his waist. The Hermit's lamp is the light of acquired knowledge, his staff the power of his will and the red cord about his waist the passion that drives his search. The truth the hermit seeks is the truth that speaks to him, the truth that resolves the clamor in his heart and makes him whole. He must be careful not to become entrenched in his search or too sure of his knowledge for there lies dogma and stagnation. Ever vigilant, the Hermit seeks for the truth of his soul, trusting himself and what he knows to get him farther down the pathway.

"The Cynics rejected all conventions, whether of religion, manners, housing, dress, or decency, advocating the pursuit of virtue in a simple and [non-materialistic] lifestyle." You could say those who press for the world to go green are cynics in a sense, casting aside the materialistic trappings of the modern world in favor of a gentler and simpler approach to life and sustenance, returning to the earth for nourishment and the bounties of the rivers, lakes, seas, winds and geothermal properties of this planet for a sustainable answer to comfort against the cold of winter and the stifling heat of summer. Like any truth, there is always another angle, another side to the multi-faceted jewel of truth. Be careful not to become trapped inside it.


This strong lady has the powerful lion on a chain held loosely in her hand, almost carelessly, as though she neither leads the lion nor follows him. She is not careless of her hold on her animal passions and has learned to use the strength they give her power and courage when they are needed. Her strength is not immediately evident, except in her direct and clear gaze, and is demonstrated subtly and quietly, like the feeling of a lover's or friend's hand when your own are trembling. That soft, calm touch is sometimes all that is needed to rally the spirit and stiffen the spine when facing a trial. It is the powerful muscles and sinews of a lioness hunting, at first alert and almost languid when roused to action, always aware of her surroundings, the direction of the wind and the resources of her prey. She holds her instincts in check, reining in her passion for the hunt, until it's time to spring into action and bring down the quarry, a symphony of grace, instinct and strength unrivaled.

6 of Pentacles

The Six of Pentacles is a picture of success and open-handed largess. This man is successful and willing to share his wealth with those around him. He is a benevolent man who believes in fair trade. He's not out to cheat anyone; that is not how he became wealthy and successful. He recognizes the responsibility of his wealth and his success to give back a little of what he has honestly earned.

He shares his success without strings or conditions and is most likely a little uncomfortable receiving compliments or gifts in exchange for his favor. It's a small failing considering all the good he can do and has done. A momentary prickle of embarrassment he covers by offering a helping hand or a cup of water or wine to those who need it. He is no fool, nor will he be made a fool by those who seek to cheat him or take advantage. He is a moderate man who can be aroused to anger or disappointment to be so used.

In these cards is the story of a seeker, a woman who has followed the path of knowledge but is not without her charms. She is not ruthless, but she is determined and strong, although you would not know it to look at her. She is canny and can spot the smallest flaw or make a connection where none seemed to exist before.

This time she is after a rare map that is considered a forgery, but her researches indicate that in the proper light the map will lead her to the find of a lifetime. She's had a successful career, so it's not about the riches or the fame. It's about adding to her knowledge and deciphering the clues that have eluded her and countless other seekers.

The journey is dangerous and arduous, but she is well aware of her strengths and weaknesses and has taken time to cover all her bases with an experienced support crew that she pays very well -- for their secrecy and their expertise. When she finds the prize at the end of the journey, it will add to her knowledge and the knowledge of the rest of the world, something she will share without hesitation, for the prize belongs to the world. History will yield up its secrets to her because she has marked the path well and is certain of her success. She has prepared well and left nothing to chance.

Anxious to begin her journey, she waits for the right time of the year and the right conditions. What she seeks has been hidden for centuries, a few more days or weeks won't matter in the end for she is the handmaiden of fate and she will succeed.

What story can you weave from these images and insights? What will they say about you -- and to you?

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