Sunday, March 11, 2012

What Now?

March 11, 2012: The Guide, Tarot of the Old Path

This card has a slightly disturbing resonance when compared to its traditional counterpart, Temperance. The standing figure pouring a measured stream of water back and forth between two cups has an almost stern and admonitory facial expression, and is clearly meant to represent an angel, perhaps even a "Guardian Angel" who is warning of the balance it takes to achieve the Heavenly Realm. In the background are shadowy forms reminiscent of the Horned God and a mysterious Goddess who are watchfully regarding the interaction of the Guide with the desperate traveller and his unconscious burden. One's eye is immediately drawn to the bright red triangle on the Guide's chest, the only non-pastel color in the image, representing the cosmic balance and illustrating the importance thereof. The man's face is anguished as he gazes up towards the angel, and almost conveys an air of impatience--for his lovely companion, the warning to be "temperate" probably is too late--she is drowning in her excess and cannot hear him...

And so, what is this stern, monitory and somewhat disconcerting card going to convey to us on our personal journey today? Well, in a way, I think this deck takes an approach that is more nitty-gritty and less philosophically irrelevant than do the Temperance cards in more traditional Tarot treatments. After all, we are already in the midst of our lives, and we read Tarot to assist us in dealing with the exigencies thereof. Philosophically speaking, "all things in moderation" is a wonderful guideline, but who actually does that? We are always in the midst of the maelstrom, and when we seek guidance and counsel from the arcanae, it is often, most often in fact, to ask for assistance with something that has already happened or is happening, not so we can peruse a theoretical guide to the precepts of a balanced existence. This young woman has already, apparently, been "intemperate" and her desperate companion is seeking insight on what to do for her NOW, not how she should/not have acted to put/not put herself in this position...And so, what's the answer? Hmmm....

Take a look at the center of the card. See that golden sphere at the top of the ziggurat from which all the water is flowing? That represents not only the Source of the calming and refreshing waters, but the destination of the journey, the Sun at Center. Held in the hands of the Goddess and guarded by the God, the shining sphere is the representation of the Light at the end of whatever tunnel we are groping our way through. The message on the card is not, after all, simply "Look what a mess you're in" but actually says, "Balance will help you get out of here and see the way forward." The flowing waters in which our hero is immersing his unconscious companion will actually refresh her, awaken her, and invigorate her for the forward journey. The God and the Goddess are waiting at the end of the road. The Guide is actually a card of hope, saying, "No matter how deeply you think you're drowning, no matter how big a mess you think you're in, a balanced approach can help you regain YOUR balance, and move forward." So, right now, take a deep breath, take a sip of water, relax and think. In the maelstrom, the whirlpool, the overflowing emotions and contradictory flotsam and jetsam floating down your own personal stream today, there's a guidepost, there's a point of balance, there is a way forward. Once you have refreshed yourself and taken a deep breath, you will see it. Look ahead, wash your face, straighten up and wade out of the muck, and move forward. The Sun is shining at the end of your journey, and the Goddess and God are awaiting you.

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