The Daily Draw: Knight of Pentacles, Reversed

Let it Be

Knight of Pentacles ReversedWhen the album “Let it Be” wasn’t (that’s not a typo) released between “The Beatles” (white album) and “Abbey Road”, various unofficial bootleg tapes of the recording sessions began circulating. They were fascinating to listen to. Up until this point we, the public, had been presented with a mostly perfect image of four successful pop musicians who could pretty much do no wrong (even when they did) and went about their work with good cheer. The “Let it Be” bootlegs were the sound of that band falling apart.  In between unpolished versions of the better known songs were many half played jams on old chestnuts and a bit of monkey business such as Lennon taking the mick out of McCartney by doing square dance calls as Paul tried to take the lads through “Teddy Boy”.

There was also a lot of talking. It was not the animated conversation of people working toward a shared goal. It sounded more like bored acquaintances waiting for the morning bus. At one point, while trying to lead the rest of the band out of yet another jam into yet another take of “Let it Be”, McCartney says, “Come on lads, back to the drudgery.” To which Lennon snaps. “It’s you McCartney. You’re the one making it drudgery.”

Hands up anyone who equates being a Beatle with drudgery. Yeah, I didn’t think so. And yet by the winter of 1969, at a point when in seven years they’d produced ten albums and umpteen singles (most with different songs than the albums) they’d apparently had enough, and confirmed that after their next and last album “Abbey Road”.

Some of you may be confused at this point. “Let it Be” was released after “Abbey Road” but recorded before. It was a low point for them, so much so that they couldn’t quite bring themselves to release it—twice. There was even a detailed, planted (I assume) story in Rolling Stone describing how the master tapes had been kidnapped, held for ransom and accidentally erased by an airport metal detector upon their return. Don’t bother Googling that. I only know about it because I read the original article shortly after the incident supposedly happened. Talk about covering your tracks. Anyway, after the band broke up John Lennon gave the tapes to Phil Spector to see if he could do anything with what Lennon referred to as a pile of shit.

So, what does all this have to do with the Knight of Pentacles being reversed? Well, the Knight of Pentacles is a workhorse on a workhorse, so to speak. And for the most part that suits this knight. He is all about manifesting in the material world—planting trees, building houses, recording albums (the producing product part as opposed to the joy of creativity part). This knight works away all day every day. And folks, let’s face it, you can focus on that and only that for only so long before you burn out, before you forget why you wanted to make widgets in the first place, before you feel stuck in an apparently endless rut of drudgery.

If even the Beatles could get fed up with being a Beatle because it turned into a seven day a week grind, then what chance do the rest of us have in sustaining full-time career choices for decades without taking the shine off them?  Take a break before you burn out. Cultivate other interests. Take inventory—are there still things you enjoy or find worthwhile about the career path you’re on? It might be time to move to something different.  What excites you? What are you interested in. The days when our parents would get a job and stay in it for 45 years seem well and truly over.

The trick is to know when it’s the right time to move on so you can leave on a high instead of bottoming out on a low. “Abbey Road” is a perfect example of leaving on a high.

The Daily Draw: Four of Pentacles

Four of PentaclesIt’s All I Have

On the Four of Pentacles we see a seated person holding tightly to four large coins, with a facial expression that says, “Don’t even think about trying to take these away from me.” So it’s an easy read that this person is closed off and miserly. The indication is this person is clinging to material possessions represented by the pentacles, or he is blocked at the crown, heart and root chakras, so pretty much closed off to every other thing in this world and the next. Misanthropic much?

But as synchronicity would have it, I have recently had opportunity to widen my perspective on this card and see that, while standing behind everything I said in the first paragraph, there is more to this story. The person on this card is actually quite vulnerable. The attitude suggests otherwise, but look at the environment.  The scene is set outside of a large town or city, and this person is seated on a stone bench, or perhaps just a block, along what looks like a road. By that description we can start to see that maybe he has fallen on hard times. Let’s remember that we are only one card away from the Five of Pentacles, a card in which people feel so hopeless they cannot even see the help that is available to them.

Judging by the clothes, this person is used to the finer things in life, even if they are looking a bit ragged.  So why is he sitting outside like a bag person? Surely if he had a home he would be keeping his coins there and not clutching them on the street where he is a sitting target for a gang mugging. Maybe he is recently homeless and maybe this is all he has left. We could interpret this to mean that perhaps his world has changed so much, he is grasping the few remaining things that remind him of the way things used to be when he was in his prime and life was good (for him anyway).

The fact is, change is one of the few things you can count on—it will happen and you won’t escape it, one way or another. The person on the Four of Cups seems to be trying to stop it, but I hope we all know that effort will do him no good. You can roll with the changes or you can get rolled by them. If this person doesn’t find another way to deal with the change he’s trying to avoid, then we will no doubt see him in the next card.

The Daily Draw: Five of Wands, Reversed

wands5_rxFive of Wands, Reversed: You know that BZZZZZZZZZZZZZ energy when the TV is on in one room, the radio is on in the next, three people are trying to talk across each other, the kids are bouncing off the walls and you’re climbing them? Here it is in this card. You could get caught up in some “he-said, she-said” sibling rivalry with your children where either side could be the victim, the pretender, or both. The baby could pick today to discover the joys of emptying a jar of sudocream over himself. Maybe someone dings your car in the parking lot and drive’s off, leaving you fuming and frustrated. You’re friend says “it could have been worse”. The two of you don’t speak for fifteen minutes.

You meet someone on the street who you don’t particularly like and definitely don’t trust – they’re always trying to one-up you, attempting to steal your business accounts, coveting your partner, whatever. However, you might feel like you need to keep the peace with them for the sake of your family or social circle. Perhaps they feel the same way about you. So there you stand, having a conversation where you try to lean as much as you can about each other’s business while giving away as little as possible, all the while putting on a forced smile.

I recently experienced another example of this card’s energy when I attempted to buy coffee at an unfamiliar shop. The first conflict came when I moved out of the queue to inspect what was on offer at the other end of the counter. This resulted in people behind me being served AND in me being accused of skipping the queue, two mutually exclusive concepts one might think. Next, one might expect two white coffees to appear practically identical, but in this instance one looked as expected and the other had about an inch less liquid and no white froth. “I ordered two white coffees”, I said. “These are two white coffees”, came the insistent reply. A little incredulous, I pointed out how unlikely it was that these were both the same type of coffee since one of them could be “none more black” (as David St. Hubbins would say). The server grunted something I did not take as an apology and removed herself to the back of the room. Not long after, a second server appeared with an actual white coffee and an explanation that there was a fault with the machine, which was now corrected. Sure, it was a frustrating hassle for a few minutes, but it’s only coffee. No one died.

With the card reversed, you could be internalizing this cards energy more than usual, or it could be an indication that your sensitivity is telling you there is more of that energy out there than there actually is. And you might want to contemplate why you feel that way, but you can also unplug from the outside world, put on some relaxing music, meditate, or just having a glass of wine if the universe lets you away with it. You’re allowed to chill out and recharge your batteries.

If you don’t have time or space for quiet seclusion, don’t forget to breathe and stay grounded. Tomorrow is another day.

The Daily Draw: Ten of Cups

Don’t Be Distracted by the Drama

Ten of CupsThe ten of Cups is the completion of the cycle of matters of the heart, love, emotion, intuition. You can see this illustrated in the RWS deck by a joyous family beneath a rainbow of cups. It’s all good, you are blessed, you have joy, peace and no drama. Of course it’s a lot easier to write about drama because there’s…drama, and any good story has at least some drama. The Ten of Cups delivers a conspicuous lack of drama.

As you are probably aware, most families experience a certain amount of drama and conflict on a regular basis. Someone is born, someone dies, someone is sick, someone is going off to college, someone is coming back from a deployment overseas, the cat ate the neighbor’s hamster, the police are here again, etc. etc…and that’s just the threshold. In some homes, for example, the dinner table is covered in a residue of tension and animal fat.

The day-to-day stuff can make family life seem like the polar opposite of the Ten of Cups. But if you’re not seeing all the colors of the cup rainbow that doesn’t mean they are not there. Maybe you’re distracted by some temporary drama,

Perhaps in extreme rare cases there are families who would be better off disbanding and moving to different time zones, but generally speaking, no matter how much drama and conflict there seems to be , whether you feel taken for granted, overcriticized, or just get on each other’s nerves we would all say we love our families.

The Ten of Cups is at the core of every family, even if it is buried deep in the clouds of whatever narrative is being played out.  Because we know it’s there, and because we’re healers, we dissipate our own clouds and try to help others shift theirs so that everyone can see the rainbow.

The Daily Draw: Seven of Swords

Off You Go

Seven of SwordsIn the RWS Seven of swords we see someone who is sneaking off with five swords. It should be seven, but he’s in such a rush to get out there he dropped two. Or maybe he’s looking around to see what happened to them and is about to go back and get them. Or maybe he’s not stealing them at all—maybe he’s sneaking them in to some captured rebel alliance in an effort to break them out. Or, looking at it a little less literally, maybe he’s striking out on his own because he’d rather do whatever he’s doing without objections, interference or other points of view, although how he’s going to manage all seven swords at once is beyond me. He can’t even do it in the Pamela Coleman Smith illustration, let alone on the field.

The Seven of Swords is one of those cards that makes it obvious that interpretation is in the eye, mind and intuition of the interpreter.  The meaning can go in a variety of directions depending on the context, what you’re picking up from the seeker, and your own internal filter. Yes, we try to be objective and as clear of our own stuff as possible when doing a reading, but admit it—one or two interpretations jumped out at you while others didn’t occur to you. For me it was sneaky dealings of one sort or another with lone wolf following quickly behind in second place, ironically enough.

I will give you some context now. The question was, “What do people need from me today?”  We can all make a case for our different interpretations of this single, stand-alone card. And as long as we come by those definitions with a certain degree of honesty and integrity, who is to say whether one is better than the other, more “right” or more “wrong”. We don’t all interpret identically, not just with the cards, but in all things.

Even taking one of the possible interpretations here, that he is stealing the swords, some might assume that he is acting dishonestly and some might not. Your own feelings about that are probably tied to the question “why is he taking the swords?”. The obvious answer is that he’s a thief. Maybe, and maybe those were his swords to begin with and he is taking back what is rightfully his. Or maybe he’s trying to prevent a battle that would end in disaster. Of course he might not be stealing them at all. How do you know? We need more context, insight and intuition?

On a more logical level we’ve probably all read up on various interpretations of this card from sources good, bad and indifferent, so that will come into play. Swords, relate to the intellect, justice, force and fortitude. The number seven is where spirit and matter unite, and perhaps conflict, forcing us to make a choice, take us out of our comfort zone and do something we wouldn’t normally do. We can juggle all those swords in our left brain while deciding on an interpretation, and probably drop a few in the process like the guy in the card.

So what is the answer? Wait a minute, what was the question again? “What do people need from me today?” Hmmm, I seem to have just wandered out on my own and done my own thing without giving you a tangible answer. Yep, you’re on your own. Don’t worry. There’s so much to work with here I’m sure you’ll come up with something. It will be the interpretation you think, feel and trust in, without anyone telling you what it should be. You can collect all the information and second-hand insight you want, but eventually you have to strike out on your own. You alone know what this card means to you, in your life, on this day.

Hey, I just thought of another one—maybe this guy is playing a practical joke on his friends. Maybe he’s practical joking with intent.

The Daily Draw: Page of Pentacles reversed

Learn to Be Effective

Page of Pentacles, reversedThe pentacles are about the material, the tangible, the pragmatic. They also have to do with what is sturdy and what is trustworthy.  With the youthful energy of the page the Page this card can relate to learning to create something solid in the 3-D world or having a youthful eagerness to do so, whether that be a house, a business or a good reputation, for example.

The young person here is standing in a lush, grassy field. A grove of mature trees are in the background. To the right there is tilled farmland. My guess is this person didn’t make it that way, but they might be the latest generation of those who did, or someone who is drawn to this work but just learning the craft.

With the Page of Pentacles reversed I get the sense that something isn’t quite right. Maybe the page has taken his or her eye off the pentacle being gazed at with such intent. Maybe not enough attention is being paid to detail. Maybe corners are being cut due to impatience or external factors.  The king and the knight know it takes time and effort to produce a quality result. While there may be time-saving tips that come with experience, there are no shortcuts. You have to pay attention to the process, and not just focus on the desired result. Otherwise you may find more time wishing you were making something as opposed to actually making it.

Alternatively, reversed cards can have an internalized aspect. Depending on the context the advice here might be to think through the project, study the blueprints, plan things out before you begin. The temptation might be to just start doing your work, but some consideration beforehand can improve the effectiveness of that work greatly.

If you’ve already started the project, maybe you need to ask yourself if what you are doing is really working or whether it just seemed like a good idea at the time.  There’s no harm in taking time to see whether the steps you are taking are leading to your desired outcome. Chances are you’ re working individually, so you have sole responsibility but you also have freedom of choice to change what you are doing if you don’t seem to be getting the result you want.

The Daily Draw: The Hanged Man

The Hanged ManYesterday’s post, the Nine of Wands Reversed, was basically about letting go of defensiveness. To carry on the theme of letting go, today’s draw is the Hanged Man, a person who has somehow managed to get tied by the ankle to danglie upside down from a wooden T cross. Yet he seems at peace with his predicament, glowing in fact. Maybe he knows something we don’t.

At 12, The Hanged Man comes in sequence between Justice and Death. To condense that down to one sentence: Reap what you have sewn, accept the results, change accordingly so you can move on up the spiral. The Hanged Man, of course, is the acceptance part. Change (Death) is coming whether you accept it or not. Wouldn’t it be to your advantage to go with it and not to fight it?

The Hanged Man can also indicate taking a step back, removing yourself from a situation, or at least the drama of a situation, and becoming more of an objective observer. Part of that is letting go of your own emotional baggage, expectations, or projections of a desired outcome to a situation. When you remove these filters to your perception the picture becomes clearer and you can better see the truth of what is, as opposed to what you wish it was or are pretending it might be.

Maybe you’re part of a perpetual cycle of conflict that seems to be going nowhere. Often the best way to break the cycle is to simply stop. It can be incredibly difficult to let go of a fight when you are right.  If you are right you should win, right? Except the person who disagrees with you is also right, or at least thinks they are. You know they are wrong, but they know they are right. But you’re the one who is really right, right? Right! So why don’t you both agree? In fact, why doesn’t everyone agree with you?  I’ll tell you why: it’s because everyone is right. Don’t believe me? Try finding someone who thinks they’re wrong. Even if they say they’re wrong, they’re right about being wrong.

So everybody is right. Now what do we do? Maybe the most effective thing you can do is to give up your need for everyone to know and acknowledge that you are right. Sacrifice your desire to be crowned king or queen of the right fighters.  At first this may be confusing or disorienting for the people you’ve been arguing with—“This isn’t the expected bow back to my bluster.” The bluster will be taken out of them, or if it isn’t they will have to go somewhere else for their drama fix because they won’t be getting it from you. Be the bigger person, set the example, be consistent. Eventually people figure out who the bigger person is without you needing to tell them. (Hint: If you need to tell them, you’re probably not it). They might even come to realize that you’re…well, you know…

I know those last couple of paragraphs sounded a bit wandy. I guess I’m feeling the progression from yesterday’s Nine of Wands. On the other hand, yer man is tied to a big honking wand, of greater girth than any of the wands in the suit cards. More growth too, if you look at the edges.

Ultimately the message I’m getting today is take a step back to take two steps forward. Sacrifice your ego to fulfill your soul. Let go so you can have what you really want. You know it’s the right thing to do.

The Daily Draw: Nine of Wands, reversed

Is This Battle Necessary?

Nine of Wands, ReversedThe Nine of Wands has been through some tough times and they’re not over yet, as illustrated on the card in the RWS deck. This person is banged up and bruised but ever vigilant, expecting trouble and, staff in hand, prepared for another fight.

The Nine of Wands is a card of self-defence and it’s a card of defensiveness, two sides of the same coin really. A person who expects to be attacked often becomes defensive, and the expectation of being attacked comes from a pattern of being attacked previously. On the other hand, a defensive nature can be a magnet for attracting situations in which you need to defend yourself—people who seem to be spoiling for a fight are often more likely to find themselves in one. And before long you have your classic “chicken or egg” perpetual cycle.

As with any cycle, the only way to really break it is to get off the roundabout. Slam on the breaks, stop, go someplace different, drive away from the drama. Yes, I know, that’s easier said than done. Some battles will fall apart like a house of cards when you stop giving them your energy, and others will persist because it’s not necessarily all about you, or if it is, it’s something you need to work on as part of your life path, or maybe you just did something stupid and now you’re paying for it. You’ll have to work that one out for yourself .

I personally have finally realized that not letting people push me around just to keep the peace (which never comes as a result) is probably one of the big things I’m here to work on. And, oh yes, I have felt the energy of the nine of wands. But being defensive has not served me well in the past.  It just seems to create more drama.

Here is what I’m thinking today. The Nine of Wands is reversed. Maybe it’s time to try something different, put down the staff, take a different stance, tell your solar plexus it doesn’t need to go through life at DEFCON 2.  Sure, you have the stamina and perseverance to keep on fighting, but is it worth it?

What if I told you that altering your perception of what’s going on around you can alter your perceived need to be defensive.   Let me tell you a about a real-life Nine of Wands experience…

I’m from America but I’ve been living in Ireland over a quarter century.  I don’t get back much. So when I do there tends to be a bit of culture shock. I think it was six or seven years before I made my first trip back (in the late 90s). It was a business trip that involved travelling to Texas. Being from New England, it was familiar yet foreign to me already.

The first morning I went for breakfast in the small dining area of the hotel (it wasn’t the Hyatt). The news was on. I’d spent the last half dozen years or so watching RTE and BBC news (pre-Sky), low key, rational tones, considered opinions (at least relatively speaking) but when I sat down in front of this newscast in Texas I was suddenly bombarded with an urgent talking head loudly proclaiming  “YOU ARE IN DANGER FROM EVERYTHING AND ANYTHING BLACK PEOPLE WHITE PEOPLE RICH PEOPLE POOR PEOPLE THE ENEMY’S GOVERNMENT YOUR GOVERNENT GREENPEACE GREEN PEAS THE WATER THE AIR YOUR CAR CHRISTMAS BLAH BLAH BLAH” screaming while and a banner streamed alternative things to fear at the bottom of the screen.  Whether intentional or not, the effect was to pump massive amounts of fear into the viewing public. Is it any wonder why so many people are shooting each other when they are getting pumped full of fear for breakfast.

So, do you think the people watching this newscast would be more Nine of Wands or less Nine of Wands than the people who had music with their breakfast? And yet, both groups of people lived in the same America. The crime rate was not higher for one group than the other regardless of whether they were on guard and stressed out or chilled out.

Sometimes you truly need to defend yourself. But sometimes you just need to let go, unplug. Ask yourself whether you need to get involved with this battle. Maybe this is somebody else’s story and you don’t need to be emotionally involved. Maybe it’s your story and it’s no longer a good enough story to defend. Maybe it’s time to let it go.

The Daily Draw: Page of Cups, Reversed

Have Fun, Be Careful

Page of CupsThe page of cups is a young person who is contemplating a fish popping out of the cup they are holding, perhaps a bit amused. “Can anyone else see the fish popping out of this cup?”, the person might say, if anyone else was present.

The pages often represent young people and/or students, and you know what they’re like—always having fun and playing around and doing stuff that older people like me are too mature to participate in. (Yeah, right.)  So for me there is a certain playfulness and openness in this card.

With cups you get emotions, intuition and matters of the heart, all of which are deeply connected as you know. So the page would be inclined to play with these energies, experiment, try them out, see what happens, and share, share, share. It can be fun and exciting to develop your talents. Of course you want to share those feelings and talents with the world, and why not?

The Page of cups is reversed today. Sometimes this can indicate obstacles and sometimes it can indicate an internal, introspective focus (to pick just two examples reverse card indicators). I’m thinking this has something to do with being circumspect, which does not necessarily go hand in hand with the young, excited and playful energy that just wants to go out and do things.

Sharing unreservedly is all great while we are having fun, but remember we are playing with the emotional toy box. Unless you live on a deserted island, (and maybe not even then), you are not playing with only your emotions. They are a large part of how we all interconnect and interact. You don’t need to be an empath to appreciate that, but if you are an empath you really appreciate it.

Not everyone is so aware of their internal world, and even those who are can have blind spots, sensitive “proceed with caution” or “Wrong Way. Go Back” areas. These are their challenges to work through, parts of their own life-path experience. As a healer you want to save the world one person at a time. And it can happen in the right context, under the right circumstances and with willing participation.

Notice the last two words of the previous sentence. As healers we are not healing people. We are facilitating people in healing themselves.   As readers we are not preaching the truth. People are inviting us to provide insight that will allow them to find their own truth, and even then we may hold back, for good reason, if what we see is not kind or useful.

These are important distinctions, because unlike a medical professional who can set a broken bone or put in a few stitches whether the patient is willing or stone cold unconscious, we cannot go leaping in uninvited with our eager, optimistic, positive energy. You don’t get to decide when someone is ready to heal. You don’t get to decide when somebody is ready to see the truth. That is up to them.

So now kids, go out and play and enjoy the weekend. Have fun. But be careful out there. We don’t want anyone to get hurt.  I mean, you wouldn’t intentionally run your skateboard over someone’s leg would you? Of course not.  Stay aware and try to avoid any accidents. The internal bumps and bruises can be more painful than the obvious, external ones.

The Daily Draw: Knight of Pentacles

knight of pentaclesThe knight of pentacles is not the fastest knight, the smartest knight or the most exciting knight. But he is steady and sturdy. He might not be the life of the party, but he’ll make sure everyone has enough to eat and that you get home safely.

This knight is focussed on the practical. In the RWS deck, his full attention is on the large, golden pentacle in his right hand, which seems to shine brightly like the sun and fill the sky with light. The panorama of tilled farmland in the background suggests that much work has been done, and there is much left to go. Like the crops growing, it won’t happen quickly, but it will happen provided he remains dedicated to the task.

Having moved house recently (ok, more like five months ago), I can appreciate what he is telling me. The last house had such vast attic space that we were able to keep our hoarded goods without having to look at them. The new house has much more living space, but there is no hiding all the stuff we accumulated over the years.  So with intentions of doing some serious decluttering (eventually) we stuffed the surplus into a dining room we weren’t using and shut the door while we sorted out the rest of the house. (The kitchen is large enough to accommodate our own dining room table without getting in the way of other kitchen business.). Then summer came, four small children were home from school all day and… you know how it is.

But wanting to use the dining space as a computer room/home studio we eventually had to face the elephant shaped pile of boxes in the room. We attempted to do that last weekend, and we made great progress before we collapsed, but some jobs just can’t be completed in one day. Turning a filled storage space into a music studio while trying to decide what clutter you can part with and reinstalling all your software on a replacement hard drive is one of them.

The knight of pentacles reminds us to keep our heads down and our eyes focussed on our work. Just keep moving forward at a steady pace. Focus on the process, not the result. The result will come. Don’t be distracted by how far away you may be from realizing your goal and how much there is to do before you achieve it. You’ll get there if you keep going.