Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sources of strength

Today, I'd like to talk about sources of strength. As a cancer survivor, my life has been changed significantly. I've adapted to a major change in my health status and how I view being healthy. What I had considered a "normal" lifestyle is much different now than prior to my diagnosis. In a recent survey of cancer survivors, people were asked to identify their primary sources of strength. The three most prevalent answers were, in order: family, spirituality and friends. It's not usually just one thing, but a combination of things that give people strength. Everyone has their own unique way of dealing with the impact that cancer has had on their life. As you may have already noticed, I like tarot cards. Tarot cards may conjure up images of gypsy women, crystal balls and hocus pocus; it's hard to separate the cards from their long history. However, the tarot cards themselves are rather benign; their only power is the belief we place in them. And they fill a spectrum of needs, from an amusing hobby to a powerful tool for exploring the inner workings of our lives. Tarot cards are not even really meant to tell your fortune or future. It has been said that the most powerful sources of information come from within; the Tarot aids in coming in contact with one's higher self.
Open readings address the larger aspects of your life rather than a specific problem area or question. They're usually done when you're entering a new phase of life, such as getting married, graduating from college or starting a family. You can somewhat direct the reading if you have a general area you want to cover, such as your career or health, but that's as specific as the direction gets. How can randomly drawn cards have any relevance to someone's life and what's happening in it? What most readers say the Tarot can enlighten you about are the choices you have. The cards don't tell you what you should do or what specifically is going to happen in your future, but rather the possibilities depending on the path you take. Carl Jung believed that in addition to the repeatable cause-and-effect relationships on which the scientific world is so strongly based, there is also another connecting principle that does not share that cause-and-effect relationship. He called this principle synchronicity. According to Jung, synchronicity explains the guiding forces in the universe. Things we might see as coincidence are actually signs that can help us make decisions and guide our lives -- if we recognize them.
Some say it all boils down to your subconscious mind. Arguably, how we perceive things relies heavily on our subconscious, and there are those who believe that with Tarot, the subconscious projects its own interpretations on the Tarot cards. As a person receiving a Tarot reading, your interpretation of the cards is a result of the factors in your life that shape who you are and what you are about. The questions you have about your life (usually the reason for consulting the Tarot in the first place) are projected onto the pictures, so you divine answers from what you see. In this way, the Tarot is useful in helping us to tap into our subconscious to find answers that we might never consciously think of. Whether you believe that Tarot cards hold any power or ability to shed light on your life, your problems or your future might depend on how easily you can open you mind to the idea of it. Many Tarot-card readers have differing ideas about how or why the Tarot works. In fact, some say we only need the Tarot to help us until we learn to get in touch with our "inner guide" on our own.
Today's card is the Ace of Pentacles. The Ace of Pentacles card suggests that my power today lies in assets or seeds. I have everything I need to co-create my own reality. I have value and I matter. I am empowered to nurture and tend to my own garden of purpose. I bring new life into the world. The Ace of Pentacles is the foundation for all kinds of projects in the real world; this foundaton is as valuable as gold, and as solid as concrete. It is the cornerstone of a building that might stand for decades, or crumble to dust after a few years - this is determined by how the rest of the structure is put together. The Ace of Pentacles is not the promise of long-lasting financial and material security that some might expect, but it is the sign that such things are within your reach. It gives you the resources to go in search of higher goals.
The appearance of this card is usually the sign of a turn for the better in terms of fortune and wealth, and sometimes it can even indicate gifts of money, or inheritance from unexpected sources (hence the coin appearing from "thin air"). This gift does not have to be money of course; any kind of gift that has value to both the giver and the receiver can be indicated by the Ace of Pentacles. In particular, the card often refers to wedding rings and proposals of marriage, which may seem out of place in the Pentacles suit until you realize that such proposals are the solid foundation upon which the castles of love must be built. The Ace also represents the fertile soil in which ideas can be planted to grow and mature. This will be a slow growth, as the Pentacles never move at a fast pace, but the success of the harvest is practically assured. The only caveat is that the Pentacles suit demands a realistic outlook. If you want to succeed, start now - it is not the time to dream and fantasize when there is work to be done! Forget flourish and dramatics, because hard work is the only thing that is going to produce results when the Ace of Pentacles is afoot. Keep your feet firmly planted in the Earth and let your common sense (and your intuition) guide you to success.
More often than not, the realms of material and spiritual wealth are mutually exclusive, and in some cases they are in fact detrimental to one another. But on the Ace of Pentacles all types of wealth are portrayed, and though the material world is certainly in full view, most cards feature a gateway or a passage into the more spiritual realm far in the background; through the gap in the hedges we can see the cold white mountains of abstract and spiritual thought. You can achieve spiritual peace through material means, if you knows the path. Ok, I'm ready to be enlightened!

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