For today’s pithy meaning I want to do something a little different. The following is a quote that may or may not be apt for this card. It all depends on how you look at it (which is a Hanged Man sort of meaning too, by the way). The great thing is that consideration of this quote and differing perspectives of it leads us to a deep discussion of life as well as of this card. Isn’t it wonderful how the cards lead us to that?
“Most people say that as you get old, you have to give things up. I think you get old because you give things up.” — Theodore Green
The problem with short quotes (as well as their beauty) is that they are so open to interpretation. I think the validity of this quote depends on what we’re talking about giving up. Are we talking about our attachments or about our dreams? Is this about our possessions (which, frankly, own us at least as much as we own them) or our compassion for others? Is this about our physical abilities, or is it about our emotional strength?
I believe that getting older does involve many losses and relinquishments, but it also involves many gains and it involves holding on to some things. It involves clearing out what is inconsequential and holding on to what is vital. So I agree with Green’s quote … and I don’t. It all depends on how we interpret it.
Nine of Pentacles
There is a saying: “Home is where the heart is.” Here is a way to interpret that saying, which makes for a nice pithy meaning for this card:
If you’ve put your loving energy into your home, it will give that back to you when you need it.
This is a meaning for this card that came to me while doing a reading recently, so I thought I would post it here.
PS: If you want to see another interpretation of that quote, see a pithy meaning for the Ace of Cups that I posted a couple of years ago.
Ace of Wands:
“Only light can cast out darkness.”
This is a paraphrase of a famous quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. which I have associated with the Ace of Cups, and last week I noted it again in a comparison of these two Aces.
There are many ways to interpret this saying. In the case of the full MLK quote, it is about love conquering hate, but we might also see this as enlightenment overcoming confusion and ignorance. In addition, this adage may say that if you’re in a situation where there is a lot of nastiness, being nasty yourself will not help; you need to bring kindness into the picture. Similarly, we should bring cheerfulness into a gloomy situation, etcetera. In other words, wherever there is darkness, the only way to improve the situation is to bring in light.
A little while ago, I described a way to initiate thought-provoking conversations using the messages of the cards. (See: https://jamesricklef.wordpress.com/2014/06/08/tarot-questions-instead-of-answers/) A great way to facilitate this process is to use my Pithy Tarot app, which provides a quick little meaning along with a card.
The question I came up with is this:
Do you think it’s true that haste makes waste? Why or why not?
First, I think that much depends on our definition of “haste.” Some of us use this truism as an excuse to avoid change, to avoid doing something new. “Let’s not be hasty” can actually mean “Let’s not do anything new and different.” We may over-analyze something to death (which can be associated with the Ten of Swords) so that we can justify not doing anything, so we can stay in our comfort zone, but that keeps us from moving forward in life. Others, of course, could use a bit more attention to this admonishment, “Haste makes waste,” because they’ll jump into anything without looking first. So I think we need to take a temperate view of this advice wherein we understand what is not being hasty versus what is just hesitation and dithering. (Go see a performance of Hamlet or read the play to see what dithering gets you.) So we have to be able to tell the difference. Can we do that with our minds, though, or do we sometimes just need to feel it? I think that sometimes you have to follow a gut feeling that it’s time to take a leap of faith (ala the Fool card). After all, there is another pithy meaning that I use for this card that sometimes applies: “Strike while the iron is hot.” So those two complementary sides of this card must be kept in balance: Haste makes waste and Strike while the iron is hot.
What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts on this.
“Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.” — Max Ehrman (Desiderata)
I associate this quote with the Hermit both for its implications of the wisdom of age and of the passage of time. (The Hermit has traditionally been associated with Father Time.)
My interpretation of this quote from the Desiderata is, briefly, as follows:
First: Learn and become wise as you age (i.e., use your experiences as an opportunity to learn, no matter what those experiences are, both good and bad), and second: realize and accept that aging is also a constant process of giving some things up, little by little, one thing at a time. Thus, there should be a tradeoff between acquired wisdom and the loss of things of your youth. As my mother used to say, “I’ve earned every one of these gray hairs.”
A while back, I described a way to initiate thought-provoking conversations using the messages of the cards. (See: https://jamesricklef.wordpress.com/2014/06/08/tarot-questions-instead-of-answers/) A great way to facilitate this process is to use my Pithy Tarot app, which provides a quick little meaning along with a card.
Is this true for you? I think this may be a good general rule of thumb, but many of us did not have a happy family life. Perhaps a more general interpretation would be better: “The greatest happinesses are tribal happinesses.” For some of us, our “tribe” is indeed our family, but for some, it is not. Some of us are “ugly ducklings”, meaning that we have to fly away from home to finally find our “tribe.” I know that has been true for me. This is not to say that I had no happy times with my family as a child growing up, but my happiest memories are with groups of friends I made after the fact and also with the family I have created as an adult. But perhaps that latter case fits the description given in the quote above.
So let me know what you think, ok? Where have your greatest “happinesses” been?
A while back, I described a way to initiate thought-provoking conversations using the messages of the cards. (See: https://jamesricklef.wordpress.com/2014/06/08/tarot-questions-instead-of-answers/) A great way to facilitate this process is to use my Pithy Tarot app, which provides a quick little meaning along with a card. Today I did this and got the following card and meaning.
The question I came up with is this:
We are constantly tethered to our cell phones or other electronic / internet devices. In fact, an image of a group of people stranding around with their attention fixed on their cell phones instead of being engaged in conversation with one another has become a cliché.
What is this doing to us as individuals, and what is it doing to our society and culture as a whole?
There may be both good and bad consequences, so how can we counteract or at least mitigate the bad ones? Also, what are some things we can do to “untether” ourselves from our electronic umbilical cord?
One interesting point that came up in the discussion I had about this is that the constant pinging we allow ourselves to be distracted by with our gizmos has the opposite effect of meditation. Meditation has the effect of making us more focused, mindful, and centered; allowing our cell phones (for example) to constantly interrupt us makes us less focused, mindful, and centered. Perhaps just the practice of ignoring those pings can bring us a more peaceful state of mind?
What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts on this. (And yes, I do see the irony of asking about this on an internet based forum, so please try to answer this when you are not in the midst of a social setting.)
This humorous yet poignant saying is explored in great detail in an article on the website “Quote Investigator.”