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Six of Coins and Random Acts of Kindness

July 22, 2010

In case you’re wondering, yes, I am still writing my book, “Tarot and Your Spiritual Path.” Right now I am working on a chapter that presents readings for questions concerning spirituality.  I began with the very general question of “What is Spirituality?” and one of the positions in the spread I created for it is “How is our spiritual life integral to our mundane, daily life?” The card I drew for this position was the Six of Coins, and here is what I have written about this so far.

Six of Coins -- Tarot of the MastersThe Six of Coins is such a perfect card for this question. The painting that served as inspiration for the Tarot of the Masters version of the card, St. Martin and the Beggar by El Greco, illustrates a famous event in the life of this saint. Legend has it that once when Martin of Tours was still a young soldier he encountered a scantily clad beggar shivering in a snowstorm and close to death.  Moved by compassion, he cut his cloak in half in order to share it with the beggar and save his life.

Stories like this are common in religious lore because they are so integral to what spirituality is all about. Spirituality proves itself integral to our lives whenever we stop focusing on ourselves and on our own problems. When we begin to care about—and to care for—other people we integrate spirituality into our lives. In other words, it is through simple, everyday acts of charity and generosity—the proverbial “random acts of kindness“—that we make our mundane lives and our spiritual practice one and the same. Compassionately helping a beggar can be a more spiritual practice than praying in a church. This card also calls to mind the admonition that Jesus made about the necessity of charity for salvation: “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” — Matthew 25: 40 (KJV)

And the wonderful thing is that through this simple spiritual practice of acts of kindness, we change who we are: we become more spiritual. As Aristotle said, “We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but rather we have those attributes because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do.”

Addendum:  You may be interested in a wonderful website called Help Others.org.

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9 Comments
  1. Jennifer Johnson permalink

    I love this post. “Random Acts of Kindness”.. paying it forward come to mind also.. Tuesday, in talking with some friends about love and relationships. I spoke of this card and how it can be about giving and receiving financially and also about giving and receiving spiritually. Also, in a love relationship, or any “relationship”. In Cards where the wealthy man is giving the coins to the beggars, It’s almost as if the Wealthy man holds the “Magic coin”, I love that you have spoken of Random Acts of Kindness in relation to this card.

    Thank you so much for sharing your insights with us.

    Jennifer

  2. I love ARK’s… I highly recommend you do them as much as you can an pass them along. They don’t have to be huge.. small things do just as much good and big ones…

    My favorite is leaving change in thing (candy machines, or soda machines or paying for someones coffee at Dunks or a miscellanious dollar I drop out of my pocket) The best part about these ARKs is you never know who your helping… it just is….no bias… and the very fun part is other see you doing it and then they do it too… it’s so contagious…

    Thanks for reminding us…that isn’t just something nice but a spiritual connection we all share…a little good juju can go a long way.

    Shale

  3. There is a really funny text in Cervantes’ Don Quixote in which Sancho, Don Quixote’s squire, gives his opinion about why St Martin gave only half his cloak and not the whole of it. Sancho thought that “it takes some brains to give and take” (an old Spanish proverb) and I think that is one of the lessons of the 6 of coins too. If the Rider character weighs the money he is giving is because he is giving with intelligence so everybody will profit by it. Just a thought (and I think my adored Ms Pollack said something very similar)

  4. I was thinking of something Rachel Pollack, said as well, in regards to the suit of Pentacles/Coins. In her book 78 Degrees of Wisdom she says, “The way to Spirit for Pentacles lies not so much in success, or even awareness of value in ordinary things, as in the work that allows us to appreciate those things.” To me this gave the Pentacles the spiritual quality-connection that allowed me to embrace this suit. I was having a real problem with it always being described as so mundane and materialistic. The six of coins especially, shows the way to spirit with an act of kindness and charity.

  5. David permalink

    It is a wake up call, this 6 of Coins. Coming out of the 5 of Coins experience, the Nadir of one’s life, the despair when things appear their darkest and to be compassionately given to by a complete stranger must be the impetus that forces the journeyer to look back on his/her life in the 7 of Coins and say, “Have I planted seeds in my life that will be fruitful and of benefit to all.” The wake up call at the 6 of Coins is the gift from the stranger. What the journeyer does with it determines whether or not the Spiritual Journey will blossom.

    Your interpretation gave me pause to think on my own life and where I am generous of myself to those whom I don’t necessarily love but who walk life’s path with me.

    • David,
      Your last sentence reminded me of something I wanted to say about all this.
      It seems there are several different types of people we can give to, with varying degrees of difficulty and (therefor) value:
      1. We can give to the people we love. Not so hard to do usually.
      2. We can give to casual acquaintances in our lives. Still, not too hard to do, but we don’t usually feel as compelled to do so.
      3. We can give to strangers. How hard is that? Depends. For example: Write a check to your local food bank — not so hard. Actually work at the food bank — harder to do.
      4. We can give to people we don’t like, people against whom we hold a grudge. This one is much harder… and a much more valuable spiritual practice. Note that this one is the whole point behind the parable of the Good Samaritan. That story is NOT about item 3 above — helping a stranger — as people generally think. Samaritans and Jews generally despised each other, but the Samaritan helped the injured Jew in this tale anyway. (Ref: Luke 10: 25 – 37)
      Best,
      James

  6. Thanks for all the comments so far!

    Jennifer – You’re very welcome!

    Shale – Yes, there is a growing awareness of the importance and value of Random Acts of Kindness. The website that I referenced is great resource: http://www.actsofkindness.org/welcome

    Rozonda and Koneta – Yes, absolutely. Giving judiciously is important too. In my book that accompanies my Tarot of the Masters deck I say this about the Six of Coins:

    “… besides being about generosity and charity, this card is also about striking the proper balance between giving and withholding… What is the appropriate amount to give to someone else and how much should we withhold for ourselves? This is an important judgment call that we may have to address when this card comes up in a reading. … Someone in the ego bruising position of needing to accept the charity of others often has to struggle to maintain a healthy sense of self-worth. They also have to avoid developing a dependency on such assistance.”

    So, as Sancho said, “it takes some brains to give and take.” (Thanks for that quote, Rozonda.)

    Best,
    James

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  1. Unconditional Love and Sixes « James Ricklef's Tarot Blog
  2. Six of Pentacles Spiritual Message « James Ricklef's Tarot Blog

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