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King of Cups — Spiritual Message of the Day

April 26, 2011

King of Cups -- Tarot of the MastersThe King of Cups indicates emotional maturity, which is why I chose a painting of Kannon as the inspiration for my Tarot of the Masters version of this card. In Buddhism, Kannon is the Bodhisattva of Compassion and Mercy who heard the cries of suffering in the world and as a result, strives ceaselessly to free all sentient beings from suffering. In seeming contrast to all that “striving,” however, Kannon is usually depicted in a meditative or contemplative pose, representing someone who is at peace with himself and others.

There are a couple of inferences we can draw here. One message is that the qualities of compassion and inner peace are inherently intertwined. Compassion for others comes from having peace within, and peace within comes from being a compassionate person. This sounds like a “chicken or the egg” conundrum, but we don’t have to be fully proficient at one to gain the other. We work on them together.

Another message is that being at peace (through meditation or otherwise) is the way to lead others to peace, whereas distress leads to more agitation and suffering. For example, doing something like protesting for peace is ultimately self-defeating unless that protest is of a peaceful nature itself. This is because you can’t truly create something in the world around you while manifesting its opposite inside of you. It’s a common and easy mistake to act out of anger toward people who are causing suffering in others. At best, you might stop that one specific act in the other person, but ultimately, you will have created more suffering than you eliminated. As Ram Dass says in Be Here Now, “You can only protest effectively when you love the person whose ideas you are protesting as much as you love yourself.”

If you enjoy these words of spiritual advice from the cards, you will love my book, The Soul’s Journey: Finding Spiritual Messages in the Tarot

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