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Eight of Coins / Pentacles — Spiritual Message of the Day

June 14, 2011

“Before Enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After Enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.”

Tarot of the Masters -- Eight of Coins / Pentacles
I’ve mentioned this Zen proverb before (see posts for the Knight of Swords and Eight of Wands), but it bears repeating in a discussion of the Eight of Pentacles (Coins), which may indicate repetitive tasks and doing a job mechanically.

When I used to work in the 9-to-5 world, I remember people saying, “Same shit, different day.” (Actually, I used to say that too.) But the Zen proverb cited above tells us that we can continue to do the same work but with a different perspective, a different mindset. With a more enlightened outlook we realize the importance of working with focused attention—i.e., with mindfulness as we stay “in the moment”—and of working without complaints since life is exquisite however it unfolds. This is a way that we may utilize any job as a spiritual practice.

When I left the 9-to-5, work-a-day world over a decade ago, I did so with great relief. As I put it at the time, I was very happy to get out of “that soul-sucking job.” I certainly have no regrets about making that change, but I see it differently now. Had I known then what I know now (of course, I needed to take this divergent path to gain the knowledge I have now), I would have realized that a job is only soul-sucking when we let it be. Instead, we can use any job as grist for the mill in our spiritual journey, and we can approach any task from a perspective that arises from our realization of our divine nature. When we do that, our job becomes “chop wood, carry water” in the second sense of the Zen proverb, and it is a part of our spiritual journey.

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



  1. mary permalink

    similiar to the karate kid film, wipe on wipe off.

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  1. Pithy Tarot meanings — Eight of Pentacles « James Ricklef's Tarot Blog

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