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Discussion: What card…?

December 29, 2011

A new year is approaching and I’m thinking of starting a new series of posts that invite you all to discuss what Tarot card you think a given quote (generally of some spiritual significance) reminds you of and why. Here’s the first one, and I’m interested to see if this goes well. If so, there will be more to come.

This is a story from Taking Flight by Anthony de Mello

A man walked into a doctor’s office and said, ‘Doctor, I have this awful headache that never leaves me. Could you give me something for it?’
‘I will’, said the doctor, ‘but I want to check a few things out first. Tell me, do you drink a lot of liquor?’
‘Liquor?’ said the man indignantly, ‘I never touch the filthy stuff’.
‘How about smoking?’
‘I think smoking is disgusting. I’ve never in my life touched tobacco’.
‘I’m a bit embarrassed to ask this, but – you know the way some men are – do you do any running around at night?’
‘Of course not. What do you take me for? I’m in bed every night by ten o’clock at the latest’.
‘Tell me,’ said the doctor, ‘this pain in the head you speak of, is a sharp, shooting kind of pain?’
‘Yes,’ said the man. ‘That’s it – a sharp, shooting kind of pain’.
‘Simple, my dear fellow! Your trouble is you have your halo on too tight. All we need to do for you is loosen it a bit’.

The trouble with your ideals is that if you live up to all of them, you can become impossible to live with.

Which Tarot card does this quote remind you of, and why? Please post comments with your thoughts.

9 Comments
  1. This is a great story and I first thought of The Hierophant – that tight halo of high ideals and strict conformity. But now I’m thinking of the King of Pentacles reversed… a man who’s headache comes from refusing his earthy, physical self to the point of denying his own humanity.

  2. I really like this idea, too. And like Leisa, my first thought was the Hierophant. In yoga circles I’ve called this attitude “yogier than thou”. My second thought was also a King, though I thought the King of Swords – so sure that he knows exactly what is right and true, and judgemental of others. Looking forward to reading what others think… 🙂

    • LOL @ “yogier than thou”! Hadn’t heard that one before.
      Yes, I too am looking forward to what else people suggest. I have my own suggestion (I too thought of the Hierophant, but that might be TOO obvious) but I want to wait before presenting it.

  3. mychildseye permalink

    The card that came to me was The Fool.

  4. Kate permalink

    This is a great game and a great story (to read as well as to re-tell in tarot language)!
    To me this story involves a lot of cards, but here I’d like to name just some of them:
    Devil – being a prisoner of your own beliefs, a road to hell that is paved with good intentions
    Tempreance reversed – not applying moderation, being an extremist
    Moon – not seeing the real meanig and results of your actions
    Tower – making your life a rigid construction that is going to fall down at some point
    10 of wands – your way of life has become too heavy a burden
    Judgement – being told the truth, discerning the core of the problem, touching the essence,
    and of course Hierophant reversed 🙂

    I think it might be even possible to re-write this story using cards, like a cartoon or shorthand 🙂

  5. Rochelle permalink

    Great idea! The card that came to my mind was the Four of Cups. Not recognizing the things that will fulfill you emotionally. Lacking joy in life and needing a fresh attitude.

    I also thought of Strength (my very close second)–taming your instincts so much, that you are unable to tap into your lust for life.

  6. Okay, here are my thoughts about what card I see illustrated by this parable. First, however, I want to thank you all for your comments. There are, of course, no right or wrong answers, only thought-provoking ideas about the cards, this story, and life itself as stimulated by this tale.

    As I mentioned above, this story can tell of a Hierophant in his darker aspect. However, I also see it in terms of another card, the Queen of Swords. While I think this queen can indicate self-control in her best aspect, she has a dark side that I sometimes see as being illustrated nicely by Dana Carvey’s Church Lady from SNL. (See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_Lady) In that aspect she is moralistic, self-righteous, sanctimonious, and priggish… and, I believe, deeply unhappy.

    I hope you all enjoyed this exercise!

  7. The Devil. In my readings this card is always the one warning me that I am taking things too seriously. :o)

  8. Jobi permalink

    4 of coins, holding on to mundane things that do not allow any growth for balance of both dark and light side of life. The extreme miser brings fundamental darkness onto himself and cannot enjoy what he has, and in this case it’s his life.

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