Wednesday, February 22, 2012
I The Magician
As we leave our home and comfort in the distance we notice a stand by the side of the road populated by a young man with a faraway look in his eyes. The gaily colored stand houses a variety of potions and artifacts. Specifically we may notice the presence of a wand, sword, cup and coin. All of the elements of the universe present in their earthly form. Well, I definitely want to stop and have a look.
I see in The Magician a combination of energies, like the elements on the table in front of him. There's our skills and talents - often well-hidden from our view. The Magician can represent those talents in the array of potions and artifacts. I also see The Magician as our will, directed as we see or as our spirit dictates. There are such a tremendous amount of colorful items on display that one can be dazzled and unable to see clearly - like the clouds that have obscured the sun. But as in so many tarot cards we have to ask ourselves: are the clouds settled in or are they about to clear?
It would appear that the Springtime reference from the Fool holds - as there is a light frost that is clearing. Also the magical rose bushes containing the white roses of the intellect and the red roses of the emotion have not yet formed leaves. What is it about our nature that we are so often stuck in a frozen winter-like state? We experience so much suffering and endure so much hardship - mental and physical - that keep us stuck in the repetitive cycles of our life. We attach ourselves to things in the hope that they can bring us happiness, when they only fade and go away. We must find the combination of elements to lift us out of that frozen state where we go nowhere and drown in our negative emotions.
I hit a point about a year and a half ago where the suffering in my life became too severe, and I finally decided to take my father's advice and start meditating. I'd done meditation off and on at various stages in my growth but had never taken it on seriously as a discipline. During the process of learning how to meditate I faced a number of challenges - backaches, confusion, not being able to decide the "meditation path" that I wanted to take, etc. However, as it started to settle in I noticed very subtle changes occurring in my life that steered me toward a more active involvement in practicing Buddhism.
The point of this is that I was at the end of a long winter, metaphorically. I decided to make a change in my life that has had tremendous effects over the year and a half that I've been practicing. It is our choice to pull ourselves out of whatever our wintertime looks like. It seems like when we're suffering, spring doesn't just magically appear, we have to will it when we get tired of suffering.
Which returns us to the Magician. The winter is thawing and this magical stand has been exposed to us. The proprietor doesn't appear particularly attached to what is going on around him; he's just casually observing, being in the moment. We observe that perhaps as the winter has thawed, this Will and these Abilities have been slowly revealed to us as we pay more attention to what is really going on, rather than the fantasy world in our minds.
There is a medicine bag hanging on the front of the booth. A medicine bag is a place where you keep small items that are sacred to you - sage, sand, a pebble - these represent what you hold sacred. I've noticed that in spiritual work, a lot of times an outer item has an inner representation. When we wear a medicine bag we can just wrap our hand around it and be reminded of the sacred - take us right there! So the Magician has a place for what is sacred, as well as what is practical.
In the colors of the canopy I see a recreation of the red-white emotion-intellect connection, with green added, which indicates a grounding influence of Earth.
As far as the sign on the Magician's golden stand, I must say I've had to meditate on this for a while. In the course of doing this blog I am striving to reach my own conclusions when I look into the meanings of the cards and ascertain the symbolism based upon my own experience. I stared at the sign, which seems to be an announcement of the stand - like when I set up a tent to read tarot cards, I'd have a sign that says "Tarot Readings." So what is the magician trying to say? What is this sign saying to me as I walk by it on my journey?
The connection that I made is that the sign appears to be the "not equal" sign from mathematics. Typically in a not equal sign the slash through the equals is at a slight angle, but this is what came at me the hardest. So I have to sit and ponder what that means. Not equal... Not equal...
What is equality? In mathematics it means that the formula on the left side of the equal sign is identical to what is on the right side of the equal sign. Mathematics contains logical representations of numbers and processes to combine numbers. It exists, at least in the beginning, on a purely mental or ideal plane. The idea of equal in real life seems impossible, what is equal to something else? If I knit two little monsters, using the same pattern and the same yarn, there are bound to be little details that are different, placement of the eyes, etc. Equal is a term that sounds good in theory but in reality it is very difficult to make happen.
So, not equal - we are unique, we are different, we are one of a kind. When we strive to embrace our uniqueness and see ourselves that way, a lot of the cruel judgments we have about ourselves vanish. How can we be mean to ourselves if we're not comparing ourselves to someone else? How can we attack ourselves if we know that we are being true to who we are?
And so to wind back to the path of our journey, we've left home and now we have come across a simple man who only wants to empower us. Not only does he demonstrate to us what our unique talents are, he also inspires us to find a direction on our path. We need a direction, a purpose, when we're traveling down this road of life. A purpose gives us an anchor to cling to when we're being buffeted by the winds of change and adversity. A purpose gives us a measuring stick that we can use to figure out what we should be doing. If you ask yourself "does this serve my purpose" and the answer is yes, then do it. If the answer is no, it's best to just let that one go and move on. If it doesn't serve your purpose, then leave it.
So we have discovered our talents and found a direction. Let us thank the Magician for bringing us to a point of clarity and clearing out the clouds of our initial folly. Not that we have discovered our talents and our direction, the journey would seem to be easier - I say seem ironically, as it has only just begun. I'm certain that there are many pleasant, as well as painful lessons awaiting us. However if we are open to the experience and not attached to it, then we can always get a lesson.