Thursday, February 23, 2012

making the most of good things

Now here, I think, is an interesting pair of cards, with an interesting message/idea to mull over. First we have the sun - success, fulfillment, victory. We have two winged butterfly children dancing over the fertile mountain, things almost completly achieved, the zodiac wheel, wholenes, the rose within the sun, light shining. This is without a doubt one of the most positive cards in the Major Arcana, full of good things to come, the happily ever after... it ever happily ever after, really? Which one of us hasn't, after a certain age, with enough personal experience or acute observation under our belts, wondered about those fairy tale characters - was it really all so swell for EVER AFTER? Because success, after all, brings it's own challenges.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely, the saying goes. You get on top, money and power and glory is in your hands and...then what? Do you use it well, or to you give in to the tempation to act selfishly? Look at all the dictators out there in the world. Or, better yet, look at their children. Now there we often see corruption, entitelement, arrogance at its worst: the dictator, at least, had to climb his way up in the world. And the child who was born into luxury and power, who was born into a world where they are held in awe and in fear simply for existing, where expensive trinkets are simply THERE when elsewhere people are starving? Can anyone come out of that kind of upbringing undamaged, really?

Or more mundanely, that well known phenomenon: the job you get which pays well, really well. Better yet, it is also fairly prestigious. Your family and friends are impressed when you are hired. Suddenly you can afford all kinds of things you couldn't before. Luxuries, indulgences. Life is good, right? Except that truth be told, you fucking hate that job, hate the stress, the long hours, the things you have to do. You hate waking up in the morning and hate going to work. You spend the plurality of the hours in the week in a place where you are utterly unhappy, and what a waste of life that is! But you hesistate to leave, no matter how much your soul wishes it because...well, because it's such a good job, right? The wages, the way that people look at you when you mention it, impressed...

How about the tendency to buy things to try to cheer ourselves up? I am miserable so I will by a new pair of shoes or the shiniest new phone or another video game or another tarot deck or a designer bag or whatever your poison of choice may be...the vague idea that of course, this shiny new item will make things better, will put a smile on my face. But that kind of joy never lasts for very long, does it? How much debt can you rack up trying to improve yourself with things, things?

So yes, success brings its own dangers, if you aren't careful, mindful of what it is that you really want, need. Luxury may certainly seem quite nice from afar with those overflowing, glowing gold cups, but look closer: the darkening sky, the chill mist. The moment you level up is not, in fact, the time to settle in to a dull complacency, but rather to ensure that the good thing that just happened remains a good thing, that life is working you and the people around you to the best of your abilities.


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