Tuesday, March 20, 2012

on temperate swiftness

What struck me right away about today's draw was the color: so much color, rainbows...we have just about every color somewhere in the Art card, and rainbow specifically in the edges of the golden ring around her, in the energy rising up out of the cauldron, covering her like a cloak. And of course, the rainbow-refracting crystal with the red bolts of lightening under a proper rainbow in the eight of wands...color, waves of energy everywhere, yes.

What's more, both are Sagittarius cards...Art influenced by the idea of optimism, of grasping your way up, taking energy and mixing and working and creating something better, higher. In the 8 of Wands, we have Mercury in Sagittarius, which I especially like because Mercury is usually associated with cleverness, quickness, with the mind: this is us, applying our intellect and mental energies to make things happen, to make things move in a positive direction. Today is the first day of Spring, officially, and here we have two cards full of synthesis, creation and growth.

Together, these two bring to mind the question of just what exactly Art, or Temperance in the RWS, is. When you hear Temperance, it's easy to think well yes, be moderate, be cautious, don't take things to extremes, think before you act, don't go too far...and yes, sometimes, to do the temperate thing that is EXACTLY what you need. But for me at least, sometimes when I get into a certain 'extreme thinking' mindset, it kind of goes 'Well, I can't get this done just how  I want it anyway, so why do anything at all?' 'There are so many problems, and some of them are totally out of my hands to fix, so why bother to tackle any? There will always be more of them, right?' And in this kind of case THAT is the extreme thinking, because if you can enact some kind of solution, create something good, tackle a bit of the larger issue, why not do it? Why not try? Why not jump in and take that action?

Temperance means trying.  Extreme thinking is 'well, I tried once and failed, I'll never succeed so why bother?' Art means fiddling with the pot, with various combinations again and again until you finally find something that works. In the card the figure mixes sulfur and mercury, fire and water - there is an alchemy metaphor there, and what was alchemy ever, if not this kind of optimistic playing with this and that: what alchemist didn't fail again and again in his work? But if you keep mixing around in that pot, even if you don't get exactly what you were hoping for...you never know what interesting thing you may create or discover in the process.

Yes, temperance, art, moderation...they can be actions, swiftness taken, participation. I'm actually doing a lot of reading about various extremists in my classes right now...Islamists, hackers, war criminals...and it's often the case in all kinds of volatile situations that the voices that shout the loudest, that take the actions which change everything, are those with the extreme views and ideas, while the more reasonable, moderate folks, the ones most able to negotiate and create a more sustainable solution are the ones who...speak too softly, wait too long to get involved, don't take as much action. That oft-stated phrase, the 'silent majority'....

So yes, bringing it back to the micro level, I have I guess been slipping back into that kind of thinking, no doubt because it's easier to just throw up my hands and say 'This is overwhelming! Things are going to hell anyway, why bother!' rather than stick with the mixing and trying. Sagittarius thoughts though, colors - take Art in hand and move swiftly. See how much you can in fact do if you let yourself create, experiment, to run and fly on a dizzy rainbow of color between earth and things higher, intellect and passion, the tangible ici and dreams.


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