He who binds to himself a joy
Does a winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sun rise.
~ William Blake, Eternity
More Cups for us this week, but lacking in the happy connections that we saw in last week’s offering. The Tarot Cups have to do with our emotions, and deal with love, dreams, healing, and intuition. And Fours are about stability and groundedness.
When we seek to make permanent a particular emotion, attempting for instance to cling to the joys given in last week’s Three of Cups, we lose the flowing spontaneity that is the sacred gift of human emotion.
The figure in the card is turned towards the three cups on the ground. But does he really see them? What do they hold? Are they past times, or current circumstances? Perhaps they are various desires or loves, among which he feels he must choose.
Certainly, he is not aware of the fourth cup. Notice the resemblance of it to the Ace of Cups, which has often been compared to the Holy Grail, and which is the gift of Grace from God, representing Her unconditional love, which is freely given to us.
Is the figure in the card simply meditating? Perhaps, but most Tarot scholars agree that this is not a peaceful or restorative kind of contemplation.
Instead, judging by his defensively crossed arms protecting his heart and his slight frown, it would appear that the figure sitting cross-legged is feeling flat, annoyed, discouraged, or stagnant. After the celebrations of last week’s Three, he may be feeling jaded.
We can only hope that his listless unhappiness will eventually become uncomfortable enough that he will turn away from staring at the cups before him, which clearly no longer bring him joy.
In her book of daily meditations, The Celtic Spirit, Caitlín Matthews writes, “Joy is not a creature of the cupboard; it is wild, free, and profligate, spending itself in one great burst of energy. The ability to enjoy and be part of something is a skill many of us lose; as we disengage from the immediacy of life, we are less able to sink ourselves deeply into things.
“This distancing of the self often arises from the need to protect ourselves from perceived dangers (physical and emotional). Whatever its cause, this form of separation from life clips the wings of joy very effectively.”
As you contemplate the opportunities (or memories) now influencing you, perhaps you, too, hesitate to select one, or to release what has been. Or could it be that what you see before you is no longer fulfilling?
Caitlín writes, “How do we make access to joy? It can come only when there are three conditions present: a state of lively engagement with life, a receptive and spacious heart, and a respect for other beings than ourselves.
“If we live in a closed-off bubble, forcing life to happen beyond us, joy cannot enter; but if we play ball with life, catching and throwing back the many experiences that come our way, we begin our true engagement.
“If we have a daily receptive space where we allow the universe to speak to us, joy will find its way.
“If we truly believe that the freedom of other beings is as important as our own, if we truly respect that freedom, joy will wing toward us.”
This week as Mercury retrograde comes to an end, and we come to the New Moon of Virgo, how are you being invited to open your awareness? There is a strong possibility that Mystery is quietly offering you an alternative you cannot see as long as you keep focusing on what isn’t to your liking. This could be unexpected news, a heart connection, or simply an opportunity.
At those times when we have trouble finding the path forward, remember that, like the fourth cup being offered, your path is also seeking you. Reach out and bask in eternity’s sunrise, the joy which is offered to you from the source of Love.