What we reach for may be different, but what makes us reach is the same.
Mark Nepo, The Exquisite Risk: Daring to Live an Authentic Life
After a long, rather intense run of Major Arcana cards the past several weeks, and in the wake of the big Imbolc/Eclipse window, it is with some relief that we are brought solidly back to Earth again. Welcome this week to the Eight of Pentacles.
Pentacles are the suit associated with the element of Earth. So they deal with living in the corporeal, material world. That may extend to money, health, work, and our physical home. The Eights of the Tarot are often about getting organized, setting priorities, and moving forward (or not). So in the Pentacles suit, the Eight considers matters to do with jobs, abundance, and resources.
Here we see an artisan who is centered on his creative efforts. Although he is completely lost in his task, we see the city in the far distance. Perhaps this is a reminder that there is a larger world to which his products must have relevance, lest his work be an act of vanity or waste of time.
There is no indication whether he is self-employed, or working under the authority of a larger business. But in this moment, unsupervised, he works with good cheer, concentration, and a high level of productivity.
And my sharp-eyed regular readers will recognize that this is another of Tarot artist Pixie Smith’s “stage cards.” It’s tiny, but notice the double line behind the figure, hinting that the background may be theater scenery. What story is being played out for us?
Here we have the pure act of the creation itself. We see both the physical energy of the hammering, yet also the meticulous care reflected in the results.
Who Do You Work For?
Far too many of my clients (and even a few dear friends) spend their days in terribly unhappy work situations.
I’ve been there too, and I can tell you that if you are in a “soul-sucking” job where adequacy is as much effort as you can muster (and that’s on a GOOD day), you might want to take a courageous look at the implications for you over time.
The attempt to compartmentalize a crummy job we hate from our “real” life is one that exacts a very high price. Not only does it take a tremendous amount of energy, but eventually it can contaminate one’s self-confidence, and steal much joy from our down-time, too.
Because no matter where or how you make your living, or who signs your paycheck, or even if you are officially employed, you are always the most important manager of how and what you produce with your time, labor, and skill.
It doesn’t matter who is up the “official” chain of command – the Chief Executive Officer that you ultimately report to is Source, and you can know how you’re doing by the memos you receive in your spirit. In fact, we are always in collaboration with our Highest Self, overseeing the quality and meaningfulness of our work.
Like the Eight of Pentacles, our job might not pay off in big status or vast riches. It doesn’t have to be the most glamorous experience imaginable. We don’t even have to love the work itself.
But it is vital that find the satisfaction of giving the best of ourselves. It matters that we not hate where we spend most of our waking hours, or feel oppressed by the circumstances we are in when we are there.
A workplace that thwarts our best efforts, disrespects our integrity or safety, or that sabotages the talent that we offer is deadly. Ultimately, distress will ripple across our lives in profound ways, far beyond the place itself.
Do Good. Be Better.
Now that we have made our Imbolc vows, celebrated the new beginning of the Year of the Dog, and experienced the deep revelations of the eclipses, it’s time to settle down and get to work.
This week, let us do what is necessary to manifest and embody our vision.
The Eight of Pentacles invites us to seek mastery in the physical world, to cultivate and hone our skills, and enjoy the confidence and pleasure that come from labors well-done.
Are you considering a lateral move at your job, or a promotion to a new, more challenging level? Perhaps you are ready to change your career completely.
What new skills might enable you to be more productive and find joy in your tasks?
This is wonderful guidance for creative folks who are talented in craftsmanship or in the arts. I often see this card come up for people who are restless in their successful but conventional careers, and who seek a life-changing shift to more authentic endeavors.
(By the way — shameless plug — if you are considering going into business as a professional reader, esoteric practitioner, or alternative healer, or you want to improve your current practice, I have a workshop tailored just for you!)
We are invited this week to consider – how shall we make our work meaningful? How does our labor offer opportunities for opening wider to our spirituality and embodying loving kindness in the world?
Rewards come from the skillful blending of our talent, and the world’s needs. All the good intentions in the world come to nothing unless we show up, roll up our sleeves, and get on with it. This is where we walk the talk, and honor our values with hands-on commitment.
This card does not insist that our job be our identity, or that we do our work solely for love of the occupation. Instead, we bring our full presence to whatever we are doing.
Whatever your goals may be, and the intentions you may have set for this coming year, trust that the very urge to do so comes from Wisdom.
Your labor is sacred, not particularly because of what it is, but because of the holiness of the soul who is engaged in it.