Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.
As we head into the final “New Year” at Spring Equinox, which is the beginning of the astrological year, as well as bask in the wonders of the simultaneous final Full Supermoon of this year, what message does the Tarot have for us? Let us welcome back this week the pragmatic Eight of Pentacles.
Having only just visited us in late January, its encore timing is very interesting.
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 focused on 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 it is a thief of our precious time. And 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 it enables us to find satisfaction in giving the best of ourselves. It matters that we not hate where we spend most of our waking hours, and not 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.
Ritual and Practice
This week, the Sun’s direct rays will momentarily rest on the Earth’s equator, bringing equal hours of daylight and night to the world. This moment is the Equinox — ushering in Autumn for the Southern Hemisphere, and welcoming Springtime in the lands of the North.
Only a few hours later (Eastern time), the final Full Supermoon of the year occurs, bringing a double-whammy of energy to this threshold period. According to astrologer Dana Gerhardt, Full Moons and Equinoxes occur together every 19 years or so.
“The last time this happened was on March 20, 2000,” she explains. “The next time is March 19, 2030.”
She continues, “The really old ones—back in Mesopotamia four thousand years ago when astrology was born—would look at us on Equinox today and shake their heads. ‘Where are your great festivals?’ they would wonder.
“’How do you keep your people safe, in harmony with the Gods?'”
She offers a sacred ceremony to remedy this oversight, and help us attune to this pivotal gift of time through the wisdom of ancient understanding:
March 20, 2019 is a meaningful day on which to offer your attention to the sacred running of our world.
Take a moment, wherever you are, to step back into the sacred calendar. This is a potent portal through which to visualize our fractured world made whole again.
In your mind’s eye, gently see it and sense it. See us all gathered. Sense our full willingness–around the globe–to write the great new story of our rebirthing. For ours and our children’s future, for the futures of strangers and their children, for the futures of the rivers, plants and animals in our care, raise hands and heart to the invisible powers.
Ask the Gods to help us cleanse, calm, and re-order the Earth into a more loving, harmonious whole.
If we all do this on Full Moon Equinox night, even for just thirty seconds each, this mini sacred rite will ripple out, into the Great Fabric of Things. And change our fates. As the Gods are still interested and listening.
What does this have to do with the Eight of Pentacles? For those of us who are in consistent communion with our Divine One(s), I think the Tarot is reminding us that even though this occasion is very special, our rituals need not be ornate or complicated.
There is a reason that we are called practitioners — what we do to meet with Mystery is borne of long practice.
This perspective is reinforced by the fact that there are eight sabbats on the sacred Wheel of the Year. Whether as solitaries, or in our groves, covens, circles, or other groups, we plan, construct, and then celebrate each one, year after year. We offer all our skills and experience as a part of our devotion and dedication.
Perhaps, then, that is just what this young man is doing — hammering out the design for the coming magical holiday.
What To Do During the Void
And yet, this week also features three very long Void of Course periods — times when the Moon is between signs. In an essay written some years ago, Elisabeth Grace explains:
Think of what happens to the pinball after it makes contact w/the last bumper before falling back down the board to be re-launched — it kinda loses steam, right? This is the kind of energy we have during the void, especially long ones (several hours or more).
Sensitive types will notice a “floaty” feeling; it can be challenging to travel in a straight line during a void, and we are more likely to encounter curve balls and other twists. Clients call with crises that later turn out to be nothing. Lines of communication get crossed.
Your waiter says “Good Morning!” and it’s four in the afternoon. You pour water over whole bean coffee — oops! You pick up the phone and it’s someone you’ve been trying to avoid. Details fall through the cracks; it’s important to double check everything — you get the idea.
Moon voids are good for a nap, sleeping in late, leaving work early, a creative brainstorm, writing music, meditating, doing yoga or doing things that are considered routine. I’ve tested this rule many times by breaking it, so now I avoid buying things (even on sale, because I find I just don’t use them), and I try to schedule important meetings and calls when the moon is NOT void.
There’s a higher “flake factor” during voids, too – people don’t show up for planned events. Other “twists” include upsets in sports matches (it’s a good time to bet on the underdog) and elections (the classic example is the presidential election on Nov 7, 2000 — Bush v. Gore — which happened during a Moon void AND when Mercury was stationary direct — talk about a set-up for errors and confusion).
So during a void, sleep in…rest…try to take it easy until the Moon moves into the next sign. Of course there will be times when you’ve got some big thing scheduled during a Moon void — that’s just life. The key then is to be AWARE and flexible about whatever might come up that’s not what you’re trying to achieve; sometimes the twists can actually be beneficial (such as ones that come about during brainstorms).
Most of the day on Monday (11:19am to 9:41pm) and Wednesday (11:22am to 9:28pm) the Moon will be Void of Course. Friday also features a long Void of Course during the workday (from 2:10pm to 10:16pm). While last week’s Page might urge that we all play hooky during this time, I think Elisabeth’s advice (and our better angels) would direct us to stay put, and stick to routine tasks. Just like our Eight card is showing us.
Get Down to Business
This week, let us do what is necessary to manifest and embody our vision.
It’s time to get to work.
The Eight of Pentacles invites us to seek mastery in the physical world, to cultivate and hone our skills, and offer our best efforts to a world that needs the gifts that only we can share.
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.
We are called 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 with 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.
Anything less contributes to the ongoing suffering of our species.
Yet this card does not insist that our job be a total expression of your innermost self, a constant romp of bliss, or that we do our work solely for love of the occupation. Instead, it asks us to bring our best and full presence to whatever we are doing.
Whatever 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.