One way or another, we all have to find what best fosters the flowering of our humanity in this contemporary life, and dedicate ourselves to that.
For this week overflowing with positive and cross-current energies, I was very curious as to what the Tarot wanted to tell us. Something REALLY BIG? At first glance, it might not appear so, but as always, the perfect card in perfect timing seems to be gracing us once again. Welcome to our trusty friend, 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 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 horizontal 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.
Rachel Pollack, renowned and beloved Tarot legend, has a fascinating view of this card. “Work,” she writes, “whether physical, artistic, or spiritual (the Sufi Idries Shah speaks of ‘work’ as the most basic of Sufi doctrines), cannot succeed if the person thinks only of the end result. Many artists and writers have testified to this fact, warning hopefuls that if they just want to become famous or rich, they will never succeed. We have to care about the work itself.”
The Hinge That Opens the Door
Our good friend Lorna Bevan at Hare in the Moon Astrology offers a view of the astrology for this week — a time, truly, unprecedented.
A huge week ahead! We are at the sensitive midpoint of 2 eclipses and already the collective dominoes from the first one on June 5th are tumbling around us – rather like the statues and memorials in our streets. Amping up the energy, the seismic window ahead of the Solstice Solar eclipse activates on Sunday 14th and continues until the 3rd eclipse on July 5th!
In Trickster mode, Mercury turns retrograde on Thursday 18th June until July 12th travelling back between 14-5 Cancer – the fake news machine will be working overtime…
Remember the Great American Eclipse in August 2017? Well that powerful eclipse has nothing on this one. That eclipse noticeably brought natural disasters along with it and put climate change right at the top of the collective agenda. Magnify that moment in time and that is where we are headed.
Every 19 years the eclipses fall on or very near the same degrees and sign placement and the last one at this exact degree was the eclipse that preceded 9/11.
It’s flagging up one of those hinge points in history that in hindsight become Before and After markers in time and given that the US is now starting its first karmic Pluto Return since the Founding Fathers and this eclipse falls on the US Venus, the next 6 months will bring a series of dislocations.
It occurs exactly on the June Solstice and has a powerful geophysical shock window extending from the 14th – 28th June.
Sandwiched into the June 4 – July 22 Mercury Max cycle, this looks like a strong storm and seismic signal. The shadow moves across Africa, Asia and culminates in China.
And in a most fascinating serendipity with our Eight of Pentacles, the upcoming eclipse at 2:41am Eastern time falls almost exactly on the Solstice. Thus, the Chandra Symbol is:
A potter at work.
Carving out a sacred place for what you most care about to flourish. Giving your all to a task or project, a way of life or shared stream. Socio-culturally gifted.
Selecting out what you feel pulled to cultivate and foster, and eliminating all other factors. You feel nurturing, sustaining, giving, but unwilling and unable to recognize and come to terms with shadows and difficulties. So intent upon creating a perfect world or vessel that you miss whatever you do not want to see. And this is a precarious edge to walk.
Ellias Lonsdale, Inside Degrees: Developing Your Soul Biography Using the Chandra Symbols
Could there possibly be a more literal connection with our Card of the Week? Of course, Arthur Waite describes the figure as an “artist in stone,” but it is not too far of a leap to imagine that the craftsman is chiseling the pentagram symbols on clay disks which will be fired.
Furthermore, Jamie Partridge at Astrology King writes:
The major theme of the June 21 solar eclipse is balancing your personal freedom and self-expression, with changing levels of restrictions and responsibilities. To avoid increasing tension, flexibility and adaptability are needed.
The fixed star [Menkalinan] gives enthusiasm and initiative but also a tendency toward pleasure-seeking, impulsiveness, and recklessness. This stresses the need implied by Saturn, for a patient, cautious and responsible approach to new personal freedoms or new restrictions, especially in relation to the coronavirus pandemic.
It’s true that task-master Saturn likes to impose limitations, but the Eight of Pentacles demonstrates how we need not chafe under such boundaries, particularly since they are almost always for our own good.
By blending the requirement for high standards with the exercise of our creativity, we can see very satisfactory results. Practicing your craft, improving your skills, and producing work you can be proud of are all Saturn-pleasing activities that still feed your independent spirit.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
Simplicity and concentration are powerful tools for survival now.
For, despite the ongoing fog of Neptune, the retrograding crosscurrents of six planets by week’s end (Mercury goes retro on Thursday), PLUS — the annual climax of the light in the Northern Hemisphere and of the dark below the equator on Solstice, it is our calm, steady attention to detail that may make all the difference.
While the world roils around us, (and in so many ways, it needs to!), this week’s guidance is to remain deliberate and methodical, focusing on your ultimate goals.
Marching and protesting are powerful statements of conscience and can work as dramatic catalysts for change. But our card reminds us that it is only by our unfailing follow-through that we will see real progress.
Step by step, let us chisel away at the corrupt, cruel systems that make death and poverty the norm for so many of our sisters and brothers. Only through unrelenting pressure and faithful determination will we see our vision for a better, more equitable and abundant future emerge for ALL.
And since Pentacles speak, not only of finances and occupation, but of health as well, this is a reminder that conscientiously following the steps of washing our hands, wearing our masks, keeping safe social distance, and remaining very cautious about time spent in contact with the public may not sound sexy. And, yes, most of us are weary of thinking about it. But their importance has not diminished, and they continue to be life-and-death decisions.
Survive and Thrive
Your well-being is fed by developing and honing your abilities. Enjoy the confidence and pleasure that come from labors well-done.
Might you feel ready for a lateral move or seek promotion to a new, more challenging level? You might even wish to change your career completely. This card often appears for those who are talented in craftsmanship or in the arts, and it frequently comes up for people who are restless in their successful but conventional careers.
In this lock-down, we are being forced to face our mortality, day in and day out. Perhaps we realize it’s time to seek a life-changing shift to endeavors that are more authentic to who we really are and what we honestly care about.
After all, this is not a dress rehearsal.
As Joseph Campbell notes in the quote above, when we are happily engaged in what “fosters the flowering of our humanity,” we make the world better for all. Let us therefore dedicate ourselves, not only to do so for ourselves, but so that everyone may work at their highest, happiest capacity.
And in so doing, may all thrive and be blessed.