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Monday, 4 August 2014

What is success? A Wisdom Reading

Sometimes it's good to do a reading on something really big-- to ask the tarot huge, audacious questions. Why shouldn't we? Why not ask the tarot questions that are huge to the point of impertinence? Rachel Pollack calls these 'wisdom readings', and they can be an illuminating tool for self-development and growth.

I've decided today to do a simple wisdom reading about success

We all have times when we feel like there's a bit of a cloud hanging over our heads. We feel like we haven't quite got things right.  A bit like we're a let down. Like we just aren't quite up to scratch. Like we are not 'successful'. Why? And what is success, anyway?

Success is defined as the achievement of something desired, planned or attempted, favourable outcome, financial gain associated with such outcome, the gaining of fame or prosperity. 

Sometimes we can get so caught up in these dictionary definitions of success that we lose all perspective. We start scrabbling and grasping for a measure of ourselves, trying to figure out if we're good enough. This can be very unsettling!

I decided to ask three simple but profound questions:

What is success?
What is the key to success?
What will success feel like, to me?

Success is not an outcome or an end result, regardless of dictionary definitions, this draw tells me. Success is a process and a feeling. It's actually more of a fundamental drive.

Success itself is represented by the Ace of Wands. It is in the inception of action -- the untapped and limitless potential of it. Success is knowing you have that potential within you, success is acknowledging it and feeling it and accessing it. The card shows a wand with angel wings, floating over a green expanse. In the background is a mass that wavers, to my eyes, as a circle of standing stones one minute, a castle-fortress the next. Both are monuments to vision and fire and drive -- the human drive to do, to move, to create. It is this primitive fire that is success itself. The mass on the right side of the card is a wood, a small forest, a stand of tress. This always represent mystery to me -- who knows what lies at the heart of the forest, in the darkness of the forest floor. And who knows where this divine spark comes from, why we have it, why we, amongst all creatures, seem to have this deep need to make our marks on life. The question is, what is the mark  that will satisfy this primitive drive in you? Because it is different for all of us. Some of us need to have a powerful job. Some of us need to write a book. Some of us need to cook dinner for our family every night and get the kids off to school every morning. All of these are ways to make a mark on the world. All of these are manifestations of success.

The key to success is the Two of Swords. This really is key! The sky and the water merge; only a few bits of land jut above the surface. This is the fathomless depths of the psyche. The figure is blindfolded, swords crossed before her. She has her face turned slightly, in that way we do when we are tuning inward to something. What is she tuning in to? What is she shielding herself from with that blindfold and those swords? She is tuning in to her depths -- something deep inside her that knows what her success is. Is it power? Is it fame? Is it attention? Is it a family? Is it art? Is it dance? Is it the rustling leaves on the trees in the wind and birdsong? She can never find the key to her success if she is always looking out at others, always allowing the thoughts and opinions of the world invade her heart and mind. The key to success is to go deep within, very deep. Deeper than maybe you've ever been, because you've been too busy throwing your efforts into going for what is sparkly, what is perhaps satisfying to some, but possibly not to you.

To me, success will feel like the 10 of Pentacles. The card is lovely, a rose window -- literally. It's pink, a colour that always makes me think of happiness. Everything in this card points to feeling secure, provided for, and stable. The card is very symmetrical, perfectly balanced. There are fruits, roses in red and white, speaking of purity and passion, there are banners and a shield and the ten pentacles overarching all. The 10 of Pentacles is about legacy. And so we return to the first card -- the driving need to make our mark, a mark that will last. My mark, according to this card, is not power, or artistic expression, or even deep Hermit-like insight. It's a legacy of feeling that 'This is enough. This is plenty. The world is beautiful and safe and there is enough to go around -- enough love, enough joy, enough life. We don't have to fight for our piece of it or worry that others have more than their share, leaving no chance for ourselves. This is wholeness.' Success for me is not only nurturing this 10 of Pentacles feeling in myself -- it is helping others to find it as well. It is giving it to them through my thoughts and words and actions, and through my readings. This is why I read tarot -- that is my tool for achieving  'All is well, and all shall be well,and all manner of things shall be well.'  It helps bring me back to this over and over; tarot is the gift and the tool that allows me to help others find theirs, too.

The wisdom reading is a beautiful thing. I believe it taps into the true power of the tarot -- the power to plumb the depths of the insight dwelling within each of us.

True understanding of success, itself a mysterious fire, flows deep. Feel like diving in today? Why not try your own wisdom reading, on success or the topic of your choice.

I would love to hear about your wisdom readings!

1 comment:

  1. This was a beautiful reading l Iove to use tarot for these kind of questions too. It gives you so many new perspectives on yourself and life in general