Hello and welcome to TaoCraft Short Sip: a Tarot contemplation for your day in the time it takes to sip from your coffee.
Today’s card is Lightning in a Bottle, one of the expansion pack cards created for the Alleyman’s Tarot deck by Seven Dane Asmund. It’s one of two lightning in a bottle cards. It is interesting to compare the two. You can see the other in the April 2022 blog post “The Makings of Magic” The other card is more ethereal while this one has almost a steampunk, industrial feel. The other card emphasizes the luck aspect of success, this one emphasizes the action part of it.
This card is akin to the famous Thomas Edison quote that “Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” Anything is possible but not everything is remotely probable. Tarot is a little like that. It doesn’t predict – it inspires us with the possibility and guides us with practical probabilities, but never exact certainties. You can’t predict exactly where lightning will strike. But you can read the weather report to see where the rain will be.
According to the national weather service, lightning can strike 10 miles or a little more away from a storm. So sure, it’s theoretically possible to be hit by a bolt of lightning while you are sitting in your back yard on a sunny afternoon, but it is far more likely to happen if you climb a tall tree in the middle of a thunderstorm.
If we think of this metaphoric lightning as creative inspiration, you can just sit around waiting for an idea to hit. Especially if just sitting around is part of your personal creative process. But that’s the trick isn’t it? That’s the climbing a tree in the rain part. That’s the perspiration part. It isn’t the sitting around in and of itself that sparks the genius. It comes from knowing what inspires you. It comes from thinking about and understanding your creative process, whatever your creative process might be. When you know yourself and know your process then you can put yourself in circumstances where the lighting will find you instead of you constantly chasing it.
So now you have your spark in a jug. What are you going to do about it? Anything? Or is just knowing you captured it enough?
It might be. Happy is the person who defines success in their own terms and achieves that instead of striving for other people’s expectations.
But let’s suppose that your success includes other people. What if you want to show or share the lightning? That’s when the work starts. That’s when climbing out of our imaginary tree and doing something with the bottle comes into play. This is the part of the process where the makers are going to make and Thomas Edison starts to sweat.
It takes work to do anything else but sit in a tree with your lighting bottle. If abiding with your lighting bottle what you want and need, by all means do that. There is a great deal of light and satisfaction in doing that and it is 1,000 percent enough. In this scenario, I think of the lightning bolt as being a metaphor for Zen style enlightenment. It is for you alone. It is for you to take home, make a part of your life, and let it light your way from now on.
If the lightning represents creative inspiration, then there might be more that needs done, a different tree to climb so to speak. Catching the idea is the first stroke of luck, making it exist in physical reality is another tree climb. If the thing you create is popular with other people, then that becomes another lucky lightning strike altogether.
Both bolts require us to spend time out in the rain.
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