Today’s Accomplishment

TaoCraft Short Sip is Tarot for your day in the time it takes to sip from your coffee. Today is a day. Having one is an accomplishment!

Welcome to TaoCraft Tarot blog and podcast. I’m glad you are here.

Today’s card is the four of swords.

There are reasons for all of the lore around Tarot decks.

Bottom line, they are bits of heavy paper with pictures on them. Full stop.

It’s not the cards, it’s the person using them and how they are used. They are the big theater screen where we can project our intuition and make it easier to see. They are a giant mirror that reflects ourselves so we can see that better too.

The genius in Pamela Smiths treatment of the minor arcana number cards is that she hits on very archetypal, foundational, core ideas. It’s hard to improve them. So, so many decks are rightfully derived from that body of work. Before Smith’s work, as I understand it, most decks had pips…a grouping of the suit’s symbols…instead of fully fledged images like the ones she created.

Some of the cards are fairly consistent across all of he derived decks. The three of swords is a good example. Almost every three of swords that I’ve seen has some iteration of heart and swords and something getting stabbed. The four of swords has much more variation. In the RWS deck, you see a knight in repose, taking a lil’ nap with all of his favorite pointy objects, no stabbing in sight. Mark Evans, artist for the Witches Tarot, depicts a grumpy looking lady with one sword in hand, dress swirling to denote movement and activity, with the other three swords close by. It’s not a particularly restful image. Here Lenny Magner give us four disembodied heads stabbed with swords for the Alleyman’s Tarot. The faces look sleepy, possibly dead, and winds up being more disconcerting than restful. Seven Dane Asmund’s interpretation of the card resonates with this image. The Alleyman’s Notebook interprets it as having to do with self-doubt, where he writes “nothing sticks like the daggers we put in ourselves.”

As disparate as it all seems, all of these different images fit together like pieces of a bigger picture.

Think of the ubiquitous and sometime slightly annoying email courtesy of telling people to “have a great day.”

Not every day is great. Some days are a hot mess. Other times you need to turn down the wattage and have just a day. Any day. A no big deal, kinda routine, go make the donuts day. Those days are as great as any other. When we expect perfection from ourselves, it is all too easy to slip into stabbing ourselves in the head with self-doubt. A little rest and repose from self-imposed expectations can be a wonderful thing. Even the Witches Tarot sword swinging grumpy girl has a part to play. External activity, working and adulting still has to happen which covers the action aspect of the swords cards in general. Sometimes you have to, as the shoe commercials used to say, just do it. Swords are also associated with intellect and the mind. That is the kind of rest and repose the four of swords talks about today.

Give being your own worst critic a rest.

Nevermind great. Sometimes just having a day is an accomplishment.

Thanks so much for reading and listening! I’ll see you at the next sip!

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The deck pictured is the Alleyman’s Tarot by Seven Dane Asmund, used with permission.

A Sip of Tarot: One More Time

Today’s card is the traditional first of the Tarot deck, usually given the number zero.

The zero is interesting. You could get all philosophical about it. Zero, as in “you’re a big zero” was an insult, but I don’t know that anybody has cared about it since the 70s. I think of it more in terms of the Zen enso, the circle. It is a symbol of infinity from which all springs, including the newborn journey of the Fool. From there you can veer into the oroborus, the snake biting its own tail which in turn points to alchemy, manifestation and sorts of other things. It’s interesting as heck, but not the path where the energy is flowing today.

The word fool didn’t originally have the connotations that it does today. The king’s fool was more of a court jester who, through their antics and seeming insanity could tell greater and blunter truth than any other advisor. Think of comedians like George Carlin and Eddie Izzard and many others. They can make incisive social commentary, and nobody seems to mind because it comes wrapped in humor. Laughter really is good medicine. Stand up comics still remind us of the legitimate value of laughter, fun and play. Call it stress reduction if it makes you feel better, but it works, and it is imprtant.

That aspect of the Fool card is where the energy is flowing right now.

My intuition has a clairaudent (clear-hearing) aspect to go along with the clairvoyant (clear-seeing) part. Sometimes that means intuition comes as mental words instead of mental images. Sometimes sounds or music will come to mind. That’s not paranormal. It’s not the slightest bit unusual to have a song brought to mind by some circumstance or another. But if you are in a situation of wanting a message or are actively working with intuition and that happens, it is worth paying attention to the song that comes to mind.

In today’s case, the song that popped to mind was “One More Time” from Daft Punk on their Discovery album.

I know that seems wildly random but creativity and intuition are all about connecting widely separated and wildly random dots like this.

The phrase “one more time” means repetition of course, but it can also hint at frustration if the repetition is from something unwanted or out of our control. The mental image here is building a house of cards that falls down and having to start from the beginning one more time. And one more time again.

This combination is akin to the the Ten of Swords and the famous proverb that the ten so often calls to mind “fall down seven times but get up eight.” All that getting up can get exhausting and frustrating after a while. Humor and play can make frustration and repetition and having to start all over again one more time less infuriating. The Fool reminds us that humor and lightheartedness can help make that metaphoric eighth time up a little easier.