Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Two of Pentacles

I step into the frame of the card and suddenly I am in a port town. I can smell the sea and hear the waves lapping. There's the oceany smell of fish and salt, the call of gulls, and the sound men working on their boats and on the docks. Hammering and bells. Waves are crashing heavily against the beach somewhere in the distance.

The juggler is on a boardwalk, and there are lots of people around. This is a crowded, busy place. The people are dressed in clothing of a bygone age. Mixed eras. Aran sweaters. Ladies in long skirts with kerchiefs on their heads. No one is paying any attention to the juggler, though he by far is the most colorful and outlandishly dressed. He is switching two disks from hand to hand while stepping from one foot to the other. It seems an odd thing to do, but he makes it look natural. He keeps the disks moving in a figure 8 motion, but there is no band of infinity visible around them. His expression is neither happy nor unhappy; he watches the disks closely as he passes them from hand to hand. People keep brushing past us and some of them bump into him, but he keeps juggling.

'How long have you been doing this?' I ask.

'Long time,' he answers, still looking at the disks.

'Is it work?' I ask.

'More like a calling,' he says.

I frown and look around. Everyone is so busy, going about their seaside tasks. Men in boats, women with baskets of fish, laundry, towing at little children. There's a bustle, but it is a quiet bustle, steady. It fits in with the setting. Everything is muted in tone, lots of misty grey. The sky seems so big. The sea is the colour of slate. There's a cold, brisk wind. And the smell of hot grease--a chip shop.

'All of these people are juggling, you know,' says the juggler.

I turn back to him. 'Can't you ever stop?' I ask.

'Not really,' he says. 'I can break up the pattern, pause a bit maybe. But you just have to keep going.' He shifts the disk in silence a few times. 'I don't mind it actually. It's just what you do. Gotta keep going.'

I look at the people. They're all going about the business of life. They don't notice the steady, rhythmic pace of it. They're all just living. That's not something you just stop.

'Even if you get dizzy, get jostled, even if you drop one of the darn things, you just pick it up and keep going,' the juggler is saying.

My eye is drawn to a woman in a gray headscarf who has a basket of fish. I suddenly am standing in front of her. She looks up and hands me an empty basket. It is just like the basket I have decided to keep my tarot cards in.

'Thank you,' I say. 'What do I do with it?'

'Put stuff in it,' she answers.

I am puzzled. 'How do I carry this if I'm supposed to be juggling?' I ask.

'Juggle in your head, carry in your heart,' she says.

'Oh,' I say.

'Trust me,' she says.

I am back in front of the juggler. He's a handsome lad. His hair is damp from the sea air. I tell him good-bye and step out of the card.


This is an exercise called 'Entering the Card', where you meditate on stepping into the world of the card and report what happens. You are meant to approach a character you see in the card and ask for a gift.

I found this exercise very useful. Some interpretations of this card suggest it is about continual change, like a mini Wheel of Fortune. In some instances that might be the case, but to me it indicates persevering in the basic duties and tasks of life; in the midst of many ordinary distractions and the general bustle. Concentrating on the task at hand, not allowing one's perspective to be skewed--mindfulness.

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