Lots Of Irons

Juggling many responsibilities seems to be the norm for many of us. After all, we’re supposed to be fulfilling lots of roles — professional, familial, etc. The Tarot has a card for that. The 10 of Wands. The picture shows a guy carrying a bunch of wands (10, to be exact) down the road, away from the viewer. Take a look at the picture.10w

The usual meaning given this card is generosity, if well positioned, versus burdened, if not. How many times have we shown what looked like generosity when it actually seemed a burden? You know, gracious on the outside; resentful on the inside. Happens often enough, I’d guess, when we have a split between our inner and outer manifestations in response to a situation. For instance, “Sure I’d be happy to help you carry your sofabed down the stairs,” versus “Oh, man, what have I gotten myself into?”

When it is looked at carefully, this dichotomy seems a natural interpretation for the card. In the Tarot, tens are related to the sphere of manifestation (Malkuth) on the Tree of Life. This sphere is the material world, plain and simple. However, Wands are associated with the most abstract of the elements, Fire. Combine the two and it’s small wonder that there is this split in the meanings of the card. It’s like the universe is coming at this situation from two directions at once.

I think that one lesson to be drawn from this card is to be in integrity. When being generous, be generous. If burdened, see what has been done to bring this about. Misplaced or insincere generosity, perhaps? Is there a way to feel generous for one’s ability to accept the burdens that come along? Maybe this card even helps us learn when to say “No.”

Persistence vs. Arrogance

Let’s take a brief look at the 3 of Wands from the Tarot deck. This card, when well placed, indicates persistence and a position of established strength. When ill placed, it shows conceit or arrogance. At least these are the usual interpretations.

Now, take a look at the card3W itself. The man stands looking out at the land and sea from high ground as if he’s master of all he surveys. He has one wand to each side of him and the third protecting his back. It gives the sense of an unassailable position. In Tarot, the suit of Wands is associated with the Qabalistic world of Atziluth, the world of paradigms and archetypes – the loftiest of ideas. The number three is associated with the sphere of Binah on the Tree of Life. This sphere is linked with manifestation energy, and is creative in the most practical sense. So, the card speaks of making the highest ideals manifest or actualized.

Take government as an example. Governments have no greater responsibility than the care of the people governed, especially in the case of representative governments like ours (at least that’s the theory). The government’s established strength is given to it by those who elected their representatives.

Given that, look at the card again. The person has a grip on one of the wands. Now, think about our system of government. It has three (how convenient!) branches which we should all remember from civics class: executive, legislative, and judicial. Which one of these do we have the best hold on? I think it’s the legislative, the one most answerable directly to the people on a day-to-day basis. That’s right, it’s us, the electorate, that has the established strength if we decide to exercise it.

Takeaway point: Only through our persistence can we overcome the arrogance of those in power. Make a bit of noise; let your voice be heard.

[Sorry I got preachy today, but I weary of watching those on Capitol Hill engage in “wand measuring” contests, if you catch my drift.]