It’s Evolution, Baby

September 20, 2008 § 3 Comments

As I was lightly pondering the tarot eights this morning, the word ‘evolution’ popped into my head. And I realised that – if one was the kind of tarotist to use keywords – evolution would be a very good keyword to use for the eights.

The figure eight just keeps going round and round, so I guess it could seem repetitive. But in life, when patterns repeat, they evolve. We may seem to do the same things everyday – wake up, brush our teeth, go to work, etc. etc. – but we are not mindless drones performing the same actions ad nauseum. Every day, despite the repetitive nature of our daily lives, we slowly progress towards some conscious or unconscious goal. And every day, the different experiences we have and the ways in which we react to those experiences, cause us to evolve.

Looking at the familiar RWS eights, it’s easy to see how each one shows the theme of evolution. Wands are fast, so the evolution shown in the 8 of Wands moves very quickly (in the Haindl, this card is named Swiftness). Change is happening and it’s happening now, things are in motion and when the Wands land, things will be different to how they were before. But evolution isn’t just change for change’s sake. It’s improvement, refinement, development. It’s change for the better. The 8 of Wands falls between the 7 – which shows the querent is a defensive position, on the back foot – and the 9 – which shows the querent steadier, stronger and more sure of where he stands.

In Pentacles, the evolution is a lot slower (because earth is a lot slower than fire). This is the slow grinding evolution perfected over a long, long period of time. This is the kind of evolution that gave fish legs or whatever it was they got (natural history is not my strong suit). The worker hunched over his pentacles is perfecting his craft and it may take him days, weeks, months or even years to improve. But with this slow, steady evolution comes a certainty that once improvement happens, there will be no going back. The apprentice moves up the ranks to become the master and – provided he keeps his focus – is in no danger of slipping back to being the apprentice again.

Cups work a little differently. Water flows, so the evolution shown in the 8 of Cups is more of a gentle, flowing change. We see a figure leaving the cups behind in search of something new. The evolution happens gradually – usually it starts with the feeling that something needs to change, that something more is needed, and it can take a while for us to identify what that something is. The 8 of Cups shows the person moving on in search of something new even though they haven’t fully finished letting go of what they had. There may be some back and forth, some working against the current, before they get to where they need to be.

Finally, in the 8 of Swords, evolution is hinted at rather than shown. The old way of thinking is creating more problems than solutions and a new way has to be found. What’s that saying about only a fool does the same things and expects different results? That’s what the 8 of Swords is showing. It’s time to think outside the box, to look for creative solutions, form new neural pathways, adapt and thrive. Your tried and tested tactics are no use here.

Well, I don’t know. These are just some random musings and they’re fairly superficial at best. Nothing mind-blowing but then who needs mind-blowing on a Saturday afternoon?

§ 3 Responses to It’s Evolution, Baby

  • I always enjoy comparisons when I see cards like this. You may see it as mundane, everyone should recognize these truths, but a lot of readers have never done an exercise like this. Great job, thanks, Quirk/AJ

  • Helen says:

    Nice comparisons Archer, I like the theme of evolving and changing, eights are always a mixed bunch and seem to me to suggest a new start to what might not have been working before – evolving into something better – great job, enjoyed reading it!

  • archertarot says:

    Thanks AJ and Helen – it’s very sweet of you to say so 🙂 (And thanks for dropping by!)

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