A Helping Hand

December 1, 2008 § 5 Comments

Something else I got for my birthday last week was Rachel Pollack’s Tarot of Perfection – a collection of tarot-inspired short stories. I’ve only read the first two so far but, oh my, I thoroughly recommend it. They are just wonderful – magical, exotic, wise. A real pleasure to read. Plus the book has a lovely cover!

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This post was inspired by the second story in the book, “The Pickpocket’s Destiny”. I don’t want to give too much away, but the story is about a pickpocket who consults an oracle to discover his true purpose in life. On each occasion, the answers he gets are – to him – disappointingly uninspiring, yet he follows the oracle’s advice anyway and eventually, over time, his small blind steps lead him to his great destiny.

The story is a beautiful, subtle illustration of the nature of destiny and what happens when we consult oracles such as the tarot. Those who consider tarot reading and fortune-telling to be a form of cheating would do well to read it, for it demonstrates both the possibilities and limitations of divination.

When we consult the cards, we are often given insight not only into our present circumstances but also into the possibilities that await us in the future. It is, of course, up to us to mine those possibilities in order to create our destiny. At any given time, however, we are only shown a small piece of the puzzle. It is as if we walk a dark path, unable to see our own hands in front of our faces, and tarot is a torch that we carry with us – bright enough to illuminate the next few steps perhaps but no more.

Eventually, as more and more steps are illuminated, we may eventually start to see the bigger picture – a sense of the path we’re on and where it leads. But on the whole, all tarot does is encourage us to keep moving forward, steer us in the right direction, and hold our hand as we tentatively place one foot in front of the other in the dark.

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§ 5 Responses to A Helping Hand

  • Helen says:

    I’m glad you wrote about this book Archer, I was wondering about it and now you have inspired me to purchase it!

    I think very often when we read tarot, particularly for ourselves, we cannot see the relevance in what the cards are showing us right at that moment, but find that it can be a few days, weeks or even months down the track when what was revealed actually comes to light!

    Thanks for sharing this article. 🙂

    Helen

  • Helen says:

    It’s on its way to me! 😀

  • archertarot says:

    In reply to your first comment – I agree completely. A lot of people seem to think that if you can’t understand what the cards are showing you in advance then you’ve somehow failed – or tarot doesn’t work. But, in fact, many of my readings reveal their true value with hindsight – showing me what was really going on and allowing me to learn from my experiences.

    Hope you enjoy the book!

  • Rachel says:

    Hey, there. A friend showed me this blog. thank you very much for your great comments about my story, I’m really delighted. In the story the mysterious old woman who speaks as the oracle actually does know the greater destiny, but the pickpocket can only fulfill it because she leads him one step at a time. With most Tarot readings, the reader doesn’t know the ultimate truth any more than the seeker, the reader just is more experienced at seeing the small bit of illumination shown in the cards, that next step. but it’s a lovely analogy you make, and I think it will inspire me to go do a reading.
    Thanks again!

  • archertarot says:

    Rachel, thank you for commenting – you’ve made my day. 🙂

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