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!
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.