I found out today that an acquaintance from high school is very ill, possibly dying. It's actually the second time I've suddenly lost a friend from that time; the first was about three years ago. What surprises and amazes me is that while my relationships with the two people were incredibly different, all the same things came flooding back. The memories of who I was then, the comparison of who I am now, became a steady stream as if someone had just unplugged a pipe. And oddly, a lot of my thoughts weren't so much about my friend or my acquaintance as the other people who knew them, and who they might have grown up to be.
The Druidcraft Tarot version of the Six of Cups illustrates it here: there's a part of old identities that do stay with us no matter where we go. The rough, awkward times especially, the times when we were first sorting through all the unpolished knobby bits towards figuring out who we really are. You see it in sitcoms, the joke about how the polished, accomplished person used to be "really awkward" as a kid. A little part of us may always worry that we are who we were, not who we become. If things were especially awkward and painful - as a lot of childhood often is - then we might worry our accomplishments are even a sort of mask under the "real thing".
I was told once that everyone has a story, something about their experience, their own unique world, that transforms them and leads them towards their purpose. I'm inclined to agree. We aren't just our present. We're our past, slowly taking the first steps into the light, forming the imperfectly perfect foundation of what we're going to be. We're our future, looking back from a lifetime of experience, able to see our moments of fear as blips on a radar of evolution. We're alternate roads, things we might have done - or not done, or feared to do - that turned us into different people. Our life is a constant road of evolving, changing, becoming, regressing, and becoming again. We are such brilliant beings. And we contain multitudes.
Everything we are now is a little bit of who we were. Everything we were is a bit of what we're going to be. And it is all important. Every single sad, awkward bit. Every bright, triumphant moment. The roads we've traveled are a part of us, even when we think we've left them behind. But that's all right. In fact, often, that's the only way it should be.
Welcome to the second incarnation of Lunar Looking-Glass, my spot for Tarot, spirituality, and whatever else catches my fancy. I'm a big fan of comparing Tarot decks; I have quite a few scanned ones, and even more that I like to scout out on the web (which I will always credit properly, and remove if anyone takes issue with me showing off their work). So be prepared for a few pretty pictures along with my musings! Today's is from the Era of Aquarius Tarot, by Marina Bolgarchuk, a Russian deck that's apparently a bit of a tough find.
I can't think of a better way to start things off than The Fool. The Major Arcana are said to be the Fool's Journey, after all, a young man or woman (or neither, or both, or whatever your gender identity) setting out and encountering the different characters and ideas of the Tarot as he-or-she evolves and grows. We're the Fool, the idea goes. We enter our journey with the cards looking to improve ourselves, whether that's communion with God/dess or enlightenment or just becoming the best human beings we can possibly be.
And if you want to get into more esoteric thought (which I'm just now scratching the surface of!), the Fool is numbered '0' because s/he's everything and nothing. S/he can be anywhere on the journey of the Major Arcana, taking in anything, becoming anything, learning any lesson. S/he's pure, untapped potential. S/he's the "pattern" in Richard Bach's One, a massive field of choices where you can land anywhere.
The thing is? It isn't until you get there that you realize how that's freaking scary.
It's so easy to have a plan. We're given one from the beginning, aren't we? At least in the First World nations, you're a kid, you go to school, you grow up. You graduate high school, quite possibly go to college, you choose "what you want to be when you grow up." No one tells you that you'll change your major a few times, or your career at least once as you grow up. No one tells you that your relationships will shift, your interests will get more diverse, your worldview is going to grow and change. One of my favorite musicals is Avenue Q, a foul-mouthed adult take on Sesame Street for twenty-somethings. And the biggest life lesson they close with, after the true nature of the Internet and how charity is a great cure for the blues, is that "everything in life is only for now." The good, the bad, the ugly - it's all changing, forever. No wonder the Fool's optimism and penchant for taking chances is sometimes called, well, "foolhardy." How can anyone feel ready to face the world when it can always shift into something you never planned for?
Well, I was once told something during a rough patch that I think sums it up perfectly. "You're scared right now because you're in the middle of it. But if you imagine hovering above it for a minute, and looking ten years into the future, you'll see how this point in life led you to then. You'll see the bigger picture of it, and it'll look so much smaller then."
If the Fool is everything and nothing, that means s/he's the mastery of the Magician and the self-bondage of the Devil. S/he's the consequences of Justice and the hope of the Star. S/he's everything in the World, and s/he's herself right back at the beginning again. The journey is the destination. Every moment of our lives, we're learning more about everything, and that makes us more us.
And that's still freaking scary. But it's scary awesome.