Monday, April 25, 2016

This Week's Writerly Tarot: The Knight of Pentacles

In the Steampunk Tarot, Barbara Moore introduces the Knights by reminding us of their chaotic and unpredictable nature.  "It's not easy to wrangle a knight," she writes. They are quest figures, after all, always on the search for their own particular Holy Grail, always with eyes on the horizon.

At first blush, the Knight of Pentacles seems to defy that description. Unlike the other Knights in the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, his steed has all four feet on the ground. Our gallant hero doesn't brandish his symbol, or wave it about, or hoist it high. He contemplates it. The land around him is neatly tilled, and the sky is the golden-yellow of the sunset. There is a sense of coming home in this card, the journey completed.

But don't let all that steady calmness fool you. This Knight is just as knightly as his companions, just as focused on his quest. And therein lies the message he brings.

Pentacles are the suit of material resources, and as such, they are concerned with home and hearth, vocation and finances. Creative endeavors, especially those that are pursued as careers, can't always be about the ecstasy and the flow. Sometimes we have to get down to earth -- do the taxes, revise the scene, organize the calendar. The un-fun but utterly necessary work part of creative work.

When I see this Knight, I know it's time to buckle down. Some quests are quiet, more tortoise than hare. But when one is flying down the road at the speed of light, one misses the scenery. The softly rolling hill. The breeze scented with pine. The weight of the gold in one's hand, the way it catches the light. The quivering warm muscles of the mount beneath you, this faithful beast who has brought you this far and who will surely bring you home.

This week, find the beauty and pleasure in the progress, the one foot after another of your own creative journey. Word by word, chapter by chapter.  Slow and steady and soul-satisfying. Don't look behind to what you have or have not achieved; don't look ahead to accolades and accomplishments. As Anne Lamott reminds us, "Bird by bird." This is how you finally make it home/find the grail/finish the quest. One step at a time.

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