Sunday, September 18, 2016

This Week's Writerly Tarot: The Four of Cups

It happens to the best of us. That sense of...not exactly boredom. Ennui perhaps. A jittery anxious nothing of an emotion that manages to feel both heavy and ungrounded at the same time. Quite the trick, that.

But such paradoxes are the heart of the Four of Cups (which visited us before here, almost exactly a year ago). To understand it, you need to develop what Keats called the negative capabilitythe ability to be in uncertainty, mystery, and doubt without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.

The tension comes from the pairing of a Four, a number associated with stability, with the suit of Cups, the suit of flux and emotion. So yes. Tension. Writers and other creative folk are familiar with this feeling, which strangely enough comes most often after some kind of success, especially a long-running one.

The key to resolving that tension is to first of all acknowledge it. That can be harder that you think, as our gentleman on the card illustrates. He knows something is off. He's puzzled why he's feeling so disenchanted—he's got three shiny golden chalices, after all. He's so consumed in his confusion that he can't even acknowledge the cup coming straight from the freaking Hand of the Universe. That is a Cup of Destiny, right there. And he can't see it.

This week, you may be feeling a touch of divine discontent, which is like regular discontent, except deeper and more tied to destiny and existential purpose and a whole lot of other Big Things. Fortunately, divine discontent comes with its own solution.

First, sit with the discomfort. Be itchy and restless. Fold your arms and whine if you need to. Second, look hard for the glimmer of gold. It will be close to you, perhaps as the memory of an achievement or a literal reward of some kind. Be grateful for that glimmer. It is a real accomplishment. Give thanks for it...and then look away.

Because the third step is the hardest. Unfold your arms. Let go of plans and worries and efforts. Sit for a moment exactly as you are, in present time and space. Let your mind wander. Ponder. Dream. Make way for the potential to come.

You'll feel the spark when it does. You'll know. And all you have to do at that point is wrap your hand around it.


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