Friday, June 15, 2012

Line 8

Well, after a brief hiatus, we're back, so let's continue plowing through the pip cards! The Eights are cards of balance- again, we see the conflict-resolution-rebalancing pattern at work here. The Eights are unique in that they represent movement towards a conclusion- an end is in sight. Essentially, the number cards move from Ace to Ten, with the Ten forming the next Ace- that is, things move in an upward spiral- development and evolution, in other words. Reviewing each Eight in turn, this will become clearer.
First, we have the 8 of Wands-
Here the message is a unity of purpose and design, as well as unity of will and intent. There are eight wands, apparently flying through the air. But they all are flying in the same direction, almost like a formation. This is an indication of not so much everything being the same across a group or organization, but rather cooperation. There are different aspects, perhaps even different people involved, yet each one works towards a common purpose in its own way, much like cogs in a machine. The more negative aspects of this are when those same cogs malfunction, working against each other, stripping gears and destroying the machine, in a way. There is also an indication of leadership and organizational skills here- assigning each symbolic Wand to its place, and making sure it does what it needs to do.
Next, we have the Eight of Swords, here indicating perhaps the opposite, yet with this, it also carries its alternative meaning.
It's interesting to note that the woman here closely resembles the blindfolded figure in the Two of Swords- both are blindfolded, and both can be seen as almost fearing the swords around them. Whereas the Two represented a decision, the Eight represents again a decision to be made- yet there are many alternatives, and none of them seem good. It seems no matter which direction the woman moves, she runs the risk of getting cut by a sword. This is, in part, the message of this card. There's a time to make a decision indicated here- the woman can't fully know the consequences of her actions, being blindfolded. But consider also, brushing up against a sword may well cut her bonds as well. Making a decision will mean running the risk of getting hurt, but also is better than the alternative of standing and waiting. Here we have a moment of decision, and indecision- choose a path, though it seems that all the consequences are not fully known, and we can't see every outcome in the present situation. But the fate we can imagine is never as bad as the one that could really happen, so it's better to just make a decision and hope for the best. It's true, worry is apparent here- there's obviously a good deal of "what ifs" surrounding the situation. But like our tied friend here, we must make a decision as best we can and accept the consequences. Failing to do so could mean the decision is made for us, and perhaps a less pleasant alternative.
Next, we have the Eight of Cups- here is the rendering from the Infinite Vision Tarot, similar in many ways to the Rider-Waite card, however I find this captures the essence of the card quite well.
Like all the Eights, there's a sense of decision and almost finality surrounding this card. What we see here is a figure going out on a quest- he holds a standard in his hand, which serves two purposes- first, as a rally point and symbol for troops in battle, and second, as a sign of who he's fighting for. The message is that though this person has done great things, and won great battles, there's still something missing. This card indicates a complex message- though there is a sense of having been there and back again, there's also an element of world-weariness and dissatisfaction, and a promise of greener pastures down the road. This discontent can motivate us to change, and can motivate us to expand and grow, spiritually, mentally, or in relationships. It's about leaving the accomplishments of the past behind, and setting out once again. But like all new journeys, there's an element of risk and uncertainty, of trading the comfort of the known for the promise of the unknown. Will this knight be successful? Only time will tell, but his heart tells him take the risk. When in a more negative connotation, consider also- is the risk really worth it? There's a big difference between impulsiveness and following your heart, and not knowing the difference can mean trouble.
Finally, the Eight of Pentacles. This one comes to us from artist Dana Driscoll, from her ongoing project Tarot of Trees. It's a more symbolic take on the Eight, but also gives us a good sense of the card.
The Eight of Pentacles is a card of industry and hard work. Pentacles are often associated with coins, symbolic of labor and work, and the value that work produces, for you Marxists out there. Here we see the Pentacles forming a path, both guiding us and leading somewhere new. The Eight is, again, a card of industry and hard work, learning new skills or shoring up existing ones. It often can indicate a career change, or a new job, or more specifically, preparing for a new job, such as training or schooling. Beyond this, there's also the sense of devoting oneself to work.Why do we work? To survive, by and large. There's a sense here of developing a career, and perhaps most importantly, doing something we enjoy. There's a promise of a brighter tomorrow, and this card indicates the steps we need to take to get to that brighter tomorrow, through work, through developing skills, and through discipline and learning. However, this card can indicate also a lack of focus- avoid 'get rich quick' schemes, as this card also tells us there are no shortcuts through the hard work and labor portion of this journey.
Overall, we see the Eights are both cards of establishment and also of change. The foundation that has been laid is not the end- there's more to do, and the way ahead is becoming clear. When we see these Eights in a reading, it's a good indication of a time of decision- here we have a choice to move forwards or stay put- to keep things the way they are, and remain in the comfort of what we know, or step out of that comfort zone and take the risk that more might be in store for us. However, remember also that though there's an indication of change, at this point experience plays a role. No longer the proverbial babes in the wood, the people in this situation have experience and life lessons- these are definitely an influence at this time, as we move on to the Nines and Tens, and in many ways, the completion of the cycle begun with the Aces.

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