Tarot Tuesday: Capitalism, Control + Compassion

Tarot Tuesday: Capitalism, Control + Compassion

The Four of Pentacles and Seven of Swords make a powerful pair reminding us that we are in the midst of the exposed, raw energies of control, deception and isolation. In a capitalist system, we have learned the anti-social values of:

  1. Control and the blockage of free-flow (Four of Pentacles), and 
  2. Rugged individualism (Seven of Swords)

It has become clear to some of us that these values no longer serve us. For others, they never did.

Four of Pentacles is the energy that blocks change, abhors it, and clings for dear life to the days of old. As our social landscape changes, with that change comes a radical power shift. This shift is one that those who’ve held power for ages aren’t ready to accept. And thus, there is ideological war, division, and a doubling down on oppressive political tactics.

Today, we find ourselves caught in the midst of the old leaders’ clinging. Digging in their heels, they are making their last stand for greed, ownership, and domination. The call to “Make America great again” is nothing more than a fearful rejection of innovation, progress, diversification, and the inevitable, impending transformation of the power structure as we know it. 

The Four of Pentacles is he who insists upon dominance and the perception of control at all costs. It is he who lacks resilience, personal power and security, and it is he who will do anything to experience the illusion of control—through acquisition of materials in an uncertain, fickle world.

Capitalism, after all, operates only if everyone adopts the shared assumption that acquiring and accumulating is inherently better than being satisfied with one’s equal share. It is perpetuated by the embodied belief that what one has is never truly enough. In a system built on a scarcity mentality, those within it are taught to cling to coins alone, as if coins had the power to save us.

Capitalism conveniently forgets to teach us the lessons of abundance, and so the essence of separateness that we see in the Seven of Swords emerges. It is the state in which those who fear scarcity so deeply move as though only the richest and fattest will survive. It is the state in which material wealth becomes so entwined with one’s sense of self that he feels his very survival depends and is contingent upon the material things he owns.

That scarcity mindset blocks true wealth. So we must double down on our understanding of abundance and natural laws.

Now remember: We humans have survived as a species on altruistic, compassionate, pro-social behavior. Things like helping one another in times of need, opening our doors to shelter and protect the vulnerable, and sharing resources have kept our species evolving and flourishing for millions of years.

The opposite of these pro-social behaviors are considered to be anti-social; they include separation, isolation, fear-based reactions, and selfishness. The human race is at a  clear cross-roads between these two forces. Each and every one of us are being asked to choose a side. (And by the way, not choosing a side IS choosing a side.)

It’s said that when the King of Cups comes to us in a reading we are being asked to embody and be inspired by his traits. When we are afraid, angry, hurt, intolerant, defensive, and otherwise in the mode to fight, we’re asked to call upon the qualities of this King.

The King of Cups in a reading is a beacon of compassion. He responds calmly in a crisis, and rides the waves that make-up existence, willing to flow with uncertainty. His life is one of surrender and acceptance, not control. He employs empathy rather than judgment, thoughtful response rather than rebuttal, and he holds the pain of others in his heart as if it were his own, without drowning in it.

The King of Cups is capable of seeing things from many angles, and has the ability to flow from one to another with strength and sustained psycho-flexibility. The force of his compassion for the vulnerable transforms his anger toward the oppressor, allowing him to process and respond effectively to injustice.

This is not about compassion for the wicked, necessarily. It is not about tolerating the intolerable, or accepting that which is wholly unacceptable. Rather, It is about tapping the depths of the compassionate self—the soft, tender place inside of us that knows that oppression of even one soul is the oppression of all.

It is from this place of compassion for the vulnerable that we move effectively and make wise, smart choices. It is from here that we outsmart the so-called enemy. Conversely, when we let anger drive us we too easily become lost, spinning deeper and deeper into the cold, dark dimensions of this world. In an activated, threatened state, our minds become narrow and we cannot see the infinite choices available.

If we stay in connection with our light, our simple presence will mean that darkness cannot envelop and blind us. Grounded in this way of being, we are flexible and agile, and options for action are plenty. In the days to come, let us establish the practice of bringing our selves back to this state moment by moment, again and again. Let us not lose contact with the light.

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