Planet Waves is running a membership drive.
Read more in Solstice Fire and the Art of Service, by Eric Francis.
By Sarah Taylor
Before you read this week’s tarot reading, which, itself, is about service, I wanted to speak a little to a phrase you might have encountered on Planet Waves if you’ve been visiting recently: the Art of Service.
Planet Waves is small enough to embody that most precious of experiences in this vast, often impersonal, place called the World Wide Web: community. It was community that drew me in when I visited some eight years ago; it was community that encouraged me to take part in many of the post discussions; it has been community that has helped me find and enjoy many friendships, online and off; and it is community today that feels critical when so much is telling us that we, individually and collectively, are not important, and that we have no voice.
We do. We all matter. Planet Waves matters in the lives of those, both vocal and silent, who come here to find meaning and a sense of place. That is community and the Art of Service in action.
Community supports us; and it continues to thrive in turn through the support of its members. We who write here could not do what we do without you — and I know that this relationship is reciprocal, as one who has come here, not knowing what to do, and finding the guidance I needed at just the right time.
So, please, consider taking out a membership if you haven’t already. If you have, then consider introducing someone else to a Planet Waves subscription. Community is dependent on its existing members, and also has the potential to expand its support base through the welcoming of new ones, their ideas and their contributions. The more we weave the web (Web), the greater the support available.
Visit the link here to become a Core Community member. It takes minutes, its cost is nominal, and its value frequently lies beyond the words to describe it.
Today, left, centre, right: past, present, future. The Hermit, Five of Disks, Ace of Cups.
This is a chronological reading, telling you what is passed and forms the foundation to your reading this week; what you are currently experiencing; and what you are moving towards and into. It is an evolution, from self-contained and isolated seeking, to the radiation of what you have found in your inner Soul travels.
You don’t have to worry. Or — rather — feel free to acknowledge that there is something weighing upon you, and it is not the full story of your travels and travails.
It is leading you from something and to something. Your worry is the waypoint between two states, where you feel left, holding the world on your shoulders, with no apparent way forward. You feel held in place by something that is both so big that you cannot easily see it, and perhaps so consuming of your time and energy that the challenge is incumbent on you merely to stay upright through it all. You may feel you are not up to the task.
You are up to the task. More than that: this is the task. This is your work right now, a progression from a particular role that you took on some time ago — one where you committed yourself to the practice of a skill of how to be in the world. Whether a formal commitment or one that may have felt thrust on you by circumstances, Disks describe a tangible way of operating in the world. Think back to a moment where these words may have come to you, either consciously or just beyond the level of everyday perception:
“If not now, when? If not you, who?”
It’s an old ‘un, but a good ‘un. And, whether you know it or not, you are the embodiment of this in a specific form and expression.
As The Hermit, you were recently living in a mode of separation — from others, from the world. The Hermit is not the most uplifting of cards at times, especially if you are someone who relies on or feels more comfort in the company of others. Not that you were completely alone, all of the time. That’s not The Hermit — not most of the time, anyway. But what The Hermit is is that time of personal integration after the expansion of The Lovers, the forward motion it leads to (The Chariot), and the leonine ROARRRR! of the discovery of your animal instinct.
After this delving into the other and the erotic, it has been time to close the door on the outside world of distraction — and the potential to squander your new-found eros on pursuits that merely have you running in circles — and to take what you have been given, and use it. Own it. Be it. Live it. Dive under the surface and find the deeper gift — the one of service, both to yourself, others, and the divine.
As The Hermit, you have had the opportunity to become discipline, embodied. As The Hermit, you turn away from sexual power as distraction and learn about sexual power as the extraction of that elixir within that serves everyone and everything.
In psychological terms, you learn to sublimate: the act of channelling eros towards creativity — one that has its roots in a Will that is larger than your own will. This Will is unconcerned with individual wants and needs. This Will is the drive to become more fully yourself, and by doing this you hold the key to bringing something of value into the world.
The frustration inherent in this is that you may have little idea of the “what” and “why” of your specific role. Surrender to Will means surrender to a higher wisdom. Surrender to a higher wisdom means not always knowing what the process or the outcome will be. Surrender to the process means the surrender of the trappings that you thought were the final story in your animal-driven, instinctual experience of yourself as a sensual body in a sensual world.
After Lust, the laundry.
So, this burden that you feel you are carrying may indeed feel worrisome.
“Where is my support?”
“Why is this all starting to feel a little heavy?”
“Do I know what I’m doing?”
“Am I able to find balance at a time where it seems others, or my faculties, have deserted me?”
But through this, you are finding and refining an equilibrium in the physical world.
Think of it this way, intrepid traveller: when you learn new skills, you also bring in the opportunities to try them out. As a unicycle juggler (you, the figure in the Five of Disks), you got your three-ball routine down pat … and now the clown on the sidelines has just thrown you a couple of new balls. Whoa! Wobble, wobble! Back-and-forward on that unicycle you dance, the wheel searching for that midpoint that will bring you fully upright again.
It is nothing you didn’t ask for. It is nothing that wasn’t asked from you.
Keep going. You’re in that ring. You might feel alone, but there are others around you, witnessing your work. Yours is a performance that is part of a greater performance. What you are holding is not the final point of it all, but it gets you there: to the moment when you know why it was that you are doing what you are doing. And the paradox of that moment is that, then, the juggling act will no longer be necessary.
Because what you are moving into is connection. The Ace of Cups. Pure and simple. The point is not to complete your task; the point is to connect through its endeavour.
Your juggling is simply the doorway to the Ace. It is the tangible method through which you begin to feel what balance is. You lock into what lies at the Heart of you. You re-member. The three-ring circus disappears. There is no separation between you, those around you, and the roles that each of you have assumed.
You throw the balls into the air in a round of riotous applause, your arms spread open. It is then that you understand that you’ve never needed anyone’s applause. The joy of who you are is its own ecstatic reward.
“I stand in golden rays radiantly
I burn a fire of love over and over
Reflecting endless light relentlessly
I have embraced the flame forever and ever.”
~ Depeche Mode, “Heaven.” (See the video here.)
Astrology/Elemental correspondences: The Hermit (Virgo), Five of Disks (Mercury in Taurus), Ace of Cups (the purest, infinite potential of water)
If you want to experiment with tarot cards and don’t have any, we provide a free tarot spread generator using the Celtic Wings spread, which is based on the traditional Celtic Cross spread. This article explains how to use the spread.