Waning Influence: The Sun
Recently many things in Portland have seemed blessed by the sun, kissed by warmth, lifted up into some blessed circle, high above the cares and struggles of the world. The Sun has also brought with him luck and joy, blossoms of pleasure and the bright promise of coming abundance. But in the reading, the Sun’s promise rings hollow or at least incomplete. The image of the Sun in the deck I use, the Tarot of the Spirit, evokes walled gardens, monogamous romance, exclusive clubs, a charmed circle that includes only a few.
This, of course, sounds a lot like the recent intensification of gentrification in Portland, and I think that is clearly one facet of this card’s meaning. However, as I understand each card to refer to multiple aspects of a situation simultaneously, I would caution against reducing this card to a single, obvious definition.
The Sun doubtless refers to many forms of exuberant growth, lucky circles, enrapturing romances, giddy heights.
Most importantly, the Sun is waning in this ready. The warmth is already starting to leave, the swell of light to falter, the unapproachable tower to soften and melt. We are all starting to come down a little, to lower ourselves. This reading suggests we have a ways to go.
Full Influence: Sister Fire (Page of Wands)
Kissed by the Sun, baptized by abundant flame, we are braver and more bold. As the Sun departs, his gift of fire remains. As we come down from the heights, we carry with us the light of inspiration.
Our voices are likely louder, more resonant these days. The sparks of our wills catch and spread more easily. This is a time of messages and messengers, particularly those relating to fire, and fire’s associates: courage and anger, hearth and transformation, cooking and electricity and lightning.
Fire stands ambiguously between civilization and wildness. The taming of fire was one of humanity’s oldest and most profound acts of domestication. Fire, you might say, is the spiritual patron of civilization. And yet fire burns out of control so easily, is always a bit of wildness held close and cautious in the belly of civilization, ever eager to leap out into unbridled explosions, to devour all that humans have so carefully built.
This tension runs through Sister Fire, who brings the fresh eyes and raw creativity of a child to the matter of fire. Where is the line between the thrilling excitement of new passions and the dangerous dance of playing with fire?
How do we integrate the blessings and empowerments of the Sun’s magic circle into the earthier, wide open spaces of our lives? How do we spread and share the luck and light of the Sun with more of the world?
In her most noble form, Sister Fire is a vessel for these sacred flames, a clear channel through which fire can speak and leap and spread.
Waxing Influence: Five of Earth (Five of Pentacles)
If Sister Fire is a step down from the Sun, into the everyday world, the Five of Earth is a further, larger step down. In my deck, the Five of Earth is titled The Nadir. The lowest point. This cards is, essentially, the mirror image, the inverse, of The Sun.
So, in this reading, as the Sun wanes away from Portland, the Five of Earth rises up, filling the space. Filling it with lack, scarcity, feelings of powerlessness and isolation. Worse, seeing others who have what you need and will not share it with you. Banishment, poverty, wandering ragged and alone. Essentially, standing at the bottom of the Sun’s exclusive, blessed tower, looking up.
What does it mean, this quick, drastic movement from The Sun (an image evocative of the highest point) to the Five of Earth’s nadir?
It suggests a kind of cycle, the boom-and-bust rhythm of capitalism, the punctured bubble of delusion followed by a discomfiting plunge down to some hard, rocky reality. A zero-sum game, in which winners require losers. And further, a kind of cosmic comeuppance or instant karma: the winners pay the price for participating in such a game by losing themselves. A high, as in a drug binge, followed by a crash, a nasty hangover.
While this is no doubt one layer of this reading’s truth, there is a deeper, gentler possibility as well. The presence of Sister Fire indicates that The Sun is more than some puffed up plutocratic illusion. There is some real blessing flowing into the world through The Sun’s light.
The challenge we are being faced with is: can we gracefully dance between the highs and the lows? Can we descend from the heights of ecstasy into the nitty-gritty, nuts-and-bolts practical resource questions required to build solid foundations? Can we carry the flames we have been given proudly and skillfully into the bleak, dark places where we (and/or other people) experiences powerlessness and aloneness?
Can we let the flames kiss the very darkest parts?
The Oracle’s Advice: Three of Water (Three of Cups)
To all this discourse of light and dark, bright flames and bleak stones, the Oracle has a surprising response. Be like water. Paradoxically, the best way for us to carry on the blessings of The Sun, the teachings of fire, may be to step into a very different way of being, the tides and flows of water.
And yet the Three of Water has much of relevance to the tumult of this week’s reading. First, the card’s imagery features the moon prominently. The moon, of course, is an old master at the trick of the bringing the sun’s light into dark places. She does it by changing shape. She does it by being modest, reflective. She does it by softening the harshness of his relentless glow into something silvery, inconstant, wily, slippery, fey, unpredictable. Through her alchemy–which always, always involves letting her self, her very body, transform–she turns fires into water.
We are called and challenged to do the same. For water has no difficulty flowing down. Water cannot lose itself the way fire can, sputtering out. Water returns, cycles, nourishes the barest ground.
The Three of Water, specifically, is titled Stream of Love. We are being asked to let love bubble in and through us, without grasping on to particular moments and forms. The Sun’s circle must crumble, as all things do. While the brave songs of Sister Fire might seem to be the best way to honor the exuberance of the Sun (and for other contexts/other temperaments, her angry, vital experiments the clear path to spreading the Sun’s wealth), this reading strongly suggests following the current trends can easily lead to the burnt out depletion of the Five of Earth.
To avoid and counteract this, the Oracle suggests the Three of Water. As the brilliance of the Sun wanes and the emptiness of the Five of Earth rises to replace fullness with seeming absence, we can stand in the wholeness of our hearts. The Three of Water suggests a going away party, at once a celebration of the love and laughter and a mourning of the coming separation. Watery, flowing with the wine of our tears, our waters running with joy and grief alike, we can see that the love beneath the Sun’s brilliance has not left us at all, will never leave us, flows always alongside and within us. Drink in that love, and over the overflowing cup for your neighbor to share.
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