Friday, May 13, 2011

The Sword of Action

I was talking with a friend at work today, saying I hoped I had at least 8 more years of work in these “Be Happy You Have a Job” days. As long as I keep my youthful illusions (like typing faster than most people, being a smart-aleck, having a sense of humor and solving problems really quickly), I hope I can be useful in the workaday world. Oh, yes, I have my secret weapons like looking at things from a different point of view, an unusual gift for viewing systems from the unsuspecting user’s point of view rather than knowing all I really know, and factoring the dimension of time into the usually only barely 3-D imagination of computer system changes in what might ordinarily be thought of as a dull insurance job. It’s not dull for me. It’s entertaining. I remember weird stuff that comes in handy. It’s sort of like “Day Job Jeopardy.” Maybe my other talents bleed over into the Day Job too. I’ve always wondered how much of that happened and whether it was a good thing or a bad thing.

Being an intuitive in a linear world is not always a blessing. Just ask any intuitive. You get all the linear people surrounding you just before they stone you asking, How did you know that was going to happen?? Shoot me, it was obvious. But not to them. Of course, they are also willing to stone you if you mention in advance what appears likely to happen as the result of decisions. If they listen, and most of the time they don’t, they think you’ve lost your mind. Then, even if they did listen to, when it does happen, they will ask you why you didn’t warn them.

Start to get the no-win scenario here? The linear people outnumber the intuitives by about 7 to 1 so brace yourself if you’re intuitive. You’re surrounded.

Of course, I’ve had moments where even the intuitive people are a little spooked. One time back in Illinois (I almost slipped and said what decade; boy, that was close) when I was a baby programmer, I realized something I had seen earlier in the day was going to cause a program to fail or as we used to say in the Big Iron Age “abend.” I called the central office in Louisiana just as the program was dying as I knew it would. By then I was familiar with the voice on the phone there having helped them through a few long nights previously.

“Marcia,” the night operations manager said, “you aren’t supposed to call us when a program blows up. We’re supposed to call you. That’s scary.” I laughed and said that we had recently instituted psychic debugging at the home office but the announcement hadn’t come out yet. At least I was calling with the easy fix to the problem with a happen ending.

Often, though, I have found that being an intuitive in a linear world is mostly dangerous. It’s probably worse if you’re an optimist like me. I tend to like people, linear or intuitive. I like the energy that differences bring, the frisson of alternate points of view, the refreshing…well, you get the idea. And I have the optimist’s affliction of thinking that, if I like them, they like me. This is not a good assumption. It is one that needs to be proven in the specific each time before engaging. The usual scenario is that I’ll end up helping people who have been and will continue to be mean, nasty, selfish, conniving, lazy, self-serving or, in the case of arrogance undeserved, let us say misinformed. I’m a sap. I used to really fight with these folks for the right to help them, believing as I did then that anything could be helped with good will and a little understanding. In my maturity I have stopped doing that. If they continue to be really mean people, I just withdraw my help and let them wallow in the results of their own bad judgment. I would really rather have helped of course.

I’m pretty sure I can’t fix everything, of course. Some computer projects have a momentum all their own and it pays to know how to step aside and let the avalanche go by. That happens with people, too, of course, because it’s people who mess up computer projects, at least drawing first blood with the consequences of a bad project having the unhappy result sometimes of harming people. For instance, a “really good idea” that gets implemented with a very detrimental and unforeseen effect on business can result in people losing money or their jobs. They might blame a computer for it, but that’s only because they don’t know the name of the person who was so gung-ho to get that project in that they didn’t want to hear all the analysis from others. Maybe they did hear it, but it sounded so much like a sneeze causing a hurricane across the world that it didn’t make sense to them. It was beyond their belief. But maybe someone near them did understand that sneeze and its consequences.

So what’s this got to do with tarot, you ask? Well, maybe just about everything. In our traditional schooling, we’re taught to think about things logically. Obviously, the linear people are going to really happy with this because this generally means turning chaos into order. That’s alphabetical order for the really linear, like the way my first husband stored his socks: Black comes before blue. I was lucky they got in a drawer, being the non-linear one. Well, THAT didn’t work out as you might imagine. But what happens if you’ve got something going on and all that linear or merely 3-D thinking isn’t working? Logic is only one tool at our disposal; it’s not the only tool.

At Readers Studio 2011, Barbara Moore taught us different ways to develop a spread for tarot. One of my buddies said, “The 5 of Swords is stalking me!” We decided we would chase back and confront the cruel logic of the win-lose scenario portrayed in the 5 of Swords. We developed a spread called The Sword of Action.

First, we wanted to pin down exactly what the issue is, so we started out with cards in the pattern of a sword pinning down the issue. It looks like this:





If you squint, you can see that 1 is the handgrip and the blade (4 and 5) has “pinned down” something stuck in the earth. We looked at the traditional RWS 5 of Swords and decided that each of the cards represents the answer to these questions:

1. What’s in the air? The 5 of Swords has diagonal grey clouds that look like they are being whipped in the wind.

2. What sword do I set down? This card is like the logic, conflict or thinking that the main character has let go of or set aside. It’s not working in this case.

3. What sword do I pick up? This card is the logic, conflict or thinking that the main character (hey, that’s YOU) would pick up and use.

4. What is in the water? See in this card, beyond the people, there is water which represents emotion and undercurrent. Often in a situation where logic isn’t helping you, there is something else going on.

5. What’s beyond the mountains? In the background of the RWS 5 of Swords are mountains which can be obstacles to overcome or goals to achieve. What will be the outcome?

Now the really interesting part of this spread happens. We wanted to turn this from just a “let’s pin down what’s going on” reading into a “what’s the best action to take” reading. It’s the Sword of Action, after all. We agreed that for a sword to be useful, it needed to be pointed up and ready for action. How do we turn our sword around? So we moved our #5 card to the space above the #1 card to get the outcome closer to the issue and added our #6 card.

6. What is the best action to take to get to the best outcome?

The spread changes to this, the Sword of Action!






So, if you’re looking for a spread to help you get past that linear thinking, try The Sword of Action and make logic and intuition work for you.

Best wishes!

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