Six of Coins — Tarot of the Absurd

Friday, October 19th, 2012

six of pentacles meaning

Generosity, charity, sharing. Accepting handouts.

 

Relatively fresh out of college, where I survived by studying hard, running fast and having virtually no social life (unless you consider brief midnight visits with the vending machine social), I set out to Alaska to plant trees. I set out to Alaska to plant trees because planting trees sounded adventuresome and romantic, and other than my need for adventure and romance, I was entirely devoid of direction. Despite having graduated with high honors, a double major, and the scholar-athlete of the year award, I was ignorant of most things and relatively immature.

 

I learned the basics of migrant labor amidst the cruel chaos of breaking up with my boyfriend in a relatively public arena. I learned the taste of water straight from a mountain stream. I learned how to cook over a fire and why it was that the pot called the kettle black (the kettle was black! but so was the pot…). I learned the feeling of dressing in cold wet dirty socks first thing in the morning to work in the rain. I learned the power of skinny-dipping unbashfully. And, having for the first time in my life met generous people, I learned how to take advantage of other people’s generosity. Eventually I learned the rudiments of generosity myself. I can’t say I was quick.

 

Sunshine was the most generous person at camp. She is the sort who, finding herself with the daunting task of some epic journey, might take along a totally unprepared companion and share everything she owns rather than face the journey on her own. I was the sort of person who, finding myself slightly over-prepared, would take on the journey on my own rather than face the task of caring for someone else. Strangely, we found ourselves friends. I spouted lots of book-smart things and she demonstrated generosity.

 

One time, relatively early on in the summer, Sunshine went to the store to buy a chair and came back with two tiny folding chairs. I did not go to the store to buy a chair because I was perfectly comfortable sitting on the ground and thought I’d better save my money. Sunshine set both chairs up near the fire.

“Why did you buy two chairs?” asked Jon.

“One for me, and one for a friend,” said Sunshine.

“One for a friend,” snickered Jon.

One for a friend! I thought it was brilliant! Sunshine prepared for friends, and friends came. I prepared for solitude, and solitude came. Sunshine spent the rest of the summer showing me generosity. I spent the summer adoring her. Underprepared, we went into the wilderness together. The experience has made us friends forever.

Ten of Coins — Tarot of the Absurd

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

feedback farm alaskaFamily. Security, wealth, and accomplishment. Sustainability: meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

 

Wealth can loosely be defined as a stockpile of resources. Income, on the other hand, is resource flow. The resources that determine wealth are relative. They differ between societies and among different groups of a single society. It is therefore impossible to come up with a definition of wealth that we can all agree on.

 

Popular culture looks at property holdings, investments and bank accounts as a measure of wealth. Wealth is generally defined as a personal accumulation of resources that both allows us to live with less stress and gives us a better shot at regenerating healthy progeny. Wealth is limited to certain individuals, at the expense of others.

 

By this measure, environmental assets are not counted as a part of wealth. Thus, the economic contribution of the public commons is not seen to exist until it ceases to exist, at which point those who exploited it to obtain personal wealth complain of an income drop and those who used it for subsistence are destitute. Such is the tragedy of the commons

 

A more holistic measure of wealth would be one’s dedication to sustainable natural resource management and the greater good of future generations: planetary wealth. This is the only definition that allows everyone living on the planet to be wealthy without poverty, if only we could just all get along. (In Utopia, everyone is wealthy.)

 

Any definition of wealth that allows rampant depletion of natural resources for individual empowerment fails in the long run, as it allows one’s offspring to live in an environment of depleted wealth, thereby offering them a smaller chance at success. Family is integral to the definition of the Ten of Coins. For those following this course of action who have no offspring, I have not one decent argument against unmitigated selfishness. I can only offer up a curse— may you have a lousy after-life.

 

 

“I once met a billionaire at a cocktail party (one of the grocery Lords Sainsbury) and was dying to ask if he thought he was rich, but I was young and too shy. I’ve never met anyone else who thought he or she was rich, presumably because they spend most of their time at cocktail parties with people who are richer. (Example: Lord Egremont’s brother, who used to steal toilet paper when he stayed at Petworth, one of the great houses of England, but Lord Egremont’s family would go through his luggage and steal it back.) So [wealth] is not a particularly useful term in political discourse, except to define those people who can afford, through lobbying and lawyers, to pay less than their fair share of taxes.”

— James Papp of New York, reader of the New York Times

 

 

What is the difference between wealth and income?

  

What is the wealth of the top 1%?

  

Who are the 99%?

  

Where do I fall on the income curve?

Five of Coins — Tarot of the Absurd

Saturday, October 13th, 2012

 

five of pentacles

Isolation. Insecurity. Worry. Financial loss. Poverty.

 

Perhaps I was a bit cynical when I drew this card and, to be honest, I’m not sure how much I like it. Maybe I was mean…

 

Some people have the attitude that if you’re poor or you can’t get a job, it’s your own fault. You don’t work hard enough. You’re not smart enough. You made dumb investments. You never invested. You squandered your money. You need a better education. You work for a non-profit. You don’t use the latest technology. You make your own luck and you, looser, you don’t know how. You’re poor and it’s not my fault so I’m going to pretend you don’t exist even if you live next door.

 

Who is someone else to tell you what’s wrong with your life? Your actions are indeed your responsibility, but whose fault is injustice and malchance? You’re overeducated. Companies are only hiring people who already have jobs. You have no connections. You’re brilliant, but socially inept. Your boss fired you because you were pregnant. Your work was bulldozed. The government funds large corporate entities, enabling them to sell their goods at a price that would otherwise be a loss while you, small businessperson, are left trying to sell your goods for what they’re worth and nobody buys. Your talents have become obsolete. You are too old. You are disabled. There are not enough jobs. There are too many people.

 

I tried to illustrate a way out for this troubled couple: if they would just stop looking in their empty purses, pick up their shovels and work, they’d be fine. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Sometimes we dig and dig and dig and after all that work, all we have is a hole. Sometimes, the only way to keep this hole from becoming a deep pit of despair is faith. I have illustrated foolishness, but I have failed to illustrate faith.

Three of Pentacles — New Age Tarot

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

[NOTE: Notes within brackets within quotes are my notes, not quotes.]

Artist: Walter Wegmüller

 

Interpretation: “Symbolic of a profitable training course or experiences. [Knowledge as wealth.]

 

“The Three of Pentacles also represent the three time references where money is concerned: savings (past), use (present), and investment (future). [These numbers may be negative or positive.]

 

“In yet another sense, it also stands for coined money [most often fiat money, without intrinsic value yet endorsed by the government], toy money [unendorsed, legal money: virtual money; Monopoly money; money from another country] and counterfeit money [unendorsed, illegal money: stuff that seems real but isn’t; something too good to be true].”

 
The oldest decks depicting little round discs with symbols on them used the term “coin” to denote the suit. “Pentacle” is a later term, associated with tarot after the deck took on occult meaning. Technically, a pentacle is an amulet used in magical evocation on which the symbol or spirit or energy being evoked is depicted. In tarot decks, a pentacle it is usually denoted as a coin with a pentagram inside.

I like how the author/ illustrator of the deck calls the suit “pentacles” without illustrating the usual pentagram. Instead, he fills his coins (and his cards) with magical images from around the globe. However, his use of the term “pentacle” conflicts with how strongly he relates all his pentacles to actual money instead of to more general, practical, earthy and material matters. Money is a societal convention. It is not the most important form of wealth at all. Our society is too focused on money money money.

 

I leave money out of the suit of pentacles— tho I do call it coins. The three of coins reminds us that one form of wealth is the skill necessary to accomplish a goal. Good planning and organization are necessary to succeed and to improve the quality of life. Learn well, work hard and stay on top of things. With a little luck thrown in the mix, you will succeed.

 

Now I need to tell that to myself and get a move on finishing this deck.