A friend of mine recently introduced me to this tarot deck (or rather the real tarot deck, of which this link is the online version). It's not the conventional fool, kings and cups sort, but involves suits of cards that are the elements of nature and such.
Reading into it, it's super lovely, although I confess some of it I find a bit too ethereal for my liking. But I've felt that way about practically everything I've encountered in life that involves faith and belief, so whatever. And it is at times disarmingly accurate.
Feeling rather faithless and anxious this evening, I indulged in one of their online multi card readings, and got this:
(warning: long and probably of little interest to anyone but me. Don't say i don't look out for you, dear reader[s])
A master in Zen is not simply a teacher. In all the religions there are only teachers. They teach you about subjects which you don't know, and they ask you to believe because there is no way to bring those experiences into objective reality. Neither has the teacher known them - he has believed them; he transfers his belief to somebody else.
Zen is not a believer's world. It is not for the faithful ones; it is for those daring souls who can drop all belief, unbelief, doubt, reason, mind, and simply enter into their pure existence without boundaries. But it brings a tremendous transformation.
Hence, let me say that while others are involved in philosophies, Zen is involved in metamorphosis, in a transformation. It is authentic alchemy: it changes you from base metal into gold. But its language has to be understood, not with your reasoning and intellectual mind but with your loving heart. Or even just listening, not bothering whether it is true or not. And a moment comes suddenly that you see it, which has been eluding you your whole life. Suddenly, what Gautam Buddha called "eighty-four thousand doors" open.
Osho Zen: The Solitary Bird, Cuckoo of the Forest Chapter 6
The central figure in this card sits atop the vast flower of the void, and holds the symbols of transformation - the sword that cuts through illusion, the snake that rejuvenates itself by shedding its skin, the broken chain of limitations, and the yin/yang symbol of transcending duality. One of its hands rests on its lap, open and receptive. The other reaches down to touch the mouth of a sleeping face, symbolizing the silence that comes when we are at rest.
This is a time for a deep let-go. Allow any pain, sorrow, or difficulty just to be there, accepting its "facticity." It is very much like the experience of Gautam Buddha when, after years of seeking, he finally gave up, knowing there was nothing more that he could do. That very night, he became enlightened.
Transformation comes, like death, in its own time. And, like death, it takes you from one dimension into another.
OR SO I THOUGHT.
Then i realized i got the reading of the cards wrong, and that card was not in fact the "Me" representative card at all. This was: (and yes, there is more)
Zen says that if you drop knowledge - and within knowledge everything is included; your name, your identity, everything, because this has been given to you by others - if you drop all that has been given by others, you will have a totally different quality to your being: innocence. This will be a crucifixion of the persona, the personality, and there will be a resurrection of your innocence. You will become a child again, reborn.
Osho Dang Dang Doko Dang Chapter 7
The old man in this card radiates a childlike delight in the world. There is a sense of grace surrounding him, as if he is at home with himself and with what life has brought. He seems to be having a playful communication with the praying mantis on his finger, as if the two of them are the greatest friends. The pink flowers cascading around him represent a time of letting go, relaxation and sweetness. They are a response to his presence, a reflection of his own qualities.
The innocence that comes from a deep experience of life is childlike, but not childish. The innocence of children is beautiful, but ignorant. It will be replaced by mistrust and doubt as the child grows and learns that the world can be a dangerous and threatening place. But the innocence of a life lived fully has a quality of wisdom and acceptance of the ever-changing wonder of life.
Rats. I think I preferred the first one. Isn't there something to be said for the significance of error, even in the art of reading...erm...online tarot cards?