Tarotelic: Ten of Wands


The most striking thing about this image in the Universal Waite deck is the heavy burden that the central figure is struggling to carry, it seems almost too heavy to bear. In the background we see a village, symbolizing the community that he is serving, and the ploughed fields that testify to the progress of his labours.
The historical figure that came to mind when we started discussing this card at first seems like a very unlikely match to the card, but the more we discussed this the more it seemed to fit her so well. Today we will focus on the story of Mother Theresa.
Mother Theresa chose to serve the poor people in India. A country where Catholicism didn’t have a large following, compared to the two major religions there of Islam and Hinduism. She must have often felt completely over burdened by the difficult task ahead of caring for the poor in a country where so many people are poor. She was already at a disadvantage, being Catholic, not to mention the realities of every day life under the caste system. The injustices and inequalities that she witnessed on a daily basis must have often caused her to feel as if she was fighting a loosing battle.
As if her task wasn’t overwhelming enough, she admitted towards the end of her life during an interview with TIME magazine that she had sought in vain for the presence of God, she looked for any evidence of God in the desperation that she encountered every day in India. She continued this search for the last 40 years of her life, in vain. For 4 decades she had secretly lost her faith in the God she served, yet she persisted to do what she believed to be God’s work. She worked tirelessly amongst the poor to care for them and to give them a sense of belonging, something that many of them had not had before.
She uplifted the poor in her continued compassion for them, and by giving them an identity. Finally they too ‘belonged.’ Bearing in mind the inequality of the caste system, she empowered the poor by giving them a sense of self-worth in the knowledge that they mattered very much to her. Even though they were impoverished for life, many of them were deeply and personally touched by her compassion for them and became spiritually wealthy as a result.
Through her hard work, despite often being overburdened and possibly overwhelmed, Mother Theresa uplifted her community through service and unconditional love.
Recognition came in the form of a Nobel Peace prize, but perhaps more importantly, her name has become synonymous with compassion.
Re-examining the Ten of Wands card one can only hope that this figure too reaps some reward for his tireless efforts as he too serves his community in what appears to be an overwhelming task.
Many beautiful quotes have been attributed to Mother Theresa, but the two I wish to share with you today is this:
If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one, for love begins at home, and it is not how much we do… but how much love we put in that action.

Tarotelic: Five of Swords


This card speaks of dishonourable gains, and thus the story of Helen of Troy and the Trojan Horse comes to mind.
According to Myth Helen, queen of a Greek king, left him for someone named Paris of Troy. Helen was the most beautiful woman ever created, and her husband the king was enraged! The Greeks got together under the leadership of Agamemnon and laid siege on Troy to recover Helen from her lover, Paris. It is however widely believed by historians that this was an excuse to invade Troy motivated by greed for this was a very wealthy city indeed. Wealth that the Greeks coveted for themselves.
After 10 years the Greeks had still not conquered Troy, so in an act of deception, they decided to leave a wooden horse outside the city as a ‘gift’ from the gods. The Greeks disappeared in their ships leaving the horse behind. The Trojans, firmly believing that this was indeed a gift from the gods, brought the horse inside the fortified city, not realizing that it concealed Greek soldiers inside its belly. Once inside the city of Troy the Greek soldiers snuck out and opened the city gates, a signal for the other Greek soldiers to storm the city from the outside. The result was that Troy was conquered.
It was such a bold and cleverly deceptive strategy that in today’s modern world some computer viruses are named after this false gift, the Trojan. These viruses will apparently sit in-waiting on our hard-drive, undetected, sometimes for months before crashing our system.
The lesson that today’s card brings warns us to be wary of false gifts, of people who give with one hand but take with the other. Such people may have the ability to make us feel ‘important’  by appealing to our ego or vanity, but the danger is that they often have ulterior motives and will ultimately betray us. We would be wise to be more discerning about whom or what we invite into our lives, as none of us want to be visited by a Trojan horse!
While there is great wisdom and truth in the words of Eleanor Roosevelt who said: You have to accept whatever comes and the only important thing is that you meet it with courage and with the best that you have to give, we each have been blessed with the gift of discernment, a gift that we should remember to use when the little voice within cautions us that all is not as it seems. We most certainly do not walk through life in a state of perpetual paranoia, afraid that everything and everyone is ‘out to get us’, no, but we act wisely in the selection of our friends and energies that we invite into our lives.
If nothing else, today’s card impresses upon us the importance to heed that little voice within, and to trust our intuition, even when – by all outer appearances – the gift we are offered may seem sincere and genuine. No harm can come from discernment, if anything we have been given this ability to protect what we hold dear from those who come bearing false gifts.
In closing I’d like to share a quote by Jonathan Lockwood Huie who said:
Smile at the riddles of life, knowing that life’s only true lessons are writ small in the margin.