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Tarot Reflections

  June 01, 2003

Wisdom Reading
James Wells

James Wells is a Toronto-based Tarot Consultant, Reiki Master, weaver of rituals, and workshop facilitator. His mission is to provide sacred space for soul work and constructive feedback so that all may enjoy insight and healing. He can be reached through his website.


This issue's wisdom reading is based upon a quote by Carl Jung - "I would rather be whole than good."

I'm using the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck.

1) What does it mean to be whole?
TWO OF WANDS. To be whole is to be aware that one IS the universe holding the entire world in one's hands, that one's true self is grander and more expansive than an entire planet. It means to stand between extremes, to be in the mandorla (that place where two circles meet), the middle place. There is a clear vision beyond oneself.
2) What does it mean to be good?
JUSTICE. To be good is to obey the laws which were created in order to maintain balance in our world. It is a desire to be fair and objective. To be good sometimes means laying down the law. This card too suggests a state between extremes, although the figure is sitting here - it's a more passive state. One keeps up the curtain, doesn't reveal too much, lest equilibrium be lost.
3) How do these two states differ?
ACE OF SWORDS. One side of the blade is dark, the other is light. Sometimes swords can be about truth. So what comes to mind is that the difference between wholeness and goodness is how much information is brought into the light and how much is kept in the dark - it echoes back to the 2 of Cups vista and the Justice curtain. The sword in this card hearkens back to that in the hand of the Justice figure - goodness is more severe in its demands for obedience than wholeness is!
4) How are these two states similar?
NINE OF WANDS. The central figure's bandaged head makes me think of the Wounded Healer, of strength built up from a few hard knocks. There is one person in this card, just as there is just one person in cards 1 and 2. What seems to be the similarity between wholeness and goodness is that they are both states which, ultimately, one can only achieve oneself, not through the intercession or It brings to mind Gloucester's words in Henry VI: "I am myself alone."
5) Why would one desire wholeness over goodness?
QUEEN OF SWORDS (there's that sword again!). Wholeness possesses a greater maturity, a greater sense of fulfillment. It is what lifts us out of the clouds of cluttered human thought.

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