To continue the theme of unusual tarot decks this month, this week’s card comes from the tiny, wonderful “African Tarot, Journey into the Self” with the 8 of Pentacles reminding us that we’re in a time of apprenticeship, training, work, starting anew in new jobs and professions, and:
“The deeper message is that you are seeking a way to manifest your soul’s desire for new meaning and more nurturing and fulfilling lifestyle. You’re on the right track with the promise of future reward.”
This isn’t just about your career or your job. Right now we’re all seeing signs of the new world and all the changes we’ve bringing in within the last couple of months, and finding new ways to define our new roles and finding NEW HABITS in the changes that have been in play. This card highlights the role that you yourself play in bringing about new meaning, and a more fulfilling life. This week, you’re guided to embrace the new things you’re being asked to do with curiosity and the desire to learn. If you’re starting a new job, let yourself get immersed in an attitude that you’re there to LEARN instead of that feeling of being a fish out of water, being in way over your head, or being confused about the lay of the land. This is not the time to be perfect, to know everything or to be at the finish line. That’s OK! You just ARRIVED in this new territory, so give yourself time to learn the ropes. It’s time to go to “school” this week.
Similarly, this card is about learning new tasks, and allowing ourselves to step into new jobs … if you don’t have a new LITERAL job right now, you almost certainly have a new role or habit that you can encourage this week. Have you been pressed to be more focused on yourself and less on a relationship that isn’t part of your life? Have you wanted to put time and energy into your creativity or artwork? Have you wanted to develop rewarding friendships? Are you looking to change your career? Life isn’t going to walk right up to you and hand you a more nurturing and fulfilling sense of self and THEN you go out and do those things… instead you have to participate to CREATE them! This is the perfect week to find out what you you want to see flourishing in your life in the next few weeks and to really tuck into new habits to make that happen.
I love this quote by Aristotle,
“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but rather we have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”
Sometimes we think we have to have some magical combination of inner spiritual excellence, or self love or some other magical element to do what we need to do to get things done or to create our dreams. ‘If only I felt better about myself, then I could REALLY go out there and make friends!’ or, ‘If I was stronger, I could run that 10k.’ or, ‘If I was better, I could create a wonderful meal.’ …. but how do we feel good about ourselves, gain virtue, gain excellence, strength, or skills? By trying at all those things when we DON’T. By just making new habits even when we don’t feel like they’re working or even if the process takes time. When comedian Jerry Seinfeld was trying to encourage himself to write every day in order to make greater and greater jokes, he made a red “x” on the calendar each day he tried… pretty soon a row of x make a chain that you want to keep going longer and longer. “Don’t break the chain” was his productivity secret.
The theme of this deck itself shows us the power of habits formed over time. In this case, from great oppression to fulfillment and slowly blossoming social justice. The deck was conceived in South Africa, a place which was torn by division and fear but which experienced great change in 1994 when the first democratic elections were held allowing people of every race to vote (Nelson Mandela became president). This turtle, on the card backs, is from the Shangaan culture in South Africa — and represents the “slow coming of justice”
About this deck: The African Tarot: Journey into The Self by Marina Romito is a tiny 78 card deck and accompanying LWB, published by US Games. The illustrations are primitive but lovingly made and evoke childhood simplicity. One amazingly positive aspect of this deck is that the authors tried to orient the reader to the PRESENT and to learning about themselves rather than divining the future because, as the LWB states, “the only future we face is the one we shape for ourselves”