Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Burning Bough

Today's card from the Fire Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2011) has me slightly flummoxed!

This is the Seven of Chalices (Cups), traditionally about having too many choices, or living in a fantasy land.  What we see in the image is a grey-haired man in robes, in a woodland clearing.  Behind him, the forest presses in, lit by the sun that is just starting to peak out from behind a craggy mountain formation.  In front of him is a boulder with a branch on it, that appears to be starting to burn by itself.  I get the impression that this may be a scene from a biblical story, but don't know enough about the bible to figure out which one or how it might connect to the Seven of Cups.  It's not a burning bush, just a branch...

Of course, one could say that someone who worships a branch that's on fire is living in a fantasy land.  Still, I don't like that interpretation, as I think the allegory goes far deeper than that.  This could be about how we choose to view the world: from a position of faith or one of skepticism.  How do we make our choices?  Based on rationality or on belief and emotion?

I feel most of my decisions are fairly rational, and yet having a certain logic to it does not guarantee that a decision is right.  And part of that rational process includes assessing the emotional impact of choices.  Ha, sounds like I'm getting myself into the unclarity of traditional Seven of Cups depictions.  Okay, today I will try to be aware of what fuels the decisions I make!

I am grateful for the reminder that irrationality can be hidden in seemingly rational places.


10 comments:

  1. "Of course, one could say that someone who worships a branch that's on fire is living in a fantasy land." hahaha, I love this line!
    It is an interesting card illustration, for sure. Maybe the dark, ominous forest signifies the confusion or feeling of being overwhelmed that one can have when facing too many options. And maybe the man in the center is praying for insight that will help clarify his path.
    I love how different deck art can be!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like that idea, Olivia. Then the sun is bringing light to the confusion of all those dark trees :)

      Delete
  2. There's only one Bible story that springs to mind and that's the story of Elijah proving to the worshipers of Baal that YHWH is the one true god. He challenges them to set up a sacrifice and ask their god to light the fire--whichever god lights the fire on his own altar is the true god. Well, Baal never turns up, but YHWH does light his fire--not only that, but after the altar has been dowsed three times with water, so that a ditch has formed around it. The fire of YHWH licks up every bit of wood, offering and even the water.

    But of course, the picture on your card doesn't much resemble that scene, other than an apparently spontaneously combusting branch.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, I knew you'd be the person to ask on biblical stories! As you say, the image doesn't much resemble that, though it could be the start of Elijah praying for YHWH to light the altar fire, before the dowsing, and not being able to see the other people/altar off card...

      I guess that might fit with choices - choosing between the "one true God" and other deities. Doesn't appeal to me much, but it would kinda work.

      Delete
  3. I see one branch and then the many branches on the trees behind him. For me, it's the same and different. I like the illustration more than others I've seen but I don't know how I'd go about reading it, other than to think about how that branch is viewed differently to those in the wood. Another puzzling one! hehe. You've got your work cut out with this one this week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's an interesting perspective, PLN! Perhaps something there about making a choice for one branch, and that giving "power" to that choice (hence the branch being on fire)...

      Delete
  4. Very thought-provoking post. After struggling with it for a long time I find that I prefer to use my intuition, but I still have to get past my inner skeptic on...well, pretty much everything!

    XOXOX,
    MM

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Overall, after all these comments, I think I like a combination best. Needing to seek clarity, so that we can make a choice, and so invest our decision with the power to move us forward :)

      That might be relevant to your inner skeptic, too: a reminder that things become important simply because we choose them!

      XOXOX,
      Chloë

      Delete
    2. That is true. I thought about saying that, too. But I realized that, for better or worse, I prefer my intuition. But as a Virgo north node, I am supposed to combine my intuition with practical information in the world for the best view--so your approach sounds good.

      You may be right...whatever we imbue with meaning becomes meaningful. Maybe that's the only purpose and meaning to life? I don't know, but I know that I want happiness and wholeness to be more central to my life and all the worries and self doubt to be far less important!

      XOXOX,
      MM

      Delete
    3. Well, I certainly with you luck with that, MM. An honourable goal :)

      XOXO,
      Chloë

      Delete