(This is part three of a series on the Tarot.)
To some extent you are the master of your own destiny.
In a very minute way perhaps, on the grand scale, but also in a profound eternal way.
You are free to choose your path, and God wouldn’t have it any other way.
However much or little we are influenced by the changing positions of the cosmos and other environmental factors, we are free to make decisions in our lives that affect the lives of ourselves and of others, at least on a mundane level.
We can manipulate our lives in such a way as to bring about a desired outcome.
Survival, for starters, perhaps.
Where it ends though, is the heart of the matter.
Much of what we have thought of as magic in the past, was just specialised knowledge. To know the properties of plants, for example, was information that was passed down in families over generations, and perhaps not generally understood.
Sometimes that which is not understood is feared for its power and inherent threat, when it ought be treasured.
Sometimes such understanding is revered, or thought to be God-given, when it is not.
We can easily delude others into thinking that we have special powers, even when we haven’t. And we can wield considerable power and influence over others in this way, to our own ends, be it glory, or financial gain.
Who is to say whether this prophetess or that seer is the real thing or a fraud? It is hard to tell. Only time will tell if their predictions are right, and by then most of them will have been long gone with your money. There is also an element of self-fulfilling prophesy influence. If I tell you that you are going to have a miserable day, it is probable that you will go about having a miserable day. Psych 101.
And we all want so much to have something to believe in.
Some higher power to help us, and heal us and give us what we need and want. Preferably with no strings attached. And depending on how deluded we are, one that can be manipulated.
We don’t want to do God’s will…we want God to do our will.
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
On the other side of the coin, that which is of divine origin is not always recognised as such.
I am thinking of something I read about Reiki, as an example. It suggested that when the early Christians performed miraculous healing through hands-on touch, the Chinese wanted to re-create the effect, so they started to lay hands on people, and it developed into a complex modality.
It didn’t work, of course.
There is lots of snake oil out there.
Maybe it is fitting that the first person the Fool meets with on his journey is the Magician.
It is the second day of his journey, and his provisions are low..he might be starting to worry about finding food and shelter as darkness falls.
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
Usually this image is portrayed as a benevolent guide, or as being in touch with our wild natural instincts, but it might more accurately be described as the personification of self-will, or self-preservation.
Maybe it is well to be reminded at the outset that if we are not following this path to achieve our own ends, but God’s.
Make no mistake.. unlike the master of manipulation, the Prince of the World, who can only lie and deceive, this is real power.
But it is to be carefully wielded in the cause of righteousness, and until we have the spiritual maturity to make decisions based on love and in line with the will of God, we will not be trusted with it.
We can do nothing without him, Jesus said.
But with him, we can effect real and lasting change in the world, partly in miraculous ways, by divine intervention, but largely through our mundane daily lives, by following his example and instructions to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and strength, and to love one another.
That is the when the real magic happens.
It can be a heady experience as you begin to trust God and see his promises come to pass, see prayers answered, people walking on water. But Jesus also cautioned us not to rejoice at these, but that our names are written in the Book of Life.
You don’t need any magic tricks to connect with God. He has the technology to be present in your life at all times, aware of everything that concerns you, even to the number of hairs on your head. He knows everything that has happened to you since the day you were conceived, and he wants you to live in health, in peace and harmony, free of suffering or sorrow.
The way there is not through manipulating the world, but by choosing to trust God, who has your best interests at heart and who is willing and able to intervene in your life for good, by following the steps of his Son along the path, one step at a time.
Test the spirits. If what they say does not come to pass then you will know. And don’t play with fire. It can be a dangerous panacea, and you don’t need one when you can simply ask God for the things you need.
Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?
If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.
But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.
Matthew 7.15, 6.31, John 10.36-38