Parables

A parable is a short tale that illustrates a universal truth; it is a simple narrative. It sketches a setting, describes an action, and shows the results. It may sometimes be distinguished from similar narrative types, such as the allegory and the apologue. A parable often involves a character who faces a moral dilemma or one who makes a bad decision and then suffers the unintended consequences. Although the meaning of a parable is often not explicitly stated, it is not intended to be hidden or secret but to be quite straightforward and obvious. (via Wikipedia)

We are story tellers. Some scholars have suggested that since we are not so very wise, yet, we should rename our species Homo fabulans rather than Homo sapiens. No one knows when humans began speaking – scientists guesses range between 50,000 to 2 million years ago. We told our stories orally and then visually.

Cuevas de las Manos, Argentina, 7,000 bce

It’s only recently, in the history of humanity, that we’ve been writing our stories. Each step of the way is a distancing of story teller and story receiver. The intimacy of sitting around a fire in the evening and listening to grandmother tell stories of the spring emerging from winter is lost on the printed page or the electronic reader. We grasp for intimacy in various ways but are not often successful.

Pictures sit in the middle ground – we don’t know the story told by these women’s hands in the cave in Argentina – but we can imagine stories about them. And we can certainly see a story emerging in this painting from the Lascaux Caves in France

5 Horses in Lascaux Cave ~ What story would you tell?

The illustrations in the tarot deck are parables, meant to tell universal truths. Most of the older decks are problematic in many ways – they assume whiteness, patriarchy, hierarchy. They illustrate these universal truths with a eurocentric world view – and can still be useful to us in our day to day lives as new new tarot/divination decks come onto the scene with more and more options to seeing the world in a more diverse, inclusive way that reflects humanity as a whole.

I pulled some cards today to ask for guidance for those of us who feel we are called to claim our power, our gifts, our skills – but don’t really know how to do this. My words are clumsy, perhaps. It’s not how to ‘do’ it but rather how to ‘be’ it. What is it that we need to understand and believe about ourselves and the world in order to claim who we truly are.

Our guidance includes three parable drawings that become one larger parable. That one parable is based on the context of the question, the reader and the audience, and the order of the cards. A card reading is multi-dimensional when you are looking for present moment guidance rather than foretelling a future that’s always a moving target.

We’ve met the Queen of Pentacles a few times – especially in the The Queen’s Heart tale. In this reading, the Queen suggests that we get to know our gifts, skills – our power in the most practical and grounded ways possible. Rather then immediately jumping to the third eye and crown chakras and ‘om’ing ourselves into awareness – we need to get rooted in the root chakra and feel the fire in our solar plexus. Be real. Don’t fake it ’til you make it, don’t fake it at all. Just don’t pretend that you don’t have these gifts. You do. Claim them. Get to know them. And when you feel replete (for the moment) transform into the Fool.

Remember, when the Fool enters the picture we are led in new, unexpected directions. Your gifts and your power are not here to make you comfortable, you did not choose them so that you could binge watch on Netflix. You chose the power you know you have in order to set out on a journey of self discovery that will allow you to become.

There is freedom waiting for you on the breezes of the sky. You ask: what if I fall? I answer: oh, but my darling, what if you fly?! ~ author unknown

Finally, we arrive at Temperance. The word means restrained – what we see is the energy of the emotions being enhanced and yet restrained within the limits of the cups. Try it – take two cups and pour water back and forth between them – if you get a good rhythm going, the water becomes oxygenated … energized.

The angel – some interpret this as the Archangel Gabriel – is standing on earth/pentacles and water/cups and is of the air/swords element and her wings are the color of fire as the fiery sun rises in the east.

In order to become who we already are we need both the emotional passion and the containers to hold that passion for the times when we feel off, weak, tired, uninspired. The road is there – clear and easy – moving toward the Light. When we feel disheartened, we can call on Gabriel to accompany us.


This is a gorgeous reading full of hope. I’ve had many conversations in the past days about wanting more clarity for direction. I think this is an excellent answer for us all.


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One thought on “Parables

  1. Phyllis says:

    Ahhh – love this. Especially the idea that Archangel Gabriel is in the background for those times when claiming who we really hits everyday obstacles. Your interpretations of the cards are poetic and fluid 🙂

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