Shabbos Oracle: Ease

Night is falling, the western sky outside my window shows the silhouettes of trees, the pale glow of pink and orange rising into the pale pastel blues of the high desert evening sky. The winds are high; the pinon pines and junipers wave their branches in homage to the currents of air. Candles have been lit; the peace of the Sabbath descends upon my home. May the peace of Shabbos fill you and yours as well. 

I spent the afternoon in Gallup, the nearby little city. Like anyone living on the frontier, I needed to pick up some supplies that aren’t available locally. It was easy to pull right onto the sleepy two lane highway out of the driveway rather than negotiate the 8.5 miles of rutted gravel roads that I would have had to take just a week ago.

Ease. That’s my next goal. I want my life to continue to flow with ease. Ease comes from Old French aise, based on Latin adjacens ‘lying close by’. The city is no closer in miles but much closer in ease. I don’t mean that my life should be without challenges or obstacles (though, really, wouldn’t that be nice?) but that those challenges and obstacles be encountered with ease, without drama, with answers and resolutions that flow.

The cover photo is me, floating down the Big Hole River in southwest Montana. A sunny, relaxing day – we put in at Divide and let the river take us at it’s own rate down to Melrose. Green hills and willows on either side and peace around us.

Big Hole River, Montana

We didn’t struggle against the flow – we guided the raft from time to time, but did not need to put in any more effort than that to reach our destination. We trusted the river to bring us where we wanted to go. I’ve experienced periods of life where it was like floating the river – and other times where I felt like I was rowing uphill on a dry stream bed. I know what I prefer.

If you, like me, want to live a life in the flow, filled with more ease. then the Page of Pentacles asks us to examine our lives closely. To be real about what we see – not what we feel or what we think or even what we want – but to look at what is in our lives, right now. The good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful. All of it. Get to know it, find a way to appreciate it.

When we are clear about what is, we can become clear about what we want to plant and grow. The Nine of Pentacles is, hands down, my favorite card in the tarot deck. She is who I am aiming to become. This is her land, her vineyard, her home, her place of refuge. She doesn’t bar her friends and loved ones – but she is careful about who she invites into her sacred space – and all of it is her sacred space. She is the embodiment of ease.

We’ve talked previously about the Lovers card – that it’s really more about making choices than it is about, you know, lovers. The Two of Cups, that’s really the card of lovers, of sex, of marriage, about coupling in the form that is closest to your heart. Cups are, of course, emotions and the emotion here is love. (btw – lust is not an emotion – it’s more closely tied to wands than cups.)

It could well be physical, romantic, sexual, intimate love — or it could be the love of a project, a creation, a place. Whatever the love, it’s been blessed. The winged lion (lamassu) was a Babylonian deity of protection and was often found at the threshold. The caduceus (two snakes twining around a wand) is commonly known as a symbol for medicine – but it’s also a symbol of negotiation.

We have two people, exchanging their hearts (cups became hearts in the playing cards) walking through the threshold of this new phase of life as they negotiate their relationship. She wears the wreath of victory, he wears a wreath of red roses, pledging his love.

So many of us walk into relationships (or run, is more likely) led by our lust, our hormones, our insecurities, and our needs. This card offers a different model of initial restraint, a clear-eyed exchange, and a negotiation (think of my trip down the river as we negotiated the currents) to the benefit of both.

We can’t reach this love without becoming ourselves deeply as in the Nine of Cups, and we can’t reach that until we accept and understand the current state of our personal world. In the best of relationships, this is a cycle revisited again and again as each person matures, grows, and becomes.

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