If you have not read the last post “Change is the only constant?” you might want to do so before reading this post.
I’d like to carry on last post’s discussion on the Wheel of Fortune and the Sphinx to talk about the other characters in the card. If you look around the wheel you will also see what looks a monkey and an alligator with a snake’s tail. These two are Hermanubis and Aphophis respectively. Hermanubis is a composite of the Roman Hermes and Egyptian Anubis who amongst a number of other attributes is a diety of procreation and fertility. In this manifestation Hermanubis has the head of a jackal and the body of a monkey. Apophis is the deified force of chaos and darkness with head of an alligator, torso of a man with his lower half being a snake’s tail. In the simplest terms we have two forces, that which creates order and that which destroys it sitting on either side of the wheel of fortune.
I look at these two characters as being the hands of the Sphinx. Picture this – as well as having the body of a lion and the head of a man I am saying the Sphinx has one monkey hand and one alligator hand. The Sphinx uses both of these forces to accomplish its ends. Perhaps a clearer way to look at this idea is in the 2 of disks in the Rider-Waite-Smith deck. A spitting image no?
Here we have a jester juggling two disks that are creating an infinity sign. The juggler here is the Magician (see below) who is balancing the interplay of the two disks. These disks are not the only things that the Magician is balancing – he is also balancing the four magical tools within him. He has a wand, a cup, a knife, and a disk each representing one of the four virtues. This inner balance is the same process we discussed as the fifth virtue of going in the last post.
It is this balancing within the Magician of the four virtues and balancing outside in the world the forces of creation and destruction that give him his power. And if you have ever seen a juggler – which by the way is an alternate title for the magician – you will know that is not a static thing. Even more so it is not a destination – it is a continuous process. The juggler maintains the flow by constant investment of energy to correct the orbits of the things being juggled. It is a continual process of going.
We all play with these two forces all the time. We create our lives, our families, our jobs, and our environments through choice and by how we handle the events that pass in and out of our lives. We all deal with the forces of destruction when things fall apart, when we have to let go of people, places and things that no longer work for us. It is all in how we relate to this ongoing interplay of creation and destruction that is important.
One of the real secrets behind the Magician is not how to keep all the balls in the air, but how to use the dual power of creating and letting go in order to maintain balance in yourself and your life. Balance might mean dropping a ball or two and starting over, it might mean taking a break, or it might mean working harder.
The core question of this spread is – “how to I become the magician?” It’s a good one to try on a regular basis since the kind of changes we are looking for are more like corrections when driving than directions to the grocery store.
First card on the left is the Monkey card – what do we need to create or bring more of into our lives to maintain balance.
Second card is the Gator card – what do we need to let go of in order to maintain balance.
Finally a card for what the balance is. The reality is that balance may look very different at different times in your life. What is balanced at one point in life is not always helpful at another time. If you are really keen on using more cards your could break this position out along the lines of the Sphinx spread.
In cleaning my basement after writing this I came across an old sweater from the juggling club I belonged to in Junior High School. The slogan or motto for the club was “I juggle therefore I Am” I have since forgotten the Latin. You have to love the synchronicity of this surfacing at this time. It certainly is the “I am” consciousness that feeds the Magician.