Friday, January 14, 2011


writing this one early (for me) in the morning, before I have a chance to wake up. I’m all full of dreams. Feels like being on a beach in the almost light, waves rolling and booming, but the tide receding, soon the waves will be so far offshore that I won’t hear them. I dreamed again, as I often do, of flying. I was among palm trees, but not sure exactly where. I found the ascent amazingly easy – I just rose straight up, in seconds higher than the trees, my heart a little in my throat from fear and excitement, and thinking “Oh. It’s easier here in the tropics.” (Worth noting that I’ve only been back three months from a year in southern China – lots of palm trees along the Mekong). At last, high enough. I always, in these dreams, fear going too high, losing control of something, but I met this lift with exhileration. I also asked for speed – and found myself moving over the ocean (the palms were on the water’s edge) with dizzying speed, but very low now, just skimming the water, skimming and brushing the edges of objects, boats, wharves, not in danger, and moving almost disorientingly fast and low.

I wonder what the secret is to maintaining altitude. No forward motion? As long as I wasn’t going anywhere, i kept rising. Years ago, maybe in grade six, I had to memorize a poem called ‘High Flight’. “Oh I have slipped the surly bonds of earth” it began, and ended “reached out and touched the face of God.”

This morning the Tarot offers the Five of Pentacles. Because it’s so early in the morning the card raises two responses in me, The first, because my mind is sleepy and not dressed yet, is “Oh please, please, take off these concrete shoes and let me fly. I don’t need a body any more.”

The other voice kicks in, helpful, nicely dressed, perhaps a little didactic, wearing a tie at this hour of the morning. Five is the number of constriction, test, and change. Four is built to last (“My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings. Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair”). Five reminds us that every container we build will be broken up, that what is contained will break it sooner or later. On one side of the line the pressure is excruciating. In Hebrew the name of the fifth Sephira is Gebura, the Inspector. The Test. Also sometimes simply called Pachad, or Fear. On the other side of the line, it’s breakage, emergence. Both are held in the Five.

Often the Five of Pentacles is associated with loneliness, illness, poverty, or disability, and can be called the Lord of Scarcity. It offers hope in that nothing in the Universe is static, and that five is a highly dynamic number – the form will break. One can ponder the misery of life held in a bone-breaking grip of suffering, or envision the breaking of the form.

Or fly? Straight up? A roller-coaster leap into empty blue infinity.


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