Sunday, November 6, 2011

Swimming with piranhas: the Knight of Cups

I’m not feeling very Knight of Cups today. I can’t find it in myself or in my life right now. The Knight of Cups is sometimes called the Fire of Water. When I check in with my own water I find it fractures, as if all the liquid crystals that made it up were like mirrors full of cracks. The Knight of Cups is deep receptivity, transformative – the Fire of Water is the Universal Solvent. There is nothing that, over time, water cannot convert. But to be transformed you first have to step into the water. I warn you away. Step into me right now and you may not find the transformative powers of water, you may find the piranhas of irritability. They may not yet have coalesced into the crocodile of anger, but piranhas can do a pretty good job with all their little teeth.

Maybe they even do, in their way, transform. Go swimming with dolphins and your spirit may be transformed. Try swimming with piranhas and your body will be transformed. Into them.

They say that piranhas only attack if they smell blood, if you have some cut or open wound. Otherwise they will let you swim with impunity.

Perhaps they are the outrunners of the Knight. As in the old days the Knight hunted with his dogs running before him. Anacreon challenged Apollo, and was torn apart by Apollo’s hounds. These deities/entities are not always tame, not always safe to hang out with.

When I was little we still used tincture of iodine for cuts. We’d come into the house with some gash or gouge and our mother would put a towel out and pour a little iodine into whatever owie we’re brought in. It hurt like fire. And then the cut was clean. Whatever living things had taken up opportunistic residence there were burned. So, in the process, were we.

So I throw myself into the water now. I fear those little teeth. I know that I have stuff to burn away, and that the Knight of Cups will, as always, receive me (or you, or anyone) unconditionally. But that doesn’t mean it might not hurt.

The consolation is at the end. Shakespeare says it nicely, of the transformative powers of water:

“Full fathom five thy father lies,
And are his bones of coral made.
Those are pearls that were his eyes.
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a Sea-change
Into something rich & strange
Sea-Nymphs hourly ring his knell.
Harke now I heare them, ding-dong, bell.”

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