Losing to Win -Weekly Tarot

I pulled this week’s tarot while sitting at a bar with my fiancé watching the Chiefs-Patriots game with a few dozen inebriated Chiefs fans.

I was the fish out of water there for sure.  Maybe not as much as the table full of Patriots fans in the corner of the bar, but I’m not the type to hang out at bars, nor the type to watch football games voluntarily, so this was not a typical Sunday night passtime for me.  Yet there I found myself cozied up at the bar with my love, local micro-brew in hand, getting all caught up in the energy of the room, the drama of the game, and the collective excitement. For a moment there, I understood the term “Team Spirit.” You’re sitting there in open communion with other fans, imbibing drinks (or…uh, “spirits”), everyone is dressed up in their liturgical colors, all wrapped up in a collective intention, laser-focused on how it plays out.  It’s easy to feel possessed by the atmosphere. It truly feels like a group ritual.

If that’s how it feels to watch it at a bar, well I can only imagine what it must feel like at at the stadium, with the drums and the chanting, and the energy of a few thousand people. I’ve felt that sort of power at a concert, but when you add in the drama of a competition and the passion of local fans, it becomes something truly fearsome and…well…beautiful.

So I’m sitting at the bar and decided to pull a tarot card. I pulled the Archer (from the Wildwood Tarot), traditionally known as the Chariot.  “What’s that mean?” my fiancé asked.

“It means the Chiefs are gonna win!” I said.  Now that was a stretch.  The Patriots were leading 24-9 going into halftime when I pulled the card.  And as the drunken man in a cowboy hat beside me loudly proclaimed to the entire bar several times, “Nobody mounts a comeback against Brady and Belichick in their own stadium. Its over.”

Of the two oracles at Driver’s Sportsbar that had called predictions that night, the witch lost to the Cowboy sage. The final score was 43-40… Patriots.

But that’s not to say the witch was entirely incorrect.  If you’re going to lose, I figure you want to lose like the Chiefs did.  Going into this game, they had been undefeated in 5 games.  Their 23 year old quarterback was going up against the unstoppable Tom Brady. And despite the fact that they didn’t win, in my uneducated opinion, they played great. They rallied late in the game to take the lead, and even managed a 75 yard touchdown.  In the end they may have lost, but they never lost their drive.  They never gave up. They were simply overpowered.

The Chariot card is usually about victory.  Its about driving forward, staying balanced and focused, having divine forces at your command, and conquering the task at hand. I love the Wildwood’s interpretation as an Archer taking aim and I’ve written about it before.  The steady focus of the Archer as she takes aim, the controlled pull back on the bowstring to collect tension and potential energy, which then propels the arrow forward at its target once the Archer lets go. There are few metaphors that capture the art of ritual magick better than this archetype.

I woke up this morning to find my fiancé watching the old Kevin Costner movie Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (Okay movie….great soundtrack).   The first thing I saw as the sleep was leaving my eyes was Robin Hood asking a little boy if he could hold steady aim while being distracted. The boy held up his bow and took aim, and Robin stuck a feather in his ear, causing him to shoot high on the straw man he was using as a target.  Maid Marion taunted him “Could you defy distraction?”

Robin takes the challenge and lifts his bow.  He narrows his focus and prepares to let loose his arrow.  Marion steps in and blows gently across face, causing him to loose his arrow wildly to the side, nearly impaling a bystander.  She laughs. He blushes. The chemistry between them is obvious..

img_9490While this card may have been a lousy predictor for the winner of Sunday’s sportsball match, it makes a great Card of the Week. Because synchronicity almost always comes in threes for me, I knew that this card was meant to be my weekly card when I looked up and saw the moon’s position in the sky this evening.  This is why I love True Sidereal astrology (which is based on the actual position of planets in the sky). Its one thing to read a report that the moon is in Sagittarius.  But to go outside and see the first quarter moon sitting on the shoulder of the Archer, while Saturn sits perched on top of his steady bow….now that tells me a story.

Saturn is the wood of the bow this week.  It bends but does not give way.  The resistance and limitations it gives to the bowstring is the tension that is needed to propel the arrows forward.  When Saturn shows up in our life, its rarely comfortable.  It may cause your arm to get sore.  The finger you use to draw back the bowstring may grow a thick callous over time.  But without these limitations and trials, there is no mechanism to drive you forward to the next level of evolution and growth.

The waxing moon is our steady aim.  When all the odds seem against us, its our fire and passion that keeps our eye on the target. Our actions and priorities always reveal our heart’s true desire.  When Marion blows gently across her love’s face, the strawman in front of him is no longer the target that holds his focus. Emotions can either keep you on target, or wildly distract you. Harnessing the power of emotions to achieve your task is difficult work, but digging into the root of all the issues that bubble up will keep you grounded in reality.

Venus in retrograde has also been asking us to look at the our hearts’ desire and motivation.  This placement of the moon and Saturn in Sagittarius is bidding us to look deeply at our drive, our focus and the interplay between our goals and the limits that are holding us back.  The Chiefs may have lost a game against the Patriots but they never played like a team who knew they were going to lose against a formidable and more experienced opponent. Was this conflict something they needed to hone in on what matters as a team?  I don’t know…my sports knowledge has been exhausted at this point, but when I look at my own life through this lens, I come up with some interesting answers.

There are plenty of things that seem to be holding me back right now.  And there are plenty of things that are taking my time, energy and focus away from the things that matter to me.  Its so easy to become distracted from your long term hopes and ambitions.  But reconnecting with those goals periodically and examining where you are being limited reveals much about the journey ahead.  Sometimes you have to lose a few battles to be reminded why you started to play the game in the first place. What seems like an unstoppable barrier can be the tension that adds the burst of momentum that I need to hit the target, straight and true.

If I can just let go….

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