Daily Card: Island of Four Fences

Today’s card is the Island of the Four Fences. An island divided by four enclosures; a king holds a rod of power, a queen holds a cup, a maiden holds a looking-glass and a warrior a spear. Here’s the background:

This island shows the four estates of humanity: gold represents material desires, silver represents artistic attainment, brass indicates strength of arms and crystal means spiritual attainment. The food of maidens from the crystal enclosure is too strong for Maelduin’s crew.

The Meaning

Inappropriate behaviour. Failure to recognise where you should be or which direction you should take. Vocation.

The Challenge

Are you envious of other people’s attainments and their possessions? Discover your own specializations and needs. Are you in the right job or situation?

I had two strong thoughts about receiving this card today. Firstly I have to admit that, yes, sometimes I am envious of other people’s attainments. It happened not so long ago with a fellow pagan who left the coven I am part of and struck out on her own. At the time I was seething with envy yet also ashamed of it. My envy was a human reaction but not a spiritual one because it was filled with ego. Once I’d been able to put my ego in its proper place the envy dissipated. However, it took active work on my part to enable this and a lot of self-reflection. The strange thing is, well perhaps not so strange, is that my envy manifested as anger towards this person. I had to take a good hard look at myself, which wasn’t pleasant at all. The thing is maintaining any kind of spirituality means constant work on yourself. There’s no time to sit on one’s laurels so to speak. The moment you think you’ve ‘got it’, that’s the moment when hubris enters and it all collapses into a big messy pile of dung and the shadow side enters and has a play day.

The second thought is that sometimes we are just not ready for certain spiritual mysteries. As in the case of Maelduin’s men, they couldn’t stomach the spiritual food they were given to eat when on this island – it made them drunk and was too strong for them. When learning deep spirituality we have to imbibe it slowly and in small portions otherwise it too will make us sick (metaphorically speaking). You see spirituality has to be seen with spiritual eyes, not physical ones, a spiritual mind not a physical mind. To a physical mind a lot of deep spirituality seems nonsense and it is only when you are able to cast aside the ego mind does it all become as clear as crystal. Of course this takes time and that’s ok. No-one has a handle on it straight away – after all how long did it take Buddha to receive enlightenment? He journeyed for many years didn’t he. Even the prophet Jesus had to learn about his role and the depth of meaning to his life, and he also spent 40 days and 40 nights struggling with his shadow side in the wilderness.

In fact, the wilderness is a wonderful metaphor for the time we spend searching for our spirituality and for Universal truths. It feels like we are in a fog and cannot find the way out. At times we might be beguiled by lights in the dark, and these sometimes are false lights that can lead us even further astray. At these times we need the spear of the spiritual warrior to fight our demons (shadow). It can feel like being in hell!

Sometimes we are just not ready to understand the mysteries and paradoxes of life. This is ok too because the Universe has a wonderful if not uncanny way of presenting the right lesson at the right time. All we have to do is keep an open mind and try to be receptive. We can do this by watching our ego and making sure that we are coming from a place of spirit rather than ego. If we trust in the Universe and that all things happen for a reason, even if we don’t get it yet, we will move forward and learn, and gradually be able to stomach the food of the Spirit.

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