Little by little

Don’t give up on yourself or others

With the Full Moon in Pisces, I decided to cast our collective Tarot reading about compassion. In Astrology, Pisces is the soul of compassion and represents (among other things) an expansive sea of empathy and understanding for others.
I was born during the Moon in Pisces. I see compassion as a healing balm for challenging times, no matter what the challenges. The level of daily challenge is high for most folks right now, with the pandemic changing work and school structures and routines, combined with tough news stories from all across the globe. It’s enough to make even the most kind-hearted among us feel burnt out and overwhelmed. Compassion for others, and the often more difficult to attain compassion for oneself, helps us to develop patience and prevents us from becoming self-centered creeps. And no one wants to be a self-centered creep, right?

The Eight of Pentacles tells us fostering our compassion requires focused effort and time. Illustration: Aimée Dawn Robinson

The reading question:
What do we need to know to strengthen our compassion in these challenging times?

The Deck:
The Rider-Waite Coleman-Smith, first published in 1910.

Astrological Circumstances:
I cast the reading during the Full Moon in Pisces, in a cloud of white sage with strong healing intentions. May it harm none.

The Card:
Eight of Pentacles of the Minor Arcana.

Taurus, Venus.

Physical Description:
The Eight of Pentacles shows an industrious figure at a workbench carving the pentacle emblem into eight golden coins. The carver displays each completed pentacle carving on a nearby tree trunk. There is a town in the distance, where one can sell wares at market. The sky is a neutral colour, suggestive of a still and cloudy afternoon. The figure is focused on their work, their face relaxed and general demeanor calm.

Metaphysical Description:
In the Tarot, and more generally in Pagan symbology, the pentacle represents the human body. Each point of the star depicting a point of the human form when standing with feet and arms outstretched. The pentacle represents healthy bodies and robust spirits. Think of Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous “Vitruvian Man” illustration from way back in 1490 AD, showing a strong figure with their limbs outstretched to touch the edges of a giant circle; Da Vinci essentially made a drawing of a big old pentacle.
Pentacles are the suit of the Earth element in the Tarot. Earth is where we encounter the physical world, our bodies, our stuff, slower moving time, our jobs and the fruits of our physical labours. The Eight of Pentacles reminds us about the importance of moving carefully and slowly, and to proceed at the speed of Earth, especially when we are learning, or improving a skill. This Minor Arcana card shows us that repetition, skill development and apprenticeship will ultimately give us tangible results of which we will be proud.

With global circumstances adding pressure to our lives right now, we are pulled in many directions and may have compassion burnout. Perhaps you have the urge to simply stop feeling compassion, dig a hole and hide, make jaded jokes, express complacent attitudes, simply stop caring.

Resist these urges! Now is not the time to ditch your neighbor, even if you have compassion fatigue. Maintain your integrity. Strengthen your compassion by slowing down and pacing your efforts to help others. Avoid the pretty and petty lures of cynicism by gathering patience and endurance for yourself and others.

The Eight of Pentacles tells us to literally keep chipping away at the larger project of being a compassionate human. Recognition, strength, endurance, knowledge, and the profound growth of body and spirit will be among the rewards for working your muscles of empathy and compassion. Go slowly. Listen. Keep working at it. Listen more. Do not give up on others or yourself and you will be rewarded in ways you do not expect!

Recognize one another and act in ways worthy of recognition

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