Tuesday, December 11, 2007

8 Pentacles - Kavanah

As noted previously, this is a chapter in a book about the Tarot aimed at Intermediate students of Tarot, not beginners or advanced students. It is particularly aimed at writers looking to learn World Building and Alien Character building.

Updated and expanded compilation of all these Tarot Just For Writers entries is now available on Kindle:

The Wands and Cups Volumes and  the Swords and Pentacles Volumes, are now all available separately on Kindle.  The 5 Volumes combined are also available on Kindle as one book, cheaper than buying them individually.

The Not So Minor Arcana: Never Cross A Palm With Silver Aug 30, 2015 99 cents

The Not So Minor Arcana: Wands Sept. 1, 2015  99 cents

The Not So Minor Arcana: Cups Sept. 11, 2015 99 cents

The Not So Minor Arcana: Swords  Sept. 17, 2015 99 cents

The Not So Minor Arcana: Pentacles  Sept. 21, 2015 99 cents

The Not So Minor Arcana: Books 1-5 combined Sept. 24, 2015 $3.25

This series is designed not for the beginner or the advanced student, but for the intermediate student and specifically for writers doing worldbuilding..


And Remember: The meaning of a Tarot Minor Arcanum resides in the placement on the Tree of Life (i.e. the number on the card) integrated with the "World" or Suit of the card.

For the Tree of Life and the Jacob's Ladder diagrams see:


I don't really go with the way this page explains the Tree, but it is worth thinking about. There are many other ways. For now, ponder the diagrams on this page or Google up some others.

I have been posting here since August 14th, 2007, every Tuesday, the 10 minor Arcana of the suit of Swords. The Ace of Pentacles was posted Oct 23, 2007. The 3 of Pentacles was accidentally posted dated Monday November 5th.


8 Pentacles - Kavana

We're now talking about the bottom circle of the left hand column (your left as you face the diagram) of Jacob's Ladder.

The Waite Rider card is the picture of the cobbler-like figure making coins - circles with Pentacles on them. It is the master craftsman materializing his art.

And you thought Pentacles (the material world) would lack mysticism especially when manifesting through 8 which is where all of "science" resides?

8 is associated with Mercury (Hermes), which rules thought via Gemini (Air) and Virgo (Earth).

Hermes is associated with Natural Philosophy, the precursor of science and science is organized (Virgo) thought (Gemini).

So what's Kavana?

Well, that's the transliteration of the Hebrew word which is translated as "intention." But it's a lot more than that. It's the central discipline of the magician - focused attention at the soul level.

When it comes to mastering the craft of concentration or meditation, the one hardest thing to grasp is that concentration does not consist of what you are thinking about, nor does meditation consist of thinking of nothing.

This craft of the mind has to do with what you are not-thinking about, more than with what you are thinking about. It is what you exclude from consciousness, or the fact that you exclude all but a certain thing, that brings on the meditative state.

Remember the discussion of 3. To be anything is to not-be everything else. Choice and commitment are an Initiation, a process to be mastered and internalized.

Thus "intention" is focused and narrowed to a laser beam, with all the attention that would be multi-tasking, scanning and recording 360 degrees around you, flicking from issue to issue trying to juggle your life into some semblance of order -- all that force of attention is gathered away from all those "other" issues and brought to bear on one thing and one thing only.

What thing?

Ah, there's the art in this matter.

What to "intend" during this exercise can't really be effectively chosen by the conscious Will.

The lesson of the 8 process is all about the place of the conscious will in the scheme of things. It is not dominant. But it can not be dominated.

The intention to be poured into the crafting of this Pentacle is negotiated through the point where the deepest subconscious mind connects with the soul, communicates with the spirit, and receives energy from the Creator.

How all those levels interior to the human being connect, interact, and function will provide the menu from which to choose an intention for this process. Success or failure will be governed by the degree of Peace that has been achieved.

Here we come to a mystical meaning for the word Shalom - Peace.

Peace isn't lack of war or lack of conflict or lack of disagreement. "Peace" doesn't mean I win; you lose. Shut up and do what I say. (which is the attitude behind the "self-discipline" of dieting.)

Peace does not originate outside the physical body. Peace is a matter of love between the Spirit, Soul, Mind, and Body (all of which consist of many components which can likewise be in conflict.)
Peace is smoothly flowing energy - collimated light; laminar flowing fluid. Peace is energy manifesting effectively and efficiently without collateral damage.

8 of Pentacles works best as the Intention to Craft Peace between Spirit, Soul, Mind and Body.

The Pentacle represents the upward yearning human spirit supported by the 4 "Elements" or "Worlds." Bringing those "Elements" together to cooperate toward a single goal crafts peace.

Remember how I've mentioned that in the scientific view of the universe, the results of your actions are governed by what you do?

If two people in different countries perform the exact same experiment, they "should" get the same results. If they do, it "proves" the hypothesis and advances it to the level of a theory.

In the magical view of the universe, the results of your actions are governed by who you are.

Two people in different countries should perform different actions to get the same results. One person might need money and buy a lottery ticket (and win); another person might need money and write a book titled Harry Potter. Each person has to do that which bespeaks their own personal Identity at the soul level.

Example 1: Two scientists on opposite sides of the globe each run a particle accelerator experiment, certain of their theories and certain the experiment will work because all the ones leading up to this one worked out. Each is certain they will be the first to prove this theory and win a Nobel Prize for it.

S1 runs his experiment and sends the results to the computer. He goes home, triumphant, knowing his results will be ready in the morning.

S2 runs his experiment (truly identical in every regard to S1's) likewise certain he's got it. He sends his results to the computer, and goes home imagining what he'll do with the prize money.

S1 wins the Nobel prize.

S2 is killed in the blast when his accelerator blows up and takes out most of the university campus and his home and all evidence that he achieved the breakthrough first (yeah, no off site backup).

Example 2: Two farmers, one in Canada and one in Argentina, plant crops in their correct season. They've calculated the cost per bushel to produce the yield and guessed the World Market price and sold into the commodity futures market. They each have sound estimates of their profit.

F1 sows, weeds, fertilizes, and reaps. She gets double the yield and makes a nice profit that year, paying debts from the draught of the year before with something left to buy seed for next year.

F2 sows, weeds, fertilizes, and -- doesn't reap. A raging firestorm sweeps in from the prairie and destroys his crop.

Success or failure does NOT entirely depend on what you do or how well you do it.

Of course, if you do nothing, you reap or win nothing. But it is likewise possible for someone who does things "all wrong" to get the promotion, reap the windfall, write the best seller.

From a mystical point of view, it seems that "what" happens to us is not nearly so important as what we learn from the results of our actions and how that learning changes us inside to make peace between spirit and soul.

All that internal change doesn't change "what" happens to you in the world externally -- it changes how it feels when it happens and thus how you respond to events -- and how events then respond to you. The world is an interactive game. The world responds to you, but not so much to what you do.

Back to 5 Pentacles -- remember our writer got her first really bad review in 5 Pentacles and it hit her so hard she lost her self confidence.

In 6 Pentacles, a film option opportunity dropped in her lap, and in 7 Pentacles she sat over cold coffee for hours and hours hesitating to sign the option contract.

The process of 5, 6, 7 is the same as in Swords. A project comes out of the private growth stage of 4, gets hammered in 5, repaired by Love in 6, then the lesson is evaluated and assimilated in 7.

Now in 8, the meaning of that lesson starts to become clear. The mentality becomes involved in judging the evaluation of 7 and how the lesson hammered home in 5 actually fits into the overall life and personality.

This kind of lesson "learned" makes changes in the subconscious, and possibly even in the soul and spirit. These are the lessons that you might (not will) take with you to your next life.

No two people learn the same lesson from the same events.

Here in 8, a new "power" (a skill, knowledge, position, wealth -- some kind of power) has been acquired through the 5, 6, 7 processes and now must be used. (See One; Do One; Teach One)
The Waite Rider deck image is of a cobbler chiseling out a Pentacle on a circle. He's using a skill (practical or arcane) to create a material object which then can be used for something. The image implies it's money -- he's either a Royal Minter (right side up) or a forger of currency (upside down - lesson not well assimilated in 7).

I like to remember the core meaning of 8 Pentacles by calling it "The Initiation of the Mirror Degree" -- which is a mystical experience that rams home the lessons of all the previous processes; "As you Sow; So Shall Ye Reap" and "What Goes Around; Comes Around" and all similar maxims (cliche's all) that indicate you, of your own free will, craft your world with whatever skill (or lack thereof) at your command.

What is inside you is mirrored outside you. By grabbing hold of what's outside you, you can get hold of what's inside you, down underneath the subconscious where your conscious mind can't go, and make changes in yourself by changing your world, then watching your world change to match your new inside. (the Arcane name for this science is Alchemy, so the guy in 8 Pentacles is actually an alchemist changing base metal to gold.)

Change is a process: a cyclical, interactive process of problem solving, part of the scientific method. It is a process of successive approximations.

Mastering a skill is a problem solving sequence: "Oh, that didn't work; what did I do wrong this time?"

The 8 Pentacles let's you see how your Self (your Identity) creates the world around you as a reflection of what is inside you where your intentions are shaped. If there's no peace inside, there will be no peace outside.

In principle, when you can see what you're doing, you can start doing it on purpose, if you're willing to forge a peace with yourself. 8 Pentacles sums up all the foregoing lessons embedded in the processes from Ace of Wands on down to 8 Pentacles. As you craft your own Identity, your Self, so will your world be crafted to match, so that the lessons the world dumps on you will pertain to you and not to someone else.

If you don't like what's going on outside of you -- change something inside.

Take for example, a young runaway teen girl who finds herself on the streets dealing drugs and getting high every night.

She gets shot at, sees where this life is going, and makes a change inside herself. She makes up her mind this life is not going where she wants to go. Then, by "accident" she sits down on a bus bench and sees the 800 hotline number offering help. Because of the change she has made inside herself, now (in 8 Pentacles) she is able to make that phone call.

That bus bench didn't happen to be there by accident, and that 800 number wasn't still legible by accident, and she wasn't sober enough to comprehend the opportunity by accident. The bench had been there all the time. What changed was inside her. She is now crafting her world with her skills.

OK, making a phone call isn't maybe such a lofty skill, but she couldn't do it before she got shot at in 5 Pentacles, got saved by a Good Samaritan in 6 Pentacles, and re-evaluated everything in 7 Pentacles.

90% of the solution to any problem of the real world, just as in algebra, is stating the problem in a useful form.

In reverse, the 8 Pentacles can represent a problem statement that is not in a useful form. It is misdirected problem solving energy.

For example: You want happiness. You look at your life and see all the things you don't have and conclude (because you didn't assimilate Love in the 6 and 7's processes) that you would be happy if you had those things. So you set out to get money in order to buy things.

Sometimes that works, but most often it doesn't because you have put your energies into solving the wrong problem.

You may get the things, and still find yourself unhappy, but now you don't have the energy or the years left to solve the real problem.

This kind of hyperdrive toward solving the wrong problem can result in a feeling of working so hard to no avail, a feeling of futility and failure while others look at you with envy of your success (which attitude only makes your despondency deeper).

In the midst of the 8 Pentacles Reversed process, you often find the syndrome called Type A Personality -- the person who can't sit still and who is far more likely to die young of a heart attack.

In reverse, 8 Pentacles can produce the sort of situation where progress (i.e. earning huge year-end bonuses) is counter productive. You lose your family because you're never home, but boy do you have what to pay alimony with.

Or 8 Pentacles reversed can result from the sort of endless mentation our writer fell into during 7 Pentacles.

Let's rejoin her as she re-reads the option contract for the hundredth time.

Suddenly it dawns on her that she can't decide because she's been evaluating the situation all wrong.

It doesn't matter whether they make this movie or not, or if they do make it, it doesn't matter if they mess it up. What matters is whether she has another book in the pipeline to take advantage of any attention garnered by the movie project.

With 8 Pentacles right side up at last, she can see how this opportunity has resulted from the internal changes she made in herself. Her world has rearranged itself to reflect those inner changes, and now in 8 Pentacles she can see what to do.

She is now confident she can handle whatever results from this option contract. She has spent hours studying this contract. She understands what she can (and can't) use it for. She intends (kavana) to make good use of this opportunity, regardless of what others do, to further her writing career. She will employ all her skills, incorporate all the lessons that have gone before, and work with diligence and impeccable determination.

She picks up the pen and dashes off her signature with a smile.

Wholly focused on externalizing that which she's crafted within herself, she runs into her office, makes a copy for her files, puts the original in the return envelope and takes it to the mailbox -- in the nick of time.

She catches the mailman walking away and hands the envelope to him.

Then she goes back inside to call her agent before the kids get home.

8 Pentacles is SIGNING THE CONTRACT WITH FULL FOCUSED INTENTION. It is a magical act. It creates something real and tangible, coin of the realm. It changes - everything.

The result of that act, in success or failure, will reflect the kavana at that moment more than it will the simple business of affixing a signature.

When you act with kavana, you don't get what you want, think you want, or intend. You can't make things happen with your conscious mind's intention. Kavana comes from deep down, way beneath the subconscious mind, from that place where Identity connects to the Creator.

You can't select kavana and you can't control it because one component of it is you, your own Identity.

It matters more who you are than what you do -- but even who you are doesn't control the world. Everyone else is a "who" with free will and kavana, with needs, wants and desires, with craft and determination. Everyone matters as much as you do.

However, you will note that our writer would not have had an option contract to sign had she not crafted herself and her novel with such energy, application, and vision.

You craft your own corner of the world. It's just like installing a program - everyone of the few people who own this program (are born with this natal chart) have started with the same code to install. But then you install it in the directory you choose on the drive you choose. You select what features of it to install and what to disable. You customize the colors of the display, the font size, etc. You arrange the contents of the dropdown menus. You program the right-click menu. Then you use it to create your own original content (your own life), like nobody else's.

And yet your life will follow a recognizable pattern because others have lived that pattern. The Tarot can reveal a lot about the recognizable pattern of the software you are using to write your life, but relatively nothing about the story you will produce.

Each of these Minor Arcana cards describes one of those archetypal patterns. A Tarot reading can show which menu selections are not grayed-out at the moment, but it can't show which you will select with enough kavana to manifest a change, nor how that change will manifest.

If you're looking for a tool to foretell the future, you're looking in the wrong place. If you're looking for a tool to make sense out of life, you just might find it here if you can look beyond the surface of this tool.

Jacqueline Lichtenberg

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