Thanksgiving and Gratitude
“Do not indulge in dreams of having what you have not, but reckon up the chief of the blessings you do possess, and then thankfully remember how you would crave for them if they were not yours.”
―Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
It’s that time of year...again...so quickly!
We have had Bonfire night, Christmas is just around the corner and somewhere in between is Thanksgiving. No doubt, if I lived across the pond, I would be an ardent fan and I would probably go all out and be festive with my usual aplomb! However, I am not American and Thanksgiving is not a focus for my family to celebrate. I do think though, that it is very worthy to have a day where one can ruminate on the noble act of being thankful.
As I am not familiar with the American custom of Thanksgiving I can’t write anything particularly meaningful about the tradition but I can honour the season with a little look at the 4 of Cups which sometimes serves as a reminder to be thankful.
The image on the RWS 4 of Cups reminds me of the biblical Jonah (Jonah 4.6).
Jonah was very annoyed with God for being compassionate to the Ninevites for turning from their destructive ways, he went to a hill to sit by himself and wallow in his own anger. Jonah wanted to end his life such was his disappointment and rage. (Even though he had just been spared from being little more than plankton to a whale). So Jonah sat on the hill at the edge of the city and waited to see what would happen. God created a beautiful plant that grew and covered Jonah’s head from the sun and to ease his discomfort. Jonah was happy enough about the plant but the next day God gave a worm to the plant and it withered and died. Then came a scorching wind and blazing sun and Jonah, who was still totally pissed off with the whole of Nineveh and God being so kind and all, became angry again and wanted once more to die. He was reprimanded by God (or whatever you see as the infinite source of all wisdom) Jonah was just one man, he had enjoyed goodness in his life, things come and go but his comfort was no greater than anyone else’s especially a city of a hundred and twenty thousand.
The 4 of Cups is a card that is not easily understood. My understanding of 4 is that is a number of mercy, giving and tolerance.
In this particular card we see a moment of spiritual enlightenment, the penny drops, a light bulb moment. A gift is being offered, one which creates possibilities and insights, an opportunity to swell the coffers of one’s own treasure store, yet there is dissatisfaction, a feeling of the dream is not the reality. In this card there is a sense of disconnection, emotional flat lining. A feeling of the world exists in the corner somewhere but one is not a part of it. I have found that this sense of disconnection prevalent in our thinking and being these days. It is vital that we remember that not only are we connected to nature, we are nature. Perhaps it would serve us well to become more connected to our feelings, the food we eat and its source, other people and what makes them tick. We are absolutely interdependent on each other and the world we live in.
Back to the image on the 4 of Cups. The Transformation.
Oh, how I love those transformations! Here transformation is pulling you further onto a path that requires every bit of you to participate on the journey. Drinking deeply from the cup might mean sometimes we taste the grinds at the bottom but that is life and ultimately we are lead to illumination. This is not always easily achieved and from time to time it is worth assessing past attempts in order to re-evaluate a way forward to future success. We have to be engaged emotionally, our passion carries us along, the lack of which could spell disaster to any project or relationship.
Inspiration might be a key word.
In this case, it needs to be followed through and truly explored, in the midst of that we find something of ourselves that we can offer to others with sincerity and a pure motive.
The hand that carries the cup shows spirit at work and could indicate a visionary or mystical experience. Perhaps we become aware of a spiritual guide or we open up to the possibilities of various realms that operate at once. We are prepared for spiritual events that are sometimes unexpected, maybe a calling from the other side. Either way, we can’t always have everything our own way, the greatest thing we can do is accept our journey and be here and now for the sake of self to share.
We are warned against allowing our imagination to run amok, being ungrounded and indulging in nonsensical fantasies that have no correspondence with reality. Our spiritual treasures are a resource and should be spent wisely. Wisdom, harmony and peace are worthy goals yet without self-discovery we could not know of these.