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“Let us thank God for having made us this gift of death, so that life is to have meaning; of night, that day is to have meaning; silence, that speech is to have meaning; illness, that health is to have meaning; war, that peace is to have meaning. Let us give thanks to Him for having given us weariness and pain, so that rest and joy are to have meaning. Let us give thanks to him, whose wisdom is infinite.”― Amin Maalouf, Leo Africanus
As the world moves into a new phase, there is an abiding image of us all emerging into the light of a post apocalyptic world which we trust will be a brave new one.

For many, lockdown has been a godsend, full of bright blessings and fresh insights. Yet the wider world is calling us to action, slowly and surely we take those tentative steps.

Our welcome into that bright blue yonder is a bit rocky, challenging and uncertain. Rage and chaos, fear and blood and sweat and tears await the intrepid hero as they blunder into the fast flowing river of inevitable change.

It would seem that the chaos will be the very thing that is a catalyst to herald the new. The planets nudge us towards redeeming the human spirit from the one dimensional, old world order.

For the majority of us, hope is our best bet.

Hope that all will be well. Hope that we will finally be in the virus free promised land of peace, harmony, respect and tolerance...even though nothing is promised. Hope is possibly, at this time, all we have. Hope is the ointment that will soothe the wound of bitter experience.

I have a love of novels by Arabic authors.

There is a wonderful richness to the stories that unfold themselves within you and draw you further in so that the tale becomes a living experience in our internal landscape.

The book I am reading now is by Tahar ben Jelloun. A Moroccan writer whose skill has earned several accolades. He is a particular favourite and reading a book by him is soul food. ‘This Blinding Absence of Light' is not an easy read. One could even call it grim but what compels me to keep reading it is that it is a true story.

In brief, in 1971 there was a Skhirat coup d’etat, it was the first of six attempts to take over from King Hasan 11 of Morocco. Corruption and cruelty within the imperial rulership had created a rebel faction that wanted justice as the poor and voiceless were suffering in the extreme.

It was the 10th of July, the King’s birthday. Many were hurt, several killed in this failed coup. Military cadets were falsely advised and thought they were on an entirely different mission but too late, they were caught and would go on to pay a high price for their involvement.

This book is the story of Salim, who along with 60 others was incarcerated in a secret prison, Tazmamart complex, in the Moroccan desert. They remained there for twenty years.

As I write this I think of the Ace of Cups, perhaps this card can symbolise hope as the elixir in its ever full chalice. Hope breathes life anew into the abandoned soul.

It is fascinating and inspiring to see what the human spirit can endure and how resourceful one can be under the bleakest of conditions. I know that it is unlikely that I will ever have to go through some of the things these guys had to, not simply to stay alive but to stay sane. I never had to take a dead man's clothes and make another shirt out of it. I never had to live in a cell that was so small I couldn’t even stand up nor to lie against the already freezing, damp walls to stay warm.

I have had my fair share of challenges in life.

As I read ‘This Blinding Absence of Light’ the events that crept out of my own shadow are put into perspective. It is hope that I receive, hope that no matter what, life can be survived. The book has done its job, the account of remaining in hope has become an act of healing and personal redemption.

I asked for a card for further insights and I received the Seven of Pentacles.

The sevens are about transformation. Creating change, accepting change, being in change, letting go. Part of this process is discovering old wounds that are not yet healed and bringing light into a forgotten corner. Sevens are the courage to heal, reaching out into our potential we grasp for the tools we were born with to manifest something new and meaningful. We are a conscious, evolving being.

In Seven of Pentacles we see that we have hit a pitstop. Our evolving is greatly slowed down, our energy has become diluted and we are full of questions. Uncertainty arrests our development.

There is a hard road ahead.

We may wonder what we have achieved thus so far and still be unsure. Balance is called for. A connection to the Earth and Mother Nature offers strength and energy. A realisation of what we want to be in the world dawns on us and we recognise that more hard work is to come.

Life is hard work and effort but our hope is the rewards that await as a result of all that effort. A new paradigm is ours from a worthwhile harvest. Therein lies the heart of hope.

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