Today I’ve pulled a card to a Taoist text. Taoism is a Chinese religion. “Tao,” which means “the Way” is, roughly stated, the flow of the universe. Tao is the influence that keeps the universe balanced and ordered. An important theme in Taoism is that fulfilment in life can not be attained by forcing one’s destiny. One must be receptive to the path which is laid out by nature and circumstances, which provides that what is needed. The Taoist adept learns to be at peace with all in the universe: be at home in the dark as well as in the light; on earth as well as in heaven. The action (or non-action) how to achieve this peace is called: “Wu Wei,” the act of knowing when to act and when not to act. The literal meaning of Wu Wei is “without action.” It is often included in the paradox wei wu wei: “action without action” or effortless doing.” It is a subtle harmonization of passivity and action/creativity, it is not just being passive, resulting in a soft power over things, a feeling of harmony and peace.
The Way is Unimpeded Harmony
The Way is Unimpeded Harmony;
its potential may never be fully exploited.
It is as deep as the source of all things:
it blunts the edges,
resolves the complications,
harmonizes the light,
assimilates to the world.
Profoundly still, it seems to be there:
I don’t know whose child it is,
Before the creation of images.
Lao Tze, from the Tao Te Ching
“Wu wei” is a struggle to me, it does not come to me easily. It is not my tarot-tradition either. I am raised in the school of “formulating the your goals,” and in achieving them identify “obstacles,” and “break through them,” but well, through the years I have learned that not all obstacles can be overcome, nor broken through.
Today my question was: What helps me to experience unimpeded harmony?
I worked with the Animal Wise Tarot and the card I received was the Knight of Ancients (Knight of Wands), symbolized by the Komodo Dragon, a huge and strong lizard. On the card itself is written: “strong instincts and impulses to survive.”
For me acting on instinct is related to the Moon, so I looked up what that card entailed in the Animal Wise Tarot (I am not familiar with the deck). The Moon is represented by the Wolf: “guidance and protection through intuition.” The Moon in this deck is a much more subtle card, than the one I received, about intuition and more communicative, wolves live in packs, the Komodo Dragon lives alone is a more raw, it is about survival, and taking action for that. To achieve the experience of harmony I need to listen and act on my instincts and direct impulses.
Although the card is meant for my life in general, I feel that the card gives a message on two frontiers. The first frontier and the strongest message is regarding to my body. I do not listen to the needs of my body, I do not listen to its cycles. I just go on, while sometimes (...often…) it would be better to stop and to do something relaxing. The Komodo Dragon recommends me to act on what my body tells me. This is the hardest message.
The second frontier on which the card has a message is that of the project I want to start on. Regarding to this the Dragon tells me to follow my instincts and act according to them. The project is based on a book and I never work with a book. To feel my way through the material, I need to listen to what my instinct says about it. It will speak loudly, because instincts do, and then I must do my own thing. This is the message I liked most.
It is not for the first time I encounter strong energetic energy this week in the form of a ‘monster’ (a dragon-like thing). But it is funny to have received such a fiery and instinctual card to this question, for ‘Wu Wei’ is such a balanced way of acting. No doubt that it is needed.
Andrew Harvey, The Essential Mystices, Castle Books, 1996.
Painting: Lao Tze