Reflection on The Ten of Cups

From today’s one-card reading . . .

Q: What would be a good thing for me to keep in mind today?

A: This.

XIf we consider the numerical sequence of the pip cards of the Minor Arcana—from the Ace of Wands at the beginning to the Ten of Pentacles at the end—to represent a kind of “spiritual lifespan,” the Ten of Cups marks the exact midway point of our journey of self-discovery. It marks a time when we pause to take stock of our accomplishments, to celebrate our good fortune with friends and family, and to revel in a world that our efforts have helped to make a happier, healthier place, and perhaps to chart a course for our :second act” in life.

There’s only one thing to keep in mind, though: None of it is real.

Like the rainbow being hailed by the couple in the card, most of what we perceive in our plane of consciousness is fleeting and transitory, if not an outright illusion of fog and light. We should be increasingly cognizant of this as we enter the “second half’ of our earthly lives—for from this point onward, as our bodies age and our memory fades, our challenge as spiritual beings is to prepare our psyches to eventually discorporate from this existence in a spirit of tranquility, to lay down our egos and surrender our Selves to the mysteries of the beyond. Therefore we should be mindful that what we consider our past accomplishments no longer exist; that what we identify as our world is an illusion, corruptible and impermanent; that clinging to the animate objects we misapprehend as our family and friends is as clinging to dust; and that the only thing that eternally exists in the endless Now of God-consciousness is the Divine energy-force of love that created us and which will one day reclaim us. This all sounds so counter-intuitive, given the limits of our conscious perception, but the ultimate aim of all spiritual path-work is to part the veil that obscures our vision, that we might ascend into the “upper room” of spirit at our appointed time.

Regardless of age, if we’ve been enduring any recent hardships in our lives, the rainbow can represent rebirth and renewal: Rays of spring sunshine after a harsh winter storm. In Genesis, God places a rainbow in the heavens to signal a covenant with Noah and his descendants after the Great Flood, and in our lives, this can mean that we have “weathered the storm” and can now bask in the bright light of day after soldiering through a “dark night of the soul.” In any event, we are reminded that in Tarot that Tens represent the ever-changing nature of existence and of the literal “passing over” from one stage of consciousness to another, which in turn proceeds in accordance with the cycle of Creation: 10 = 1 + 0 = 1.

Dante DiMatteo

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