Well, this was just going to be a quick post to show the card, as our ‘thought for the coming week’ but the quote got me started thinking, as I’m sure it was intended to do. The card is from Charlene Livingstone’s Art of Life Tarot.
I do think this is an interesting choice for the ‘Judgment’ card, as well. The usual image on Judgment is of people rising from their graves, with an angel overhead blowing a trumpet a la the Visconti-Sforza Tarot (Lo Scarabeo edition) which carries a far more anxiety-inducing promise.
But anyway, I digress. The Art of Life Tarot is such a gentle deck, all the cards are designed to be uplifting, encouraging. The Marcus Aurelius quote immediately reminded me of a tiny little book someone once gave me. She had herself been given a copy at some point and was so enamored of it that she sought out older copies wherever she could find them (garage sales, book stores, etc.). The book is “As a Man Thinketh” by James Allen. It was written in 1902 and continues to inspire today. It’s now in the public domain and can be downloaded for free here at Project Gutenberg. The title derives from a passage in the Bible, specifically Proverbs 23:7, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” I think Mr. Allen can rightly be called the original self-help guru, or motivational life-coach. It’s a tiny little book, all of 47 pages. The copy I have is a lovely little volume that may be a first edition, but there’s no copyright in it so I don’t know. The cover is done in this beautiful pink pansy design on a gold background that was hard to photograph, but it has dimension to it, you can feel the ridges in the gold. It’s in remarkably good condition with just a little wear on the bottom corners.
The basic premise of the book is whatever you think about is what you cause to manifest in your life. Direct your thoughts the way you want your life to go. But it’s more than that, you have to be willing to change yourself to change your life. Our life is what our thoughts make it, because our thoughts direct our actions. It’s not enough to simply sit around imagining yourself sitting in your dream house, all bills paid. You must make the necessary sacrifices to bring about the change. If you want to lose weight but won’t change your diet, nothing’s going to happen. To quote from the book:
Men do not attract that which they want, but that which they are.
Such a simple little sentence but packed to the gills with ramifications.
I suppose that’s what the Judgment card is getting at. We can transform ourselves, our world, our universe based on our thoughts. In the end, that’s what we’ll be judged on, whether by gods or men, the legacy we leave behind.
This is the last paragraph of the book, and I think pretty stirring:
Tempest-tossed souls, wherever ye may be, under whatsoever conditions ye may live, know this – in the ocean of life the isles of Blessedness are smiling, and the sunny shore of your ideal awaits your coming. Keep your hand firmly upon the helm of thought. In the bark of your soul reclines the commanding Master; He does but sleep; wake Him. Self-control is strength; Right Thought is masterly; Calmness is power. Say unto your heart, “Peace, be still!”
Here’s some nice soothing music to bring peace to your heart, William Ackerman on guitar playing “The Bricklayer’s Beautiful Daughter”. The background is perfect with fall approaching.