Sunday, 17 April 2011
A duel to the death?
Two men stand back to back. One has blond hair and a beard, the other is dark-skinned and clean shaven. They both wear yellow shirts and red waistcoats, but the bearded man wears green trousers and boots while the clean shaven man wears a green kilt and boots. Both wear blindfolds, dark and light, and hold swords, whose tips touch above their heads, and creating a star at the bottom of a chain of pearls. Added to this, the bearded man wears a necklace with a single pearl, while the dark-skinned man has a full chain of pearls. Also where the tips of their swords touch we see a circle, half golden sun, half blue moon. Behind them seems to be a jade effigy of their two faces, back to back, in repose. The curtains to the sides of the men also have faces in them, light and dark, and are held back by more pearl chains. A stream of light seems to emerge from where the sword tips meet, spiralling down around the men, who stand on a board balanced on a fulcrum. The floor on which this rests is a checkerboard of black and pale blue/white.
There is a great feeling of stillness in this image. If either man moves a muscle, the whole balance that has been achieved will fall apart. And yet, while they hold still, while each is given equal weight and space, the balance is perfect and feels energetic. It seems to me that, rather than a battle of wits or ideas, this card is suggesting that if we can hold polar opposites in our mind at the same time, if we can accept that something can be both good and bad, both happy and sad, we can find clarity, stillness and energy.
I am grateful for the times when ambivalence opens up creative possibilities.
I am thankful not to be narrowly fixed on a single idea or belief in many areas of life (though I'm sure I have blind-spots where my rigid assumptions are taken for granted).