What Type of Path Are You Walking? It Takes Courage to Choose


Nine of Wands--Samurai Tarot

It seems as though all my cards today are about the idea of a path. First we have (all from the Samurai Tarot), the monk Nichiren struggling through a snowy pass in the mountains.

“If your heart remains steadfast, the ice becomes hot, the snow warm.” –Nichiren

Then we have three travelers crossing a river or stream via bridge, on the Ace of Pentacles.


Ace of Pentacles--Samurai Tarot

The water, and possibly the strong emotions, that Nichiren struggled through in the form of snow here flows peacefully under the bridge. Again, the Samurai Tarot books talks to us of remaining steadfast:

“Scrupulously keep to the little things, observe the game of life surrounding you and remain steadfast while participating.”

Last (I accidentally drew three cards today) we have the reversed Seven of Wands (though WordPress wouldn’t let me reverse it today), a card which in the Samurai Tarot represents evaluation. In the Rider-Waite deck, this card would show one man on top of a hill, struggling with a wand against six others who are all also armed with wands (or staffs). The ST tells us,

Seven of Wands--Samurai Tarot“There are times when there is no demon in the demon, no man in the man. Do you understand the difference?”

To me, this Seven of Wands demon is also part of the path. Which of these paths are you walking today? Or is it all three? Which is easiest? Which is most dangerous? While the path over the bridge looks peaceful, bridges can be burned behind you. And as for the demon — are we really afraid of him? He looks relatively tame, with his butterfly friend!

What I see in these three paths is that it truly does not matter which path we choose. All paths require our presence — and all paths can be horrific or quite pleasant — depending on what is going on in our minds, or rather in our hearts. Can we embrace the cold and snow, even if it bites us? Can we embrace the demon, even if IT does?

Sometimes people who exhort us to constantly be positive sound like perky cheerleaders. You want to throw a baseball and hit them in the nose or something. Yet, here I am advocating taking a positive approach. But this approach is not so much perky. It’s more seeing how a challenge can in and of itself be exhilarating — how even defeat can be in some sense exhilarating.

Are you choosing your path today? How will you traverse that path? Will you struggle through the cold, alone? will you tame a demon? will you walk with friends, carefully, over a bridge? Either way, note that these paths all require our confidence, our inner fire, our spirit. In a sense, even the peaceful-looking Ace of Pentacles card is a wands card this time — that bridge is made of wood — wood that we know has in it the possibility of fire. (Don’t burn your bridges! Unless you have a good reason to.) In other words, the choice of a path requires courage.

Each of these paths, as well, calls on us to evaluate ourselves. Looked at another way, these are cards about self-esteem — about how we see ourselves operating in the world. Do we crave adventure and hardship? Do we strongly prefer peace, and to let bygones be bygones, like water running under the bridge? Are we fascinated by the world’s demons, and do we feel our hearts going out to them, wanting to make an offering of kindness?

The year is still young. What path do you choose?


    1. Thanks for adding that! I don’t think I really focused on the aspect of being steadfast, but probably should have! 🙂


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