Signs are Everywhere


I'm the kind of guy who picks discarded playing cards up off the ground.

You'd be surprised how often one finds stray playing cards, here and there, scattered around the avenues. I'm not quite sure how they end up there, since I personally have never carried a deck of cards across town (though admittedly I'm neither a bridge nor poker player)… and if I did, I'd probably keep the pack closed inside my satchel, rather than flipping through them along the journey, daring a sudden gust of wind to blow members of the royal family off into the gutter.

I'm not quite sure how these cards get there—but the point is that they're there.

I'll bend down to grab that dirty three-of-hearts or a half-crumbled jack-of-spades, and I'll carry it with me for the day. I apply my crude tarot-card-reading skills to interpret this fortuitous sign from the universe, unpacking the personal message it carries. It doesn't matter so much what the official tarot guidebooks tell me it's supposed to mean. I figure it out myself:

'A more complete realization of the emotions currently filling up my life. (Remember to appreciate it.)'

'Young, virginal ideas still in the developmental stage. (Give 'em time to evolve before acting.)'

Am I wishfully convincing myself to instill significance in roadside litter, or is there really something in there? Meaning is so damned fluid, it'd be hard to prove it isn't there. My only means of testing it out is intention. Am I trying to force the symbol into fitting the meaning I want, to justify the actions and experiences my ego will take on regardless? Do I feel reassured… or frightened? And if frightened, what of? That fearfulness certainly doesn't reside in a junky jack-of-spades.

My friend and cohort Rabbit, an unnervingly accurate tarot reader herself, has recently been finding pentacles wherever she goes—pennies, quarters, scratched-up silver washers—only serving to confirm what she already knows. Abundance is on its way. Pentacles, after all, are the tarot-card suit that represents manifestation of the material.

The abrupt increase in impromptu appearances of pentacles doesn't, on its own, guarantee Rabbit will soon be swimming in dough… and it won't make it happen either. But in close coincidence with other intuitive inklings—and, perhaps more importantly, with the literal work she's doing to increase her bottom line—it's a piece of the bigger picture, one that's increasingly looking like an jackpot investment, hankering to pay out.

Our old pal Carl Jung was fascinated by such symbolic connections, as evidenced by his pioneering work on synchronicity, or the experience of two or more coinciding events (without one causing another) such that their link conveys an uncanny sense of meaning. Jung couldn't get enough of studying such synchronicities, or signs. My latest favorite example (as borrowed from Tarnas's Cosmos and Psyche) occurred during a disagreement between Jung and a colleague over whether a certain manuscript should be published. As the conversation became heated, Jung glanced at his watch to put an end to it… only to discover his watch displayed the wrong time, while his colleague's was correct. At that point, Jung reopened the discussion—knowing he had 'the wrong time'—and submitted to being convinced to change his mind.

Symbolic clues exist in everything we do, and not only on the strictly personal level either. I recall one example from a few years back, when, on the eve of the US invasion of Iraq, the space shuttle Columbia exploded mid-air over Texas. After witnessing that, who could've thought the Iraq war would go smoothly? (For a great book on the symbolic language of world events, check out Ray Grasse's Signs of the Times.)

This is just the kind of omen that the wizardly advisors to old-time kings and queens were employed to decipher—messages carved out from the language of archetypes, rather than cold hard science. Sure, it's 'magical thinking' at its finest… the same sort at the heart of astrology, which is essentially a system for reading the symbolic prognostications of planetary positions.

Be on the lookout, especially this week, for such cosmically charged signposts… in the form of real-world images, observations and experiences that mirror what's going on in your internal reality. Such parallels are the mark of archetypal symbolism at play. With a grand water trine in play for the rest of the week, these signs are everywhere—if you're open to 'getting into their flow'.

Be especially attentive to messages from nature, which have a particularly pungent way of matching our frequencies. I have an instinctive affinity to noticing birds (as well as airplanes), whenever my mind starts to wander from its earthly docking station and float too far into the clouds. (That's my overabundance of air for you.) I see a bird, and it reminds me of our similarities—and of my need to stay on the ground (at least for this lifetime).

Don't look too hard for symbols, though, or you'll be cramming your ego into the lens and overpowering the graceful subtlety of archetypal awareness. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. The most poignant signs hit us like a lightning bolt from out of the blue, delivering shocking epiphanic sentience, a la 'Eureka! I found it!'

On the way home the other day, I chanced upon an untraditional card on the ground… from an UNO deck. A few steps further along, I saw a veritable cornucopia of UNO cards strewn across the sidewalk, blanketing it with pre-printed colors and numbers. I grabbed the first two that called to me—a Red 4 and a +2 Draw.

Honestly, though, I am sadly inexperienced at divining meaning from the sacred UNO system. Red 4 and a +2 Draw, eh? I have my ideas…