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Emblem 074: The end of the world

Empty your pockets first. If you go there loaded down with sadness, or fear, or worries about money, that’s what you’ll find, and who needs more of that?

So attend to things that are yours, take problems apart and reassemble them as their own answers, meet what you’re running from for coffee.

Then sit with the end of the world. For all its vast size it doesn’t receive many visitors. Who knows what good thing may come of this?

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Emblem 053: Jonah

You can’t get away from it: there’s something you’re supposed to be doing with your life. You know what it is or you don’t, you’d rather not do it or anyway not just yet. Maybe it’s scary, maybe inconvenient. Why are you being bothered with this? Whose life is it anyway? You sidestep the whole issue, forget about it.

Sometime later you notice that your luck has begun to change for the worse. It’s all luck, right? Random, chaotic, no one paying attention? Sometime after that you fall into depression. Everything you used to love doing you don’t anymore. Your world grows dark and shrinks as you’re swallowed down. The suffering begins.

Listen: what you were supposed to do is still there. Call to it. No one can tell you its name but you can learn for yourself. It may be you’ll set foot on dry land again.

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Emblem 028: Lion with his paws cut off

In this image taken from alchemy there’s no blood spilled, nor does the lion suffer. He’s certainly puzzled at first, though.

We call the lion king of the beasts because of his masterful way in the world. He scans the environment for what he wants. When it appears he takes off after it, seizes it with his claws and brings it down, devouring it and making it his own. Making it himself. This is a good image for experience getting assimilated to the ego, which grows stronger and more integrated in response. This is mine; this is me. Behavior like this is highly effective and serves us well when we’re in school, looking for a partner, establishing ourselves in a career, engaging in activism or volunteer work.

There are times though when the work that needs doing is interior. In such times the world can be a distraction, and the extraverted functions not so helpful. With no paws the lion can’t grasp things and take ownership of them, but has to sit with them instead. Perhaps he goes hungry for a while. He doesn’t get around out in the world the way he used to. All that energy previously used in the hunt now begins to pour inward. Other kinds of change become possible.

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Emblem 029: Midas

This is the king whose story you know. Through an unusual turn of events everything he touches turns into the same thing. Entertaining at first, even a source of pride, soon enough this becomes unpleasant. The same material: whatever he grasps becomes the same as everything else, and it’s all dreary, monotonous, hateful. And he grasps things so quickly—as quick as that! Only what puzzles him retains its own essence. What doesn’t add up. What makes no sense.

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