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Knight, Maiden & Dragon

November 23, 2011


The Tarot’s Keys to Success

We all have a secret world; in that world we see ourselves achieving success and happiness. Some of us want public acclaim and the fruits of fame; others want only personal happiness and security. Each strives after their particular goal in their own way, often handicapped by not understanding the latent talents and powers that lie within themselves. Between what we are, and what we want to be, lies a great gulf that at times seems unbridgeable. Yet, it is not, if you find and use correctly the talents you were born with, for these are the foundation stones of success and happiness.

In the allegory of King Arthur, who strove to guide his knights and people to happiness and true power (or the achieving of the Holy Grail), we see a man who applied the talents he had to that end. He was wise, and exercised wisdom; never doubting that in time his knights would come to a full understanding of themselves and their own particular talents. The quests he sent them on were intended to develop those powers. Life is like that. It strikes us blow after blow until, one day, we ask ourselves: “Why should this happen? Where did we go wrong?” That is the beginning of self-analysis, the start of discovering the powers that lie within.

Each one of us has some talent, which if applied vigorously can bring success in its train. True there will be many ups and downs, but in the end success is bound to follow. Tarot Trump No. 21, The World, represents the powers that lie within each of us awaiting development. It also represents the four season of mankind: spring, or youth, with its aspirations; summer, the individual applying the talents she or he has discovered; autumn, the time when uncultivated talents begin to decline; and winter, or age, the time when each person should be enjoying rest and the fruits of her or his striving.

The message this card holds for you is: “Nothing attempted, nothing won.” If you don’t discover your personal talents that were born in you, and if they are not applied, then whose fault is it if your life seems to be a failure? We all have talents for something, and whether these lie within the realms of art, politics, religion, welfare work, or even the task of being a successful parent and homemaker, we have only to apply that talent for success and happiness to result eventually.

Your particular talent usually lies in the sphere that attracts you. Where there is appeal, there is talent for that particular thing. It is the suppressed talent inside you that makes that appeal, calling out to be used. Just to daydream of success is dissipating it. To attempt success is developing it. Your talent deserves a chance to prove itself. So, like the Knights of the Round Table, you must recognise it, and embark on your particular quest to develop it. After that comes the ardent pursuit of the objective, scorning the risks that lie between success and failure.

Like the knights, you will conquer your own problems by tackling them with sword drawn – with determination and the will to endure – and then the obstacles and threatened evil will either be overcome or melt away. Failure in our goal is the result either of not trying to gain our heart’s desire, or setting about it in the wrong way. Wishing for success, unbacked by effort is of no avail. Striving for it is employing an immense force which thrusts like a spear at all obstacles between. No effort to achieve success is ever wasted. The mental and physical power behind each attempt accumulates on the astral plane, being placed to our credit in the “occult bank”, until the time comes when enough power has built itself up to throw down every barrier, and success is achieved, your private world of happiness and success gained.

In divination, card No. 21 is a fortunate omen, and usually means that applied effort is about to meet with success in due proportion to the efforts that have been applied. Note that, it is important. We cannot get out of life more than we put in! Each one, to achieve success and happiness, must discover their own talent and apply it, and not bury it in the sands of wishful thinking. If you are doubtful about yours, there is an occult way of discovering what it is.

Card No. 19, The Sun, has much to do with worldly success, and when, in a reading, it turns up next to the card signifying the querent or with No. 21, The World, it is an excellent omen indeed, for it signifies the release of the accumulated power the querent has built up on the astral plane by her or his own true efforts. This card has an affinity with Castor and Pollux, the celestial twins of classical mythology, and has a secret arcana that applies to each of us. Every one of us has a twin self, often recognised in day-dreaming. This is ourselves with all our talents applied – the secret, successful self we all long to be. Too many of us are content to be the mundane, everyday Castor. That side of us develops because it has to in order that we may live, pay the rent, and earn enough to keep breath in our bodies. But what about Pollux, our other self? What about that repressed twin who cries aloud to be released?

The allegories of those knights who freed hapless maidens from threatening dragons epitomise this mystery. The “maiden force” represents our undiscovered and unapplied talents. The dragon belching fire is the terror of dangers or disasters that we fear may lie ahead if we attempt to become the person we dream ourselves to be. What holds us back? Nothing, save the chain of imagination that binds the hapless maiden to the tree! If we once decide to be what we wish to be, and to develop our talents and live by them, we take the first step to success and happiness. In the time of greatest danger, when disaster threatens, the knight receives Divine Help. For, in its esoteric interpretation, Trump No. 19 signifies the power that comes from above and gives aid when it is most needed.

Not for nothing is card No. 19 considered fortunate. It represents the Divine Parent recognising the efforts of the individual, and rewarding them in proportion to the efforts that have been made. The struggling author who at last achieves fame after years of effort; those who spring into acclaim apparently overnight, are all enjoying the fruits of efforts made. Even those who win football pools must have accumulated something in the astral bank of effort to merit that stroke of luck.

Then comes the test: how will you use your success? If you have had a hard struggle to get there, you will use it wisely. If it comes easily, without much effort on your part, then beware – you risk losing it again. The Sun that at last shines on your secret world is a sphere of occult power. Some have been tried and tested before it shines – others are to be tested by success itself. Yet this truth remains. Be true to yourself and the inborn talents within you; discover and apply them, and success and happiness will eventually be yours. Once you find and begin to use your inborn gifts, you have started on the quest for the Holy Grail of Knowledge and Happiness.

The way may be long, and hard, but you will get there in the end. Be true to yourself, as the poet said, and it follows that you cannot be false to anyone. But unless you use the talents within you, you are not even being fair to yourself. The result is that life often seems unfair to you. Yet, once you are on the right path, the journey is easy; the goal is in sight, and achievement inevitable.


Part One

Take Trump 21 from your deck and set it before you. For one week meditate on the card as representing the powers (or talents) that lie within you, waiting to be developed. There is a certain similarity between the four seasons of the year associated with The World, the last numbered card, and the four magical implements associated with the first numbered card, The Juggler or Magician. Try to grasp the implications of this correspondence.

At the end of a week, turn the Trump into reverse and meditate on it as representing whatever it is that might be blocking or delaying the full development of your innate powers, skills or talents.

Return The World to your Tarot deck and take out The Sun. View the reversed card as symbolising your “inner maiden” who needs to be rescued from the dragon (representing one’s “terror of dangers or disasters that one fears may lie ahead”) by your “inner knight”, symbolised in turn by the upright Trump. Start with the card in reverse, and meditate for one week on the symbolism of the maiden at the mercy of the dragon. Then turn the card upright, and meditate for a further week on the symbolism of the knight who frees the maiden. Do not, however, forget this: esoterically The Sun upright represents the Divine Parent recognising the efforts of the individual, and rewarding them in proportion to the efforts that have been made. This means that your “inner knight” succeeds in his task only “at the right time”, when the correct amount and type of effort has been applied in the appropriate direction.

Part Two

Return to the horoscope of your new-born Adepthood that you created during Part Two of the exercises for Chapter 11. Lay it out as before, with the planets in their respective signs. Place the Fool in the centre. Now shuffle the four Aces well, and lay them out starting with the Behind position. Proceed through the Below and Before positions, placing the final Ace in the Above position. Like the personalised view of the planets obtained in Chapter 11, this represents a more personalised view of “where you are now” in your spiritual journey – what lies behind you and before you; what acts as a base or foundation for your work, and what you currently aspire to.

Meditate on this arrangement of the Aces for five days.

© Madeline Montalban, 1954

© Tony Willis, 2010

From → tarot

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