Tarotbytes: 2 of Wands



The 2 of Wands has been one of my favorite cards ever since Diane Morgan connected it with the Taoist notion of “actionless action”. The most common understanding of “actionless action” is “going with the flow”. I think there are other aspects of “actionless action” that apply here, so I leave the “going with the flow” notion to the 6 of Swords and it’s classical meaning of “yielding”

For the 2 of wands, I focus on the wisdom and contentment aspects of Wu Wei, the uncarved block – the “actionless action” that is behind the Taoist spin to Morgan’s interpretation.

Looking at the Smith artwork on the Rider Waite deck…see how the man is holding a globe? That is exactly Lau Tzu in visual form …

“Be content in what you have, rejoice in the way things are. When you realize nothing is lacking, the whole world belongs to you”

This is nothing more – or less – than a shift in perception. Thinking of the glass as half full or half empty doesn’t change the amount of water in the glass one single drop. But that shift in perception changes your whole world and how you see it. Try it sometime. Set a clear glass of water in front of you. LOOK at it. Try shifting back and forth between thinking of it as half full and half empty. Both aspects can be spun to be positive or negative. Half full can be either “Yay! I’m thirsty and I have water to drink” or it can be “Only half? Is that it?”  As you shift between full and empty, do you notice a shift in how you feel? Do you tend to stay positive or negative either way? Do you go negative interpretation to negative interpretation, positive to positive or back and forth? It doesn’t matter, really. You can learn something about yourself no matter which pattern is yours. Are you naturally optimistic, cynical or adaptable? Be content with any of these situations…and the world is yours.

The wisdom component comes from the other common interpretation of “actionless action”…in other words “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. No need to use a sledgehammer when a nudge will do. It takes a degree of wisdom to know when to nudge, when to hammer, and when to leave things well enough alone.