Book T on the Financial Crisis

First, understand that this is a first effort. The method is deceptively simple: think about a world situation and draw a Major Arcana card then write about it. One card serves a couple of purposes. First, it limits the amount of cross-blather that this sort of symbolic exegesis is prone. Second, it narrows the focus to one basic aspect. It should never be thought that I am attempting to find the “key” to a particular problem. I am merely receiving a slice of the Kosmos and relaying it to others.

Dwelling on the current financial meltdowns, I drew the Hermit.

Starting with the basics, this card relates to Virgo. An Earth sign, but Mutable. Ruled by Mercury, which gives the Hermit card its inevitable echoes with the Magician.

Inner reflection and discrimination are certainly two things much absent from the economy today, but we don’t need a Tarot card to tell us that.

The Path on the Tree of Life that the Hermit corresponds to provides the passage between Chesed and Tipharet. Psychologically, this connects Memory to Imagination. One can almost imagine the Hermit emerging from an alley behind a Wall Street brokerage, lifting His lamp, and saying “Remember.”

The current meltdown is the result of yet another speculative bubble bursting. Like the dot-com boom and every other one before it, while it was occurring, it was almost heresy to suggest that the bubble would not last. Every speculative bubble, without exception, is touted as a new paradigm which will end the economic cycle and the vehicle for endlessly increasing profits.

So, the Hermit reminds us, once again, that all this has happened before. He casts his light into our hyperactive imagination and both chastens us and calms us down a little.

A third message the Hermit might have for us is that of the Hebrew Letter, Yod. The letter of Fire, the Primordial Will of the Divine. The Hermit encourages us to go within not only to lick our wounds and second guess past mistakes, but also to use the circumstance for developing powers of discernment and finding happiness in the ground level aspects of life. Not going for ever increasing wealth, but learning how to be happy no matter what the circumstances, so that we don’t pay too much attention to feast or famine.

The strength of the Hermit is the inner authenticity that needs no corporate bonus, awards, accolades, or unsustainable “success.” Maybe we can, as a result of this crisis, learn to be a little bit more “real.”


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