A Blog about opposite forces

There is a common thread in Tarot. A recurring theme on many cards and one that connects certain cards. That theme is opposite forces. Two forces that are polar opposites and you’re forced to choose between them making you feel torn between them. They create friction and cause stress and tension. Look for the following symbols and cards in the (Rider) Waite – Smith tarot deck:

  • Pilars
  • The colours black & white
  • Infinity sign
  • The Wheel
  • Pentacles 2 & Swords 2
  • The Major Arcana card combination Lovers & Devil

Pentacles 2 & The Wheel

These opposite forces are located within us. And we are surrounded by them. Life seems to consist of contrasting elements. You see them in the world: right-wing politicians against left-wing, cruel terrorists versus compassionate aid workers, hunger and poverty in some countries against decadent opulence in others, etc. And we experience ourselves conflicting feelings, we have drives that wish to move in opposite directions.
pentacles2-stress-tensionIt can be confusing and you may find yourself out of balance. For example one week you totally give in to eating lots of good food, and the next you pull those reins in tightly. It is called the jojo effect.
Here is a refreshing perspective: thank goodness! Imagine we’d always revel in fine food, food and more food… Or we’d only always be dieting. It is clear that either one would have bad results for our health. Alteration is perfection.

Pentacles 2 expresses this beautifully. The balls roll from high to low, left to right, and back again; the ships on the sea go up and down, much like your fortune in life. But you hold those balls. You control your wish to comprehend, to embrace the movement and to take a more playful perspective.

Us behaving like a jojo creates dynamic. Change. Renewal. The balance is that (too much) swinging to one side creates a longing for the other side. Take fashion: after miniskirts we are enchanted by midi and maxi skirts. And after the sexualisation in the media with porn-like music videos a trend emerged for modern prudishness and demure clothes.

wheel-stress-tensionThis is a Law of Nature. ‘Everything in moderation’ seems ideal but goes against nature, our nature. They are not called opposite forces for nothing. You cannot freeze them. They make us behave like a pendulum, a little to that side, then through the middle and on to the other. You only stay in the seemingly ideal middle temporarily. Everything is transient. Every situation is transient and passes. That is a relief to know when you are in a bad situation, and a pity when you are having a good time.

Major Arcana The Wheel shows us the cyclic nature of the fortune of life. Anubis indicates the Underworld, a patch of bad road; the snake symbolises a new time of growth and the Sfinx turns your fortune round. So when this card appears a new phase is dawning. Either for the better after a period of decline, or an impending downturn after a time of good fortune.


Lovers and Devil combination

Putting these cards side by side emphasises their similarity of the images. Two people with a stone / mountain between them and a powerful figure above them. They both signify the making of a choice. In case of the Lovers your heart’s desire is blessed from above, and therefore beneficent to follow. In contrast the Devil shows us we made the choice to fall back into an old, bad yet oh so comfy habit.
These cards are each other’s polar opposite. And one thing is for sure: all polar opposites deserve our attention. Yes, even the bad and serious. Especially the bad and serious!






An example: if you start believing about yourself that you neeeever think something nasty about another person, you are in denial. You are denying the possession of a quality. But this does not make that quality disappear. It really belongs to you (as it does to almost all of us…).
So what will happen when being in denial? Firstly, it will cost you energy unnoticed and turns into a constant power drain. Secondly, it is like putting a rock on top of a vulcano. For a while it looks extinct. Then suddenly you erupt and spout ugliness that surprises yourself. And usually to someone who did not deserve it but just happened to be there. You changed into the Devil!

It’s no use trying to be something you are not. In this case you can be assured no one is lovely and sweet always and sort of Princess Diana like. Even not Princess Diana! Have faith that you are ‘designed’ like you are so you can fulfill your destiny. So better let that vulcano percolate whenever something comes up. Trust your intuition on this. (Which is not the same as your emotions and immersing into them.)
Raise your own awareness of what your ‘devilish’ forces are and give them your loving attention. Try and find out what they are good for, how they can help you. In our example you might learn to channel your ‘devilish’ force into assertiveness and standing up for yourself in a good way.


The Pillars of the Highpriestess

highpriestess-stress-tensionPillars are a symbol of transition. They function as a gateway to enter your inner temple. The Highpriestess is seated in front of the curtain behind which lies her inner temple. She looks at us who are in the outside world and lets the water of the ocean behind the curtain flow through her lap. That ocean represents her subconscious and her higher consciousness. We all own a subconscious full of content and a higher consciousness that we might call spirituality. There is an underlying unity between the subconscious and the higher conscious of all people together. The entrance to that is to be found in every human. It is the source of our being, our energy, our life force. Your soul is the daughter of this source.

This underlying cosmic unity knows no time, place or boundaries. She manifested herself in the concrete universe in which we live. She turned herself inside out during the big bang, so to speak. And where, in her, all opposites where united in a perfect and therefore static harmony, they split up at birth and are now to be found in different places and quantities. Creating tensions that lead people to perform certain actions (like war). Likewise, in us, little wars take place on a daily base. So when I wake up my ‘mmm, let’s stay in bed a bit longer’ indulgent side battles with my ‘let’s do something now we woke up early’ side. Only one can win… or I can compromise. When my husband travels, my female side misses him. But my ‘happy-by-myself’ side has already started up Netflix, put a pizza in and went for the sweat pants.