03 Jun 2011 Leave a Comment
Heart and Mind
Today I am in ancient Greece. I can see some philosophers on their day off – they’re playing with astragali, knuckle-bones. These gambling games are the forerunner to dice games which in turn are related to the use of cards – and then to Tarot! I guess it is less likely for a dog to run off with your Tarot cards than 78 knuckle-bones! However, it is not bones today I am considering, but love – in the first part of a couple of journal entries on the Heart & Mind, and the Path of Love, hidden in the pattern of the suit of Cups and Swords.
These ancient Greeks have four types of love; Agape, Eros, Philia and Storges. It seems to me that these start from the highest and most overwhelming love, Agape, and then settles through progressive stages into the type of love called Storges, the more common family and social love.
In fact, this is just like the first four cards in the suit of Cups, beginning with the Ace. In the Ace of Cups we see the unbounded, eternal passion of the soul, overflowing into all creation. In the Two of Cups, we see Eros, which may or may not involve a sexual union (which is the Lovers), in the Three of Cups, we see the love found in friends, family and community, called Philia, and finally, we see in the Four of Cups, Storges, which was not often used, and when so, was used to describe “acceptance of the situation”, exactly as depicted on the Four of Cups.
In fact, the Storges type of love is that described as “stirring the oatmeal” by Robert A. Johnson.
When we look at these four heart-levels in the Cups, we can also look across at their corresponding head-levels in the Swords. If the Cups are the makers, the Swords are the breakers. Let’s have a look at how each type of love is broken. Perhaps you can see other patterns in these pairs?
Ace of Cups (Agape) – Ace of Swords: Overwhelming love can only be broken by a singular realisation of separateness. It is truly all or nothing. Perhaps this is what Gibran meant:
You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore. You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days. Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God. But let there be spaces in your togetherness, and let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another, but make not a bond of love: let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each of you be alone, even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Two of Cups (Eros) – Two of Swords: The attraction of Eros can be broken by the lack of response or decision in the object of desire. Eros can also blind us!
Three of Cups (Philia) – Three of Swords: The heartbreak of losing a friend to distance, time or death is depicted in the change between the 3 of Cups to the 3 of Swords.
Four of Cups (Storges) – Four of Swords: The acceptance of the first card turns eventually into the total seclusion of the second card. In this way the bonds are slowly weakened. At each level of love, the manner of its breaking is less certain, less sudden, more measured.
In my next Blog entry I’ll travel in time forwards to see how these four Cup cards of Love create the next Cups cards in a “path of love” hidden in the Suit of Cups.
TaliTarot, the time-travelling Tarot Blogger.
Cards: New Palladini Tarot, US Games.