Sister Act (Photo: Camelia Elias)

My sister visited me recently from Copenhagen. I asked out of courtesy: ‘How are things?’

‘I follow the same principle in love and work,’ she said.

I got curious, as I like principles. The good ones that are more than the manifestation of inflexibility are hard to come by. My sister is good at the good ones.

She said: “At work with my patients at the hospital, I say to them: ‘I’m at your disposal, but not at your discretion.’ Same thing at home.”

Then she gave me the squinting eye: “You must understand the importance of this, as I know you don’t appreciate unjustified entitlements either”.

Indeed I don’t.

This made me think about the cards among the trumps of the Tarot, and how they represent this distinction. Think of how many actually are all about making offerings, giving.

Jean Noblet Marseille Tarot, 1650, as reconstructed nu Jean-Claude Flornoy

Temperance says: ‘I’m at your disposal,’ while measuring what there’s to measure.

What about the Star? A more complex card in this relation.

You’d think that unlike Temperance, the Star places herself at the discretion of the others. All that nakedness can easily be mistaken for looseness, for rendering yourself as vulnerable, so that others can take advantage.

These days people willingly place themselves at the discretion of others without discernment, because the new story in vogue is that vulnerability is good.

Vulnerability is good for whom?

These days I want to blurt: ‘Spare me the vulnerability act’, whenever I come across conscious embodiments and statements as to the supposed value of vulnerability. But if I said anything of what I really thought, I’d run the risk of getting lynched. How dare I exhibit such coldness….

Meanwhile, in most standard symbolology, the Star is often associated with making offerings, generosity, and openness to the point of naivety.

But all this presupposes an Other at whose discretion the woman in the Star card willingly positions herself.

Her gesture, however, discloses that if she’s at anyone’s discretion, then it’s more the discretion of nature. Her own nature.

In meeting your own nature head on, you discover that there’s no need for temperance here, for restraint, as disposal and discretion become the manifestation of one.

Placing yourself at your own discretion means placing yourself in the highest, when you don’t have to make any choices. That’s honouring your true nature.

I’d kneel for this one myself.

Keep going.

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