Sometimes Going the Wrong Way is Going the Long Way

Have you ever gotten a tarot reading? Did you go in curious for what future might be revealed for you, or prepared to wage war against a charlatan? I have, and I’ve given plenty of readings myself.

Rule One: There is no such thing as “fortune-telling”. When someone tells you your future, they’re really telling you just how predictable you are. The more they’re right, the more predictable you are.

Rule Two: Divination has its roots in the word divine, relating to or coming from God. The point of divination is supposed to be “to have a very direct conversation with the divine/God” wherein you see where you’re at right this second and decide how to move forward in accordance with God’s plan. It’s meant as a sort of guide to help you reach enlightenment/nirvana/heaven on earth.

A Little History

I am a devout Catholic who got her first set of tarot cards at the age of 13. They’re called The Tarot of the Saints, they were designed by ex-Catholic Robert Price in accordance with Catholic mysticism or Gnosticism, and they are the only deck I use for readings (the others I use for inspirational purposes in creative projects). Twelve years — and innumerable, positive experiences later — I thought I’d try my hand at making money from my little hobby.

A listing was placed on a website and a blog maintained that drew in a handful of great clients (some left very kind reviews after I specifically told them to get off the phone and put their money to better use, the which advice I can only hope they followed). However, due to my great reviews and my daily blogging, I ended up quite high in the general search rankings and got more and more calls from folks who clearly hadn’t read my listing which included my three rules. Rule Three: My readings are about you in relation to someone or something else along your path to truth.

You know what you shouldn’t get a reading about when you’re trying to find your true path? Other people’s marriages. My tarot hobby is once again a simple hobby because I was inundated with calls from people too concerned with the lives of others to concentrate on actually finding their true path.

Losing Your Way

My frustration with these people was short-lived because

  1. I didn’t want to make their mistake in allowing myself to be distracted from finding my path, and
  2. sometimes you have to travel along the wrong path for a little while in order to find the right one.

Some detours are simply meant to point us in the right direction. Some experiences give us skills or resources we’re going to need later.

Hansel and Gretel just wanted to go home even though home was not safe from the ravages of famine and a mother who’s a little too good at budget cuts. First they get home by following pebbles that reflected the moonlight, but that simple path of retracing their steps meant returning home without having gained any resources or learning new skills. So the second time they’re in the woods, their first path is denied them because the door was locked when they tried to get more pebbles; they were left in a part of the woods far from the first path they made; and, their breadcrumb path got eaten up by the birds.

The breadcrumbs getting eaten taught them never to make a trail from breadcrumbs again (though most references in pop culture prefer to get that one wrong), and wandering in the woods gave them quite the adventure for working the long way home. They didn’t want to cross paths with a witch, but they did. They didn’t want to have to fight for their lives, but they did (or, rather, Gretel did while Hansel got to sit around eating cake).

Finding Your Path

The story of Hansel and Gretel is more Gretel’s story. By following Hansel’s lead with the pebbles and the breadcrumbs, it actually took longer for Gretel to fulfill her destiny. He was so quick to seem sure of himself and instruct Gretel that he derailed her a little with his trying to stick with the familiarity of home.

It is then Hansel’s decision to eat pieces of a house without permission. Seriously, how hard is it to knock first? Then, when the witch unseen asks who’s eating her house, they lie and say they are the wind and keep on eating (unspoken lesson: own up to your mistakes and beg pardon as quickly as possible lest you incur the hunger of a witch who lives inside her baked goods).

While Hansel — maker of bad decisions — is then put aside for fattening, Gretel is put to work helping the witch with chores and tasks. Though the witch plans on eating them both, she makes Gretel into a kind of apprentice. At the end of Gretel’s training, the witch with her failing eyesight thinks a little bone is Hansel’s finger (even though the kid has totally got to have plumped up by now) and decides instead to eat the girl who — despite being fed measly crab-shells — has managed to fill out quite nicely as she grew into her trade.

Making Your Way

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” – George Bernard Shaw

Sorry, George, but there was no way Gretel was ever going to get eaten after being trained by the witch. She knew all the tricks of her trade, probably from acting as the witch’s eyes, and — as another saying goes — the student had become the master. At this point in her life she should have become a kind of journeyman and set out to seek her fortune, but she had just defeated a witch so … her fortune waited inside the house for her brother to help her carry home.

Ah, home! After all the trouble with the witch, they found it so easily. Plus, Gretel got a little magic practice by talking a duck into giving them a ride. Two rides, really, Hansel wanted to overload the poor creature and be done in one go, but Gretel’s knowledge and experience as witch’s apprentice allowed her cooler head to prevail (she may have also been more likely to take a reasonable accounting of their increased weight).

Here’s the thing with rules: There are rules many people live by because they lead to predictable results, until they don’t. Some are meant to make their own way, make their own rules; and, that doesn’t happen by staying on the same path as everyone else.

Fairy tale living is about finding your path and creating your way.

Funny thing, the house Hansel and Gretel found was made of bread and covered in cakes with windows made of crystallized sugar. It was not a gingerbread house. Somebody else came up with that, maybe even Gretel herself as an improvement upon her teacher’s work.

So, I’m curious to know what path you’re on and how you’re feeling about it. Let me know in the comments.