When the inner voice is a dimwit


Have a look at these cards above:

The Devil says: ‘You can do anything.’ Circumstance says: ‘Today you hang.’ Temperance in the middle says: ‘Know how to mix these voices.’ In the Devil’s voice, what appears a manifestation of confidence is actually a bidding for overconfidence. Just look around: how many manifestations of hyperbolic speech did you experience today? Too many. In the Devil’s voice whatever overpowers you becomes this figure of speech: ‘believe in yourself.’ But if circumstance says: ‘Not today. Today you can’t do a thing, including believing in yourself, because I rule,’ what do you do? Flock to the place where they dispense hyperbolic speeches about your greatness and infallible entitlement? For free? Or, you’d think this is for free, but think again. If you make a pact with the wrong Devil to only ever hear about how great you are, simply because that makes you feel good – ‘supported, understood, and loved’ – you will pay a price. A hefty one. Not just money. More like dismissal from the ones who can see what’s happening: ‘what a dimwit…’


So, what Temperance says is this: ‘Don’t be a dimwit.’ Indeed, we have enough dimwit politicians already whose only ‘suffering’ is overconfidence that they instill in others. For no other reason than to get elected. Other dimwits fall for the song of the siren, and before you know it, we’re with the Hanged Man situation, the one that can’t be helped. All because ‘I believe in myself’ feels so good. But when are feelings relevant if the aim is to see things as they are, the domain of Temperance here, the virtue that entices us to distinguish between narratives?

I bring this in because it has relevance for the topic on my mind these days, that of how we follow through with answering a calling. Sometimes ‘listening to your inner voice’ simply means listening to what you’re craving to hear, to what makes you feel good and reassured. Sometimes the inner voice is just a dimwit voice. It’s better to acknowledge instead that sometimes the situation doesn’t help you, and that’s all there is to it. In this case, the best wisdom is the Solomonic wisdom, namely the awareness that ‘this too shall pass,’ because the answer to the situation that can’t be helped is not overconfidence, or belief in a fashioned self that performs according to the Devil’s score. 


I came across some apt words today from an interview with mythologist and storyteller Martin Shaw that may ring a stronger bell:

“We can’t be naïve in times like this, because we are in the presence of underworld forces that will do one of two things: they will either educate us, or annihilate us. And in fairy tales whenever the movement is down – and the movement culturally is down right now – you have to get underworld smart, have underworld intelligence, underworld metis. I have a strong feeling that a lot of what wants to emerge through many ancient stories is a kind of wily, tough, ingenious and romantic force that needs to come forward at this point in time.”

I like to think of Shaw’s ‘romantic force’ as the force that is actually connected with being able to distinguish between the forces that enslave us and the ones that liberate us. Many enslaving forces will look like the liberating ones, but it’s easy to check. Just ask yourself: ‘how desperately do I want to hear the words, I love you?, dispensed by complete strangers who will promise the world of safety for you, often marked by popular cliché lines à la: ‘I’ve got you.’ When these lines reach me, I always go: ‘You do?’ How?

When that is said, love what you will, but know that some loves are not realistic. It’s not true that we are not limited, because we are, nor is it true that there are never any external conditions that can rule over us, because there are. As far as I’m concerned I prefer to love seeing what is the case, seeing things as they are, to the bogus narrative that casts me in the role of superwoman, who, ironically, needs others to ‘hold space’ for her. I don’t fall for that. It’s not good for the realization of my vocation.

Tarot for Vocation, the masterclass followed by a live Q&A and training session has some interesting things to say about how we avoid listening to the ‘inner voice’ that sometimes is nothing but a representation of a dimwit. 

For more of Shaw’s work, read his essay: We Are In The Underworld And We Haven’t Figured It Out Yet.


Published by Camelia Elias

Read like the Devil | Martial Arts Cartomancy | Zen

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