2 of Pentacles – Balance
The 2 of Pentacles shows a man standing on one leg and balancing two discs that are wrapped inside an infinity symbol. He stands on solid ground and, above him, the skies are clear. In the background behind him, however, the waters’ waves are strong as though in the midst of a storm.
This card is about the need for balance. There are many aspects to being balanced – it is a physical, mental, spiritual and emotional act. Physically, we should have a balance between work and rest and ensuring that we have a healthy diet. Mentally, we must balance between caution and creativity. Spiritually, we need to serve both our highers selves and society. Emotionally, we need to temper compassion with justice and fear with love.
In order to succeed, we need to understand that balance requires duality. We do not eradicate vices through rejection and suppression. We do not indulge in correctness to the point of being self-righteous and intolerant. Instead, we should aim for harmony.
This delicate task requires us to be well grounded. This is revealed in the card through the solid ground on which the man stands. It suggests that he has a solid footing and is, therefore, in a good position to perform the task at hand. The infinity symbol further suggests that he has things well under control.
But this is not all. As this card is about balance, our sense of control must be utilized in combination with our ability to adapt. We must be able to spontaneously respond to situations as they occur. If the man in this card makes his balancing act seem easy, it is not due to the seeming lack of obstacles. Note the tumultuous waters behind him and we will see that there are difficulties looming in the distance. He is not bothered by it because he has carefully chosen the ground on which he stands. He has placed himself in a good position and removed obstacles as they occurred. The fact that he stands on one leg can mean that he is not staying still but is constantly moving from place to place in search for smooth grounds and clear skies.
Hexagram 53 – Gradual Progress
This is one of the hexagrams in which the Wind Trigram is to be interpreted as Wood. As such, this creates the image of trees growing on a mountain. Here, growth is slow since it takes time for the trees to extend their roots into the mountain. However, once deeply entrenched, these trees become the forests that are home to animals and insect as well as change the weather patterns for the those below the mountain.
The lesson we gain from observing the growth of trees on mountain is the importance of gradual progress. Not only does it not seem exciting, there are many times when it may even seem like there are no advances. The young and immature may not have the patience for this type of development but it is crucial that they learn to value gradual progress because the relationships, projects and things that are built in this manner tend to be strong and long lasting. Allow our potentials to develop organically and let ourselves grow naturally.
Six on line 1:
All six lines of this hexagram describe the migration of wild geese. Here, they have just reached the shore. This is a new territory with its own rules and boundaries. It is a dangerous situation for the young who are unaccustomed to this new setting and, therefore, do not know how to advance.
Tread carefully in the beginning when we are building new relationships and foundation.
Six on line 2:
The geese have advanced to a spot near the cliff where they are sheltered and have access to plenty of food and water.
This is not the end of the journey but a good place to rest and gather up resources. There is still a long road ahead, but for now, it is good to enjoy the accomplishment of reaching a milestone.
Nine on line 3:
The geese come across a barren plateau in the journey.
The environment is tough and difficulties may prevent one from carrying out one’s duties and obligations. Although the outcome is currently unsatisfactory, perseverance is required to get through this rough patch. Do not despair and do not give into the negativity.
Six on line 4:
Through perseverance, the geese have escaped the barren plateaus and now find themselves among trees. They are not tree dwellers, but they may still find a flat branch to stand while they survey the lands around them.
Now is the time to focus on what we are capable of and aim for what is acheivable. Use this opportunity to plan and know your next move before taking action.
Nine on line 5:
The wild geese are approaching the summit.
It has been a long and tiring journey, one that required us to choose and temporarily abandon certain goals. However, now that we’ve moved past the most difficult parts, we can begin to look forward to better times. Success now seem realistic – this is the homestretch.
Nine on line 6:
The wild geese gradually reach the heights of the clouds. As they fly off into the distance, they leave behind feathers that people use in their sacred dances.
At the end of a journey, we return to the spiritual through contemplation and reverence. What have we learnt on this journey? How can we use these lessons to better connect ourselves to our surroundings and become something greater? Furthermore, what have we created and left behind in the process?
Both balance and gradual progress requires stability. To be stable is not the same thing as being still. The person who stands on a tilted chair in a circus act may appear still, but she is in constant motion, always leaning against the motion of the chair. If the chair is leaning right, she compensates by leaning left.
Stability requires constant awareness of our surroundings. It is an endless process of observation, evaluation, action and reaction. Achieving such stability puts us in control of our situation. Those who are stable aren’t swept away by the currents. Instead, they ride it to their advantage.