Again, we come to the sixth card in the suit – six – Tiphareth – perfect harmony, perfect balance. As we discussed in the other sixes, balance and harmony are not just about receiving, but very much about giving as well. Receiving without giving is not balance. It is not harmony.
In the Six of Wands, the young, physically and mentally challenged girl gave the gift of her will and spirit to her body and her body responded to the best of its capabilities. She contributed her presence and spirit to the Special Olympics, and the event benefited from her participation. She not only received a sense of completion, triumph and hope in the future, but by her example, she gave inspiration and hope to those with similar challenges.
In the Six of Cups, grandmother and grandson gave and received emotional pleasure and delight from each other. Their connecting symbols…her memories of childhood and the current manifestation of that memory in the form of a simple garden hose and sprinkler. It takes so little to achieve perfect balance.
In the Six of Swords, a team of surgeons combined their mental and intellectual skills in a complex surgery. They benefited in return knowing they had worked together to perform an important service to their patient and in further honing their skills.
Now, we come to the Six of Pentacles, which is the manifestation of harmony and balance in the material world. And again, the central issue is giving and receiving – only this time, the gifts are of the earth, the physical plane.
Giving and receiving. Sharing. The Golden Rule. These are lessons we have heard from childhood. Our parents and teachers constantly reminded us of them, involving us in community projects, school fundraisers and other activities.
And no matter what your religious upbringing, who has not heard the parable of the Good Samaritan? The age-old story of the wealthy man who stops by the wayside to help a stranger. Not just any stranger, but one from a religion that openly persecuted the Samaritans.
Yet, he stopped when others went on their way. He looked at his fellow traveler, this man who had been robbed, beaten and left for dead, and he assisted him. He cleansed his wounds, gave him water, placed him upon his own horse, took him to an inn and gave the innkeeper money to care for the man until he was well.
Why? From where in the human spirit does this well of compassion spring? What makes individuals like the Samaritan and Father Damien (see Five of Pentacles) put themselves and all they possess at risk? What makes people devote their summers and weekends to running soup kitchens and mentoring children? What makes them donate their hard-earned money to projects supporting people they will never meet?
What makes them give that most precious of all earthly possessions – time?
I don’t have a scientific or even metaphysical term for it. I can only say that it is the nature of the universe to constantly work to achieve perfect balance and harmony. It is a difficult state of being to maintain and so the struggle become cyclic in nature. Harmony is achieved and lost, at which time, the universe immediately moves and works to attain that state once again. And so the wheel turns.
I think that we as cosmic beings, contain within us that desire of the universe to achieve this harmony. And so we manifest it into our existence. Balance. Harmony. Giving and receiving.
Each of us contains this innate desire. The difference lies only in the degree in which we manifest it and what form it takes. For some, the desire is strong and so the will to manifest it is strong. These souls look for opportunities to achieve that fleeting balance.
For others, the desire is ignored, forgotten or postponed. For these souls, their own selves, their own progression – material and/or spiritual – is paramount and so they ignore or pretend not to see their fellow travelers who, momentarily conquered by the travails of the road, sit exhausted, hoping for a kind soul to stop and lend a hand.
A kind soul – a Good Samaritan.
The Good Samaritan – an old, old story with a message that carries through to today and all our futures. An example of balance and harmony achieved in the physical world. Achieved in spite of fear and cultural differences.
To emphasize symbolically that this is an old message with a contemporary theme, I have chosen to use the parable of the Good Samaritan in the Six of Pentacles. I had a treasure trove of images to choose from for many artists have felt compelled to express this story with their brushes and paints.
In the Six of Pentacles, we have the amazing artwork of Van Gogh’s Good Samaritan and traveler by the wayside. This "old-fashioned" concept of helping thy fellow man is in sharp, visual contrast to the modern highway cutting its way through the steep mountains. But for the help of this old Samaritan, the injured man would still be languishing along the road’s shoulder, for ahead of him is a long line of fellow travelers. All very busy, all very preoccupied with their computers and cell phones, their minds totally preoccupied with the coming events of the day.
It matters not whether they are preoccupied with their workday tasks or contemplating the meaning of life. They are much too involved with themselves to take notice of someone in need. Indeed their need to focus only on themselves is quite strong, for up ahead, hovering tantalizingly in the distance, is the White City.
Now the White City is a symbol of where we all want to be – it is the particular state of being most important to us. It means different things for different people, but the common thread is that it represents the soul’s ultimate goal.
How easy it is, in the heat of the journey, when the road – once so hard – has become easier and the goal is in sight, to forget or leave behind an important part of ourselves – the sense of compassion and the giving of what we have to someone else who needs it.
This is why the message of the Six of Pentacles is so important. When we are all experiencing pain, hardship, travail – why then, it becomes easy to sympathize with each other. We feel bonded in some way. United in our hope that someone, something will assist us. We send our voices crying out to the heavens, hoping the universe will hear us and respond.
Where it becomes difficult is when we have progressed in our journey and reached a point where life is good. Perhaps our careers are going well. Perhaps we have enough money to meet our needs and maybe a bit more. Perhaps our relationships are going just great and our children are fine. We feel happy, sustained and motivated.
It is precisely at this time that we should pause, look around and see how we can share, how we can give back some of the blessings we have received. As a recent movie said:
Perhaps we should "Pay it Forward".
So, when this card comes your way in a reading or meditation, ask yourself the following questions:
When I reach my White City, how will I reconcile leaving my fellow travelers behind?