5 of Coins: Throwing A Starfish
(c) Cheryl Lynne Bradley 2004-7
The 5 of Coins is, in my opinion, one of the saddest cards in the Tarot. Traditional imagery shows us a couple outside of a church in inclement weather. They are tattered, torn and frayed. Worn out from worry and deprivation yet they are helping one another find help. They are waiting for a miracle and looking for sanctuary and shelter from the storm. It is a card of impoverishment and lack in the material, physical, emotional and spiritual senses of the words.
We live in a world of great need. The poor and the sick will always be among us. A compassionate person does not even know where to start to make a difference in the tidal wave of need which is consuming our planet. The only place to start is close to home. Help those you can, even if it is just a kind word, and don't stop trying even if the task is daunting and seemingly without end. It is going to take more than throwing money bandaids at these issues to fix the world. It will require the full investment of the Spiritual Emergency Fund, which is comprised of our moral capital, spiritual currency, emotional investment and psychic income, before this tide starts to turn. The ultimate debit card for the soul.
This is a nice story that I think captures the essence of this card.
Once there was and once there was not, a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work. One day he was walking along the shore. As he looked down the beach, he saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself to think of someone who would dance to the day. So he began to walk faster to catch up.
As he got closer, he saw that it was a young man and the young man wasn't dancing, but instead he was reaching down to the shore, picking up something and very gently throwing it into the ocean.
He called out to the young man, "Good morning! What are you doing?" The young man paused, looked up and replied, "Throwing starfish into the ocean. The sun is up, and the tide is going out. And if I don't throw them in they'll die."
"But, young man, don't you realize that there are miles and miles of beach, and starfish all along it. You can't possibly make a difference!"
The young man listened politely. Then bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves and said, "It made a difference for that one."
Stars may only come out at night, but it is always good to remember that fixed stars provide us with guidance to navigate the dark night journeys. Tides are constant, ebbing and flowing, following the moon. The poor, sick and the needy are constant like the starfish stranded on the beach . We can't help them all but if we can make a difference for just one that, in the great scheme of things, is all that really matters.