3 0f Wands: False Expectations, Beware the Open Manhole
(c) Cheryl Lynne Bradley 2004-10

Morgan Greer Tarot: 3 of Wands

In Tarot the 3 of Wands is often depicted with a man standing on a shoreline, at the edge of the island, surveying the horizon as if waiting for his ship to come in. What is on this ship he is waiting for? Is he waiting for his true love to return? Is he waiting for material goods that he can gain a profit from? Has he shipped something of value to another shore and is waiting for the return on his investment? Is his expectation of profits gained or love returned realistic? Is there really a ship or is he just imagining what might have been or what could yet be? Is he being hopeful or feeling hopeless? Is he watching his ship sinking or sailing in the sunset? Has he done this before? Are his past outcomes the basis of his current expectations? What role will fate, prayer and chance play in the outcome? Does he need what he is waiting for or does he just want it? It reminds me of the Hunter Thompson quote "It was the Law of the Sea, they said. Civilization ends at the waterline. Beyond that, we all enter the food chain, and not always right at the top."

I am sure most of us are familiar with the classic Rolling Stones song "You Can't Always Get What You Want". The title says it all, we really can't always get what we want. Thinking that we can leads us to the open manhole of false expectations. Disappointments often stem from unrealistic expectations. Christmas can be a time of false expectations and big disappointments for many people. Blame it on the hype and commercialization of the holiday which creates the assumption that everyone can and will enjoy a wonderful holiday season and gifts and good behaviours will abound. If we assume this, it makes an "ass" out of "u" and "me". We all know that this is not the case for many people in our country, our society and throughout the world.

Many people enter relationships with unrealistic and false expectations; "I can change him/her/them." is the biggest trap of all in a relationship. There is a big difference between this expectation and the likely outcome. People will always exceed your lowest expectation. "It won't happen to me." is another one we are all familiar with. How do you know it won't happen to you? Do you have some kind of cosmic "Get Out of Jail Free" card that will prevent a negative outcome from happening to you? "What's in it for me?" is another tell tale sign of false expectations. You aren't identifying what you need or looking for solutions to problems you may be having, you are just looking for some ultimate payoff being handed over to you. Sorry, it just isn't that easy.

"Nothing ever works out for me anyway." is a symptom of sabotaging your own success. It leads too fear, anxiety, doubt, second-guessing and to the formation of unrealistic and unobtainable expectations - you set yourself up to fail because you aren't pursuing obtainable goals. We have to learn how to set realistic short term and long term goals. "Things are going to work out the way I want." None of us have anyway of knowing how things will work out. If we think realistically, we can ascertain a probable outcome but nothing is carved in stone. Fate, chance and random events can change things very quickly. Lives can change forever in seconds.

Another area where people are guilty of having false or unrealisitic expectations comes within their relationship with God, however they conceive God or their Higher Power or Powers to be. Many people think they can make a bargain with God. The pray "Oh God, it you let me have this, then I will......" Sorry people, God doesn't make bargains. God never promised us a perfect life in this world. People think that God will remove troubles, illnesses and worries from their life. Wrong again, the only promise God makes is that no amount of trouble or worry can separate us from Him. People often ask God to prove Himself to them by showing them a sign or granting them a miracle. Others may feel that God has forgotten them because of negative events and circumstances in their lives. God offers us promises, not proofs that we have His grace or favour or that we are in disgrace and disfavour.

Sometimes we place to much emphasis on coincidences or random events as a sign of favour or disfavour. Prayer or ritual will not make worldly wishes come true, make life easy or give us concrete evidence of approval or disapproval of our Creator or Higher Power. Prayer and ritual are very much acts and expressions of faith. They will bring us strength to get through hard times and comfort to aid us while we wait for the fruits of our labours to show. They will give us peace of mind so we may ascertain and achieve our realistic goals and maximize the enjoyment of our everyday lives.

So like the song says maybe "You can't always get what you want". Don't forget that the next lines say, "But if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need."


This page was updated 2010-06-16.