Fulfill the Promise of your Youth
Detail of Parallel Journeys collage made in 1996. My father took the two black and white photos of me. CARD URL: http://www.zaporacle.com/card/be-true-to-your-essence/

Card #294 – Be True to Your Essence


“Of each particular thing, ask: What is it in itself, in its own construction?” — Marcus Aurelius

Be true to your essence — that which created your DNA and incarnation circumstances – and allow others to be true to theirs.

According to the Taoist I Ching, evolution occurs on the path of “reverse alchemy,” the path of “returning to the Tao.” Evolution does not necessarily occur by perpetual attunement to the Tao. Daisies, spiders, and viruses live perfectly attuned to the Tao and never deviate from it, but they don’t have the potential for individual evolution that human beings possess.

Relentless programs of conditioning work to separate us from our original essence. Evolution occurs on the difficult path of reverse alchemy — undoing layers of conditioning and returning to our essence.

The modern world has conditioned us to think human beings are a product of two factors: genetics and environment. But there is a third gigantic factor, essence, recognized by earlier cultures and not reducible to genetics or environment. Essence is an innate, unconditioned aspect of an individual, a set of qualities accompanying the individual into incarnation. This set of qualities may often be suppressed or distorted by acquired conditioning, but essence will find moments when it can shine through, and if it is strong enough, it can emerge even in unfavorable circumstances, like a flower blossoming from a crack in the sidewalk.

Essence finds ways to reveal itself. Parents often unconsciously suppress essence because they superimpose on a child their expectations and desires of what and who they think the child should be. Prospective parents need to realize that they are spinning the wheel of fate, and no one can say who will step through the portal of birth. Loving parents are open to discovering a child’s essence, which might be fantastically different than anything they may have hoped for or expected.

Depending on the position and context in which you drew this card, you may need to be more open and alert to the essence of others and/or to your own essence. One way essence may reveal itself is through enthusiasm and aptitude toward particular aspects of creativity, physical movement, human relations, self-awareness, etc.

Consider this an auspicious time to return to essence.

There are many definitions of essence. From Wikipedia article on essence: “In philosophy, essence is the attribute or set of attributes that make an object or substance what it fundamentally is, and which it has by necessity, and without which it loses its identity. Essence is contrasted with accident: a property that the object or substance has contingently, without which the substance can still retain its identity.” This same article surveys many philosophical versions of essence but, unfortunately, omits the Taoist/I Ching version I use.

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