You may be aware or unaware of an approaching transition. Your vision of it may be veiled, but that may be necessary.
The future is the great unknown. The future may have formed and unformed elements. The cycling of the seasons, for example, has a lot of temporal momentum behind it and is very likely to continue unless derailed by an enormous shock, such as a giant asteroid impact that creates a version of nuclear winter. The weather on any given day, however, is far less predictable and more subject to butterfly effects, more subject to unpredictable variations.
The season when the ground is fertile is formed, but what you choose to plant in the ground may not be. The unformed elements give more space for free will and novelty.
It may be fully formed that you are heading toward the great event horizon of death, but what you do on that journey has unformed aspects — a misty landscape you see in vague and shifting outline up ahead. You are subject to outside forces, but you are also the chief agent shaping the approaching landscape with your thoughts, choices, and actions.
“You-create-your-own-reality” fundamentalists inflate the influence you have into absurd absolutism (see Dynamic Paradoxicalism — the Anti Ism Ism) while determinists go in just the opposite direction deflating individual influence and denying free will in favor of a mechanical universe inhabited by automatons.
From the perspective of eternity, past, present, and future are unified, and we connect with this perspective by becoming aware of the nowever in which we always exist.
Think of yourself as a spinning lathe, cutting forms or imprints out of the raw material of the future as it comes down the conveyor belt of linear time. For example, as I write this card, the blank space on the screen below what I have written is like the future, it has infinite, unformed potential. The lathe of my mind cuts into that unformed potential by choosing certain words out of the bubbling cauldron of possibility — the infinitude of letter and word combinations.
And yet, the text future of the card has some roughly formed elements I also respect. Given the image and the unifying concept I have given the card, I will not include words that stray from the theme. I could choose to go on a tangent on how to cook artichokes, but the relative continuity of my intentions in creating the card is well-formed and won’t allow that.
The unexpected could interfere with what I intend to form out of the raw material of the future coming toward my lathe. For example, my computer could suddenly crash, and this sort of rare event, which depends on variables I have little awareness of, seems impossible for me to forecast. So I keep saving my work, knowing that a crash, like an asteroid impact, is inevitable. If I am overconfident and presume upon the future, then I am less prepared for the crash.
The unformed and unknowable aspects of the future are essential to the beauty and mystery of life. Although I seem to be the one forming the content of this card, I cannot anticipate, nor would I want to, the future of this card, who might pick it, or the context of the reading and the meaning it may have to unknown future users of the oracle.
You, who are reading this card, are part of that mysterious future unknown to me, and that is part of what makes an oracle a living, dynamic entity. The unknowable aspects of the future are what make life, in general, dynamic and interesting.
Organisms, including human beings, do have some ability to sense the future, particularly the near future. For example, a well-controlled (triple blind) and replicated scientific experiment involved human subjects who were shown a series of images, most of them pleasant or neutral, but a few of them shocking — a gruesome car accident, etc. The order of the images was not known by the experimenters, nor even by the computer, which selected the images based on randomizing operations performed just a split second before the images were displayed. The subjects were hooked up to biometric sensors like the sort used with lie detectors — galvanic skin response, heart rate, etc. The experiments showed that many subjects registered physiological stress responses several seconds before an upsetting image, even though they were mostly unconscious of any clairvoyant warning. Research on people who were the victims of violent attacks shows that they usually had warning intuitions, though these were usually overridden by their rational minds. Some warning intuitions may be clairvoyant, and others may derive from subtle pre-incident indicators, subliminal cues picked up about a person’s body language, etc. A careful statistical analysis of plane crashes showed a significantly larger percentage of last-minute cancellations for flights that later crashed.
From the perspective of the I Ching, it is crucial not to attempt to prestructure the future. Prestructuring the future is when we build an image of the future in our minds and then presume that the future will comply with the image. For example, we build a fantasy in our mind of a romantic future with a person we find attractive. The prestructured fantasy attempts to control the lifecycle of the relationship, which is a third entity not fully controlled by either party. When we prestructure the future, we become clumsy, rigid, and diminished in our ability to flow with the spontaneous and unexpected. I Ching scholar Carol Anthony uses tennis to illustrate this principle. If we expect the ball to come across the net in a certain way, we may not be prepared for how it actually comes across. But if we wait on our side of the net with an unstructured attitude, we are ready for anything.
There is nothing wrong with planning and scheduling if you are aware of these as strategic and tactical exercises done in present time with the full awareness that unexpected events may come up which will force you to change the plan or schedule.
“The first casualty of any battle is the plan of attack.”
— Cory Doctorow
Once a time of heightened transition or change is upon us, it’s crucial to actively work with the cycle of change with full engagement so that we neither neglect opportunities nor allow difficulties to deflect or distract us from our life mission. As Shakespeare says in Julius Ceasar,
There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat;
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.”
Relating to the future requires a dynamic relationship to a number of paradoxes: the future as both formed and unformed, the future as unknowable, and the future as perceivable by a clairvoyant sense. So, as we transition into the unknown, we respect these paradoxes; we see the trees that are just up ahead but are also aware of the misty landscape, which we can’t fully perceive but can only discover by journeying into it.
Need holistic advice during a time of transition? See: Jonathan Zap’s Services
See also: Temporal Fencing and Life Fields
and Kill the Time Grid and Fire up your Life
Clock Time Metastasizes Toward 2012
Time and Tolkien’s Elves