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Deck of the week: Retroracle

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Brief weekly thoughts about a card randomly drawn from a Malpertuis deck - either about its creation, or possible factors to consider when it appears in a reading

Fish 5th December 2016
from the Old Arabian Lenormand (2015)

People sometimes struggle with the Fish card, due to the apparent paradox it expresses. It's usually taken to signify work, but it has just as strong an association with independence. On the surface, these two meanings can appear incompatible. The card always seems to raise questions about this problem: can work and freedom successfully co-exist? Isn't there inevitably a price to be paid in terms of the freedom given up for a career? Which is more important - life, or a living?

In recent years Britain has seen an apparently unstoppable movement towards self-employment (particularly among older professionals). Although some  argue that it's a trend borne of necessity (fewer companies hiring), all the research undertaken into the phenomenon suggests that the majority of those who are self-employed have in fact actively chosen to be so.

I've followed the debate because I'm one of these specimens myself. My own reason for leaving behind a twenty-year career was simple: the need for personal freedom gradually rose to the surface and eventually trumped all other considerations (whether it's freedom from responsibility or freedom to do my own thing remains a question which I haven't yet quite answered).

But I also know many friends and former colleagues who derive just as much fulfilment from being employed as I do from flying solo - and not just because they probably earn more. Being an independent agent certainly carries its own strains and pressures. I think, therefore, it's a mistake to see this card and immediately assume that it's a signal to ditch the office job and go freelance. Lenormand can be direct - but it's usually flexible too. So perhaps it's better to treat the Fish as a reminder of the importance of working on one's own terms.


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