Why You *Must* Do What You Love

Collective readings

Advice from tarot and Greek mythology

Table of contents

“Sooner or later something seems to call us onto a particular path. You may remember this “something” as a signal calling in childhood when an urge out of nowhere, a fascination, a peculiar turn of events struck like an annunciation: This is what I must do, this is what I’ve got to have. This is who I am.”
James Hillman, The Soul’s Code

The Daimon

Originating from Greek religion, the daimon was a spirit entity that basically guided man through life. A good daimon helped a human reconnect with their forgotten life purpose — a similar role that the Soul plays in today’s culture.

Artists, musicians, and great philosophers are some of the people who have heard the call of their daimon and followed it. For the rest of us who secretly know what we want to do but don’t do it, it can be said that we hear the call but for whatever reason, choose to avoid it.

In response to this, the Gospel of Thomas, a gnostic text, has an interesting quote:

“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”

For a lot of us, the idea of ‘bringing forth what is within’ is terrifying, and for good reason. The more our dreams are symbolic of our innermost essence — our very Soul — the bigger the fear associated with them.

So to keep ourselves safe, we choose a path we don’t really care about. We pick the places we won't need to be that invested in; where we're less vulnerable. It reminds me of the fearful lover who never lets anyone get close. In both cases, the mantra is “If I don’t care that much, I can’t get hurt.”

But the Gospel of Thomas says different. What if the hurt caused by ignoring the call of your Soul is infinitely worse than the fear that comes from following it? That would change your outlook completely, wouldn’t it?

The King of Cups

As usual, I turned to tarot to help me dive deeper into this topic. The card that came up was the King of Cups, which at first didn’t make sense at all. Then—in typical tarot fashion—it suddenly made all the sense.

Most RWS depictions of this card show the King sitting on water in some way or other. My favorite King of Cups card has to be from the Luna Sol Tarot, where the King sits on a whole throne made *entirely* of water. I freaking love it!

It reminds me of Buddhist nun Pema Chodron when she talks about groundlessness ground. Basically, to be human means to live in a world with no actual ground. We’re all just floating around, trying to create some sense of stability and security. Add capitalism into that mix and the idea of “false stability” intensifies — the myth of the American dream, the myth of meritocracy, the lie that you just need to work your way out of bad financial circumstances.

The waves toss us back and forth, with barely a minute to catch our breath, and all the while we’re looking for anything to grab hold onto.

And yet, despite all this, the King of Cups sits firmly on their water throne. They’ve learned how to find groundlessness ground — a sense of stability in an unstable world.

This, in my opinion, is how doing what you love saves you. This is what’s available to you when you answer the call of the Soul.

It gives you a gift of something to root into, something to ground yourself in; something that’s so tethered to your very essence that the mere act of doing it brings you closer and closer to yourself.

While everyone else swims around looking for something to hold onto, you build a whole damn throne out of water. And they watch you and marvel at the impossibility of it all.

“What man in the world would not find his situation intolerable if he chooses a craft, an art, indeed any form of life, without experiencing an inner calling? Everything on this earth has its difficult sides! Only some inner drive — pleasure, love — can help us overcome obstacles, prepare a path, and lift us out of the narrow circle in which others tread out their anguished, miserable existences!” – Goethe.

Hey, fellow Soul explorers! Thank you, as always, for reading. Today's post is based on a Jungian psychology podcast I listened to. If you'd like to dive deeper into the concept of the daimon, take a look at This Jungian Life podcast.

Until next week, wishing you all the best as you seek to build your own water thrones. May they all be fucking fabulous and strong enough to hold you through these challenging times. 🌙