Skill, hard work, achieving a certain level or competence and mastery in a field – all of these can be seen as aspects of the 8 of Pentacles. This card reminds me that without practice, hard work and persistence, it is unlikely that we will become truly skilled at anything. There are folks born with an innate talent – such as singing, a musical ear or athletic ability. However if they do not practice and hone those skills, they are just wasted potential. Even when we are born with certain talents, practice allows us to hone and improve those skills.
It occurs to me that the same principle applies to manifesting the future I want. It is not just going to happen because I want it to happen. It will take focus, concentration and plain old hard work. It will involve making mistakes and being willing to continue moving forward despite the setbacks. It will take believing in myself and my skills even when both inner and outer critics try to undermine my confidence. I realized as I’m writing this that it’s pretty amazing anyone manages to reach journeyman or master craftsperson status in any field. Our own inner demons are always so ready to undermine us and knock us down. Perhaps the true key to becoming a master craftsperson in any field or to manifesting the future you desire is the ability to focus and ignore those damn loud, noisy, persistent inner critics.
I’m reading Ensouling Language right now and it is amazing how things I take for granted in my daily life, such as the ability to focus on small things that give me pleasure and sensing when something doesn’t feel right, are also skills Buhner recommends for someone who wishes to write. He helped me realize why I enjoy some authors and books and dislike others, even when they’ve been highly praised by various reviewers. Each person will have their own sense of what feels right. In order to achieve a level of mastery in any craft, we need to stay true to our own belief in what feels right. That is much more difficult than it first appears, especially when what we believe feels right flies in the face of popular attitudes. Bucking the trend and being willing to be an outsider is quite challenging.
So the 8 of Pentacles/Stones is reminding me that a true master at a craft is willing to stay true to her own vision and believe in herself. She is willing to accept that feeling and living her own truth might make her an outsider to the rest of her community. And she needs to embrace the hard work and focus that are necessary to help her improve her skills. Talent may be a gift we are given at birth but mastery and skill in our chosen field are only acquired through persistence, determination and practice.