Passion – Harmony, Obsession, and the 5, 6, and 10 of Wands

March 31st, 2016 § 0 comments

In the Big Think video below, cognitive psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman talks about two kinds of passion – harmonious and obsessive.

Harmonious passion is when we’re engaged in an activity that’s healthfully integrated into our identity and makes us feel good about ourselves. We feel in control, with no external necessity to act in any particular manner. We’re doing something because we really want to, whether or not anyone else is looking, or cares.

6 of Wands - Rider Waite Smith Tarot

On the other hand, obsessive passion involves some sort of external contingency, like self-esteem, or the need/desire to please someone else. It’s the type of thing that makes us feel like we have to win at all costs, or there’s no value in playing at all.

Though we can certainly get things done with obsessive passion, it’s harmonious passion that’s more likely to lead to creative insights, not to mention an overall sense of well-being.

5 of Wands - Rider Waite Smith Tarot

Kaufman’s description got me thinking about Tarot and what cards in the Suit of Wands (the suit of passion) might indicate either harmonious or obsessive passion.

Harmonious passion might be reflected in the 6 of Wands, the card of spiritual victory. When it appears in a reading it often points to the successful integration of one’s identity with one’s activities. The win described in this card comes from commitment and a natural enthusiasm for a particular activity, not from a need to defeat someone else, or from doing something because we think others hope or expect that we’ll do it.

For obsessive passion we might look to the 5 of Wands, and/or the 10 of Wands.

10 of Wands - Rider Waite Smith Tarot

With the Five, there’s a sense that passions are flaring, creating a situation where people are pitted one against another, and a win can only be achieved through the defeat of someone else. Passion, in this case, is raised through conflict and rivalry rather than an inner sense of enthusiasm or constructive curiosity.

With the 10 of Wands, there’s a sense that our passions are leading us, but that the load is heavy. We may wish to put some tasks or activities down, but for reasons outside of ourselves, we feel we just have to keep at it. In this case harmonious passions are subverted as we try to maintain our strength to keep doing what we feel we should rather than what we truly want.

To hear what Kaufman has to say, take a look at the video below, and if you’ve got a Tarot deck handy, take a look for yourself and see what cards you think might describe harmonious and obsessive passion best.

comment on this post

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

What's this?

You are currently reading Passion – Harmony, Obsession, and the 5, 6, and 10 of Wands at The Tarot Room.

meta