The Tentacle Monster Tarot
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VI. The Custodian


The Card

A custodian stands in a long hallway lined with lockers, holding a broom in one hand and a mop in the other. At his feet is a bucket filled with water; from his belt dangles a key ring with many keys. He wears a smile on his face.

The Story

As she leaves the Headmaster's office, the Schoolgirl ventures down the hallway, where she encounters a custodian mopping the floor. "He is just a janitor," she thinks, "and has nothing to teach me. I have the tools I need, and now I am ready to take action to make my life what I want it to be."

But as she moves past him, she hears him whistling a happy tune to himself. His happiness surprises her; what would someone whose lot in life was to be in such a lowly position have to be happy about?

The Schoolgirl tells him, "You have a menial job; where the other people in the University are busy with important research and learning new things, you merely clean the floors. How is it that you can be happy?"

The Custodian explains to her that he does not consider his station to be lowly. He chose this position when, through no fault of his own, he lost his job as a professor in another university. Now, this work maintains him while leaving him free to pursue his own interests. "I could choose to be unhappy because of what has happened to me," he says, "but what purpose would that serve? You can alter your life by altering your thinking. I think of myself as happy, and because of that, I am happy."

The Schoolgirl is impressed by this! It has never occurred to her to measure her happiness from within rather rather than by the measure of her achievements.

The Meaning

The Custodian represents a pragmatic approach to life. Whatever happens to him, there is an inner core of self that is resolute and untouched by the slings and arrows of adversity. He does not seek to alter the world to suit himself; instead, he alters himself to suit the world. He knows that happiness is a choice, not the result of external things; because of this, his happiness is unshakable.

This card has a dual meaning. It can signify that true peace comes only from within, and so represent a pragmatic, down-to-earth approach to life, free from unrealistic idealism and from the need to value one's self in terms of one's accomplishments or one's victory over life. But there is another meaning. When this card represents the Querant, it can warn of becoming too complacent, of allowing one's self to settle for less than one is capable of.

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