The World with Herbal Pairing Shilajit
In the final card of the Major Arcana in the Tarot, a dancer graces the center, twirling wands like that of the Magician only even more advanced in the arts of magic because she carries two, one in each hand. Carefree and pure, a lavender sash is all that she wears across one of her shoulders and down around her body. Surrounding the dancer is a green wreath with red ribbons wrapped in infinity signs above and below her. Though this is the last card of the Tarot, the wreath creates a zero as if to hint at new beginnings. Similarly to that of the Wheel of Fortune card, in each corner of the World, an image appears, heralding the four elements and the four fixed astrology signs – a man’s face, symbolizing Aquarius, an air sign, the head of a lion, or Leo, a fire sign, the head of a bull, which is Taurus, an earth sign and finally the profile of an eagle, which is thought to represent Scorpio, a water sign. Merging these elements together, the dancer could be seen as a fifth element, a spiritual energy surpassing elemental materials, yet based in them, each in their purest form, united as one to complete something bigger than what each element could ever create on its own.
The Major Arcana cards are numbered and can be seen as a story. One which starts with the Fool, an innocent who journeys through many trials, tribulations, successes, joys, and insights until he finally wisely arrives at this card – the World. Combining all his desires (The Empress), ambitions (The Chariot), losses (The Tower), fears (The Moon), and even joys (The Sun) as we see represented in earlier cards, in the World we see how he steps beyond them to embody complete and utter enlightenment – a peaceful dance known only to those who have truly journeyed through all of these experiences first. It is fitting that the last card of the Tarot is named the World as enlightenment brings us a deep connection to a vast universe that surrounds us and IS us. We are the World. And the world is Us.
When drawing the World in a reading we are reminded of the cycles of life – for we must be near the end of one. Just around the corner, we’re about to experience a glowing sense of wholeness, achievement, fulfillment, and completion. Finally, that novel is about to be published, we’re graduating with honors, opening our own bakery, getting married, giving birth to our first child, or visiting Paris. That long-held dream or aspiration has come full circle, and we are now reveling in a sense of closure and accomplishment. Our goal has finally been accomplished – somehow, miraculously it seems, we believed long enough, worked hard enough and everything came together! And yet the journey has just begun, hasn’t it? What does Paris smell like in Spring? What will it mean to publish a second novel? Run a successful bakery? Be in a long-term marriage? Raise a child? Just like the dancer in The World, the cycle which dies gives life to another cycle and the dance continues – only the song changes.
The magical and fortifying resin which should naturally accompany this special card is in itself an unusual substance. Called Shilajit, this dark, dense residue is found primarily in the rocks of the Himalayas and develops slowly over centuries from the gradual decomposition of plants by the action of microorganisms. It has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine as a rejuvenating and antiaging compound, rich in humic and fulvic acids, plant alkaloids, organic acids, and minerals such as Zinc, Iron, Potassium, Calcium, and Copper. Due to the high amount of fulvic acid in Shilajit in particular, recent research has discovered its potential as a preventative for Alzheimer’s disease, as it seems to slow the progression of the disease by blocking the accumulation of harmful proteins in the brain that are associated with Alzheimer’s symptoms. Animal studies done in 2012 also show that consuming Shilajit boosts mitochondrial functioning, bringing optimal energy to the cellular level and addressing conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome. It can also increase sperm count, as well as hemoglobin and red blood cell counts related to anemia or iron deficiencies, and is known to help with high altitude sickness.
This ancient medicine is renewing and nutrient-dense, a perfect companion to the World, where cycles are ending and beginning again in thousands of ways. What cycles are we about to close and what new ones are we about to open? Let us step into another level of ourselves as we do so – lighter, brighter, and dancing all the while.
*Tarot reading is based on the Rider-Waite Tarot Card deck, illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith
Carrasco-Gallardo, Carlos, Guzmán, Leonardo and Maccioni, Ricardo B. “Shilajit: A Natural Phytocomplex with Potential Procognitive Activity. “National Center for Biotechnology Information, 23 February 2012. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3296184/
Dinesh Kumar Surapaneni, Sree Rama Shiva Shanker Adapa, Kumari Preeti, et al. “Shilajit Attenuates Behavioral Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome by Modulating the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis and Mitochondrial Bioenergetics in Rats.” National Center for Biotechnology Information, 30 August 2013. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22771318/
Geer, Mary K. Tarot for Your Self: A Workbook for the Inward Journey, 2nd Edition. New Jersey, The Career Press, Inc, 2002. P246-47
Higuera, Valencia. “Benefits of Shilajit.” Healthline, 10 March 2023. https://www.healthline.com/health/shilajit