Saturday, September 29th, 2012

Queen of Wands Crossed by Temperance — Fairy Tale Tarot

I was recently gifted a nice new little laptop from a couple of family members. It is my first new computer in nearly eight years, thus I need to go about purchasing all those updated graphics programs. I want to draw cool pictures— might I someday be gifted the time!— so I bought a big screen. Then, of course, having a screen, I bought an external keyboard. Not having used a mouse since sometime in the mid 90s, I found it necessary to purchase an external trackpad. I don’t have all the correct adapters and such yet, so I’ve got a lot of pretty hardware sitting on my desk collecting fingerprints.


I need a break from my own deck and from one-card readings. My most-used spread has always been the celtic cross, although I am not certain I know what all the positions mean. Thus, I study the first two positions: The Significator and What Crosses Me. This would increase my typical reading by NEW! IMPROVED! 100% MORE CARDS! (one).


After more consideration than usual, I pulled the MRP Fairy Tale Tarot off the shelf. I really wanted something else, something simpler, but I paid too much for this deck, so I figure I ought to either try to appreciate it or be rid of it.


I picked out the Queen of Wands to represent myself, shuffled the deck, asked, “What Crosses Me?” and pulled Temperance. Is it possible to be crossed by temperance?


I take a break to scan the cards and ponder this and quickly discover that there is no software which enables my old scanner to function with my new computer. Sigh!*


The Fairy Tale story is called “Water and Salt.” It’s about learning to listen and appreciate the value of ordinary life. I suppose it is possible to be crossed by Temperance if one wishes to do something extraordinary. Or it is possible to be crossed by Temperance if one is extremely well-rounded and cannot choose a single path to follow. I suppose it is possible to be double-crossed by temperance should both instances be the case. Recently, I’ve been feeling double-crossed by temperance.


All the extremes that made my life so unusual are tempered by having a child. There are a number of extremes that I have excelled at. However, no one extreme has stood out above the rest for any extended period of time— except from the point of view of my partner’s son who sums it up quite well by saying that I am extremely bizarre. I have never argued.


The battle between the desire to DO DO DO DO DO and the desire to chill with my babe is not much of a struggle: the baby wins most every time. My one remaining extremity is writing. The fabulous worlds created by miraculous manipulation of the alphabet are one of the truest forms of magic. I have always dabbled in this form of sorcery. It has always been my dream to enchant.


Double-crossed by Temperance, the Queen pares her Wand to a fine point and takes aim.


*And I need a new camera, too, if I am ever to take pictures of my soon-to-crawl daughter.Baba Studios Magic Realist Press

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

Page of Blades — Tarot of the Absurd

Tarot of the Absurd Page of Blades[I illustrated the Pages in my deck as girls to equal out the balance of power between the sexes among the courts a bit. Ultimately, Pages are youth and the Knights are teenagers and the Kings and Queens are grown-ups. The Pages have crowns due to my own ignorance. What was I thinking?]


The Page of Blades is a sly girl with a mind that moves like lightning. A budding communications expert, she is an avid learner and an excellent student. The Page of Blades is full of questions and ideas, and she does not mean to keep them to herself. The books are not just there for show. Someday, in the future, they may be written by her own hand. 


The Page of Blades has a bundle of energy and is extremely curious— sometimes to a fault. If she were a cat she’d be on her ninth life and still creeping fences, jumping through broken windows and getting her whiskers caught in the mousetrap. But, to coin a proverb, a mind sharp with wisdom is often honed on the strop of curiosity. Her tongue and mind and blade are sharp, and the are used for carving. The tongue carves words into questions, warnings and advice, making friends or enemies as the case may be. The mind carves input from the senses into observations and ideas. And the blade begins to carve these new ideas into something real. In the young hands of the artisan of the blade, a concept becomes a plan becomes a fact.


But like all pages, the Page of Blades oft moves a bit quick, and if she does not pay close attention to what she does, she might carve off a bit of stuff she meant to keep. A tongue too quick to spout questions and advice might annoy and offend. A mind with ideas not thoroughly thought out but followed nonetheless might run into more obstacles than open paths. And a blade too quick to strike is oft not well aimed.

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

Wheel of Fortune — Tarot of the Absurd

Blind Fortune“What is fortune?” I ask the Web of Answers.


“The Fortune Society’s mission is to support successful reentry from prison and promote alternatives to incarceration, thus strengthening the fabric of our communities.”


Fortune is freedom; freedom is fortune. Only—


“A Buddha is someone who finds freedom in good fortune and bad.”



Fortune is the ability to learn repercussions of poor actions in a constructive manner. Holding people in jails teaches people how to live in jail. Allowing people to do nothing with their lives teaches them how to do nothing with their lives.


“Fortune cannot aid those who do nothing.”



Fortune is the ability to be integrated into— to become one with the whole of— one’s society and community. Fortune is to feel accepted. However, most often in our society, fortune is thought of as monetary wealth; with money, we are instantly accepted in one way or another. Where and when goes fortune goes luck.


“No one is truly free, they are a slave to wealth, fortune, the law, or other people restraining them from acting according to their will.” 



“Fortune” can be read as luck, fate, destiny, karma, serendipity, chance, or accident. These are words that we have attached to circumstances where success or failure is brought on by something other than our own direct action. The action may be imperceptible; the origin of the action may be unknown. Maybe, maybe. So, if success or failure is brought on by something other than our own action and we are slave to the turns of fortunes wheel that keeps us from acting according to our own will, are freedom and fortune mutually exclusive?


“We do not know what is really good or bad fortune.” 

—Jean-Jacques Rousseau 



Blind, Fortune doles out gifts and punishments with no regard to person. Though Fortune cannot see what Fortune does, this does not stop the wheel from rolling! The result is seeming randomness.


“Fortune rules the affairs of men at random and, blind, she hands out her gifts.”



We are Fortune; we are the Wheel, and we are ultimately blind in to actions. No matter how much we try to see the world around us, no matter how aware we try to be of how we treat our environs, we are ultimately blind. Despite this, we are not freed from the responsibility of our actions. Blinded, we hand stars to others, blind. Thus we are bound to the Wheel of Fortune, and thus the wheel rolls on.


Thursday, September 20th, 2012

The High Priestess — Tarot of the Absurd

Book of KnowledgeThe High Priestess represents wisdom, knowledge and understanding. She holds the key to access the realm of the unconscious— the dreamworld— the underworld of the self. She learns by crawling into the book of knowledge, becoming that which needs to be known, learning by experience. She is the first to travel her chosen path. She learns her way intimately, then guides others by teaching us to do as she has. Along the way she tells us, “Listen. Listen to yourself. Pay attention. Be accountable for your decisions. Listen.” Her intuition is high. Her self-knowledge is deep. She does not waste her attention on superficial things.


The High Priestess reminds me of the goddess Inanna. Inanna’s tale is the story of how mortals received the traditions of the gods. It is the story of the disembodying journey to one’s dark side and the sacrifices that must be made to return. It the story of the hero’s journey through the realms that souls traverse during sleep and after death. Inanna walked to the underworld of her unconscious to confront her dark side, bound to the world of the living solely by faith in her spiritual self. Like Inanna into the underworld, into this book of wisdom the High Priestess crawls.


—A Very Abbreviated Tale of the Goddess Inanna—


Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth, daughter of the Moon and sister of the Sun, stole by trickery the gifts from the gods that awaken the human mind and provide the morals, laws, customs, arts, and sciences of civilized life. These are the attributes of civilization, both positive and negative. Instead of leaving such gifts in sole charge of the gods, Inanna shared with humankind all that she had acquired. 


Inanna’s favorite gift was the power of making decisions. Knowing the other gifts is worthless without this power— the power of will, initiative, and independence. By using the gifts that Inanna brought from Heaven, people are able to enrich and ennoble their lives, bringing divine harmony to Earth.


Long afterward— after she married and her two sons had grown to manhood— Inanna descended into the underworld to visit Ereshkigal, her dark sister, her sinister side, queen of the underworld. Ereshkigal’s husband had recently died. Inanna went to console her.


Inanna brought with her seven holy gifts from seven cities, embodying them into herself. She dressed herself in her seven royal garments and descended. She was stripped of each one of her seven garments at the seven gates until she reached the innermost chamber of the underworld— the darkest corner of her being— where the seven judges past judgment against her.


And Ereshkigal fastened the eye of death upon her sister. Inanna, crucified by her own destiny, turned to a corpse that hung like meat from on a hook on the wall. There she remained for three days and three nights until Ninshubur, Inanna’s constant companion and spiritual self, went for help.


Deeply grieved, father Enki took pity. He scraped dirt from under his fingernails and made two creatures which he sent to the underworld like flies. When they heard Ereshkigal moaning with childbirth, they were to moan with her. Thus, they did. Ereshkigal, comforted by their sympathy, offered them a gift. They asked for Inanna’s corpse from the hook on the wall. Ereshkigal gave it.


Following Enki’s instruction, the creatures sprinkled the corpse with food and water of life. Thus Inanna arose, born anew, as if from the childbirth pangs of her dark sister, goddess of the underworld.


The judges who had stripped Inanna of her self insisted she provide a substitute if she was to leave the underworld. She refused to leave her servant and spiritual self, Ninshubur. She refused to leave one or the other of her sons. When she arrived home where her husband Dumuzi was sitting on his throne and he was to busy to acknowledge Inanna’s arrival, Inanna gave him up to death.


Of course Inanna missed Dumuzi greatly when he was gone, as did his sister Geshtinanna and his mother. All were inconsolable. In their grief, wintery desolation filled the land.


Time past. Inanna and Geshtinanna found Dumuzi weeping where his corpse lay. Inanna took his hand, and there a pact was made: Dumuzi and his sister would split the time spent in the underworld, half a year each. here would be half a year of barrenness and rest, half a year of abundance. So it is. And so it is. And so it is said.

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Ace of Cups — Tarot of the Absurd


Catherine Shanahan

Physician, Heal Thyself



The Ace of Cups contains the beginning of all things emotional and creative. It is the initiation of love, happiness and compassion— or— ill-favored— their opposites. In order for the positive aspects of these concepts to enter one’s life, one must begin with the self. A huge cup is offered. We are invited to drink from it. The drink is the realization of the self.


Yourself. Myself. Himself and herself. One’s own self. It is only when we are able to love ourselves— not in a self-righteous or selfish way but in a forgiving and compassionate way— that the door opens for us to love and in turn be loved by others. Creative expression is the ability to share our inner experience with others. The ace of cups gives us the opportunity to realize this— to make it real.


“You can’t change the world. The best thing you can do is change yourself.”

—Mahatma Gandhi