Friday, August 16th, 2013

Two of Blades — Tarot of the Absurd

2blade

The Two of Blades is a simple image depicting two balanced forces. Balanced forces may be opposites, or they may be partners. They may work together, or they may oppose each other. Balanced forces working in conjunction with one another may accomplish great things. Balanced forces at odds with one another go no where. It is important to notice the aim of your force in relation to surrounding energies.

 

I equally want to sleep and want to get things accomplished while my baby naps. (Hooray!) In the middle of these balanced forces, I get tiny crumbs of action accomplished that never seem to amount to anything and I am chronically low on sleep. Horrid compromise! How can I change it so that all my energy works toward the same goal?

 

Clarify my goals

Have fewer goals

Outline the steps needed to attain my goals

Organize my time better

Don’t have any fun (wot???)

 

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

Tarot of the Absurd for sale on AMAZON!

The Tarot of the Absurd is now for sale on Amazon!

(Tho why anyone would buy it there instead of here is beyond me.)

 

It is pretty straight-forward to list a product on Amazon,

if they already carry it.

If they don’t carry it, it’s another story.

I couldn’t figure how to list the deck properly,

so I put it in the “everything else” category,

which, it turns out, is against Amazon policy.

I needed assistance.

 

I invited over a babysitter, then dialed.

HOLD (10 minutes.)

He answered.

I told my story.

He said:

I couldn’t change the category; I’d have to make a new listing.

It is against Amazon policy to list in the “everything else” category.

I’d have to put it in “children’s toys & games.”

I said:

It’s not a children’s toy: it’s targeted to neither boys nor girls nor unisex children!

He said:

Call the feeds department and wait on hold.

HOLD (infinite)

 

INTERLUDE while on hold:

After 35 minutes of hold time,

I called Amazon on another line with another phone,

waited on hold, then spoke to a representative.

She said:

Hold times are very long.

Then we were disconnected.

I called back, was put on hold,

then got the same representative.

I told her the issue & my current hold time with the feeds department.

We were disconnected.

Five minutes later, she called me back through the original phone

(somehow, you see, because I was still on hold, over 40 minutes now) & said:

The feeds department would be of no use to you.

They will not be able to change the category

unless you update your Amazon seller account

to a PRIME seller account at $39.99 per month.

Would you like to update your account now?

I said:

I will not even sell forty bucks of stuff per month!

I have ONE item.

She said:

She said, well, too bad.

(pause)

She said:

Do you want to talk to the feeds department anyhow?

They won’t do anything for you.

I said:

I’ve been on hold over 40 minutes! OF COURSE I want to talk to them!

She said:

Okay, I’ll contact you with the feeds department.

 

During the intervening NEXT 15 minutes of hold,

I decide to fill in a review of Amazon

about how my interaction went

and whether I’d tell others to sell on Amazon based on my experience.

 

You can imagine I did not write a glowing review.

 

Eventually, the feeds department answered.

I asked:

Why are the hold times are so long?

They said:

There are a lot of people calling the feeds department.

I asked:

But what IS the feeds department?

They said:

We control the spreadsheets.

I decided it was not important that I understand. I said:

Okay, I need my item in the proper category.

After which there was a lot of discussion, which boiled down to this:

There are some categories that are off-limits

to people who do not pay the $39.99 monthly prime seller fee,

and would you like to upgrade your account now?

I said:

Look. I’m not even going to sell $40 of stuff each month.

It is against Amazon policy to have my item listed as it is listed now,

it is not a toy or game aimed at boys and girls,

and I have one item.

They said:

Too bad for you!

(ha-ha!)

 

 

I think at this point someone noticed the

less-than-glowing review I just sent in.

After ten minutes of chatter they let me know:

they were doing me a huge favor

by changing the feed so my item would be in the correct category

which is really off limits to me unless I pay for it

but they are doing me a special favor

and they certainly won’t do it again (they informed me)

so please wait on hold for two minutes

which really turned out to be fifteen

but at the end of that fifteen minutes the category was changed

corrected I think

as it stands now

it should be right.

 

One hour twenty minutes on the phone,

most of it on hold. Just to change the category.

Maybe someday I’ll sell a deck on Amazon!!!

 

Anyone out there who has purchased a deck,

I would be most grateful

if you would be willing to write a nice review on Amazon.

You do not have to say much: just a few words of what you like.

I’ll post on my blog when I sell my first deck there.

Please do not hold your breath…

 

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

Death — Niki de Saint Phalle Tarot Cards

niki st phalle tarot deck cards

 

 

 

I have recently acquired, via moolah, the Nikki St. Phalle tarot cards. I first encountered this deck ages ago, when it was newly released. At that time I decided that I only wanted 78-card decks, which remains true, for the most part. With this purchase, I feel as if my unintentional collection is complete. At least for now. Now I want to buy a really expensive camera.

*   *   *

 

 

 niki de saint phalle cards

One of the main ways cultures around the globe deal with death is through ritual and religion. In my family, discussion of religion generally progressed something like this:

 

Setting: Yellow 1977 VW bus, long road trip. External reference to apostles.

 

Me: “What’s an apostle?”

 

Mom (to me): “I think the four apostle were named Peter, Paul, Luke and John.” (to my father): “Is that right Paul?” (My mom was born of Jews.)

 

Dad: (noncommittal grunting sounds indicating probable ignorance.)

 

Me: “But what did they do?”

 

(pause)

 

Mom: “Paul? You went to Catholic school.”

 

Dad: (emphatic grunting sounds indicating definite ignorance)

 

Me: “Nobody knows what they did?

 

Dad: “Exactly. Nobody knows what they did.”

 

*   *   *

 

Eventually, I asked my mother why she brought us up without teaching us about religion. “I taught you about compost,” she replied. “Birth, death and regeneration all right there. Isn’t that religion?”

 

Eat food. Put scraps in the Temple of Compost. Visit the Temple, turn the pile. Wait. Add scraps. Visit. Turn. Add. Wait. Visit. Turn. (Winter. Spring.) Plant garden. Add compost. Repeat. Is it religion?

 

I sincerely believe in compost. I have never, in all my wanderings, put my foodstuffs into the trash. My younger sister and I speak in hushed tones about stealth composting systems we have developed for honoring the biodegradable potential of uneaten edibles while living in urban areas where there is seemingly no place where one can decay in peace. Hush, hush. Let it rot.

 

There is no dogma. There is no incontrovertible truth other than the truth of potential. The only absolute is the absolute potential for Death to bring forth new life. This is what we must honor; this is what we must facilitate.

 

Denying Death, denying waste, denying that which we see as unwanted or unusable or trash does not make it disappear. Putting trash someplace where we cannot see it does not make it disappear. Turning our heads away from Death does not make Death disappear. Turning our heads from Death causes Death to linger, haunting future generations with illness and waste.

 

Stockpiling Death does not make death go away. We stockpile Death in wastelands caused by pollution dumped through unseen “necessities” of modern life such as waste disposal, mining, demolition, concentrated animal feed operations, driving and roadbuilding (unseen, yes, because we ignore the waste), hospitalization, and so on. When waste is ignored, Death wins. When the potential energy of “waste” is honored and movement toward this potential is facilitated, we need not fear Death. This is the religion.

 

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Death — Vertigo Tarot

Godfather Death

 

Having come to a temporary halt on this blog, I’ve seriously been trying to work on the book for this deck. I’m taking all the entries and putting them in order to see what I have. What I have, it seems, is sort-of like a scrap-book. It’s interesting and eclectic. Sometimes, I spend a lot of time writing and I’m sure, in the end, what I have written won’t make it into the book. Research for a folk-tale for arcana #13 is one example. I wanted to find a folk-tale about a man who had tricked Death. The following story is such a tale. I like how the boy in the story is the 13th child and how the man turns down god as a godfather. I like how easy it was for him to trick Death— once. But of course, in the end, Death always has the upper hand. Anyhow. I don’t think I’ll put it into the book, so I hope someone here reads it and finds it amusing. It took a lot of time to pare down the story into something fun and brief. It is called—

 

Godfather Death*

 

Once upon a time there was a poor old man who had twelve children. When a thirteenth was born he did not know where to turn for help. He ran out into the highway to ask the first person whom he met to be the godfather.

 

First God came walking down the road. He said to the man, “I pity you. I will hold your child at his baptism, and care for him, and make him happy on earth.”

“I do not wish to have you for a godfather,” said the man. “You give to the rich, and let the poor starve.”

The man went on his way.

 

Next the devil came down the road. “If you will take me as your child’s godfather,” said the devil, “I will give him an abundance of gold and all the joys of the world.”

“I do not wish to have you for a godfather,” said the man. You deceive mankind and lead them astray.”

He went on his way.

 

At last came Death, walking on withered legs. “Take me as your child’s godfather,” he said, “for I make everyone equal, without distinction. He who has me for a friend cannot fail.”

The man said, “Next Sunday is the baptism. Be there on time.”

Death appeared as he had promised and held the child at baptism.

 

When the boy grew to a young man, Death took his godchild into the woods and said to him, “Now you are to become a doctor. Pay attention when you are called to a sick person. If I am standing at his head, let him smell from this flask, then anoint his feet with its contents, and he will regain his health. But if I am standing at his feet, I will soon take him. Do not attempt to begin a cure.” With that Death gave him the flask, and the young man became a renowned doctor.

 

Once, he was summoned to the king, who was suffering from a serious illness. When the doctor approached, he saw Death standing at the king’s feet. His flask would be of no use. But it occurred to him that he might deceive Death. He took hold of the king and turned him around, so that Death was now standing at his head. It succeeded, and the king regained his health.

 

After the doctor returned home, Death came to him with a grim face. “If you ever again attempt to deceive me, I shall wring your neck,” said Death

 

Soon, the king’s beautiful daughter took ill. No one on earth could help her. The king wept day and night, until finally he proclaimed that whoever could cure her could have her as a reward. The doctor came and saw Death standing at her feet. Astonished at her beauty, he forgot the warning, turned her around, let her smell from the healing flask, and anointed the soles of her feet with its contents.

 

He had scarcely returned home when Death seized him and carried him to an underground cavern. There, the physician saw thousands and thousands of candles burning in endless rows, some large, others medium-sized, others small. Every instant some died out and others were lit. Little flames jumped about in constant change.

“These are the life-lights of mankind,” said Death, then pointed to a little stump that was just threatening to go out. “There is yours!”

“Oh, dear godfather,” said the horrified physician, “light a new one for me that I may enjoy my life and become king and the husband of the beautiful princess.”

“I cannot,” answered Death, “for one must go out before a new one is lighted.”

 

The physician immediately fell into hands of Death.

 

*Re-told from Children’s and Household Tales— Grimms’ Fairy Tales, Berlin, 1812 & 1857, Tale no. 44. The Grimms’ source: Marie Elisabeth Wild (1794-1867). Variations of the tale are found dating back to 1553.

 

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

The Lovers — Tarot of the Absurd

Tarot Lovers Meaning

Back when I had time to go to yoga class, I used to take Ashtanga with a teacher who liked to sing and tell stories. I like to listen in challenging postures. I went often as I could.

 

One time, she told a creation story about how, before anything existed, there was nothing. Or maybe she said, before all things existed, everything was one thing. Anyhow. Either way, being that there was nothing to compare anything to, debating whether there was one thing or nothing is moot. We will call it homogenized. It was No-One-Thing.

 

Eventually and all at once, the No-One-Thing desired to self-reflect, but of course when there is no self because everything is so homogenous, one cannot self-reflect. To solve the problem, the No-One-Thing cracked. Split. Divided. It reflected itself, and then there were Two. Two! One became Two! Oh, but as soon as there were Two, they wanted to be One. So they made love. Mmm, mmm, mmm. And from their making love, all the universe and all that ever was or ever will be came into existence. Divine Bliss.

 

She told the story years ago and I was trying to attain one difficult posture or another, and that’s mostly all I could remember. I know it is a Tantric creation story. I know that the highest form of making love is to do so in a way that one’s actions become a prayer to god, that that it becomes a form of partner meditation in an attempt to re-create the world. It is possible.  So I wrote my teacher a note and asked what the story was.

 

Shiva and Shakti, she wrote back. She will tell the story to me again, provided we can find a moment within this universe that belongs to the two of us. It is there, this moment, we just need to find it. Meanwhile, unwilling to wait the possible eons that reunion could require, I read all sorts of stuff on line. Nothing I found compared to the sensuality of her telling. The best website I found is here. I read it at least a dozen times. It’s circuitous, but then, so is all creation.

 

Eventually, I wrote the following—

 

 

A Shiva-Shakti Creation Story

Jessica Rose Shanahan

 

In the beginning,

all was darkness

hidden by darkness

in an ocean without consciousness.

A principle without limitation,

the One lived without breath:

 

Unmanifest.

 

And then— a throb.

Desire moved the primal seed of Mind.

Vibration throbbed within the One.

Energy swelled. A quickening!

A pulse! And fragmentation

broke the One-ness One of Universal Being.

 

Action exploded: the One split!

 

Shiva, desiring to know his mind,

engaged in self-reflection, split!

Shakti pulled from Shiva;

Desire pulled from Mind.

The universe pulled itself in two.

Mother! Father!

 

The first sound.

 

One became Two.

Shakti, torn from Shiva;

Shiva and Shakti:Two.

No longer Shiva-Shakti.

But as soon as they were separate,

the Mind chased his Desire.

 

O!

 

Shiva after Shakti:

the Mind chasing Desire.

As soon as they were separate

they wished to re-unite.

Shiva after Shakti:

the Mind chasing Desire.

 

And O! He caught her.

 

O! Mind, at One with Desire!

And yes and, O! And how,

when their bodies moved together, dancing,

universes came and went,

expanded and contracted

according to their play.

 

Shiva. Shakti. Play.

 

They moved in love like

ribbons of light interweaving,

aching to re-join.

And from their mouths emerged

the sounds of alphabets.

Exultant joy. Divine play.

 

Manifestation.

 

From the womb of Shakti:

all the forms of gods and goddesses

and all the worlds that ever were or will be

and everything to fill them: all creation.

Universes come and go.

Universes come and go.

 

The lovers’ dance is all creation.

Monday, May 20th, 2013

On how Writer’s Block Never Occurs when One Does Not Have Time to Write

 (I admit, this blog has been slow of late.)

 

In my ignorance, I used to think my mom-friends had tons of time on their hands because they did not spend eight hours a day at a job that contributed to the GNP. I used to think things like, “She just has one kid; how much work can it be?” Of course, on some level, I must have known: I put off having children until I was 38 mostly due to time constraints.

 

Since my last post, nearly two months ago now, I’ve spent a lot of time organizing poetry and reading years and reams of words. I learned how to make a table of contents and to use section breaks in a document, to make left & right pages, and the use of having at least a dozen styles. Then I realized I ought to spend some time organizing my blog entries and seeing what I have got for a book for tarot— as that is really the point of this whole exercise. I seem to have hit a wall in terms of writing, but everything else is just procrastination.

 

In working on the book, I have to ask myself: What is the purpose of this book? What makes it different from every other companion book out there? I answer: The purpose of this book is to give myself an outlet for my writing. The purpose of this book is to explain my worldview through the framework of the tarot deck. The purpose of this book is to immerse the reader in myth and adventure, evoke laughter, provoke self-examination, and provide yet another way to view the cards. The difference is my insight, my brilliance, my refusal to conform.

 

I started doing everything in order. The Lovers was the first card for which I had not done an entry. Slightly ironic, I suppose, considering the previous (almost-finished-but-possibly-never-to-be-done) project. Who are The Lovers?

 

…To Be Continued…

(I promise)

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

The Lovers — Love Poetry & Tarot Readings

As we all know by now, I am supposed to be writing a book about my tarot deck. I love writing. I also thoroughly enjoy cooking and going for long walks and keeping my daughter happy. I have a few things I must do now and again, such as washing diapers and dishes and maybe some dusting on days when a blue moon falls on an odd-numbered Monday in May. Occasionally I sleep.

 

So I said to myself, “You know, Jess, you’ve already written plenty of stuff that no one’s ever going to see. Why don’t you just make a book of that?”

 

And I said to myself, “That’s a great idea!”

 

I’m not sure if I was aware at the time that it was a procrastination technique. It is a great idea! Here you go:

 

I have years of poetry behind me. Reams of it. One of the most delightful things to write is love poetry, or poetic love letters. I could put it together in a little book, match the poems with three-card readings in which The Lovers is modified by two other cards that would describe the flavor of love in the poem, and I could call it The Lovers— Love Poetry & Tarot Readings. So I began.

Lovers Jean Noblet Marseille

 image from the Jean Noblet Tarot

 

I chose a number of poems then gave them all three-card readings.  Now I am trying to decide how to order them. Meanwhile, I get nervouser and nervouser because— well— these are all virgin love poems. So few of them have been seen by eyes aside from mine! Plus, I have no idea if they hang together well enough to form a book.

 

Whether or not anyone would actually purchase— let alone read— a book of love poetry is beside the point. I suspect maybe I would give a copy to Martin and a copy to my bestest of friends and then it would just be available on Amazon for random strangers to stumble across in the same manner that one stumbles across a needle in a haystack or an eyelash in a football field. Why, why have I spent my life writing poetry if not to share with the eyes of others? Is poetry merely a masturbatory form of writing?

 

In my 20s I went through the existential phase of “I write, therefore I exist.” Those things that are written are the things that make history. It was my method of self-manifestation: my Alchemist holds a pen.

Question: If a writer writes and no one is there to read it, does the writer exist?

Answer: Objectively, no. The human who writes does not exist as a “writer” in the eyes of “writer”-label givers unless the words that were written are read.

Someone wrote to me recently: “You would make a good writer.” To which I respond: “You would make a good reader.”

Enough of this existentialism.

 

Following is a sampler of the most diverse (not the best) of my love poetry and their associated three-card reads. But who would read this stuff? I mean, really. Who would read? Gosh, I hope nobody is reading this…

 

*   *   *

 

Expecting W___ in Oaxaca

(Lovers, Star, Knight of Cups)

 

This country is another world.

My bed is full of chocolate crumbs.

My patio crawls with cockroaches.

On the day you arrive

And ring the brass bell

Before the green gate,

I will sweep the tiles free from ants

And wash between my toes.

 

*   *   *

 

Two Verses for P___

(Lovers, 7 of Blades, 2 of Cups & Lovers, 5 of Blades, 4 of Blades)

 

I.

October—

I did not seek your kisses, mister.

I did not try to learn the way

your whiskers feel upon my neck

And be this as it may:

That I take pleasure in your touch

and would not mind the chance

to explore your navel

to see if I can find the universe inside,

I would give back all knowledge

of your affection

For the pure and simple freedom

found in unencumbered friendship.

  

II.

November—

The world was so loud in my ears that day,

I could not hear the words you said.

Your lips moved, your body moved,

shirtless, around the cab of that red truck—

but I did not heat the words you said!

 

I only heard the words you meant to say:

“Get away,

get away—

get—

away.”

 

*   *   *

 

I was wanting to kiss someone.

Do you like kisses?

I can send you some.

(Lovers, Alchemist, Page of Cups)

 

Send me your lips. Send me

the teeth behind your lips,

send the tip of your tongue,

the whiskers on your cheek.

Send an earlobe, the nape of your neck,

some fingertips.

Send the side of your nose,

and I will press mine against it.

I will place my fingers on your neck,

my thumb light against your jaw bone,

my lips on your mouth,

and I will press against your teeth.

Your rough cheek on my smooth cheek,

your hand on my back,

your fingers, the back of my head.

Send breath, and breathe against me.

Send a heartbeat,

and let me place my ear against your chest.

Send me all of you for kissing.

I will kiss.

 

*   *   *

 

Yuk!

What is this

“love”

stuff?

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Seven of Swords — Deviant Moon Tarot

7 Swords Deviant Moon Tarot

Illustrated by Patrick Valenzia

 
Martin and I are attempting to put a 2nd bathroom in the house. I’m looking on Craigslist and other places for fixtures, because they’re wicked expensive. There was this one ad for a new-in-box faucet that seemed like a really good deal (normally $130 and he was selling it for $55 but okay he’ll let it go for $40). The dude and I wrote a couple letters. I gave him my number because I was going to go check it out. Then he kept calling! He wouldn’t stop calling! He and his fiancée live above some convenience store in Burlington and they’re both unemployed. She’s the one who posted the ad. He had this really high voice. After about the seventh call I wanted to say, “Look, actually I’m not interested.” It was beginning to be weird. But I was in Burlington and he agreed to meet me in a convenient location. So I met him, this very wide dude with the high squeeky voice and fiancée who was trying to look like she didn’t know him, hanging out on the street corner facing the other direction, and he handed me the Home Depot bag with the faucet. Well, the faucet had a box, that’s all I can say for it, and the box looked nice. I don’t know where he got the thing. I don’t think it was at Home Depot, tho that’s what he said. I think he just ripped it out of his apartment. The screen was missing (damn stoners! they get it every time…) and the chrome was all fingerprint greasy and corroded and a bunch of other parts were missing. I told him I wasn’t interested and apologized profusely. He asked why why why and lowered the price and I backed off because I felt so bad for him and I said, “It just doesn’t look new.”
 
Note to self: avoid purchasing things on street corners.
Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

Two of Coins — Tarot of the Absurd

Balance2 coin tarot meaning

 

A ball upon a swinging thread

a ball upon a ball— a juggler—

manager of time eternal—

carries no whip.

 

Time is slave to no one and

disciplined by none—

for discipline is slaved to time.

 

Time takes its own self— tarries—

then bolts! like a bang! bang!

ball upon a ball—

 

The juggler bows himself in two.

One fluid focused motion

vaults him on a ball upon a thread

whereon he lifts his mask revealing

time itself— master of us all.

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

Nine of Coins — Tarot of the Absurd

nine of pentacles

I am the fulfillment of my

desire— having sown

I reap command— command!

and I command myself—

secure as I swing— curled in—

one with the wind— sure

my fortune I have sown—

sure, assured, secure.