Saturday, March 31st, 2012

The Emperor — Tarot Noir

Robyn Tisch-HollisterArtist: Robyn Tisch-Hollister


Waiting for this baby, I say, “Teach me something about patience,” and draw the Emperor, reversed.


Mr. Emperor. I’ve always had trouble with you. You would show up reversed. I have trouble dealing with authority. Yeah, so what? That’s because people in “authority” often take it instead of earn it. I have no patience for such people. I had issues illustrating the Emperor card: I have trouble seeing anything other than his domineering and controlling manner. Supposedly, the Emperor can be a nice, fatherly figure to the whole deck, but I haven’t seen it. They say, upright, he sets his long range goals and has no problems with patience needed to achieve them. What foresight! What planning! What control. What if I don’t agree with your plans, Mr. Emperor?


Patiently, I wait for Baby to be born. According to my initial divinations, the apple will fall from the tree during the 2nd week in April. Modern technology has thrown my own mathematics for a loop. The ultrasound technician— who was not there for conception— says I’m due last weekend. Although I seem to have no authority over my own body, the situation isn’t bad. Patience is the only thing I need. In the grand scheme of things, that is asking very little. I should upright the Emperor and learn to see him as the baby’s father. Perhaps then I could learn to love the Emperor.

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Seven of Coins — Cary-Yale Visconti Deck

Today I draw a card for a woman I know in a faraway land. Because I like renaming people, and because I am supposed to be learning French (ha!) and she is in France, I rename her l’Accordéoniste, which looks fancy to me because it has an apostrophe after the “l” and an accent aigu over the “e.”


“Show me a card for l’Accordéoniste and give her a castle and true love,” I demand.


Seven of Coins shows its face upright and says to me:


I give her nothing. Her labor’s fruit is all her own.

If she is wise— and wise she is— she will work hard

and know that growth of fruit takes many years.

The tree that fruits is strongly formed and neatly pruned,

its soil fed, its rats and insects chased away,

and it is blessed with ideal weather by the gods.

Seven coins are golden fruits of each of seven loves,

and the boughs of the tree are her castle;

and the music she plays entices the gods

to properly favor the weather.

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Two of Wands — Kitty Kahane Tarot

Artist: Kitty Kahane


I shuffled this deck thinking about a person I don’t know but whom I admire. She’s an artist; I will call her Beaux-A. I draw the two of wands, reversed. The reversed Two of Wands represents fear of the unknown and lack of planning. Ultimately, I don’t know if the card is for her or for me.


On one hand, Beaux-A represents qualities in myself that I wish I could express. In this light, the Two of Wands points to the fact that I have failed to express myself sufficiently due to fear of the unknown. The arts seem to me to be a profession of insecurity for the majority who rely on them as a means of support. Thus, I avoided relying on arts as a way to make a living.


On the other hand, Beaux-A seems to have a bit of trouble having enough money to pay the all bills. I could say for her this represents lack of planning, but as I said, I don’t know her. Just because she didn’t plan for monetary security doesn’t mean she didn’t plan. When it comes to arts, money is the only thing that can’t be planned. Monetary insecurity was exactly my fear, and thus the reason I have always supported myself by means of manual labor. Labor never payed well, but the pay was consistent*, leaving me to play around in my brain on my own time.


I’ll try another tactic: an intuitive reading based on the card image. A man in a bathrobe walks in front of an open window at one edge of the earth. On the other side of the planet, a volcano explodes, shooting far, far into the sky, across the earth, knocking bowler hat off the bathrobed man. Molten rock coats him from head to pocket whereupon the lava flow collides with the sun and is vaporized. The man’s top-half of the man is encased in stone, immobilized; the man’s bottom half walks around sightless. This represents the dichotomy between blind conservatism caused by following the lead of that which one sees as “set in stone” versus the aimless wandering of leaderless legs whose only ambition is to keep moving. And the artist, Beaux-A? She’s relatively safe, firmly anchored somewhere in the middle of the planet, far away from either the bathrobed man or the volcano. That’s where I am, too. We’re not so different, after all.


*The pay was consistent until I got pregnant then fired in rapid succession.

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Il Mondo — Tarocchi dei Celti “Jacovitti”

Benito jacovittiArtist: Benito Jacovitti

[This card was not drawn at random.]


I’ve been following this thread on the Aeclectic Tarot website called “Where are the bitchy women of tarot?


People post pictures from different decks depicting women who, in one way or another, appear to be a bit bitchy. There are many ways to define bitch. Wikipedia does a good job under “bitch (insult)


Different people have different reactions to the word depending on their history with it. I have different reactions to the word, depending on the situation and how it’s said. If it’s said with spit and spite, I want to bite. If it’s said sweetly by someone I like, I might laugh or find it endearing. [I am not certain this has ever happened, but I remain open-minded.] Or I could refer to myself as a bitch because— la!— it happens.


Referring to dogs, the term bitch is an old one. In writing, it was first applied to women about 1330 and then with increasing frequency. It meant to refer to a woman who was acting like a female dog in heat. Now it is used more liberally, generally to refer to a woman who has control over a situation in one way or another. Women in power are referred to as bitches by people who don’t like them and as strong women by people who do like them.


If a woman throws a dish at you and yells at you, you might call her a bitch. If a man throws a dish at you and yells at you, might call him an asshole. Throwing things and yelling is a nasty way to wield power.


If you are a man with a very large ego and a woman totally slaughters you at tennis, you might call her a bitch, but not to her face. If you are a woman and a man totally and unapologeticly slaughters you at tennis, you might call him an asshole, but, again, not to his face. Such is the world of poor sportsmanship and insults. [I only say tennis because women wear those sexy little skirts; I suck at the game.]


If you are a man and find a woman really sexy and you want to fuck her yet she avoids you while continuing to turn you on, you might call her a bitch. If you are a woman and you find a man really sexy so you fuck him and then he ignores you, you might call him an asshole. After women succumb to the advances of men, the balance of power changes. Desirable women have power over men. It’s a hormone thing. In this phase, women are bitches. Women become less desirable to men immediately after sex. Again, a hormone thing. In this phase, men are assholes. Yes, men are totally ruled by hormones, just like women.


So, what makes a woman a bitch?


In fourth grade, I was at my friend Becky’s house where she was showing off her new COLOR computer monitor. I really couldn’t see the advantages of a color monitor seeing as how the printers were all in black & white, but whatever. She was the boss. She was showing me a drawing program. It was boring, but I watched as she tediously made a white line drawing of a dog on a fucia background. Let it be known that in fourth grade, I was programing with Logo turtle graphics. Becky didn’t know this and she didn’t care. She was smarter because she said she was smarter. She saw me as less intelligent because I refused to argue with her. [I was already living by my mother’s maxim, “If I’m going to argue, I want to argue with someone who is more intelligent than I am.”] Becky’s primitive computer skills bored me. My mind wandered.


I think our argument began when I brought up my newly-acquired knowledge that a female dog is called a bitch. Becky turned to me and said, “Don’t you dare say that!” I was rather confused. I was certain a female dog was called a bitch because I’d read it in a book about dogs. “But a female dog is a bitch,” I said. “Take that back right now or I’ll punch you in the face!” said Becky. Confused and speechless, I stood there dumb. Becky punched me in the face. I walked home.


I think Becky was a bitch.

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Page of Swords — Deviant Moon Tarot

Patrick ValenzaArtist: Patrick Valenza


I sent out a request for quotes to some printers in China for a run of 500 decks. The printing places in the US seem to go through printers in China, so I’m seeing if it’s possible to eliminate the middleperson. I said to the deck, “Tell me something about printing in/ working with China,” and drew the Page of Swords, reversed.


Patrick Valenza writes: “The young page roams the city. He is skilled in perceiving hidden truths and secrets, however he is often underestimated due to his youth.”


Upright: Insightful. Perceptive. Intuitive. Keeper of secrets.
Reversed: Deceit. A liar. False friend.


If I am successful finding a printer in China, I can, in theory, save a lot of money. However, I have little experience in business. I have no experience in dealing with (what seems to me like) large volume overseas orders where I have to deal directly with people on the other side of a large cultural divide. If I am not careful, I can easily be duped.


I cannot rush into action like the immature Page of Blades. Certainly I will learn a lot if I choose to do business in China, but if I fail to take the proper precautions, the learning experience may have the effect of the close-up viewing of a hurricane rather than a more controlled hike up a tall mountain with a nice vista at the end.


Do I have the wherewithal to right this reversed Page of Blades into success? Tune in tomorrow (or the next day or the day after…)

Monday, March 26th, 2012

Eight of Vessles — The Wildwood Tarot

Will WorthingtonArtist: Will Worthington

Authors: Mark Ryan & John Matthews


I want to learn the meanings of the cards. I am practicing finding meaning in the image before I look it up. I do have a lot of trouble focusing. It is difficult to ask a question when I don’t want to know anything, really. All I want is peace and happiness. Health is implied. Wealth is not. I suppose I don’t need a question.


The future is always uncertain. Anyone who thinks the future is certain is either self-deceptive or miserable. With this mindset, predictive use of the tarot deck doesn’t interest me. The present is always certain, tho it is generally impossible to see the certainty of the present in the present moment. Despite how certain we often are about what we think happened, the past fades into greater and greater uncertainty as time wears on— it is the future in reverse. Thinking such jumbled thoughts of uncertainty, I draw the Eight of Vessles.


I generally see cards in a positive light. They are affirmations. The keyword on this card is “rebirth.” In the Hindu religion, the concept of what we call “rebirth” is really “redeath,” for each birth necessitates its own death. After the final death there is no birth, whereas after the final birth death still has yet to come. The small vessels are individuals whose life pours out into the big vessel. The big vessel births itself once again into smaller, seemingly individual vessels. Nothing is truly individual; each necessitates the other. This continues the final death: birth as the river, the unifying entity, that place in which all souls are one. But is this truly the end? For the river itself flows on.


The authors write, “You have endured the past, its gifts were hard won; now the challenge of the future unfolds. Grasp it and shape it in your hands as you would have it manifest in your life.”

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

Ocho de Bastos — Tarot Lukumi

Luigi ScapiniArtist: Luigi Scapini

Author: Tata Emanuele Coltro Guidi


“Oya and Chango, even if they are sweethearts, always quarrel with each other. Chango, after a terrible quarrel, shows her a cut head of a goat. Oya, very bored, shows him a dead’s skull, and Chango disgusted goes away, sending many lightenings, representing his rage, to the world.”


“Too much force applied too quickly,” writes Robert Wang. It is like a bomb going off. People react before they think about what the other person said or did or know what the other meant. The lord of swiftness acts in haste. After an argument we have to go back and think about what we were arguing about. What went wrong? Oya and Chango do not know how to communicate properly. Perhaps it is merely because they are man and woman. Man and woman communicate differently and expect different things out of a relationship. What one sees as flattery the other sees as overbearing.


Every interaction between two people is a relationship to some degree. The more interactions two people or two groups of people have, the more meaningful the relationship. A meaningful relationship can be volatile— such as Oya and Chango’s, or the relationship between waring countries, or the relationship between two drivers caught in rush-hour traffic— or it can be calming. Most often, there is a mixture of the two: though a volatile couple, Oya and Chango are primarily lovers.


Near the beginning of any voluntary relationship, it is healthy to gravitate towards calming relationships and shy from those that make us uneasy. Too much force applied too quickly results in broken friendships or friendships that never get a chance to start. Because communication is both cultural and personal, there is no way to eliminate miscommunication. Both parties need to slow down, back off, and try to learn the other’s ways if they wish to get along.


I love this deck.

Saturday, March 24th, 2012

Queen of Wands — New Age Tarot

Walter Wegmüller

Artist: Walter Wegmüller

this Queen took me in

(her arms) and said—


I am your



let’s go




and we did and

we did thus


she leading me and we

talking all the way like

women talk


I needed her to be there

and she


Friday, March 23rd, 2012

The Tree of Life — The Golden Dawn Tarot

Robert WangArtist: Robert Wang


What is agreed is that it is hard to clarify with any degree of certainty the exact concepts within Quaballah or the spelling of the word. There are several different schools of thought with very different outlooks; however, all schools of thought and spellings are accepted as correct.


I traded for this new deck. I consider it a gift. Thank you! I took out the cover card, shuffled the cards thoroughly, and drew— the Tree of Life. This is not a tarot card. It is included to help the reader relate each of the major arcana to the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. I should have removed it, but I did not know it was there. Nonetheless I drew it after just yesterday announcing I don’t understand the connection between Qabalah and tarot.


Today I learn: Kabbalah is associated with tarot because it has been so ever since the Order of the Golden Dawn drew up such associations. A man by the name of Court de Gebelin was the first to draw up connections between the 22 trump cards and the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Eliphas Lévi expanded on this idea.


What I did not realize in my hesitancy to study anything “too esoteric” is that the “commonly” accepted meanings of the tarot cards— those meanings which I have tried to interpret in my illustrations— were assigned based on Golden Dawn correspondences between: the Four Worlds of the Qaballah, the four suits of tarot cards, the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet, and the 22 major arcana. This makes comprehension of the tree of life integral to a simplified memorization or understanding of the common meanings assigned to tarot cards. It makes me (finally!) want to understand the tree of life and its correspondences— not because I believe that the Kabala is innately connected with what happens to be one of a number of variations of decks of cards initially designed for gambling— but because these correspondences are integral to the langue used to define the occult meanings the cards.


“The Founders of the Golden Dawn system appreciated that divination is nothing more (or less) than the effect of focusing attention on what would otherwise be a random distribution of variables, with the thought of some question, person or situation in mind. Theoretically, the intention stimulates the unconscious in some mysterious way, and in some equally mysterious way, the position of the variables under consideration is presumably affected. The variables could be bits of crumpled paper thrown down a flight of stairs if there were some initial decision made about what the landing order might mean.” —Robert Wang, An Introduction to the Golden Dawn Tarot

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

The Fool — Tarot of the Absurd

Jessica Rose Shanahan ‘If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise.’ —William Blake


Zero is the cardinal number of the empty set and the additive identity of real numbers. It is important in field theory and it is part of every basic algebraic structure by definition.Without zero and the ideas contained in the notion of identities and inverses there would be practically no modern mathematics and physics.


The occult tarot and other metaphysical systems use allegorical significance of numerals rather than mathematical significance of numerals. Metaphysics uses the notion of identities and inverses in a philosophical manner to describe abstract concepts undefinable by means of mathematics. Mathematicians define a (seemingly) completely different set of abstract concepts using the same symbols.*


‘Only two things are certain: the universe and human stupidity— and I’m not certain about the universe.’ —Albert Einstein


The greatest problems in communication occur when people agree on the symbol used but cannot agree on the abstract concept defined by the symbol. Symbols in and of themselves have no intrinsic meaning: in every case, the meaning of the symbol is defined by the viewer. In order to facilitate communication, we try to agree on the meaning of a symbol.


At times this meaning is dictated by society. A large red octagon with a white outline means “stop,” although nothing intrinsic to red-octagon-with-white-outline implies “stop.” It is merely the meaning we have given a rather arbitrary symbol in order to help prevent accidents. In a city, choosing to believe that the octagon is not a symbol for stop may result in injury or death. On a deserted road, the octagon quite often takes on the meaning of “look both ways.”


‘The wise through excess of wisdom is made a fool.’ —Ralph Waldo Emerson


There two kinds of people (there are many kinds of “two kinds of people”): those who define symbols and those who more-or-less follow definitions. Definers-of-symbols are often great thinkers and philosophers or at least great leaders, however—


“Any fool will make a rule, and any fool will mind it.” —Henry David Thoreau.


So what is to prevent us from redefining the entire set of symbols and numbers used in the occult tarot? What is to prevent us from introducing an entirely new set of symbols and numbers to please our fancy? Nothing, other than the fact that this habit tends to frustrate communication. Historically, this has been done time and time again. Each religion defines its own set of symbols and defends this set’s concepts as true.


‘Those who wish to appear wise among fools, among the wise seem foolish.’ —Quintilian


In illustrating my own deck, I needed to determine which symbols meant something to me, which symbols meant nothing to me, and which of my own personal symbols I thought significant enough to introduce into the deck. Unfortunately for those who favor such correspondences, my thought patterns prevent me from incorporating the symbols of astrology, runes, quaballah, numerology, and other commonly associated esoteric systems into my deck. This can make my deck difficult to “read,” if one is used to working within “traditional” tarot systems. I apologize. For me, the endeavor of creating a deck was a beautiful journey of personal exploration and artistic expression. I am grateful to all who adore the fruits of my labor. Thank you.**


‘The fool doth think himself wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.’ —William Shakespeare


*I am neither a mathematician nor a metaphysician.
**Today’s undiscussed question was, “When will my baby be born?”