The Tower — Tarot of the Absurd

Monday, March 12th, 2012

Jessica Rose ShanahanArtist: Jessica Rose Shanahan


Entropy: this, too, shall crumble.


More words on the subject, from Genesis:
11:1 Now the whole earth had one language and few words.


Some called it the First Golden Age of Communication. Others called it Grunt-Grunt language.


11:4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.”


Or, perhaps they said, “Grunt, grunt grunt grunt grunt grunt, grunt grunt grunt grunt grunt grunt, grunt grunt grunt grunt grunt grunt, grunt grunt grunt grunt grunt grunt grunt grunt.”


And with plenty grunting, much hard work commenced. They started building a tower with bricks of baked clay and mortar of bitumen-tar. Thus began Man’s first attempt at global unity. The tower would be visible from far and wide. Lest Man become scattered, there would always be a beacon to call home.
But the Lord got wind of this. He came down to see the city and the tower.


11:6-7 And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; and nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down, and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.”


Yes, God saw that when all Men work as one, there is nothing We cannot do. Was God intimidated by such a show of humane cooperation? He gathered His cronies and set out to cause confusion in order to limit Man’s powers. This was called “The Divine Department of Misinformation.”


11:8-9 So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called Ba’bel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.


One way of viewing this is: Because God interrupted Man’s initial goal of unity with such forceful intent, world peace can never be attained.


Another way of viewing this is: Any power that attempts global domination and dominion is due to be remembered in history books for two things: (1) its construction and (2) its collapse.


The city’s name, by the way, was NOT Balal, meaning “to confuse,” but Bab-El, meaning “gate of God.” A third way of viewing this is: The gate of God crumbled, thereby proving that there is no great God, for any great God would have shown support for such greatness on the part of Man.


Possibilities will be argued until judgment day without resolve. But let it be known that no ill-will on the part of humanity is mentioned in the Bible. Sometimes, even the best intentions are doomed to failure.


But, O! Do not let memory of Bab-El preclude commencement of the plan. Work together. Communicate. Perhaps God wants us to show our dedication to Him through our actions and cooperations with one another.


God well noted, “this is only the beginning of what they will do; and nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.” God did not say, “If they are successful at building the tower, it proves that nothing is impossible for them.” No. He placed no such limitations of Man’s ability. He confused the language so that we may not understand one another’s speech. This makes things quite difficult, yes. Persevere. If you are to believe in God, remember what God said first: “…nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.”


If you do not believe in God, remember the laws of entropy. The universe is a box of marbles. By nature, life forms organized patterns. By nature, structure crumbles.

La Torre di Babele — La Corte dei Tarocchi

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Anna Maria D’OnofrioArtist: Anna Maria D’Onofrio


sudden upheaval—
plans disrupted—
surprise! crisis! chaos!


release! explosion! outburst!
eruption of anger—
crash through defenses—
break through pretenses—


fall down humbled.
topple from height.
fortune wrecked.
ego blown.


revelation— the truth—
a burst of insight

through illusions—

the answer—

—in a flash!



Architecture strives toward infinity; but more than any other art … remains bound to tangible materials. For this reason it cannot carry itself off into spheres of a transcendental world in which it metamorphoses into an idea. It remains … tied to the earth.

—Peter Behrens in Tilmann Buddensieg and Hennig Rogge, Industriekultur: Peter Behrens and the AEG, trans. I.B. White (1984), p. 223.



But who can give soul to an image, life to stone, metal, wood or wax? And who can make children of Abraham come out of stones? Truly this secret is not known to the thick-witted worker … and no one has such powers as he who has cohabited with the elements, vanquished nature, and mounted higher than the heavens, elevating himself above the angels to the archetype itself, with whom he then becomes co-operator and can do all things.

—Cornelius Agrippa, De occulta philosophia (1533) as quoted in Frances Yates, Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1964, p. 136.



Who knows when some slight shock, disturbing the delicate balance between the social order and thirsty aspiration, shall send the skyscrapers in our cities toppling?

—Richard Wright, Native Son



The savaging sea piles its fears

on the shores of the world
no tower can deliver us now

from the enemy wave.

—Pablo Neruda, excerpted from “Bomb (II)” from Fin de mundo

Osho Transformation Tarot — 45. Living Totally

Monday, January 9th, 2012

Illustrations: Pujan

Commentary: Osho


I was rather bitter at being given The Tower yesterday. Today I am using the Osho Transformation Tarot— which is actually an oracle deck— because it always speaks to me in a kind voice. I said, “Give me some good advice.”


Osho replied with the tale of Alexander the Great meeting the sage Diogenes in India. It is a good story: Diogenes has nothing. Alexander admires him so completely that he wishes to be him in his next life. When asked what is preventing him from being Diogenes now, Alexander replies that he has to conquer the world, then he will rest. Diogenes replies that he himself is resting without having conquered the world; that something will always remain unconquered and Alexander will die in the middle of his journey. Which is exactly what happened. Then Osho said to me:


Those who say, “We are waiting for an opportunity,” are being deceptive, and they are not deceiving anybody but themselves. The opportunity is not going to come tomorrow. It has already arrived, it has always been here. It was here even when you were not here. Existence is an opportunity; to be is the opportunity.


Don’t say, “Tomorrow I will meditate, tomorrow I will love, tomorrow I will have a dancing relationship with existence.” Why tomorrow? Tomorrow never comes. Why not now? Why postpone? Postponement is a trick of the mind; it keeps you hoping, and meanwhile the opportunity is slipping by. And in the end you will come to the cul-de-sac— death— and there will be nothing left. And this has happened many times in the past. You are not new here, you have been born and you have died many, many times. And each time the mind has played the same trick, and you have not yet learned anything.


The saying “Never not put off until tomorrow what you can do today” may not mean “Go conquer the world— start now” but rather “Live the life you love.” The advice is not “do more, accomplish more, make more money,” but rather “be in love with your life; be happy.”


The hard part is taking the time to stop, stand back and ask, “What do I truly love? What is happiness?” The answer to this question will not come when the brain is full of thought and seeking. It will come as a revelation when the brain is relieved of the hindrance of thought.


Perhaps that is what The Tower was trying to tell me, yesterday. Perhaps I was too annoyed with it to listen.

The Tower — Tarot of Prague

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

Illustrators & Authors: Karen Mahony & Alexandr Ukolov


Interpretation: “An earthquake in your life. You are  going through a huge upheaval and change. It may feel cataclysmic, or even catastrophic, but it’s important to realise that it isn’t all negative. Sometimes dramatic disruptions have to happen and, difficult as they are, they can lead to a release, or eventually the opportunity to stat anew. Even if it’s an uncomfortable time, don’t despair. When the dust settles there may be something positive that results, and useful lessons to learn.”


I asked, “Which king should I illustrate first?” I figured there was a 4 in 5 chance of drawing a suit card. My plan was to follow suit and garner a bit more information. But the tower? Useless! I despair!


The tower illustrates new-found freedom that comes as a bolt of lightning which blows us to rock bottom. It is an immediate change and can have rather disorienting effects. Awakening to this new reality, we are released from bondage. With any destruction there comes creation. Once you hit rock bottom, the choice is yours. You may find inspiration anywhere. Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose, says the prophet.*


Robert M. Pirsig writes in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, “If your mind is truly, profoundly stuck, then it might be much better off than when it was loaded with ideas.” I thought I was stuck because my mind was devoid of ideas. Why am I stuck? The moral of the story is: start anywhere; just start. Obviously, I have to make up my own mind. Useless! I despair!


*Prophet Kris Kristofferson sung through Janis Joplin’s soul