dealing the cards like a meditation

Sunday, August 24, 2003

This covers me: king of wands
This crosses me: knight of swords
This is beneath me: 2 of pentacles
This is behind me: 5 of wands reversed
This crowns me: the fool
This is before me: the tower reversed
My fears: page of cups reversed
What others think: the emperor
My hopes: the empress
Final outcome: 8 of cups

Eep. This totally matches up with the last reading. The tower reversed which is directly in front of me is a harbinger of something calamitous. The knight of swords charging into battle also points to this. The 5 of wands reversed suggests something that started off as a mock battle has become deadly serious (although, truth be known, this could very well point to a different situation in my life, having occurred in the recent past. Soemthing that I thought was just for fun suddenly became serious, much to my dismay.) The 2 of pentacles shows my penchant for trying to juggle things instead of focusing on one thing at a time. (While I am probably more linear than most non-linear thinkers, there is definitely an associative, random-walking component to my mind.)

The one thing that is decidedly positive, though, is the fool. While he stands for a lot of things, the thing that he makes me think of right now is Edward Norton's character in Fight Club, the Narrator. As Tyler Durden put it, it is only when we have lost everything that we are free to do anything. As the Narrator puts it: And then... something happened. I let go. Lost in oblivion–dark and silent and complete. I found freedom. Losing all hope was freedom. Tyler Durden again: Hitting bottom isn't a weekend retreat! It's not a seminar! You have to forget everything you know, everything you think you know – about life, about friendship, about you and me.

The Fool is numbered zero on the deck, literally nothingness. He is standing at the edge of the cliff, on the brink of disaster, and while, given the typical interpretation of what a fool is, it may look like he is oblivious, I really think he knows what he's doing. Not that he necessarily knows what is at the bottom of that cliff, only that he really does want to be there, and he is happy about being there. (I am forced to bring up the old chestnut, the trite little saying, that in Chinese, the same character represents both "crisis" and "opportunity." Although, I must say, I think this more illustrates the conservative nature of Chinese culture than anything else...)

The tower reversed is interesting. If it were right-side up, it would be pretty dire. It is a lightning strike. The ivory tower falling. Revolution. But, as Rachel Pollack puts it, the catastrophe is also liberating. (How strange, that the tower ultimately complements the fool.) Now, when reversed, it might indicate that I am reluctant to let go. But the other thing, looking at the tower reversed, is the sensation that the hand of God, Fate, whatever you want to call it, seems to be shaking the tower. But notice that, when the picture is upside, the people are falling up.

It is interesting that the Emperor and the Empress are adjacent to each other. The emperor stands for the rules of society, the laws and the customs. In the position it is in, it makes me wonder: is this how people see me, that I only follow the straight and narrow? Or is this how people wish I were? Given my barely submerged longings, I so very want to take the empress literally as a woman, but it can also mean fertility, perhaps even in a metaphoric way when it comes to the creation of art. Now that would be something. The Empress can also be a warning about letting emotion overrule intellect. The Empress is a card of passion, of drive, of yearning. Taken with the Knight of Swords, it seems to warn me of being too impetuous, too rash.

And finally, the 8 of cups. The story it conveys to me is of a traveler, who finds exactly what he is looking for, then realizes that he cannot tarry there, that he must leave it. (Like in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" with regards to the Holy Grail. Like in The Missing Piece by Shel Silverstein. Like in the song "No One is to Blame" by Howard Jones [lyrics].

Again, perhaps I have to seriously come to grips with where I'm at in my life. The trite saying again: how being alone is quite different from being lonely.

There are worse things in life than living in solitude, I suppose. I just wish that it wasn't so uncomfortable. But, then, given my line of work, what I ought to know is that, given enough time, and assuming that it doesn't kill you, a man (or a woman) can get used to anything.

In summary, though, taken with the last reading, what the cards seem to be telling me is, things have changed. Deal with it, then move on. Such is life. There is no use chasing fading dreams, I suppose. Whatever I seek has to be real. Like with the fool, he is seeking only the edge of the cliff, nothing more. He doesn't really care what's beyond the edge, at the bottom. The edge is enough.

We'll do this one day at a time, same as always. I've gotten this far, I can surely go farther.
This covers me: 9 of swords
This crosses me: judgement
This is beneath me: 6 of cups reversed
This is behind me: 7 of cups
This crowns me: knight of pentacles reversed
This is before me: 9 of wands
My fears: temperance
What others think: 5 of pentacles reversed
My hopes: wheel of fortune
Final outcome: queen of cups reversed

i can't get to sleep (notice to time stamp.) it may be all the caffeine. i am definitely jittery. but i can't help feel that I am waiting for something. perhaps something that will never come. i feel like i am waiting for Godot. or at least the sunrise. perhaps that is it.

but i had a gut feeling. i haven't done a reading in a while now because i honestly didn't want to know what might be coming. and, of course, my reading may very well vindicate that feeling.

the wheel of fortune comes in the 9th position. it is a card that seems to indicate great things will be afoot, something that i will have absolutely no control over. it doesn't say anything about whether it will be good or bad, but i have a feeling that the magnitude will be large. (although i feel somewhat protected as there are only 3 major arcana on the table.) ever since i started reading cards again, this is the first time i've gotten this card.

well. they say chance favors the prepared mind.

the 9 of swords is very apt, considering i can't sleep. and yes, there is something hanging over me that i haven't been able to get rid of. this darkness, this depression sticks to me like tar, inky black tar, like the background of this card, and there is an element of the sword of damocles to it. one day it could very well kill me, and i need to take care of it soon.

the interpretation of judgement in rachel pollack's book is really interesting. she gives it a connotation very similar to death, in the sense of transformation. but whereas death is a harbinger of change, judgement marks a change that has already happened. very fitting, i suppose. the imagery of the angel blowing the trumpet harkens to the book of revelation. the seals on the scroll are already broken, and the apocalypse is already underway.

pollack's interpretation of the 6 of cups reversed is kind of an interesting. an overprotected child (which i identify with) suddenly finds that he/she is alone in the world, forced to face reality. actually, quite frightening. the knigh of pentacles reversed seems to indicate travel, although being reversed, it seems to hint that i won't want to go. the 9 of wands seems to indicate being vigilant, standing guard.

so, yeah, i guess something is going to happen. of course, the cards don't tell me what. i suppose i could take the queen of cups literally–a woman in my life, perhaps. but the reversal speaks against something joyous.

well. i am afraid. but it looks like it's going to be out of my hands.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

yesterday i bought the complete illustrated guide to tarot by rachel pollack. i will have to get 78 degrees of wisdom at b&n, assuming it is still there. anyway, another thing i found at borders yesterday was how to spot a bastard by his star sign, which is basically a manual for women on what to expect from a man of a particular sign. for example, women can expect me, a virgo, to be akin to a schizoid psychotic killer with a penchant for ice picks. great!
originally written Tue Aug 12 02:08:54 PM

This covers me: knight of wands reversed
This crosses me: the star
This is beneath me: the fool reversed
This is behind me: the high priestess
This crowns me: king of pentacles
This is before me: page of wands reversed
My fears: 4 of wands reversed
What others think: queen of wands reversed
My hopes: 3 of pentacles
The final outcome: 10 of pentacles reversed

i finally found Learning the Tarot by Joan Bunning at b&n the other day. i was surprised that this wasn't more readily available. the only thing is that it doesn't really discuss reversed cards. i like, however, how it gives pointers for how to act on your readings, sometimes even little exercises to do when a certain card comes up in a certain position, for example. also, i've only really skimmed through it here and there, and haven't really dug deep into it, so who knows what else i might find. plus, i like how much more expansive Bunning's interpretations are. i would even say that the interpretations are pretty optimistic for the most part, even for bad cards. up until now, for the longest time, i'd been exclusively using A Complete Guide to the Tarot by Eden Gray (i started trying to read the cards only 6 years ago, mind you.) this book is is 30 years old, and gives short, sometimes dire interpretations.

anyway, the cards i drew were somewhat optimistic, although given the number of reversed cards, it isn't as good as it could be. in fact, if you read Gray's interpretations, there is a lot of cruelty and domineering going on.

the star returns, bringing hope and inspiration. i love this card. i also like Bunning's caveat that this card only marks beginnings: hope is necessary to achieve great things, but you still have to act. again, the high priestess is present, in the 4th position, perhaps indicating that her influence is passing from my life. it's kind of sad if it's true (Gray interpets the high priestess as the woman of my dreams) but such is the impermanence of the world, i suppose. i also noticed a lot of wands, which, according to Gray, betoken fire, and growth and change. reminding me of chapparal, a plant found throughout california, whose seed can only grow after a catastrophic fire. also reminding me of a poem i once wrote. reminding me of a quote from one of my favorite books: "i did not know i was so empty, to be so full." meaning, that in order to receive, you must let go. makes sense to me.

the 3 of pentacles has come up a lot, too, and i am beginning to take it to mean my ultimate goal, to become a healer by profession. in many ways, i am not on this road alone.

the 10 of pentacles reversed indicates misfortune according to Gray, but in any case, it seems to indicate a family matter. the more i reflect on that, the more i feel trepidation, but what must be, must be, i suppose.

Saturday, August 09, 2003

This covers me: 5 of cups reversed
This crosses me: page of wands
This is beneath me: the empress reversed
This is behind me: the emperor
This crowns me: king of swords reversed
This is before me: knight of swords reversed
My fears: knight of pentacles
What others think: the high priestess
My hopes: 6 of swords
The final outcome: the star

Hmmm. Good number of major arcana, but not overwhelming. A couple of knights point to a change of scenery (the coming or going of a matter) I don't know whether the 6 of swords marks my strong desire to travel, or whether this points out my destination next year, or whether I will be truly flying into exile across the wide ocean someday. This is the second time that the high priestess has shown up in the same place. I don't really understand what it means, either. I know it represents, well, the woman of my dreams. But I don't know what it means being where it is. Finally, there is the star, which is fast becoming my favorite card, since it embodies inspiration, which I am desperately seeking.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

This covers me: the tower (reversed)
This crosses me: the star
This is beneath me: 5 of cups (reversed)
This is behind me: 3 of pentacles
This crowns me: 7 of swords (reversed)
This is before me: 2 of cups (reversed)
My fears: queen of pentacles (reversed)
What others think: the high priestess
My hopes: 2 of pentacles
The final outcome: 10 of pentacles (reversed)

A lot of the cards point to, for once, good things, although most clearly in the past. I did receive a bit of good news today (It's not that great, but, for me, it's something for things to actually turn out OK!) Maybe that's all it's regarding. My fears are perfectly captured by the reversed queen of pentacles. And the 2 of pentacles well represents the situations I find myself in, as well as the fact that my mood keeps swinging back and forth. The final outcome is not so wonderful, as it bodes misfortune, but, as I'm wont to say, you can't have it all. (Interesting that the High Priestess can represent the woman of my dreams, given the position it's at. Maybe, for once, my family will approve? As if something were happening. Ah well.)

Saturday, August 02, 2003

I was so unhappy with the last reading that I decided to do another one, this time making my query more explicit.

This covers me: 3 of cups
This crosses me: 9 of swords
This is beneath me: queen of wands
This is behind me: 8 of wands
This crowns me: knight of swords
This is before me: 4 of swords
My fears: page of swords
What others think: king of cups
My hopes: 2 of swords (reversed)
The final outcome: 2 of wands

While no major arcana in this one, it looks much more hopeful, with a few cards pointing to things actually turning out right. The cards that cover/cross me are very fitting in light of my question: the 3 of cups is very hopeful while the 9 of swords is very bleak (a woman wakes up in her bed weeping in the dark) So it feels like things hang in balance. Very fitting for my near-borderline personality. And this is not the first time the 2 of wands has come up. But, again, I am just at the beginning of the road, with no inkling of where my destination is. I guess I just need to sit back and enjoy the ride, I suppose.

Given that the last, bleak reading has all sorts of major arcana, which seems to indicate that a lot of these will be horribly out of my control, while this reading has none, meaning that it is more applicable to things that I can control, I am reminded of this passage from Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk (which I've mentioned before):

With my eyes closed, I ask if she knows how this will all turn out.

"Long-term or short-term?" she asks.


"Long-term," she says, "we're all going to die. Then our bodies will rot. No surprise there. Short-term, we're going to live happily ever after."


"Really," she says. "So don't sweat.... Can you just relax and let things happen?"

I ask, does she mean, like disasters, like pain, like misery? Can I just let all that happen?

"And Joy," she says, "and Serenity, and Happiness, and Contentment.... You don't have to control everything," she says. "You can't control everything."

But you can be ready for disaster....

"If you worry about disaster all the time, that's what you're going to get...."

The whole world is a disaster waiting to happen....

"No matter what happens," [she] says, "no matter what you do... it's the right thing."

This covers me: the star
This crosses me: 10 of wands
This is beneath me: temperance (reversed)
This is behind me: knight of cups
This crowns me: the moon (reversed)
This is before me: king of swords
My fears: knight of pentacles (reversed)
What others think: the tower
My hopes: 3 of wands (reversed)
The final outcome: the high priestess (reversed)

What a sucky reading. Lots of major arcana again. Interesting that the 10 of wands that covered me and was reversed is now right-side up and crossing me. The warning about using my power for selfish ends is a nice counterpoint to the star's inspiration, hope, and selflessness. My hopes are not very hopeful, though, apparently. The 3 of wands reversed once again points out to treachery and deceit. (What does that mean? Am I truly that self-defeating? Or is there a better way to read this card in this position?) Am I destined never to trust anyone ever again? The reversed knight of pentacles keeps popping up, too, appropriately, as I can't seem to shake this sense of stagnation and lack of forward movement.

Friday, August 01, 2003

This covers me: 10 of wands (reversed)
This crosses me: death
This is beneath me: 10 of cups
This is behind me: knight of pentacles (reversed)
This crowns me: empress
This is before me: 3 of pentacles
My fears: 9 of cups (reversed)
What others think: 7 of cups
My hopes: ace of wands (reversed)
The final outcome: 10 of swords

Lots of familiar cards here. They have been recurring since April. If only I had been recording them since, I might find some interesting patterns. I seem to be getting Death a lot, too. Despite knowing that Death is actually usually a good thing, the whole spread looks really ominous. The 10 of swords is a nasty looking card. Some poor bastard is face-down on the ground with ten swords protruding from his back. In the book that I'm using, the reading had to specify that this is not a card of violent death. Well. Nonetheless, it isn't a good thing. Lots of indications of material success, but it looks like, ultimately, I might not find exactly what I'm looking for. (My thoughts stray to the lyrics of "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" by U2 [lyrics][iTunes music store].) At least I won't find it anytime soon. I love the 9 of cups reversed. I fear that my wishes will not come true, and the ace of wands reversed presages that I will, once again, make a lot of false starts. I can't help but feel that I'm reading this wrong, but this spread makes me not want to take any chances today. Alas. Although, in the long run, it's probably for the best.

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