o death

It’s November, it’s been over a year, our world is in even more turmoil than ever.

Good time to talk about number 13 in the Major Arcana, no?

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left to right: Death Cards from Orbifold Tarot, Rider Waite Tarot, and Tarot Mucha decks

We celebrate/give a nod to Death in the beginnings of November (in the Northern Hemisphere, at least) because that’s the time we can physically feel the veil thinning – between us and the “afterlife,” or the void, or however we envision it- and more pragmatically, between ourselves and the coldness of death in general, as the leaves die and the days are shorter; as the wind starts to bite with teeth and the mammals go to hide and sleep, and we shiver, bundled-up, wherever we are.  Some of us can feel the presence of our ancestors and those we’ve lost- others of us feel more acutely the need for protection from danger- and in the world we find ourselves in now, many of us are called to acknowledge all of this, what with the threats of authoritarianism and climate change (brought on by those who presume to ride high horses, if I may.)(Look I know the analogy’s a stretch I’m just saying the Rider-Waite Death Card  really seems to be fitting symbolism in these times.) (I mean just LOOK at him, sitting there all powerful and warlike.)

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totally sure this is a copyright-free image that I snagged off wikipedia

I would venture to say that with each passing year that we do damage to the earth we can feel a much more cosmic veil thinning around us- the veil between humanity and all that supports it evaporating with the greenhouse gases, as we face the icy void together.

But I digress! This is about the card, right?

Of course every reading is different, and each pull of the Death card as well, depending on the overall context of the reading, the querent’s current situation, and any number of other factors relating to that individual reading.  However, the Death card is in the Major Arcana for a reason, and though it doesn’t always indicated a literal death, it does generally indicate some major shift or another, usually having to do with drastic change and transformation.  It can be overwhelming to pull for the reader (who is now faced with a “wow this reading just got real” sensation) and/or the querent (whose general reaction, at least in my experience, isn’t ever super positive unless they also already know cards pretty well.)  I guess my advice to the reader would be to be sure and reflect on the card in a way that respects its gravity; but take a breath, clear your head for a minute if it takes you aback, and definitely- never let the querent see you sweat! But do understand the card usually means something profound- usually to the tune of pointing out transformation or the need for it, that needs your attention.  And for querents, remember: death isn’t inherently bad- it just is- and don’t get too bummed out or scared if you see this pop up, especially if it pops up a lot for you.  It could well be the death card in your reading is telling you something you don’t want to hear.  That’s different from it telling you something bad.

I’m not a death denier.  I think that even if we go on to another  world that’s basically identical to this one, we go through death first.  It’s just another part of life, albeit one that can cause so much grief and heartache.  But in order for the creatures of the planet to continue breathing, other creatures have to stop breathing- this is true for all kingdoms of earthly life, with few exceptions- not just animals, but plants as well, and other forms of life that we know about.  I feel it would do some good for all folks to explore death, and the symbolism around it, and the fact that it happens and can’t really be avoided- and lord, the whole push against death, the (western, primarily white) urge to seek out some form of immortality- because the ways that we deal with death nowadays are pretty messed up and dysfunctional.  We deny it until it’s at our door, and then since we spent so much energy avoiding it, we don’t know how to deal or cope with it when it starts knocking.  Death is alive, and death is coming- pretty much for everyone who isn’t a tardigrade.  And we all go thru small deaths all through life- the ends of relationships, the last curtains of productions, the last numbers after the encores.  Graduations, promotions, big relocations- all of these seemingly qualitatively different concepts can be possibilities when the Death Card shows up.  Death can mean so much, but we have to pay it attention.

So on that note I leave you with some music, the words of Pablo Neruda (from his poem, The Heights of Machu Picchu) sung by Los Jaivas, a kickass Chilean band that I’m pretty much obsessed with nowadays (and whose singer and drummer seen in this video have now moved on to other worlds as well.) Do have a lovely rest-of-your-evening.

La Poderosa Muerte

“Todos desfallecieron esperando su muerte
su corta muerte diaria
y su quebranto aciago
de cada día era 
como una copa negra 
que bebían temblando….”

(Speaking of Spanish-language content, I really really want to make this a bilingual blog if I’m going to do much more of it, or if I’m going to start posting more regularly. I guess I’m trying to find a way to streamline the translation process, but that endeavor might prove about as fruitful as avoiding death, lol. )

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Quick thoughts on the King of Cups

…and kings in general I guess?

 

I think I mentioned this like a year ago but I don’t remember, so.  I have a hard time with the court cards at any given moment, most particularly with kings- but just about any card that depicts a type of royalty, or hierarchical superiority, tends to chaff me the wrong way, and I know it’s due to my anti-authoritarian political ideologies, etc. It’s a thing I need to work on, but actually so far, I’ve been able to use this for good in readings.

But kings, dude.  Ugh.  So annoying.  I damn near ALWAYS roll my eyes when I turn over a king card, and I have to think extra through it.

EXCEPT not *as* much with the king of cups, I reckon owing to the gender-ambiguity inherent, in my view, to the card and the character of the card (tho lately in trying to figure out the logistics of what in theory might one day be the deck that I create for myself, I’ve been trying to see ALL the cards with more ambiguous gender/sexual meanings BUT I CAN’T WITH THE OTHER KINGS, yet.) I feel like if an idealized David Bowie were a tarot card, he’d be the king of cups.  SO when I pulled the king of cups a few times this week I was able to smile and felt it was not such a bad thing for once. Bonus points for it being the week of the fall equinox.

Side note: last week and the couple weeks prior had been full of wands and the High Priestess kept coming up- this week I’ve seen a shift into cups and pentacles, and I ain’t mad about it. Overall cups and pentacles together can often point at good business acumen, things flowing well and money flowing in.  I’m for that.

I’m off to plot some things and get off my feet- just wanted to pop in again.

 

The High Priestess, Wands & Me

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google says i can use this image for free. 

Good evening.  Maybe it’s weird that I just barely started this blog then didn’t post for a year. Stuff’s been weird, what can I say?  So now I’m back, for today anyway, with some thoughts about a major arcana card that’s popped up for me three times in the past week- in a backdrop full of minor arcana pulls of a particularly phallic suit.  Ahem.

So a teensy bit of background of how I look at cards- I try to not just focus on daily draws, or singular readings- I kinda keep in mind over time the cards I’m drawing to see if there are trends and what different cards might mean in relation to one another, if that makes sense.

For instance, today I had a stressful moment or two about monetary things and decided to draw cards particularly about these issues.  I ended up doing a standard three-card pull on this, and then did my daily one-card pull- I do this every day, either with physical cards or with (gasp) a tarot app.  I love having a tarot app. (But I’m veering from the topic at hand.  I’ll get back to that another time.)

Both times, I ended up pulling the High Priestess.  I thought this was interesting since for the past two weeks, I’ve pulled wands nearly DAILY.

My initial thought was, wow, why’s the High Priestess- who makes me think of calm collected magic- showing up so insistently today when lately the stuff I’ve drawn- freakin WANDS, the action cards, the cards that talk so much about struggle to me and who seem to be more in line with the actual things going on around me- and I had a moment where I realized I’ve been way too literal/superficial in my readings I think.

While the wands often talk about action and fire and struggle- I think I’ve been feeling more attacked by them than understanding my own need to TAKE action- and while the High Priestess might be a sign of chill intuitive power, she can also be TOO chill and passive.

Good intuition is great but it doesn’t amount to much if you don’t then act on it.

Every card has a positive and negative aspect.  I tend to hate on wands (I’ve been know to refer to them as the “dick cards”- but I mean, have you SEEN the Rider-Waite Page of Wands ??? You should google him, if not.  Here’s a copyright-free image of another page of wands, just to illustrate my point:

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look at the size of that… stick 

 

So MY takeaway from the past few weeks of readings is that ok yeah.  I need to be more in my own struggle, and stop letting things distract me, stop thinking things will come around if I follow what I know and wait patiently.

So this post is a bit of that- I mean, I’ve been struggling with some depression for a while, honestly especially since the election, and I’ve not felt like I had any amazing and mind-blowing  insights to share on here.  And I don’t think this particular reading is super mind-blowing, I just have to work with what I have, and as I work out my thoughts in words, bigger insights will come.  It’s like any other art, to get really good at it you have to practice doing it, no?

SO let’s wrap up for the evening.  I have to be bushy-tailed for work in the morning, and I have only a couple of hours of weekend left.

Thanks for reading, and talk to you soon!

This Fool’s Journey (or actually, Getting my Fool Back)

This Fool’s Journey (or actually, Getting my Fool Back)

Well, hello.  Thanks for stopping by.

I’ve wanted to start/do a blog about my relationship to witchiness, and specifically to tarot, for a couple of years now.  I’ve been inspired by the proliferation of sites/channels/etc out there in the ether that are dedicated to tarot; I feel compelled to add my voice to the mix.

What better way to start than by taking a few moments to talk about the Fool and their journey?

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used with permission of US Games Systems, INC

To me, the Fool card signifies the beginning of everything, the first mad stumbles, the basis of what it is to begin to progress towards something, specifically something philosophical or spiritual, but most especially if the loftiness of the spiritual/philosophical goal isn’t readily detectible.  The Fool is zero, is the nothing from which every opportunity  springs. The Fool doesn’t yet know fear and so their actions aren’t yet humbled by it.  The Fool loves everything, so far, they’re not shy about it and if they aren’t sure about it they want to try it, they want to stick their finger in it and see how it feels.  I’ve always felt it to be a good sign to see the fool positioned at the beginning or very end of a reading, because of the fresh-start vibe (but of course, it all depends on the questions being asked.)

The Fool along with the Three of Swords and the Hermit make up what I call my “triumvirate” irt tarot.  These are the three cards that have always been there for me when I’ve needed them to be, for better or worse.  The imagery and symbolism connected to these cards have always called out to me.  I’ve made paintings of them, drawn them.  I feel that I was very clearly a Fool’s Fool when I started out, even as a young kid, and even though I went through some very tough things I was able to sort of stumble around and get thru them and stay fighting.  Then later in life, the serious shit came along, and I had some Three of Swords Years.  Now I feel I’m firmly planted in a Hermit phase, one that’s hard to appreciate enough to make use of it, even if I *am* trying to own my age and do what I need to do with life.

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used with permission of US Games Systems, INC 

Still, I find myself coming back over and over to that Fool card, to that zero.  I believe I have an urge to retackle life, a need to find new ways thru old things.  I start a hundred projects, just barely.  I scratch out skeletons, I scribble outlines.  My wariness/weariness  helped me avoid pain, for sure, but the route to what needs doing has become circuitous and sometimes just unmanageable.  I need to get back my ability to stumble down hills and out of moving cars, skinning my legs along the way, because sometimes that’s just the most direct route and you need to get somewhere.

So that’s what this blog is about, pretty much.  Getting back into wonder-mode.  Getting myself back new and improved, if slightly worn out still.  Being able to do it again, knowing what I know now.  I hope that whoever finds it will also find some use in it, or some insight as I go thru the cards, and  share spreads and readings.

If you’re not into it, then just disregard it as the ramblings of an old, queer, grumpy, hermit-bear, and step away from my cave.

If you like, please subscribe, and you’ll get my deeper thoughts on all the cards, eventually, in many different iterations and spread configurations!

Anyhoodle, I hope everyone has as wonderful a Sunday night as they can,  given the state of the world.  I’ll be back directly to talk more.