2 November 18: Five of Swords

Nobody wins. It’s every man for himself at this pointDon’t hate the game, hate the player.

This is one of those cards that make you wince when you turn it over. The uneven, restless, unresolved number 5 itself is a hint at what this card is about. 5 can only be 3+2 or 4+1 or 5+0 and it’s early and I hate math anyway so if there’s more combinations  whatever, but you get the idea. One side of the scale is going to be heavier than the other no matter what the hell we do with this card.

This sucks, it really does. There is no common consensus possible here, only conflict. This is a card of bitter failure and defeat, but also a card of ‘pseudo winning’.

The scene on this unwelcome card of the Minor Arcana representing the suit of Air (Gemini, Libra and Aquarius) is tense and uncomfortable. In the foreground is a human in a billowing, black hooded robe, face obscured, shouldering 2 swords with his left hand and one more in his right watching 2 other humans retreat, having tossed their own swords at his feet. One is even on his knees in prayer: get me the hell away from him. Take anything you want, just leave us alone. The angry red sun is halfway down over an angry red sea, they’ve wasted half the day on this unwinnable war. All we can see under the bully’s hoodie is a sly smile, and the sky over his or her head is a bright, sunny yellow. At least somebody’s happy here. This is a person who wants to win for the sake of winning, at any and all costs. He already has 3 swords, why does he need the others as well? He may win, but probably won’t find anyone who will want to celebrate with him. This is a bitter victory, if you can even call it that. These people didn’t even fight back, How could they? He has more swords.

Here is the origin of the term ‘every man for himself’ from the Urban Dictionary:

“British military origin. In Armed Forces terms, this formal order is a specific command sometimes issued in a case where the strategic situation has become hopeless, the collapse of a force is imminent, and there is no chance of relief. Once given, the order suspends certain aspects of military discipline, allowing each individual to surrender, flee, or continue fighting independently according to their individual circumstances, without regard to previous battle orders.”

As I said, 5 is never going to be a nice, even, balanced 4 or 6, so it’s already a losing battle for both sides. Sharp, ‘cross’ words – the surrendered swords lie on the ground forming a cross – everyone is at ‘cross-purposes’ here.

We don’t know the story behind all this mess. This card can and sometimes does point out to us a need to put ourselves first and not concern ourselves so much with the needs of others. When you are told to put your mask on first in case of an in-flight emergency before helping others, you are not being an air hog, you’re simply no good to anyone if you’re not breathing . This is that.

This is like being the sole survivor of a plane crash.

Not really anything to celebrate.

 

 

1 November 18: The Magician

Using Your Power For Good. The thing I think I love most about about the Tarot is that both sides of my brain have to work, which were created to work together in the first place, and when they sync up it’s…magic. Who the hell has ever heard of a Psychopomp? The ‘ability to move between two worlds’ or, between the left and right sides of our brains? I love that word. You learn something every day.  As ‘burners say, we wake up in what is referred to as the ‘default world’, our itchy surface to scratch (#BurningMan).

This is the card of the alchemist. A Magician stands at his table in a garden surrounded by a high castle wall – his secrets contained within. He may very well have been summoned by the King, who retains his services exclusively. He holds his wand high, like an antennae, as if to call down the powers of the Universe. He’s #1, literally. The first of the Major Arcana and the entire deck, he stands at a table laid with the talismans representing the four elements and the four suits: a cup (water), a sword(air), a coin(earth), and a staff(fire). Every sign of the Zodiac is represented here and every planet in the solar system including those we don’t know about yet. What an amazing card. Red roses bloom beside him as do white lilies, and he is dressed in a white robe and bright red hooded cape, representing the alchemy and the harmonizing of the masculine and feminine.  The sky is bright yellow above him, radiant and joyful with solar energy, an eternal source he has connected to. The powerful 8-shaped eternity symbol floats above his head, and another forms the clasp holding his cape closed at his throat. He has everything he needs to make ‘magic’. He seems to have some kind of conduit to the unseen and unknown, and we may even doubt if he’s even human, but he’s been doing this for a very long time. He knows exactly what to do with each of those elements, exactly how they affect each other, the exactly the right mix and exactly the right time for mixing.

This is someone in control of themselves, their destiny – and that of others as well.

This is someone who can make things happen. Serious mover and shaker, all he has to do is ‘lift his little finger’ and like magic, his or her will his done. Make it so, says the Magician, and so it is.

This is someone you want on your side: he could sell ice cubes to Eskimos. Luckily for us, he is upright as in a straight-up dude who uses his powers for the good of all, which would not be the case if he were to have come up reversed.

This is strong stuff, and could manifest in your life as some kind of expert – agent, marketing, computer marketing, communications of any kind. He doesn’t even have to say anything. He’s telepathic, or sure seems to be. This card can also be a professional in the field of psychology, a brain balancer. Tweak those right and left sides back in line.

Mercury, who rules the Magician as well as the signs Gemini and Virgo, is quick, and so is this Magician – he moves his hands so fast as in ‘sleight of hand’ our eyes don’t pick up on how he really did it.

But he can’t hold that wand up forever. He holds that wand up like an orchestra conductor, all eyes on him, and when he brings that wand down, it’ll be pure magic. Out of pure silence, out of nothing.

 

 

 

 

31 October 18: Ace of Cups reversed & Eight of Swords

Emotionally unavailable. Or, someone is withholding affection. These two do not belong together at all, it’s a pretty uncomfortable picture…love wants to happen for someone, but it can’t.

The intellectual Swords are of the suit of Air (Libra/Gemini/Aquarius) and solely of the mind.  They like logic and reason. Cold, hard facts.  The emotional Cups are our human hearts, all soft and squishy and soppy and messy representing the deep, emotional watery suits of Cancer, Pisces and Scorpio. This would be such a different picture if I were to just get up and move to the other side of the table! The thing to do is to get these cards both to flip over, that would be progress.

The Eight of Swords is the ‘victim’ card. A blindfolded human stands in the center of a temporary ‘jail’ she’s created for herself from 8 long swords stuck into the ground around her in the shape of a circle. She is the only lonely, solitary human on this card, no one seems to be around to have helped her. She is loosely bound with ropes, why does she not escape? What’s her problem?

The Ace of Hearts is our cup overflowing. The offer of or beginning of a new love. A full heart. Hovering just outside the ‘jail bars’ is this glowing cup. Reversed, the contents drain away, wasted. Interesting to me visually are the streams that flow from the cup on this card from the Morgan-Greer deck: reversed, the straight, flowing streams also seem to form ‘prison bars’. Good Lord what the hell is the problem here? A perfectly fine-looking human with obvious passions of her own as we can see from the bright-red low cut dress she is wearing is prevented for reasons unknown to us from being ‘free’.  There is love, but she doesn’t see it or doesn’t want to. That’s a big-ass cup, too, a huge, overfilled golden goblet. It won’t fit through the prison bars, she has to come out to get it. Why is she fighting this? Behind her on a mountain looking down at this silly scene is a rather imposing, dark, Gotham-style city or castle, or even a real prison. The one she’s in now is all in her mind – a temporary structure at best. It is not meant to protect her from anything, and certainly won’t from her own mind and heart.

Has she broken away from this dark place physically but not yet mentally?

I have no time for this victim mentality. I’m turning them over.

There. See? Now the ropes have fallen off, the blindfold has fallen away, the swords are dislodged from the sand. She is free to go. The  SkyHand of the Tarot emerges from the clouds and hands her the upright glorious golden flowing cup as a beautiful white dove hovers overhead.

My work is done here.

 

This Ace is pure love waiting to be ‘born’, possibly even literally, requiring some restrictions on Mom, who may have even been prescribed enforced bedrest whether she likes it or not.

 

22 October 18: Six of Swords

There’s nothing more for me here, I must move on. There is something I find melancholy about this 6 of Air (Libra/Gemini/Aquarius). This isn’t a particularly happy card, but it is a hopeful one, and one we should find encouraging. Home is always home, troubled as it may be.

Here is a boat, itself an ancient symbol of transition, and a human stands at the stern with his or her back to us pushing the boat away with a long pole, like an Italian gondolier. Huddled low in the boat is a shrouded figure, who is traditionally depicted as  a woman, often with a  child seated beside her. On this Morgan-Greer card, we see only the one rather sad passenger draped in a blue shroud so dark it looks almost black, indicating a darkened and dampened spirit. It’s almost the same color as the choppy water they’re steering out of – but we can see smooth, clean, aqua – blue open water ahead. Perhaps this kind captain has saved this person or these people.

Taking up a whole lot of space in the front of the boat are 6 tall swords stuck blade-down, standing straight up like masts. The boat is heavy, and only a few inches above the water. Swords are of the mind, and can represent ideas. This human isn’t understood at home,  so he’s off to find like minds somewhere else. This is a card of science.

This is all about finding peace and a place where we feel we are understood, where we harmonize with others who ‘get’ us.  Water in the Tarot represents emotions, and it’s plain they are moving on from stormy, volatile ‘waters’ into calm and tranquility.

But swords are double-edged, and hopefully this isn’t mental ‘baggage’ he’s bringing along with him. As they say, no matter where you go, there you are.

I read this card recently and in the spread the passenger in the boat was in spirit, not a fleshy, which told me someone was with the traveling human in spirit who was and is the inspiration and motivation for this somewhat painful but necessary journey.

If this is your move, it’s worth it. Good luck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

18 October 18: Eight of Swords, reversed

Free your mind, and the rest will follow.  This angst-ridden card of self-limitation is an interesting draw after yesterday’s, and I’m actually glad to see it today in reverse.

This sharp card of Air (Gemini/Libra/Aquarius) is described ad nauseam in the WordPress archives and the image is uncomfortable: a human stands on a deserted shore, eight swords stuck in the sand in a circle shape around her forming ‘prison bars’ that are spaced far enough apart that she could certainly squeeze out if she wanted to. She is also loosely bound with ropes that she could easily slip out of. But the blindfold she wears tells us she isn’t even looking for a way out of this situation. Why not? Is it that hopeless?

Some people are more comfortable with the ‘devil they know’ than the ‘devil they don’t’. The job is shitty, but at least it’s a job. This relationship is shitty, but at least I’m not alone (even though she looks pretty lonely to us). I hate living here, but where else is there to go? Well you’ll never know, lady, if you don’t take the blindfold off and look.

Yesterday’s beautiful and talented but reversed Queen of Cups showed us someone who has everything going for her but is limited by her insecurity, emotional instability, laziness and behavior. I dedicate this morning’s card and x-tra large Circle K cup of Organic Dark Roast Mexico to her.

Reversed, the swords as prison bars have fallen away. The blindfold has fallen off, and the ropes drop.  She realizes now there never were any ‘prison bars’ except those of her own making in her own mind. She was blind to the opportunities all around her. This is no easy thing for our human, all this freedom. The Number 8 means she’s ‘had the power all along’.

It’s possible, of course, that this is a release from some kind of physical restriction or bondage, even a hospital stay involving some physical therapy of some kind, or an actual release from prison or jail.

Either way, this is an important and welcome message. Subconsciously or consciously, most of the time, we impose our own restrictions on ourselves, and only we can ‘break ourselves out’.

The good news is you have the power.

 

 

 

 

 

 

29 September 18: Nine of Swords

High anxiety. 

You can say that again.

This card of the sometimes sharp and painful suit of Air (Gemini/Libra/Aquarius, we are now under a Libra sun) is the very picture of misery and is ruled by the angry red planet, Mars.  Planet of War, they call him.

Traditionally this card shows us a human sitting upright in bed in the middle of the night rudely awakened by nightmares, memories, regrets, and despair. Head haunted by scandal, cruelty, hatred, rumor, everything just short of murder and this person may know something about that, too. Guilt, depression, addictions.

I wasn’t surprised to draw this card this morning. The last 2 days of these hearings in the US, and I watched every minute live both days, were so surreal I felt I needed to turn to my special-occasion Salvador Dali deck.

Oh, Salvador.

On the card, there is a stone effigy in repose on top of a coffin that seems to be draped – I kid you not – with a red and white striped flag. Beside the coffin kneels a semi-transparent blue angel, and a quick, graceful dab of white paint creates a dove who seems to be flying away – it is a chaotic, exhausting and confusing image to look at.

 

..all that expensive education, all that privilege, and it wasn’t until yesterday you finally learned what the word ‘no’ means.

Sleep well, little Brett.

19 September 18: Nine of Cups & Eight of Swords

Schadenfreude. Who needs a word like that first thing in the morning is all I have to say. What a strange pair this is. The joyful, celebratory 9 of Cups is of the suit of Water (Pisces/Cancer/Scorpio) and 9 is a number of completion. There is a lengthy description of this jolly card in the WordPress archives: the traditional image is that of a rosy-cheeked inkeeper sitting before a long table set with 9 goblets of wine ready to welcome guests. This is often called “The Wish Card” and this human certainly looks as if his has been granted, whatever it is. But there’s something off today as he crosses his arms contentedly – bringing to mind another phrase I’ve seen used to describe this card: the Cat Who Ate The Canary. Now that I look, that contented smile on his face looks a bit smirky this morning, his pink cheeks not so much jolly as ruddy, red and flushed.

This card came up rather recently and as I recall, the message was “careful what you wish for”.

The downright weird 8 of Swords (Air: Gemini/Libra/Aquarius) is is more often than not a card of self-imprisonment. A woman stands on a bleak, desolate shore blindfolded and loosely tied up in a ‘cage’ made up of 8 tall swords stuck in the sand in the shape of a circle around her, a sort of a makeshift jail. But this card can mean actual prison, and today I’m feeling it does.

Is the 8 taking the fall for the 9?

It’s an uncomfortable picture and gives me an uncomfortable feeling. Fat Ass isn’t just happy about this, he’s madly happy about it, wearing a bright red party hat with a feather in it – ‘a feather in his cap’.

The German word means ‘taking pleasure in other’s misfortune’ and it’s not a good look on anyone.