Sunday, October 11, 2009

A return to the tarot

I have worked with the Tarot for almost five years, however (and this is a big however) I have not been consistent. In fact it has been at least a full year since I've even picked my gorgeous Thoth deck up. This is an involved skill, and one I know I have to stick with in order to gain it's attributes as my own. Being that analyzing spreads takes quite a bit of time to do it correctly I'm obviously not going to be doing this everyday, but perhaps I can commit to once a week.

This is my first pull and in looking through one of my books I felt a draw toward this layout, The High Priestess, so in keeping with my theory that if you do not listen to your intuition you will lose it, I went with it.

As always, my spreads are done with my impending success as a writer in mind. I do not interpret anything within them to necessarily be applicable to any other area of my life. I'm in a place right now where I feel that my success as a writer is the only thing I am lacking (well, and money to pay off my bills and live, but that is directly tied into the writing).

Okay, so let's see it.

Spread for today:

Technique: The Secret of the High Priestess


1) 8 Swords Interference motivating influence
2) 9 Wands Strength motivating influence (may hinder or enhance #1)

The phases of the moon as metaphor for intentions and impacting factors

3) 6 Wands Victory - current moon
4) 9 Discs Gain - waxing moon
5) Queen Swords - waning moon

Represent the pillars on either side of her Majesty

6) 7 Disks Failure What is in the light/ what is known
7) The Priestess - What is in the dark/ what is yet to be revealed

Where the journey leads/outcome

8) Death

The High Priestess' secret

9) Art

Okay, so let's analyze this.

If cards 1&2 are the two main impulses in my endeavor that could compliment or hinder one another what do we have? Interference and Strength. How do I read that? Well, the interference card is pictorially interesting in that it shows two main ideas criss-crossed or interfered by several others running parallel to them. This is a good analogy for my writing at the moment, as my main project, the novel I am finished with but still requires a small amount of tweaking, has been something I've been unable to focus on due to so many other ideas. The Strength card plays into this as the main wand of the picture connects the moon to the sun, an analogy for connecting the unconscious with the conscious. Interesting thing here is this is, in some ways, the main gist of the book, as the character, a thinly veiled and exaggerated version of myself from a parallel dimension where my life unraveled differently* experiences a series of trials in the 'third act' that are essentially his unconscious mind bubbling over into his conscious mind. This unfolds into my life as a book that has acted as a mirror for me to face interior parts of me I've perhaps never fully come to terms with. But does this mean the Strength helps me or hinders me? Maybe the answer will be in the rest of the cards.

So the next three cards are based on the phases of the moon. Card 3 is the Full Moon and represents current motivating factors, card 4 the Waxing Moon and is the power gaining influence and 5 is the Waning Moon and what power is losing influence.

So what's that mean in realtime?

3 was Victory, which is a slightly more ambiguous card than the previous two. In a nutshell this card tends to represent balance of creative energies which, when strung into a logical narrative with the previous cards can definitely be seen as saying that I am balancing my forces out and the Strength will be a solid foundation for my first two forces. The Interference ebbs and as it disappears a stronger foundation is left beneath my endeavors.

4 is Gain and if you look at Gain you can see the image of three spheres balancing in its center. This seems to be saying (esp. with my proclivity for the number 3) that my elements are solidifying, taking shape and feeding into each other for positive outcome. Hence 'gain'.

5, the Waning influence is The Queen of Swords. This is interesting in that if you look at the card it is very blunt about its meaning. The Queen, which is a creative force has a sharp sword (sharpened whatever, generically Will but overall force or power as held by the person in question (or their in this case their creative force) that they've used to sever the head of someone or something else, in this case that something else is clearly, when this is positioned into my little narrative, the interference and self-doubt.

Next we get the Pillars, which if you look at the card this spread is physically meant to emulate, the High Priestess, are on either side of her. The pillars are obvious nods to the pillars on either side of the entrance to the Temple of Solomon, named Boaz and Joachim and representative of the duality of life - we keep coming back to those original two Wands of force in the first card, but now we're looking at them without all the parallel interfering lines - in fact we're looking at them with the head of the interference severed. So the two Pillar cards were 6 Failure - what is known. Boy, failure is known folks, and I've got the rejection letters to prove it!!! And card 7, The Priestess herself. This is a real Deus Ex Machina here when you think about it. Image within the image, which is really what writing is, making micorcosms out of the macrocosm. This card, or what is to be revealed, is chock full of positive reinforcement. Fertility and Artistic Strength from the Bow (Fallopian Tubes or musical/combative instrument), multiple images of the moon representing an ascentive cycle or, when taken in conjunction with the 2nd card for strength, the 9 of wands where we found the image of moon and sun united, we can see possible interpretations of the unconscious being allowed to complete its cycle. That, to me at least, would suggest the endeavors reach fruition.

Finally we get card 8 which is where the journey leads. The 'What's next moment' so to speak. I pulled Death, and again, even though actual physical death has been on my mind all week here I'm only led to interpret it in terms of my endeavor. Plus, Death is more often the Tarot symbol for transformation. This of course seems to suggest I'll be transitioning with my endeavor. Transforming its nature.

Card 9 is a bit of an addendum. This card is the High Priestess' secret and should only be revealed if it is a member of the Major Arcana. So in the case of drawing for yourself you'd have to look to know, and if it turns out to not be a member of the Major then you do not factor it in. If you were drawing for another you'd simply not show it to them if it was Minor.

But mine was a Major, it was ART, which is one of the cards I've had the strongest relationship with. Again we get the fertility due to the bees on the Image's dress. There is a lot here and most of it is relevant. The Lion and the Eagle have swapped colors and that's a sign for reverse reality. This fits with the transformation card 8 suggested. The brew the Image is crafting is a sign of alchemical mixing, which is a term I use often when thinking about writing. You're mixing your life with these strange, ethereal elements - fiction is reality mixed with fantasy. The ART card here suggests the successful mixing of these, as with my endeavor bearing fruit. There are also signs of equilibrium and balance (also seen earlier) and to me, the picture represents perfectly the physical act of writing.

Interesting. In the end, even though I was consulting references as I wrote this, seeing this post finished and still hot off the experience of writing it I can't help but feel I'm better at the Tarot than I'd previously anticipated. The goal though, of course, is to be able to do the above without consulting anything but my mind.

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