Monday, December 16, 2013


Two people, three cards, one month. A pair of trumps bookend the deuce of spades, the most solid and least volatile of the partnership deuces.

To say the female pope is a "spiritual" card is accurate, but that descriptor is currently so overused 
it's become nearly meaningless. It's a    little more accurate to say this mysterious lady, usually called "the high priestess" in contemporary packs, is a sign of acceptance. She accepts the phases of the moon, the high and ebb tides, and life's ups and downs, illustrated so well in many versions of trump X, the wheel of fortune. Mostly, she's wise enough in he ways of the universe to avoid trying to interfere with the natural outcomes of cyclic processes, and makes no attempt to disrupt the natural consequences, or effects, of  things we've done, words we've used, or decisions made.

The hanged man, simply the symbol of betrayal in the cultural world of the creators of the first tarots,  I think of as "the hung-up man" in the modern context. He's completely handcuffed and hogtied by his present difficulties, and unable to help himself. Whether this situation prevails only momentarily or permanently depends a lot on the character of the querent, the specific details of the hang-up, and a myriad of other factors. When we drew these cards a week ago, trump XII was in the near future, and now, we can see that we're going to escape the rocks and shoals we inevitably encountered. I won't go into the grisly details, although you, dear reader, if you absolutely must, may check them out at the other blog.

Long story short: We just spent a week in hell as indicated by the hanged man, but the strength of the relationship, founded on the necessary and unavoidable acceptance of a lot of things, has enabled us to get past the roadblocks. We'll be in our new house by Christmas.


Saturday, November 23, 2013

two part harmony

A reading for two, showing lives in harmony. Both lines begin with a trump and end with a spot card from the spades suit.

The star, is an unthreatening, hopeful image. Writing at, Thirteen comments that "Like Aquarius," to which the classical image of the Marseilles pack clearly alludes, "the card's vision is for tomorrow." Placed here in the recent past, it tells me that it's time to translate yesterday's hope into the action indicated in the three clubs, the writer's card. High levels of creativity are achieved under stress.

The karma card, six spades. is an old friend, and indicates the results of work and health habits, for good or for ill. And in my case I'm hoping for a positive result from my  recent resumption of a daily yoga practice, along with three or four cardio workouts in the gym per week.

The other line begins with the Pope, a symbol of formal religious study, orthodox thinking, and adherence to tradition, all things my partner hopes to leave behind as she moves to a new home in a new state, represented by five hearts. Seven spades, the card of faith, in this case refers mainly to faith in herself, her vision of the future, and a spiritualism free of hidebound conventions and "thou shalt not" admonitions.

At the end of our sixth decades, life remains an adventure.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

the way

This is an awesomely positive draw of cards, and extremely easy to interpret.

The six of clubs is the sign of the way shower, sometimes called "the John the Baptist card." It's directly above and corresponds with the 9 spades below it.

She (the line below) came to me needing and strongly desiring an end to the pain, sadness, and bad habits of her old life. The 9 is "finis" for old habits and attitudes, and even before arriving on Puget Sound she discovered me and my simple (but not always easy) routines, an hour of daily exercise plus a dietary overhaul. I'm not a prophet, but I know this commonsense program I use to combat Parkinson's disease is suitable for any purpose, and that unless a person has Faustian ambitions, following this plan will give most anyone what he or she wants.

The wandering fool is on the move again. I drew this card several months running in 2010 and '11, at a time when I felt rootless, like a person in perpetual transit. And here we are again, having left the northwest and looking to settle in Arizona, where the living and breathing are easy. Emphysema makes living on Puget Sound, with its constantly high humidity, too difficult. I love that area, but will have to be satisfied with an annual visit from now on, and Kit prefers the year round warmth and snowless desert to any climate she's experienced except Hawaii's. So Arizona it is.

The wanderer is paired with five spades, whose meaning is simply "big changes in the little things we do every day of our lives." This is the natural consequence of walking through the door pictured on the 9 that precedes it.

The hermit is on the right, and signifies the outcome if things keep going as they are now. He's a wise old man, nearing the end as the sand in his hourglass inevitably follows gravity, and in fact this card was originally called "the old man" ("lo vecchio") or "the hunchback" (Il Gobbo). I'm indeed old, and although  my back is straight, am physically compromised in other ways.

The final card in the draw is the most straightforward of all the trumps. "Love" was its original name, but the insertion of a third person in the image and the change of title to "the lovers," first occurred in the early Marseilles decks an  unfortunate mutation, which has led to hopelessly scrambled and hypercomplex interpretations. In its pristine simplicity, this image predicts the most desirable outcome we might imagine, as Cupid draws back his bow and love infuses every aspect of our intertwined lives.

Altogether, her line is rich in spades, the suit of work and health, and dominated by love's sunshine. There are three suited cards in this draw, two trumps, and "Il Matto," who is neither fish nor fowl, the only card with no suit, no number, and not a trump.


Click on the image for a larger and better view. Photo: Kit Wood. Tarot card ©2001, 2013 by Dave B., a.k.a. Catboxer.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

today's reading

Finally, the trumps drought is broken.

The sky (masculine) above is my line. The earth below is hers.

Commentary will follow.

Saturday, November 02, 2013


I spoke too soon at the end of the last post. I have since checked the record and found that since my partner and I got together in July, she and I have drawn 39 cards in several readings without a single trump among them.

I wonder what the chances of that are?

And how much longer can it last?

We'll find out tomorrow.

Friday, October 18, 2013

these magic days

Mi Tesoro and I drew these cards back about Sept 20.

I'm the top three / sky above. Below is the earth.

On the left, we've got each other, which is to say she's the female jack of clubs and I'm the king of cups or hearts, take your pick.

Two deuces: hers, two swords signifying work partnerships, or any other kind of serious partnership. Two batons (or clubs) is also a partnership, but one beset by fussing  and fighting.

Additionally, I've got my mind on my money and my money on my mind, and am scheming about new ways to work and get some. More later. She's got the male jack of swords (or spades), a charmer, highly creative, but not to be trusted. We're already on alert to watch for him toward the end of the year, which would be a year from now, in August, September or October.

A couple of weeks ago we drew 10 cards for a Celtic cross, a popular layout since the old Golden Dawn days. Cards one and two are la querente and me. She, eight hearts, me three spades, the card of l'artiste.

The four cards surrounding the center are at left, the past; on the right, most likely immediate outcome, as soon as the next few weeks or months. Above is "what is above," or the goal, objective, or favoured outcome of a current situation. The southernmost card is the mental, and particularly the subconscious context of the unfolding narrative.

The eight of hearts and three of spades were fighting for the crown; Material desire follows stability all around the town.

What's chiefly wanted is a graceful end to the old life, to make way for the new. We're rich in Kings a pair, making the good outcome more than likely.

The column of four at left is the calendar of results, arranged by quarters of the year. All the work we've been doing on our health will come to fruition in the next three months, by year's end. The first quarter of 2014 will see significant prosperity, and we've been seeing a lot of this fortunate card lately.

The four diamonds following is the financial stability ensuing next spring, when we return to this magical place for the warm season. Finally, sometime next summer we are looking for the sppearance in our lives of a young, somewhat sinister male. En garde.

One last thing: These readings are noteworthy in that they consist entirely of suited cards, out of the playing card deck. This particular tarot deck of mine consists of 22/74 trumps, and Camoin's standard deck has 22/78. I don't know the odds against dealing 16 consecutive cards without a single trump among them, but I'll bet they're quite high.

Click on pics for a larger view. Tarot cards at top from the Tarot of Marseilles © 1997 by Camoin and Jodorowski. Tarots shown in the Celtic Cross ©2013, 2001 by Dave B., a.k.a. catboxer.

Friday, September 13, 2013

two people, three cards

A three card reading never gets simpler or more straightforward than this.

The couple is admonished by the seven clubs to guard against falling into negative mental habits. The warning alludes to the tendency, especially prevalent among the elderly, toward pessemism and cynicism. These attitudes can poison a relationship, and have poisoned many. This is just a warning to be vigilant, and stay upbeat, BECAUSE...

We're doing so well re: diet and exercise that the discipline is yielding positive results, in health, and in a resolve to return to work, all of which is emphasized by the ten spades. And going back to work will, in its turn, yield more rewards.

The eight diamonds is a familiar card, forecasting a continuation  and strengthening of prosperity. It means having a good income, little or no anxiety about material needs, and having money to spend.

This is another all pips reading; no trumps in this short hand, and no courts.

Photo & tarot cards ©2001, 2013 by Dave B., a.k.a. catboxer.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

old friends

This reading uses the same format as the one of two weeks ago, so it should already be familiar.

So are most of the individual images, no matter how conscientiously I shuffle multiple times and cut the deck into threes.

For example, the jack of clubs is here, just as he was less than a month ago, "with his head lost in the books and among the obscura mathematicis." Just above him the queen of diamonds and money, who also showed up in the most recent spread of two weeks ago, cautioning us again to guard against wastage of resources, since she "tends to be a spendthrift, generous to a fault sometimes, but is not likely to be a deadbeat or bankrupt."

Nine hearts is regularly a player here, and as recently as two months ago I completely mis read the message of this card, and still haven't unscrambled it from the four of hearts by which it is generally accompanied. The two cards together send a conflicting, or mixed and confusing message, the nine saying "Bye, bye, love," and the four saying "Love lives here." But here, the nine stands alone. I have to think about it some more. 

Three diamonds indicates a degree of confusion or indecision about material matters, usually money, but our first trump, the chariot, tells us we'll easily ride out any material uncertainly..

Moving clockwise, and following the architecture of a nautilus, we encounter the hopeful signs enclosed in layers in the star, which foretells new birth and new wellsprings of energy.

Finally, the card in the center, the heart of the reading, promises basking in the sunlight of prosperity of every kind, in material, in strength and vitality, in harmonious existence, and, last but not least, having money to spend.

Clicketh thee upon the pic for to embiggen it. Photo and tarot cards ©2001, 2013 by Dave t. Brice, a.k.a. catboxer.

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

two make one

I thought this would be a reading for two people, but the cards are a single narrative, setting the prospects for the two to live life as a couple.

Starting at lower left, we see two hearts, an image which needs almost no interpretation. Two heats beating as one.

Just above the deuce, seven diamonds warn of financial challenges, but not so severe they can't be dealt with by a couple paying attention to business, and working to augment income. 

At the top of the center line, four spades (or swords) indicates
stability in matters of work and health, which is a good circumstance when dealing with financial challenges, further alluded to by the Queen of diamonds, the matriarch of money, who tends to be a spendthrift, generous to a fault sometimes, but is not likely to be a deadbeat or bankrupt. That theme is continued by five diamonds, a change in financial condition which may be positive. However, whenever this card appears, it's as an admonition to avoid falling into wasteful habits.

The bottom of the center line, eight clubs (or batons) is one of three "fixed" cards, whose content is anchored to extraordinarily strong convictions, tendencies, or opinions. Clubs rule the mental life and intellectual pursuits, and this image in the context of this reading shows two people, both of whom have clearly defined philosophies, ways of thinking, and approaches to life. When positive, this is a great strength, but it can also indicate a rigidity of inflexibility which undermines relationships with others.

At the center of this narrative about love, money, and the mental life of two acting as one, we find seven clubs, which tells us to  avoid negative thinking if we wish to prosper.

Click on the image for a larger view. Photo and cards ©2001, 2013 by Dave B, a.k.a. catboxer.  

Saturday, July 13, 2013

knights in white satin

This for a dear friend of mine:

Three pips; no court cards or trumps. A pair of threes and in the center the card of three threes.

3 Spades is the artist's card and indicates creativity, but under great pressure. It may represent someone attempting two different lifestyles. 

Our old friend the nine of diamonds, which visits so many of us in retirement, takes center stage here, representing the end of a way of making money. 

The 3 hearts, the direction in which things are trending, is confusion and indecision in love, and may refer to a romantic tangle or a family situation.

This one I drew back on the first of July. The good old Jack of clubs leads, with his head lost in the books and among the obscura mathematicis.

Then comes the same pair of pips, in the same order as they showed up in my life a little less than a month ago. The six of spades has become almost a cliché in my life, as it comes along regularly, often in the center spot. It's reminding me here that I've reaped great rewards from my lifestyle "makeover" of just a few short years ago. The 7 spades says the pleasant status quo, which is always momentary, will be challenged, and also the 7 admonishes us to keep the faith.

Photos and tarot cards ©2001, 2013 by Dave B., a.k.a. catboxer. Click on the pix for enlarged views.

Thursday, June 27, 2013


There were no cards drawn last week. This is the fourth reading this month, and the first in which anything other than pips have appeared. This drawing includes a trump, a court card, and an ace, and I would call it auspicious.

As readings go, it doesn't get any more basic than this. The question I asked prior to drawing the cards had to do with the persistence of bad attitudes. My internal life is so much better than in times past, I wondered why I sometimes fall into old habits of thinking. 

The first card, "the little wheel," answers that negative thinking is my history and my karma (habit, in other words), a simple and accurate answer. I call this card "the little wheel" or wheel of the individual, to differentiate it from the big wheel, the world.

In the middle sits the king of coins, the king of money, with his mind on his money and his money on his mind. Yes indeed.

The ace of cups tells me love is just around the corner. Finally.

Let's hope so.

Cards: Tarot de Besançon, France, early 19th cent. Photo by Dave B, a.k.a. catboxer. Click on the image for a larger view.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

seven heads & ten horns

When it comes to literal depictions of symbolic texts, I've never seen the like of Albrecht Durer, the great 16th century German master whose woodblock of Revelation's Beast ridden by the Whore of Babylon is both scary and ridiculous.

This is partially because Revelation is an incoherent narrative, with a couple of beasts at a minimum, one coming out of the sea and the other from the land. The main beast, a red animal with seven heads and ten horns, is the one who conveys the lewd jockey. She holds up a golden cup full of obscenities.

What does it all mean? There are more theories about the symbols of Revelation than there are symbols in the book. I'm not a New Testament expert, and know only a little of the history of the time. However, I'll take a stab by pointing out that when John of Patmos wrote this troublesome text, about 95 CE, there had been 11 emperors, with three of them, Galba, Otho, and Vitellius, barely having time to sit down on the throne before they were disposed of, and a fourth, Titus, who ruled only a couple years before dying of the plague and being succeeded by his brother, Domitian.

If we subtract four from 11 that leaves seven emperors whom I believe to be symbolized by the heads of the monster. Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Vespasian, and Domitian carry the Great Whore, who quite obviously symbolizes the zeitgeist of the Romans, their sensate and sensuous culture, and the autocratic military dictatorship which ruled the empire from Rome.

There are other possibilities, of course. Seven heads might equal the city's fabled seven hills, and the ten horns the emperors who had ruled until the advent of the timid and vicious Domitian, who  banished John to the tiny island of Patmos, thereby setting the stage for possibly the most overinterpreted and misinterpreted literary work of all time.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

the chase

I drew these cards on Sunday, but I've been chewing on them ever since, hence the late posting.

A certain amount of repetition is normal and to be expected in the chance occurrences of random events I suppose, but this is getting positively weird

We're looking at all pips again for a third week in a row, and two of these cards were in the spread two weeks ago. They simply exchanged places and came back. I also remember having drawn the 10 clubs, or teachers' card, not too long ago.

The nine and four of hearts are diametrical opposites in some ways, with the nine saying "Say goodbye to love, at least for now," and the four saying "Love lives here."

I've been alone for some time now, and no doubt love is what I'm looking for. These two emblems, one of love coming and the other of it going, are following one another as love draws closer, then moves farther away. This shows that time is not an adequate concept with which to measure our lives, because lives are  continuums in which people, places, and circumstances, appear, wane, go away completely, and sometunes reappear, whereas time is linear.

I've reached a milestone now. Rejection means nothing to me, so I have no fear. Something good is going to happen.

It's in the cards.

Photo and cards ©2001, 2013 by Dave B, a.k.a. catboxer. Click on the picture to embiggen.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

los bajos

Today's reading is all pips, face cards and trumps took the week off. it's a humble but powerful message.

Spades predominate, emblems of the winter of our lives, and dealing with matters of work and/or bodily health.  

I've been visited numerous times by the six of spades over the past couple of years. it's a reminder of everything a person is doing right (or wrong) to maintain and, if possible, improve the only body he or she will ever have. To some extent it expresses the idea of fate or destiny, as opposed to the idea of faith which is embodied in the seven next to it.

The seven spades demands that we do more, go farther, and  commit ourselves to those behaviors which have improved our lives (or brought us low, as the case may be). Robert Camp says this card will challenge us to "rise to higher levels of thinking, speaking, and acting."

The imagery of five diamonds gives a clues to its meaning. In the center an ominous brown pentagon is wrapped in the arms of a reversed pentagram, universal symbol of evil. Around the border, 26 fat man bombs point inward, at the waste of resources this represents. The wastage of capital is always a reckless and foolish thing, and the card appears as an admonishment or a warning to be mindful of your expenditures.

There is also a broken numerical sequence here (6-7-5) which is significant because of the unsettled and unstable nature of odd numbers. Combining the three digits and reducing the sum yields a 9.

Monday, June 03, 2013

you got to move

There are times when I wonder about continuing this project. This is turning into an All About Me blog, although the original idea was to have a site devoted to the history, art, and various meanings of tarot in particular and all art in general.

But somewhere along the line it became like a diary. I write more often on a blog that's not about me at all, (see sidebar), so I'm not used to this. But here we go.

This week's draw of the cards contains no trumps or face cards. The appearance of three pips unrelieved by landmarks sends the message that this read is blunt, didactic, and specific to my present situation.

After all the signs of impending love over the past couple of months, the nine of hearts now tells me to let that idea go. As compensation, I have the solid and irreplaceable advantages of family harmony, a close and productive relationship with my sisters, and material prosperity, i.e., not rich, but doing all right.

The four hearts was in this same position in the draw of April 21 this year.

Either my cards have been way off base, or I've been interpreting them very badly. We'll know as the knife blade of the present slides ahead in time, revealing everything.

The photo and the cards are ©2001, 2013 by Dave B a.k.a. catboxer. "You Got to Move" was sung most famously by Miss'ssipi Fred McDowell.

Monday, May 27, 2013

past perfected

This was November, 2010. I decided to do something different that month, and went to one of those "get your cards read for free" sites. For some reason, it was a 4-card draw, even though I wanted my usual 3 cards.

The fourth card wasn't in the same row as the others. It was here, in the line just below.

Then came December, and another appearance of le fou, this time as the only picture card in the center of a spread, between the 10 cups, the performers' card (I was teaching a lot of yoga then), and marching toward prosperity. 2011 Did turn out to be a very good year financially.

In January I read with a non-tarot deck (Mexican lottery cards), and in February the fool didn't make an appearance.

However, he was back the next month, in what I see as the most significant position among his three appearances -- a two-trump draw in which the fool is walking toward trump XXI the world, our segué to the present.

The way I interpret all this is as commentary on states of mind. In 2010 I was feeling rootless and homeless. I'd been divorced for a few years but was still wearing singleness uncomfortably, adjusting to a new and compromised physical condition, and living in an urban one-bedroom on a busy street. I was alienated from my environment and unsettled.

My living situation now is, if anything, more tenuous. I've got a nice place to live, but it's for sale. However, my attitude toward things has changed. I told my sister a few weeks ago that I felt as if no matter where I am in the world, I'm home.

The meaning of the cards, like the quality of our lives, is in our  minds, and a very sagacious person once observed, many, many years ago, that "With our thoughts, we make the world."

Sunday, May 26, 2013

another view of the world

This is the third appearance of trump XXI the world out of the past five draws. It appeared twice in April (with different decks), but this is the first (of three) that it's showed up in May.

I've had this before, with the Fool card in 2010/2011. This is not a result of sloppy or careless shuffling. The method of selecting  three cards from a deck of 78 (or 74, in this case) is like this:

Shufle the deck using your regular method seven times. Use either hand to cut the pack in three (but try to always use the same hand). With a palm hovering over each pile of cards in turn, try to find the one emitting heat or magnetic energy. Sometimes more than one pile will give off energy; pick the hottest or most intense one, and your draw is the first three cards on top of that stack, placed face up starting on the left.

On the left is a karma card having to do with love -- unfinished business. On the right is a new way of making money -- pennies from heaven. Other than that, I don't want to say much about this    picture. I just drew these a little while ago, and I need time to chew on it a while.

Click yer gizmo on the pitcher to make large. Photo: "21x3" and tarot cards ©2001, 2013 by Dave B, a.k.a. catboxer.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

details in "bleecker street"

There's analysis drawn in symbolic language in Steinberg's 1970 portrait of a dissolving society, "Bleecker Street," shown in its entirety in the post below.

Starting at bottom left with the Latino radiohead, and moving right we find a very faint person composed of thin vertical lines, for his identity is very faint and tentative. Next to him is a lady made of horizontal lines, like the image on black-and-white TV. She is, in fact, a TV lady, and her personality a pastiche of things she's picked up from the tube.

The exploding-head woman, who's had way too much of a powerful psychedelic (LSD is strongly suspected) anchors the bottom line of the composition, while a wino floats in the space between her and the man all covered with hair.

I'm baffled by the hairy man, whom I've seen in Steinberg before, but never unlocked. Steinberg frequently said he was a writer who drew, and in keeping with the specificity of the other symbols in this picture, I'm sure the hairy man stands for something specific. But what?

Likewise, it's hard to tell whether the young and attractive woman next to the hairy man is reputable or disreputable, but she's a bold contrast to the very elegantly dressed small, round woman, or the nun in sunglasses, both of whom move along the street directly behind her.

At the outer edge of the sidewalk in the next row up, we see a very childish lady, who looks as if she was drawn up by an immature hand. Next to her is a dirt, or smudge of a person, symbolizing the destitute homeless insane and addicted people.

Then comes Ragtime Cowboy Joe, a ridiculous person who has
purchased a manufactured personality, and now stands athwart the sidewalk with "a itchy trigger finger." Completing the second row and the south sidewalk, a smiling crocodile is about to devour a rat. Steinberg is here using animals to represent the essential nature of an animalistic human relationship, as such things occur out in the street where there are predators and other dangerous people.

The street itself and the center of the picture is dominated by the police, who exert whatever control and order they can into the bedlam around them. The police seem unconcerned about the dead guy lying in front of the shop called RGH!, in the doorway of which a second cowboy stands, though there's nothing to suggest the corpse is his responsibility.

A skull-faced neo-nazi wearing green sunglasses and boots with spurs marches along menacingly in front of the bar FEH, whose doorway frames yet another cowboy. In front of the storm trooper and slightly off to his right, a beautiful yellow-haired lady walks confidently, protected by her large and extremely pugnacious looking dog with a human face.

I've skipped over the many of the meaningful and interesting smaller characters in this document, a social analysis by Saul Steinberg, drawn in 1970 and totally devoid of sentimentality, moralizing, or cant.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

bleecker street

Saul Steinberg's drawing for the January 16, 1971 issue of the New Yorker, a study of a New York street scene, and a portrait of  a society in meltdown, is master work from the humble cartoonist who turned out to be possibly the 20th century's greatest artist.

It's a two-dimensional work with a visible soundtrack; we can "see" and almost hear the combined cacophony of the Latino radio station blasting from the transistors of the Puerto Rican radiohead at lower left, blending harshly with the sound of the police siren, a mix typical of the streets of NYC and San Francisco at the time.

Dirts and drunks and addicts, who appear as smudges on the landscape, rub elbows here with the middle-class and poverty-stricken, the passive and the violent, in a grotesque dance of social anarchy.

Steinberg died in 1999, but the unwinding of our society from the core outward is a work in progress.

Yesterday I reveived that back issue of the magazine from an 
Ebay seller, and it's already framed, matted, and on the wall. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

new reading

A two-trump spread with the trumps bracketing the knave of hearts.

Before drawing and spreading the cards, I asked two very specific questions, both pertaining to subjects the cards have spoken much of lately.

Trump IV the emperor is discipline, order, having your ducks in line. For me to do the things I need to do every day now requires a level of discipline that's not completely brand new to me, but hasn't been seen for quite some time, put it that way. 

XVII the star is the hope card, as well as a predictor of attaining one's goals and/or desires, if one is patient and proceeds positively, especially when she's on the right as she is here. These are two of the easier trumps to interpret.

Most interesting of all is the jack of hearts, in this context, representing the querent (that would be me). I wrote a fairly detailed examination of t his card, here, a couple months ago.

Robert Camp also notes the jack of hearts is one of three "fixed" cards,* meaning the personality, or content of the card has a strong, fixed nature. Some see a jack of hearts personality type as stubborn and inflexible, others may regard him or her as reliable. The other two fixed cards? 8 clubs and the king of spades.

*"Destiny Cards,"p. 27.

Click on the image to see full size. Photo, "Jack among the trumps, and tarot cards ©2013, 2001 by Dave B. a.k.a. catboxer.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

love trumps

This week's reading re-iterates the theme of love in my future. At my age, I'm not sure how that's possible, but I've learned to trust the cards.

The king of hearts, an emotional and fair-minded guy, somewhat self-sacrificing (he is a suicide king) moves into the next phase of an unpredictable life with some hesitation.

Five spades is another recurrent theme -- I drew it on the left a month ago -- signaling  changes in the specific things a person does every day, or in other words changes in routine. I'm cooking a lot less, and eating mostly raw food. Other changes occurring as well.

And then there's trump VI, which I don't believe I've ever drawn in a reading before. Of all the cards, this one along with the hanged man comes in for the most tortured, complex, and arcane occult interpretations. it simply means "love," specifically of the romantic variety. "Love" was the card's original name, and it appears to have been, in the earliest semi-complete deck, a depiction of a dynastic marriage of the houses of Sforza and Visconti.

The image was scrambled by the inclusion of a third person on the card in the Marseilles decks, and the interpretation of 19th-century "seers" such as Eliphas Levi.

The symbolism of the trumps is not difficult to understand in most cases, because the first part of the more-or-less standard sequencing of them contains patterns of meaning. The sequence begins with a depiction of the order or structure of society in trumps I through V, then come VI-VII-VIII-IX, or love, war, fortitude, and old age. Fortitude, or strength, doesn't seem to belong with the others, which are all things we encounter as we go through life. The deck's three virtues, strength, justice, and temperance, have shifted their positions in the sequence frequently over the years.

Then comes the first of the "big wheels," Rota Fortuna, and the first half of the trump sequence is complete.

Edit: The sequence is VI-VII-fortitude-IX in Waite's deck. In older decks such as the Marseilles, it's VI-VII-justice-IX. An even older sequence had justice in the 20th place.

Click on the image for a larger view. Photo and tarot cards ©2013, 2001 by Dave B, a.k.a. catboxer.

Monday, April 29, 2013

i looked at the world; the world looked round

For some reason I never expected the world card to show up in two spreads in a row, even though similar things have happened before. At the end of 2010 and beginning of 2011, the fool popped up in four out of five consecutive monthly draws, three of those in the center position.

Some would say that when this happens it's likely the result of sloppy or incomplete shuffling, but in this case that's not possible, since I used two different decks for the last two draws. Others might shrug it off as a random coincidence, and it certainly is that. But I believe, though I can't prove it, that there is something else at work here.

At the time I was getting the fool in my spread every month, I was feeling very rootless, almost homeless, although I had a roof over my head the whole time. Now the reappearance of the world card is signaling with some urgency that my family has an opportunity to write "the end" on the last page of our parents' history. I don't know why that's so important, but it is.

Anchoring the spread this week is the knight of swords (jack of spades), representing a real person who is coming into my life, someone young, charming, and not necessarily trustworthy. When this card appears the seeker needs to be on his or her guard, for readers of playing cards often refer to the jack of spades as "the card of the thief."

A standard interpretation for the empress --  plans successfully completed, fertility and abundance -- would make a logical outcome card and key to the reading. But that sounds a little too pat, and I strongly suspect this empress is a second portent, related to the queen of hearts who took the same spot three weeks ago. At the time it looked like a lame predictor of romance, but I see now it's not going to be that kind of relationship, as I'm now expecting some sort of teacher, guide, or mentor to show up unannounced.

What convinces me of this is the way the empress's gaze is focused on something outside and beyond the cards, but we don't know what it is. 

I'm fascinated by the crudely-rendered images on these old cards, especially the world with its strange, hermaphroditic dancer in the center oval, surrounded by the four heads of the tetramorph, those four-headed winged creatures who play such a large and lively part in the books of Ezekiel and Revelation. This version is badly worn by the demands of gaming, as the world is the highest trump (XXI) and the most desirable of all cards.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

reynard hides out

Reynard the Fox, the Rogue, was seen of none;
His many crimes from Court kept him away;
An evil conscience shuns the light of day.
To face that grave assembly much he feared,
For all accused him; no one had he spared:
Graybeard, the Badger, stood his friend alone,
The Badger, who was Reynard's brother's son.

Illustration: The fox hides in the tall grass, afraid to show up at Court. Actually, this is one of the winners in The Society of German Nature Photographers (GDT) "GDT Nature Photographer of the Year 2013" contest. More than 3,500 photos were submitted to the contest, which is only open to the organization's members. Hermann Hirsch, 18, took the top prize, making him the youngest person to win this contest, but I don't know if this photo is hs, or what prize it won. (See TPM). I do know that it's not Renard, but a vixen whom the photographer named "Sophie."

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Deuces make for easy interpretation, yet deal with one of the profoundest social relationships: our partners, spouses, siblings, and best friends.

2 Hearts = 2 hearts "beating as one." Robert Camp says "Even the birth of a child can show up as a Two of Hearts," which shows how much this card is a ruler of all matters pertaining to love and/or familial affection.

I call the deuce of clubs the card of fussin and fightin. It says there's communication occurring, but some of it may be contentious. Implied advice: talking it out and working it out as a way of addressing "fear and arguing," R. Camp's designation for this card.

2 diamonds = Wheelin & dealin, a business partnership which extends beyond business into friendship, family connection, marriage, etc. What works in a marriage may work in business as well; harmonious pooling of resources benefits everybody.

Two of spades is a "union or partnership in work or friendship," (Camp), and indicates the presence of a particularly deep and strong relationship, one which requires lots of close cooperation. 2 Spades also indicates a persistent desire for the company of others.

Any deuce is all about you and your BFF.

All quotes from Robert Camp, "Destiny Cards," (1998), pps. 128-134.

Click on the image for full size. Photo, "Deuces" and images on cards ©2013, 2001 by Dave B., a.k.a. catboxer.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

the world

A reading for today, April 21st. An extremely auspicious turn of the cards which bodes well for our present enterprise.

The trump takes center, as it usually does. Despite all the wrong that's been done to her the past couple of centuries, the world remains our mother and our only real home, and in a tarot draw, when the world is yours, it has to be good news.

Now the reading of March 30, the pair-of-queens spread, comes into clear focus. At that time my sisters and I were just embarking on this adventure of house selling. As far as we knew, we were spinning the wheel, which is the trump (in the middle, of course) is bracketed by the two queens representing my sisters, one the queen of spiritual and emotional matters, the other pragmatic, practical, money-oriented.

Today's cards show my sisters and me working harmoniously together on this project (4 hearts), and running on all eight cylinders, on a final settling of our parents' legacy. We can anticipate a very good outcome if the cards, are an indication of what's to come, and we may end up getting more out of this property than we expected.

Five clubs was in the cards two weeks ago, on April 8, and the changes in thinking and daily living which began then are now continuing. The biggest one seems to be a total loss of any interest in politics; I sincerely hope someone calls me when that aspect of the world starts to change. For now, we're ruled by a bunch of oligarchs who used to have us believing everything they did, they did for us. But now they're admitting, when pressed, that far from being our BFFs, they're evil bastards who plan to keep us down, and what are we going to do about it?

Politics won't change an iota as long as oligarchs and lobbyists are running things. Once we throw them over, everything changes, so the solution to all our problems is obvious. Now, how do we get done what needs doing? Your guess is as good as mine.

The final dissolution of a parental estate carries with it a certain amount of sadness, but brings (to use a word I don't like  much) closure. At a time like this, one's mental life stays close  to home.

Click on the image for full size. Photo, "The World," and images on cards ©2013, 2001, by Dave B. a.k.a. catboxer.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

hearts, flowers, and a knight

I decided to do the weekly reading with my old thumbed and tobacco-smelling Besançon cards, and glad I did. Just look at all that red!

What I'm finding is that it takes a month or so for understanding the specific meanings in the cards to come to fruition. This three-card spread from exactly one month ago is crystal clear now, but my interpretation at that time was hesitant and unfocused.

There was a lot of red in that layout too -- diamonds, instead of hearts, material concerns rather than relationships.

As my sisters and I prepare to sell my mother's place, which I'm living in momentarily, and close our parents' estate, the final act in another of life's chapters is signified in the reading of March 14 by the the nine, the number signifying an ending, and by the ten. Ten diamonds, the card of philanthropy and legacies, forecasts a successful resolution. In between them is my old girlfriend, the queen of clubs, telling me not to worry about any of this. No matter what, there's always the pleasure of reading and study.

Today's is the third reading since then, so I'm several behind, that is, the book is not yet closed on the two before this one, which speaks loudly either of romantic love or family relationships -- I think probably the latter. Seven cups (or hearts), one of the more complex cards, generally means some sort of betrayal, real or perceived, by someone close to us. But there's also a didactic element here, telling us to overcome bad faith with unconditional love. 

Ten cups symbolizes acting out one's affection in relations with large groups of people. I always think of it as the performer's card. In this case, I think it bears more closely on what's happening with the seven cups, and forecasting that any friction or disagreement will be resolved successfully.

Between the cups, almost as a reminder, is a learning and knowledge card. The knight of batons, the Queen of clubs's younger brother, is on fire with the excitement of learning. I'm a little old to be a jack, but that's how I feel sometimes too.

I don't know whether I'll do a reading next week. I take these things seriously, and don't like having unresolved interpretive loose ends going back  two, three, or four readings ago.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

the wages of sin

Ye gentle feast of Whitsuntide was come;
The woods and trees were clad in vernal bloom;
The full-awakened birds, from every tree,
Make the air ring with cheerful melody;
Sweet were the meadows after passing showers;
Brilliant the heaven with light, the earth with flowers.
Noble, the King of Beasts, now holds his Court;
Thither his summoned vassals all resort;
From North and South they troop, from East and West,
Of Birds and Quadrupeds the First and Best.
The Royal will had been proclaimed that all
Of every class should come, both Great and Small,
To grace the pomp of that high festival.

Not one should fail, and yet there did fail One;
Reynard the Fox, the Rogue was seen of none...


To be continued.

Illustration: an English engraving after the design of Wilhelm von Kaulbach (German, 1870-74).

See also "renard le renard" at catboxx.