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.

Monday, April 08, 2013

change squared

How odd that with all the thinking, writing, reflecting, and talking about changes, the number five, and queens, I should draw a pair of fives and my old friend, the Queen of Hearts, whom I last saw in that same spot in December.

And there are a lot of changes going on in my life right now, My sisters and I are in the midst of deciding whether to sell this place I'm living in. Other big shifts afoot: physical, pharmaceutical, and cyber-spacey. So fives are appropriate. 

Whether the shadow that accidentally fell on the photo, showing the passage of time moving from darkness to light, is also an omen I can't say at this point. One can hope, but "one never know, do one?"

I gave fast and dirty meanings for the two fives in the post immediately below this one, and to what I said about the five clubs there, Robert Camp adds that it can signify a change of residence.

Readings that have no trumps, such as this one, admit fewer possibilities for interpretation, and the suited cards tend to be blunt.

And of course there had to be a queen. I've drawn all four queens already this year; at least one and sometimes two each month. So now, here she is again, in the same place she appeared in December. The queen of hearts is always in the near future, like a mirage. It's like the white queen's rambling discourse about jam in "Through the Looking Glass:" "You get jam every other day -- so jam yesterday, and jam tomorrow, but never jam today. Every other day except this one."

Click on the picture for a bigger view. Photo and images on cards ©2012, 2001 by Dave B a.k.a. catboxer.

Friday, April 05, 2013

little things add up

Under ordinary circumstances, five spades is the most powerful five.

All fives in the deck (except trump V: the pope) are indicators of change, which occurs in that area of your life governed by the suit.

Five hearts is the breakup card; five clubs represents the inexact concept of changes in one's philosophy, way of thinking, or approach to a specific problem. Five diamonds indicates changes in income, or changes in the way one acquires it, or some other change in  material values.

The suit of spades or swords governs our working lives and our health, prosaic matters which are at the center of where we actually live. Five spades generally signifies changes in the little things we do every day, such as when and how we brush our teeth and shower, diet, whether we exercise or not, and so forth.

It doesn't have to always mean that; for example five spades and five diamonds appearing in the same reading would seem to indicate a change in occupation or profession.

Whether these changes have occurred already, are happening now, or will happen some time in the future, depends on the card's placement in the reading.

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

Tuesday, April 02, 2013


From now on, I'm going to read weekly rather than monthly.

Tarot is an oracle, with its cards symbolically representing all manner of human conditions, situations, events, and tendencies. Precognition can be a tarot function (I've seen it work that way), but more often the read is about the present, and how it's developing.

From the three-card spread, I expect to learn 1) Where I've been recently, 2) where I'm at now, and 3) What this is leading up to (unless I change course).

Occasionally the oracle is wrong. Much more often, the oracle is right, but I misinterpret due to "attachments" in the Buddhist sense, commonly called "denial."

The most blatant and instructive incident of this type happened in 2003, when I got the breakup card (pictured here) in the third spot, and denied it could happen. But it did, of course. My marriage began unraveling three years later, and in 2007 we went our separate ways.

What I'm saying is the cards can be wrong, but if you know what you're doing, they're usually not.

I'm also available to read for others, at no charge for a three-card read. The catch is you'll have to ask me. Hint: to leave a comment, you must have a g-mail email account. It's the dictatorship of Google, and none of my doing.

The illustration, Five Cups, is a Mamluk playing card, a hand-painted luxury item from Egypt, whose Mamluk Dynasty ended in 1571. These were the direct ancestors of European playing cards. Venetian importers brought these 52-card decks to Italy between 1360 and 1375, where they were imitated and quickly spread throughout Europe.

European cards, though crude knockoffs at first, were more interesting than the Mamluk originals, because the latter had no "face" cards. Because of the Muslim prohibition on pictorially representing humans, their court cards, while beautiful, were personality-less abstractions.