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.