Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Tarot

by rg Fri Aug 31st, 2007 at 09:31:42 PM EST


I had...a dream...a few hours ago.  

I want to tell you about tarot cards, at least, I want to explain how I understand them...to some extent...and end with a question.

Tarot Cards

I'd never seen a tarot card before this summer.  I'd heard of them (dippy nonsense, of course!), but never seen them.  Reading palms, ripping people off, psychics, gypsy curses...  Some strange power, which I can now equate with auto-suggestion.  You have to believe...and then the person...controlling the cards...can feed you whatever they want.

But the first rule (the first rg rule) or tarot is:

Nothing bad can come from tarot cards

If you don't believe that, you shouldn't look at them, except in the name of honest enquiry and maybe to see what they look like, because they're interesting, e voila!

The picture above is a tarot card.  The picture above it isn't.  Tarot cards carry nothing more than a symbolism, partly logical, I believe them to have maybe syncretic characteristics linked to the unconscious.

The Tarot, The I Ching, A Run in The Park, & Meditation

All have things in common: some people enjoy them, some don't, some think they're dangerous, some find mystic significance in the activity, others find something healthy and understandable.

But a run in the park is not an I Ching reading.

And an I Ching reading is not a tarot card.

And a tarot card can be an object of meditation.

Voodoo-jumbo nonsense boogie!

Here's my understanding:

Whereas a rorschach blot is designed to be nothing more than symetrical, but does carry typical information (usually a wing form, maybe two heads meeting...let's call one up and see...)

Okay, there may be holes, so they could be eyes.  The idea, though, is that there is nothing "there" that the mind hasn't attributed to squashed ink.

With tarot cards, there is a "there" there, and someone has placed it there deliberately.  It has symbolic...logic, not in the mathematical sense, though similar: someone has aggregated a series of pictures and encoded within them an internal logic, but maybe only understandable to those who designed it; and maybe not to them.  I see the tarot as being the country sister to the minimalist integrity of the I Ching.  

Let's have a quick look at an I Ching hexagram:

Remember: it's not the I-Ching shape in itself that is the point; it is the commentary on the shape, a commentary written in The Book of Changes lo those many years ago, then translated into german, then translated into english, and it is the story-telling art of the writer(s) to give each symbol endless connections to other symbols, and each commentary the possibility to open up...specific questions which the conscious mind cannot resolve.

They are oracles: and it is not the opinion of others that is given: it is an opening into a symbolic universe which endlessly wheels about itself.

Good Cards and Bad Cards

Here's the card that a good shuffle and the luck of one in seventy eight gave me when I first asked the question: "What is ET?"--and then shuffled and cut.

Very different to a Rorschach blot.  Ten swords sticking out of your back.  The person on the ground is dead.  The Ten of Swords.

But what does it mean?

Of course it means nothing.  Unless you invest meaning into it.  But you don't start from a blank slate.  There is an image: a dead man held down by ten swords running down his back, by a lake, it's evening.  Above: the sky is dark.  The Ten of Swords.  Not a good card.

Huh?  Who says it's not a good card?  Well, the symbolism, no?  I suggest the answer is "no", because the first rg rule of tarot is: Nothing bad can come from tarot cards.

Pure Chance and Symbol Systems

As a friend said, critically: "But what does it mean?"

And as I said: "It doesn't mean anything unless you have some meaning for each card."

The key point here being: The cards are not definitive.  Maybe the I Ching works the same way for an ancient chinese.  Mountain above, fire below.  The commentary is one person's take on how that might play out.

Click on the link to view all of the Rider-Waite tarot cards

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rider-Waite_tarot_deck

I find them attractive.  That's the first and maybe the main point.  If you do not find a system attractive, you won't be attracted to it.

Why attractive?  Because they are pre-renaissance.  However, the Rider Waite deck (see link above) were originally published in 1909 and designed not long before that, and hence contains imagery relating to esoteric christian concepts, among other things.

Here's an example of "other things".

They are unreal images; and they vary.  The Rider-Waite pack was based on a nineteenth century esoteric tradition and the wiki page tells me that there is a book, by A.E. Waite, explaining the "traditions and history behind behind the cards, criticism of various interpretations, and extensive descriptions of their symbols, along with 78 black and white plates of each card in the deck."

Heavy Heavy Mumbo Mamba!

What is the point of the tarot, the I Ching, and other divinatory practices?  There's a tarot card which explains it.

The two swords point to alternative rational directions.  Rational is part of "rationalise", when the conscious mind seeks reasons for behaviour.  But what to do when it hits the wall?  What to do when the rational mind--the conscious "ego"--gets stuck?  Each direction is explicable.  But how to choose?

Some toss a coin.  Some go with "gut instinct"--but maybe a person has tried gut instinct before and it all came horribly unstuck.

Time to remember the rg rule about tarot.

What kind of questions fall into this category?

Should I continue doing X, Y, or Z?
What will happen if I try A, B, or C?
What might I find if I go to place J to do activity K?

All the what-ifs, the unknowns.  And here we sit with our huge brains, and the ego struggles to understand the complexities, and...I have a question about that.

But First

The random element.  With tarot cards, you are simply picking from a pack.  If you are getting someone else to shuffle the cards, they could be spiked, but let's assume it's just you and a pack of cards.

How many are there?  

Seventy eight, made up of four suits of fourteen cards as follows:

Cards: Ace to ten, then page, knight, queen, king.
Suits: Pentacles (or coins), cups, swords, and wands.

Here's the page of cups.

He has a fish in his cup.

Here's the eight of wands.

Flying wands!

The Other Twenty Two Cards

are known as the Major Arcana.  They can be seen as describing a symbolic story of life, with the emphasis on "symbolic", and here we can cut to my chase:

You can make up any story you want about the cards.  You can imbue each of the cards with any symbolic resonance you like, because, combined, there is enough variation in the images--this is my theory--that as long as you come up with your idea for each card, just by looking at the picture and pondering, then...well....okay.

Here's my story for the Major Arcana.

One day a Fool meets a Magician.  "Well done!" says the magician to the fool, "You are prepared.  Now let me introduce you to The High Priestess"

& etc.

My Question

I have done a very humorous tarot reading--a mystical one to be done only once in your lifetime, maybe--with a good friend of mine.  He did mine, and I did his, meaning I pulled cards for him and he pulled cards for me, or was it that we pulled our own cards but the other person had to say what they might mean?  Yes, high humour, and intriguing cards.  We had two cards in common (if I remember rightly)

The Seven of Swords

and The Nine of Pentacles

I had previously explained to him the logical system I had decided on for understanding the cards (very briefly: pentacles = physical assets; cups = vitality; swords = rationality; wands = ....ach, I don't know how to describe wands.  Sorta like swords, only round at the ends and with young leaves sprouting.  Organic growth.  Humorous battle.  Sommat like that.  Hey hey!)

So: My question.

Let us assume that a system can be built that tunes straight into whatever systems our other-than-ego-conscious parts of the brain deal in.  I mean, the part of the brain we might associate with words like "hypnosis", "Placebo effect", "will power", "death wish", and the like.

Now: Pull a card, any card.  The choice is random.  There can be no connection between the card and the question--or the questioner--beyond the symbolic system's ability to be "all things to all people."

Right?

Right.

So....here is my question (I'm thinking in particular of Senor Triloqvist, but all answers appreciated):

How do the brain, the body, and energy connect?

I don't know how to ask it any better, and it maybe has nothing to do with the topic of the diary, but I'm intrigued that the right thought, or the right words, or the right music at the right time can have psychically and physically revivifying effects as (if not more) potent than eight hours' sleep.

It must be electric, no?  I read the other day that the brain is still running when we are fully unconscious (of course it is), I mean: they found that it was still running through its processes, but at the microscopic level.  What looked like "no activity" was, in fact, activity way inside, or should I say "very tiny", or should I ponder how energy--without which we wouldn't "be"--

Ach.  Enough!  The holidays are almost over (for me.)  All hail the weather, and may we weather the hail!  Northern hemisphere folks: enjoy yer autumns!  And southern hemisphere folks, Winter's almost over!  Here cometh spring!

And for you folks around the equator: Enjoy!

Display:
I asked the following question:

"What will the response be if I post this diary now?"

Then I shuffled, and pulled this card.

And then I posted the diary.

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Fri Aug 31st, 2007 at 09:34:29 PM EST


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Aug 31st, 2007 at 10:03:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 06:57:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 07:11:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 07:25:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
he was so sharp.
by Loefing on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 01:09:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bill was the Man.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 01:17:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Hanged Man.  That's a halo around his head, or maybe the glow of enlightenment.  And I don't really see it, but I've read that the expression on his face is one of joy or ecstasy, that he hangs by choice not punishment or torture.

The Ten of Swords.  "This is not a bad card."  What sort of man dies with ten swords in his back?  Perhaps someone for whom life is worse than death.

The Nine of Pentacles.  Surrounded by the trappings of material plenty, a face of wistfulness, of sadness.  Perhaps no amount of external riches can compensate for internal emptiness.

Be careful what you wish for.  You just might get it.

We all bleed the same color.

by budr on Fri Aug 31st, 2007 at 10:05:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Heh heh!

I think, if one is interested in reading the cards, that first one must decide on one's system--what do the cards mean?  And then when you pull 'em, they'll have significance for you.



Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 07:10:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hahahaha!

You will notice The Hanged Man is hanged by his foot, not by his neck, is smiling, and has one leg free and bent in a way that is intended to indicate that the hanged man hasn't had his last word yet.

This diary is too good to be true ;-)

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 09:01:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I cannot see that card without hearing in my head certain lines from The Waste Land, by T.S. Eliot:

Madame Sosostris, famous clairvoyante,     
Had a bad cold, nevertheless     
Is known to be the wisest woman in Europe,
With a wicked pack of cards. Here, said she,     
Is your card, the drowned Phoenician Sailor,     
(Those are pearls that were his eyes. Look!)     
Here is Belladonna, the Lady of the Rocks,     
The lady of situations.
Here is the man with three staves, and here the Wheel,   
And here is the one-eyed merchant, and this card,   
Which is blank, is something he carries on his back,   
Which I am forbidden to see. I do not find     
The Hanged Man. Fear death by water.
I see crowds of people, walking round in a ring.   
Thank you. If you see dear Mrs. Equitone,     
Tell her I bring the horoscope myself:     
One must be so careful these days.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 12:39:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
WoW!!!!!!

Thanks god I did not miss this diary.. for a couple of days.. I just come back.. and voila...

my favouire topics down here in the middle of rec diaries..

Magic, reality, physics, brain, anthroplogy...... all in one diary.... wow...

great rg.. great rg.... but I guess you know my answer.. the great reality is magic...and probalby the brain it is. magic..a fter allt he corenrstone of magic is symbolism.. and the brain is asymbolic machine.. a syumbolic template.. that's why magic is the best way to answer the "why" question.... Enlightenment is probalby the best way to answer the "how" questions.... but I think we would be mcuh better as people and socieites if we could  rejoin both the "why this happen" adn the "how this happen",.. unfortuantley most people only get the magic part.. the history, the symbolism, and its explanations (the narrative).... and the people who get the "how" and phsycis /maths tend to disregard magic as "superstitious"...

that's the great problem of our society .. our inconscious classification of the how and why questions in two universes... a universe inhabited by a big "me, myself" whci is inc ontrol of both questions... One day we woulsdsee ourselves as a creation..a s something as magic as.. wella quark.. or an electron (which soemtimes is everywhere and nowhere) Unfortuantely we are too attached to the idea of "me-myself exist".... what a pity..

Love it!! Diary -----Great!!!

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sun Sep 2nd, 2007 at 03:07:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hola!

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Sun Sep 2nd, 2007 at 04:12:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]

In its own lateral way, that could be read as pretty damn astute.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Aug 31st, 2007 at 10:22:03 PM EST
An acupuncture treatment gone awry?

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 01:40:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Knife Throwing for the Blind" - first lesson?

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 02:27:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd say!

The ten of swords seems too good to be true, but we'll take rg at his word that this was his first reading of "What is ET?"

The suit of swords is associated with rationality and will, as opposed to emotions (cups). With this in mind, an immediate association of the image of the dead man stabbed by ten swords is the way everything gets hacked to death in debates here on ET. Also the apparent excess of rationality over emotivity (hearts), action (clubs) or materialism (coins).

The meaning of the card can be positive/negative or direct/inverse depending on whether the card is upright when it is drawn. Rg does not say which it is. Is ET a place where things get thoroughly dissected rationally? (positive) or a place that kills its own ability for action by drowning itself in verbiage? (negative)

Also, one could consider the cars as an answer to "What is ET to rg?". Is he the dead man, an associative character somewhat uncomfortable in a site full of skilled (s)wordmen?

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 08:59:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Also - doom porn.

Things aren't just bad, they're uber-super-ultra-totally-yotta bad. And getting worse.

And we're all going to die and be eaten by feral Republican banker hegemonic teenagers from Alabama.

And so on.

But I like your interpretation too.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 09:14:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The suit of swords is associated with rationality and will, as opposed to emotions (cups)

Sword and cup, also symbols of male and female, their interpretations the result of thousands of years of stereotyping and oppression by the patriarchy.  It couldn't be more clear the card is saying ET is misogynist.

[snark alert]

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 02:00:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wouldn't wands and cups make more sense as male/female aspects?  (I'm thinking of the round tip and the shoots and leaves...heh heh...I really did mean the things growing...ach...)

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 02:32:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That depends, the four suits map onto the four elements of medieval chemistry

Fire     Wands
Air      Swords
Earth    Pentacles/coins
and
Water    Cups

it depends wether the opposites are taken as fire water (active against passive)or air water (thought against emotion)


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 06:03:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was thinking more of the shapes, but yeah, I see what you mean.

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 06:12:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are some Writers on the history of Tarot who suggest that it was originally a memory aid forearly scientists.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 06:25:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I certainly found the pictures-as-story aspect made them easy to remember.  Were they suposed to be remembering something specifically scientific, or was it just brain-as-muscle exercise?

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 06:30:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Memory of the four elemnts then associations of individual cards in the suits with different qualities of the individual elements.

If you follow this theory, then the Major arcana would corespond to spirit or mentality.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 06:39:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Got a link by any chance?  I'd be interested to see how they mapped scientific concepts to the various cards.

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 06:44:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Unfortunately not, I'd have to look through a pile of books in one of several cardboard boxws in my fathers atic, it's from my pre-internet days.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 06:49:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How do the brain, the body, and energy connect?

The simple answer is the brain connects to the body through the Central Nervous System and through the endocrine system.  Bodily energy is maintained through the endocrine and digestive systems.  And it is readily seen energy and brain 'communicate' through the endocrine.  

Once one delves much past fundamental Human biology the investigations break up into specialties with very little, if any, cross-communication and AFAIK no cross-fertilization or multi-disciplinary investigations.  Example, my reference book on the brain and nervous system has a 9 page appendix titled and on Current Flow in Electric Circuits and the endocrine system doesn't rate even a mention in the index.  Yet emotions play a huge role in the functioning of human neuro-psychology; they 'program' the human response matrix much, much, quicker than cognition; they are more basic to human response and judgment, e.g., flight/fight.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 01:31:37 AM EST
Great answer.. for a purely mechanics point of view.. but I took rg question as "how the brain transforms energy input into symbolic processes"... ina word how you create relaity from energy....

And of course I do not have the answer.. :) that's why i did not answer.. but regarding the purely "how" question about human energy use and cnsumption... I ma glad you answered... I would add that electric communication and maybe some influence of metabolic structures (read chemcihal energy) are considered to be the energy mechanisms needed for the creation of reality...

Je je

A pelasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sun Sep 2nd, 2007 at 03:16:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun Sep 2nd, 2007 at 04:30:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
welcome back, rg! Fun diary, as always! Starting a new semester soon, yes?

Goooong!!!

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 03:26:00 AM EST
Now we're getting down to it ;-)

All complex living things are essentially reproducible tubes, with a mouth at one end and an anus at the other. You can call the mouths roots, and the anus leaves - but essentially a tube for consuming and processing energy, and getting rid of waste. Everything else has evolved to add additional capability to the tube - to find food, to move to food, to plan food, to protect the tube in food mode and so on.

Now I have to wake up....

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 04:35:28 AM EST
I'm nothing more than a 'tube'?
How deluded have I been all my life?
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 04:47:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Precisely ;-) It is this delusion of perception that is at the centre our struggle to understand our existence.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 04:53:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's right: a "YouTube".

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 01:32:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And I thought we were all doughnuts.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 04:53:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Doughnuts are a problem. Spiders have to liquify their food because evolution put their brain around the tube. As their brains evolved, they choked themselves.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 04:56:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At one point I used to live in the same building as a huge former armed robber. It wasn't unusual to have him knock on the door and ask if someone would please remove the spider from his bath.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 05:03:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes yes.  But I would like to know more about the energy flow in the brain.  I'm intrigued because I can hypothesise an "optimum" flow function throughout a day, week, month, year, etc..., where peaks at one point are balanced out or smoothed or doubled etc.  The only areas I have come across where that might make sense are music, physical contact (massage, sex, sport, those kinda thangs), and maybe eastern arts such as acupuncture, yoga, etc., though I know very little about those.

So I was-a wunnering...ya know, it's where the conscious mind interacts with the...rest of the shebang... I like you spider analogy; the poor brain desperately trying to make sense of...its own strange and potentially destructive...ach...no, not like that.  I mean, hey!  You grew a brain around yer worm and then squeezed!  Not clever.

Whereas we built ours up top, stuck some sensors around the head, fed out feelers across the skin (making key zones more sensitive) and, I dunno--to make it practical, a lorra people are going to be grinding that mill of work--rest--divertisement--worry--etc. and they'll be prey to many leeches who'll take their money and time because "I know how it works", so I'd like to maybe get an understanding, and maybe via ET--make it public--to...ya know..."My head feels so heavy"; "I ache all over but I haven't done anything"; depressions, and of course all the opposites.

Diet comes into it, in sana..etc....

Hey!  Yeah, we are zer worm.  But I thought you were one-a de experts on zer brain and its interactions with the body!  

And for you, sir, random choice and bit of shuffling bring us:



Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 07:19:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not an expert sir, a total amateur.

But I once spent several months working on a TV script about a new cure for alcoholism developed in Finland. I spent weeks and weeks (and still do) arguing and discussing with the senior brain researcher (American) from the Finnish National Public Health Insititute responsible for developing an entirely new (and heretical) understanding of 'addiction' or Learned Behaviour Disorders.

His fundamental theory of the physiological neuronal basis of what makes 'us', was so shattering to my preconceptions that it has affected all my thinking since. The fact that his treatment has had a 70% success rate in reducing advanced and fatal alcoholism to manageable levels would seem to indicate that his heretical ideas have some value.

Yet more importantly, imo, his insight into network systems offers a new way of looking at all organizations.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 10:35:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I read that LSD had a similar success rate back in the day.

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 02:20:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Such brilliance! I love your diaries rg.  
So tarot is what you make of it then?

I'll tell that to my friend who had her whole future mapped out for her by the gypsy woman at the Cardiff Mardi Gras 4 years ago. The first card that came out of the pack was death. She was horrified until the gypsy woman told her it doesn't necessarily mean bad things, but the start of something new.  My friend quit her job and set up her own business based on that.  She tops up her readings every few years.

I poo poo the whole thing, mostly because I agree with your interpretation of it, that we each attach our own symbolism/significance to what we see in the cards.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 04:54:26 AM EST
About 12 years ago, having been to see a Tarot reader, my ex insisted that I went and had a reading.

I arrived as a convinced sceptic: I left convinced that some people have gifts of foresight that may be channelled through the Tarot in particular.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 08:04:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
5 years ago, having never taken Tarot seriously I took a deck to a Christmas party. and performed readings on people of various degrees of susceptibility and intoxication. We had a blast. Some of the readings seemed amazingly relevant. The only one that wasn't fun was the one person who wouldn't answer any question straight.

I consider this evidence of a friend's take on Tarot that it is a storytelling tool  and that, given a willing participant and a skilled storyteller (not a gifted fortuneteller), it can generate relevant stories because the arcana are a good comprehensive collection of human experience/behaviour/character archetypes.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 08:27:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is a very excellent assessment.  

Given my general skepticism and cynicism about, oh, everything, it surprises some people to learn that I began reading Tarot cards more than 20 years ago.  I haven't actually done it in ages, really, and I never considered it any kind of "fortunetelling" tool; rather, when people asked me if it "worked," my response was usually that the cards will not "tell you" anything you don't already know, but they can allow you to remind yourself, in a way, or bring perspective to issues.  At the core is not so much what the cards say, but what you bring to the reading with you.  I've always had a little trouble expressing exactly what I mean, but I think calling it a "storytelling tool" would be pretty accurate.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 12:48:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The book 'The Tarot of the Bohemians' by Papus (Gérard Encausse), first published in 1958  has an interesting mathematical slant which relates the Tarot to the Kabalah.

The Hanged Man is the 12th card and represented by the Hebrew letter Lamed. It also connect to Libra ;-) The card symbolises both being possessed and submission, and the concept that there is punishment for those who violate knowledge, but elevation for those that understand it.

I must admit that this book (which I was given when I was 17) has had a formative effect on my attitude to knowledge, especially in the revelation of internally logical systems that don't map at all onto our experience of reality. The other book I got at the same time (an art prize) was about the Japanese artist Hokusai, who has dominated my aesthetic sense ever since. It was the reality of an axonometric view of the world that blew my mind...

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 01:06:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
axonometric |?aks?n??metrik| adjective using or designating an orthographic projection of an object, such as a building, on a plane inclined to each of the three principal axes of the object; three-dimensional but without perspective.

but you all knew that already, right?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 06:33:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you for saving me from having to look it up. ;-)

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 06:41:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You've not been paying attention ;-)

It was mind-blowing to me at 17 that an entire advanced culture (historically) ws looking at the world without a perspective view. Perspective had seemed to me to be so fundamental to 'reality'.

Then I found out that perspective - as a method for logical description of space in two dimensions - was not that much older in European culture (15th C). And the predominant graphic method of depicting reality was to draw the most important things larger.

That is why the statues of Kim Il-sung are 70 feet high ;-) and also the origin of DL.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Sep 2nd, 2007 at 04:03:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can feel a diary on projective geometry coming...

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Sep 2nd, 2007 at 04:16:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
yup - show us how axiomatization becomes simpler ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Sep 2nd, 2007 at 04:27:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm really going to enjoy your illustrations ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Sep 2nd, 2007 at 04:27:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd agree entirely.  I've been doing Tarot quite a bit for myself and my friends, and a couple times for random strangers in Yoyogi park.  It really is telling a story around symbols that may or may not have relevance to the particular situation - but when they do, the reading can seem pretty profound.

It's not just storytelling ability, though - there's also basic perception.  The more you can read from a person about their personality, situation, etc., the better you can tune your story to fit their particular circumstances, that is, to make the symbology more relevant to them.  With my better friends, I can instantly see patterns forming from the cards, based not just on the cards, but on the problems they have and the situations I know they are going through.

This is easier with some decks than others.  Although the Rider Waite and its variants are the most well known, there are a ton of different decks out there.  I've been using the Zen Osho deck of late.  It was produced by what looks like a guru cult, and the images are straight up psycho-babble - which is exactly why it's so useful!  For Americans, raised in the culture of analysis and self-help, having the language of psycho-babble at one's disposal makes good readings astoundingly easy.

by Zwackus on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 11:35:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What is a culturally appropriate deck for doing Tarot with the Japanese?

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Sep 2nd, 2007 at 04:04:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A 'deck' of 64!

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Sep 2nd, 2007 at 04:29:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, I´m thinking a Mah Jong set would be a good basis. Physically it´s a domino game, but in terms of the values of the tiles and the mechanics of gameplay it is very similar to a certain class of European games.

"Minor Arcana" analogues:
Three suits (characters, bamboo and circles, the later two analogous to clubs and pentacles respectively), numbered from 1 to 9.

"Major Arcana" analogues:
Honours - three "dragons" (green, red, white) and four winds (cardinal points)
Flowers - these are like jokers in that they are optional, but because of their values they could be used as major arcana: four "seasons" and four "flowers".

This gives a set of 42 "arcana".

A Mah Jong set normally consists of 4 times the suits (9 x 3 x 4 = 108) and honours (7 x 4 = 28) giving 136, plus optionally 8 flowers for a total of 144 (12 x 12).

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Sep 2nd, 2007 at 03:48:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
a certain class of European card games

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Sep 2nd, 2007 at 03:50:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One of my favourite games - just can't persuade any Finns to learn it.

Strategically it is a game of not losing rather than winning.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Sep 2nd, 2007 at 04:07:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just teach them the game using a poker deck.

I know of two versions of the game played in Spain. One is called Chinchón (AFAIK, the name of a town in Castilla-La Mancha) and the other is called Rabino (Rabbi).

Chinchon is played with each player holding 7 cards and Rabino with each player holding 10 cards. Mah Jong, as you know, is played with each player holding 13 cards.

The mechanics of all three games are similar (players draw from the pile or from the previous player´s discard and make groups of 3 or 4 cards, all of the same value or forming a sequence, and a player wins the round when they have made groups of 3+3(4), 3+3+3(4), or 3+3+3+3(4) or other special combinations involving all their tiles) with Mah Jong being richest in features and most interesting. It wouldn´t be a far-fetched assumption that the games are related and that the simplest Spanish games ultimately descend from the more complicated Mah Jong.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Sep 2nd, 2007 at 04:18:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is the scoring system that is unique. The winner (if there is one in a round) scores a basic going out score plus the value of the groups of tiles they have completed before any other player. But the basic score can be doubled and redoubled and so on according to specific conditions of that round of play such as it being an East round, or contained within the winnng hand such as a set of the prevailing wind, a set of your own wind tiles, a set of dragons, only major tiles, all one suit etc. This doubling can soon build up a large score.

The crucial point is that if the winning hand picks up a discarded tile, the player who discarded it then pays for everyone's losses.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Sep 2nd, 2007 at 04:28:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Spanish games I mentioned have similar scoring, but also simplified from the Mah Jong version.

Mah Jong is characterised by being a gambling game so that the scoring is zero-sum. The Spanish games are not zero-sum but "lose so much and you´re out" until there is a single winner. Optionally there is repechage unless a round winner manages to throw all the other players out of the game at once. This, by the way, is certain to happen (gambler´s ruin).

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Sep 2nd, 2007 at 04:34:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've never played for money - just points. It has always been a very pleasant way of spending the 2 to 3 hours it takes us for a full game - rather ritualistic, with time for conversation between rounds as the tiles are mixed and the walls rebuilt.

Gambling games are played much faster (I've seen a few in the backrooms of Gerrard St).

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Sep 2nd, 2007 at 04:42:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don´t believe Mah Jong is played for money outside the Far East... or just for points in the Far East.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Sep 2nd, 2007 at 04:43:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Restaurants have changed hands in London's Chinatown as a result of games

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Sep 2nd, 2007 at 05:18:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A "Chinatown" is the Far East regardless of where in the world it is. ;-P

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 3rd, 2007 at 03:22:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]


You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Sep 3rd, 2007 at 04:23:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mah Jong, I always heard, was the equivalent of the bridge game for Jewish women in NY.  A New Yorker taught me and we didn't play for money, so I'm not sure.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Tue Sep 4th, 2007 at 01:38:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That comparison does not do justice to either Mah Jong or Bridge.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 4th, 2007 at 01:47:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No bloody clue.  I've used both my new-age deck, and the Rider-Waite, in my sittings in the park, and with Japanese friends, and haven't noticed any difference.  The Japanese fortune tellers I've seen all use Raider-Waite variants, it seems.

It would be a good deal of work to translate the symbology of the Tarot into a culturally and mythologically Japanese version, and I don't think anyone has bothered.  I bet a lot of Japanese kind of like the Western version anyway, just because it seems more exotic and mysterious.

by Zwackus on Sun Sep 2nd, 2007 at 04:31:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually follwoing Migeru's point.. sotrytelling si the only way to udnerstand magic..and reality...

Reality is sotry telling.. you make reality whan you storytell...

So "reminding oneself" is the word that chaman people use to name "sotrytelling".. when you sotrytelling yourself is like reminding what your past magic experiences lived (or have to live if you take the karma version).. I came to believe that both are the same thing.. you create reality at the specific time you do  this process...reminding yourself, creating your storytelling is the creation of reality.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sun Sep 2nd, 2007 at 03:12:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is not a reason to "poo-poo the whole thing", but to use Tarot as what it is: a projective/associative psychological tool or simply as a storytelling device.

Compared to the Rorschach test, Tarot is more fun because of the storytelling component.

Those of us who have enjoyed a "narrative" (as opposed to "hack-and-slash") style of table-top roleplaying game could relate to having a "Storyteller" (incidentally, the name of the "Gamemaster" in the White Wolf World of Darkness series of role-playing games) tell the "players" what happens to their "character" by interpreting random data (rolls of a die) according to previously agreed rules, some explicit and some implicit.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 08:39:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Several years ago I was discussing Cypriot archaeology and history with a postgraduate student, and he was explaining to me some of the symbolism behind Titians painting The Flaying of Marsayas one of the regularly quoted interpretation is that the central figure can be viewed as the Hanged man from the Tarot deck. Titian however  had  the last queen of Cyprus before it was taken over by Venetian merchants. The outline of Marsayas can be traced as a map of Cyprus, making it an early political cartoon.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 05:13:45 AM EST
Flaying as in the removal of the skin, presumably.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 05:19:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
With its own symbolism of the removal of discreteness.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 05:19:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For an archaeologist he can talk for hours about the layers of meaning hidden in that one painting. You're right about flaying.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 05:32:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You just came up with this after seeing your first tarot card only very recently?

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 08:29:35 AM EST
Here's the story.  I had a....dislike of the idea of tarot cards, but way back when (my I Ching diary), melo had said something along the lines of, "If you like that, you'll love the tarot"--well, his words were more close to, "I'd love to see what you make of the tarot," and so...it hung around in my head.  So I decided I'd get a book out of the library and buy a set.  We have a shop in town full of all the "mystic" business, crystal balls etc. (lots of strange jesus/mary stuff these days as well...stroinge!)  Anyways, in I went.  I'd read the first few pages of the book at the library and it had recommended a couple of sets for beginners: the Rider-Waite and another one.

"I'd like to buy some tarot cards," I said.  "I've heard that"--reading from the book--"the Rider-Waite.."  etc...

Turns out the shop keeps samples from all the different sets in folders, so you can contrast and compare.  I ended up with the "Radiant" Rider-Waite, where the colours have been heightened and the figures...hmmm...better filled out.

And anyways (!), I got them home and thought: "The first thing I need to do is memorise the cards."

So I started with the Major Arcana.

The Fool.  A Magician.  Okay, a fool goes into town and meets a magician (who has on his table the four suits: a cup, sword, wand, pentacle).  "Ah ha!" says the magician.  "You are made of the right stuff.  Let me introduce you to The High Priestess."  So off goes the Fool (Fool--Magician--High Priestess.)  Behind her is a curtain.  The Fool passes her test, she draws back the curtain and...voila!  There is a secret garden, in the middle of which is...The Empress lying on a couch, who sends the fool off to see her husband, The Emperor, who tells the fool he will need to speak to the Hierophant, who tells the Fool the first secret: That he is in fact two: The Lovers.  And just as the Fool is dealing with that, along comes a chariot...

Heh heh!

So I got them down and still felt I had space for more, so I started with the suits and, my word!  The very first card was the Ace of Pentacles.  And remember, I hadn't seen any of the cards before.  So!

The Ace of Pentacles.  Of course!  You've done the "narrative" and now...in yer hand.  The beginning of action.  The story meets...reality.  I like to think of the pentacle sign as being a possible precursor of the atomic symbol.  And then, of course, you never get one thing alone, so there's the two, moving along the infinite loop, and add a third and now you're getting craft: three talents maketh the start of art, and oh, hold on, you get four and now you're beginning to hold onto them, and five--woah!  Too much!  Now you have and the others have not, so--six--you need to grow out and take your talents to the market place and start dealing in society, and if you have success--seven--your talents grow like vegetables, and--eight--soon enough your talents are your work and your work are your talents and--nine--if your talents develop enough you'll meet strange ladies from foreign climes, with birds on their arms, and--ten--here we have civilisation: all the talents working harmoniously.

And then there were the character cards, so I had to get a story going for that, so it was: A youth ponders his talent (page); youth grows stronger, but still ponders his talent (knight); the talent is now nurtured and protected (queen); and finally you have the King who is the fullness of talent/activity/whatever you want to call it.

Ho ho!

Now, I noticed two things, one of which is hard to pin down, the other I find understandable.

The understandable first: The above is my reading, so if I pull the Nine of Pentacles, 'tis good!  But Ignorant Bystander up above saw something else in the card.  And so the first thing I noticed: everyone's going to have their own reading.  There is no "true reading".  However, the cards--I think--are specific enough to force the reading in at least some specific directions.

The less-understandable: How regularly the cards act as compliments to thoughts and situations.  Of course this can only be because each card contains somehow the whole story in its aspect (and yes I did honest guv pull the ten of swords for ET), which is why it reminds me of the I-Ching, and why I think it is very useful when one needs to get some right-brain/lateral/alternative thinking going.  But...  The exactness of the matches is...higher than statistical averages would suggest, I think.  I mean, I sat down with my friend and, yeah, out came the cards, and they made sense.  Then, with a sceptical friend, he kept pulling swords, while I was pulling "world", "star", "moon"....heh heh.  It simply can't be true that the random element is being steered, so there's something there, between the symbolic nature of the cards and the brain's ability to make connections--and especially for the "non-ego" part of the brain to perk up...

So I've tried pulling cards at different times of the day and for different reasons, just to see how they panned out, see how my brain dealt with them.  Like the I-Ching, if you just keep doing it, in the end you forget what you pulled two minutes after pulling it.  But I have to say, when I did the "once in a lifetime" mystic set (nine cards, each one relating to an aspect of personality and life: relationships, jobs, learning, etc..)... I realised that I could freak people out with this stuff, hence my rule.  The first thing is: nothing bad will happen.

btw, I don't do the reverse card part, I find it over-complicates matters, just adds a minus for every plus to no great effect (for me.)  In practice, I just keep all the cards the same way round, but never put them back in any order...

I wouldnae have had you down as a tarot enjoyer, but yeah, I can see the connection to role-playing games.

And to shove everything into one comment, the Ten of Swords.  Worra card!  I read it as "Death by over-rationalisation".  The five, for me, is where you win the argument but lose the audience (or friend), and the three is where the sharp point of reason punctures the soft heart of...a human being.

But, hey!  All those readings for the Ten of Swords!  Coz there is also: "ET will defeat its enemies by the merciless stabs of reason!"

But worra card to pull, eh?  Imagine if I'd pulled the five of wands.

Or the Queen of Cups!

And, okay, this comment is becoming a mini-diary, but when I was learning the cards, I first decided what I thought a card meant, and then I had a look-see in the book at what "the official version" was.  Most of the time they were very close.  (The Queen of Swords was amusing, coz the writer had to say basically that what it used to mean should be...ahem...updated on the basis of, er, developments in the role of women.)  And everything was fine except for one card: The Queen of Cups.  I just couldnae get a symbolism.  Cups are vitality.  She stares at this ornate cup (the only orante one in the set.)  She's near the sea....  Nothing.  So I went to the book.  "Ah," it said, "The Queen of Cups.  Mysterious.  Who knows what she is thinking?  This is truly the card of mystery, where one can't fathom what she's thinking."

And for you sir, I pull:

(I was worried.  My question was: "What would Miguel like?"  That was the question.  I cut the cards.  Just before I cut, I thought "Come on cards."  Sorta like blowing on the dice.)

Here ye go.




Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 02:17:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You know what? You must write out your story of the 78 arcana in full.

I like it how you imagined a progression from ace to 10 of the suits, and from page to king of the face cards. I believe the "standard" interpretation is not so linear.

"There is no true reading" but, then again, the images on the cards don't come from nowhere. By interpreting the minor arcana from the Ryder-Waite representations you're taking your interpretative cues from the meanings they thought they needed to represent, which condensed a lot of the previous tarot lore and some idiosyncrasies (as has been pointed out in a parallel comment) coming from late 19th-century English esoterica. If you had bought the Tarot de Marseille (to mention a famous medieval set) you'd find that the minor arcana (including the face cards) have no visual clues as to the meaning of the card: they are in fact abstract like a modern deck of cards.

So the historical consensus readings of the various minor arcana are still with us because people either study the standard meanings or they infer them from visual representations in modern decks which are based on the traditional meanings.

By the way, in your sequence you identified 5 of pentacles as a breaking point in the sequence. It turns out that the fives represent frustration or confusion as you can see from the Ryder-Waite representations. The 5 of pentacles has a representation of wealth inequality; the 5 of cups a representation of grief (some decks make the meaning of unrequitted love more explicit that R-W); the 5 of clubs represents strife; and the 5 of swords depicts the aftermath of a battle.

If you had pulled out the five of wands for ET, IMHO it would have represented "left-wing politics is like herding cats". This is because while swords are associated with nobility, the clubs are associated with peasantry. And the R-W 5 of clubs depicts five people with clubs fighting one another in a disorganised way.

The Queen of Cups is also the Queen of Hearts, so... off with their head!

About the seven of pentacles... I'll just say it seems very appropriate.

By the way, I got into Tarot through the italian game of Tarocchi (an ancestor of many European trick-taking games with trumps such as the German Skat and the Spanish tute). I first heard about the existence of Tarot card games from the Darksword trilogy of fantasy books, by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman of Dragonlance fame.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 03:26:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Okay, here goes.  In the name of, er, writing it down once for the sake of it.  Starting from the Chariot above...

The Lovers flee up a hill.  Halfway up they see a woman and a lion (Strength.)  At the top of the hill (way up in the mountains) they come across The Hermit, who holds up his lantern to illuminate The Wheel Of Fortune, which is floating in the sky.  The Lovers are then lifted up and dropped into the scales of Justice, one in each scale.  There they sit, looking down.  They see a man, hanging from his leg (The Hanged Man.)  He's just hanging there.  But, look!  Here comes Death, from the right, on his horse; and over there, to the left, is a woman pouring water from one vessel to the other.  The eternal balancing from one cup to another.  (Temperance.)  Suddenly the pair of Lovers are whisked up into the sky.  They find themselves on a platform, with chains about their necks.  Above them: The Devil!  But, hey, they chains around their necks are loose.  They might even be having some fun up there, but before we can ponder that there's a zoom away and we realise that the platform is in fact the top of a tall tower.  The Devil zaps The Tower with a lightning bolt and the pair of Lovers fall....fall...

They land on the soft ground...soft, because near them a woman is pouring water onto (the troubles of) the land (The Star.)  Calm.  Then The Star fades, and the Lovers lose even their human aspect and become nothing more (or less) than a pair of dogs staring at The Moon (with a lobster between them....)

And then, of course, up comes The Sun.  'Tis the daughter of the Empress and The Emperor.  The child on a horse, who leads the lovers to the place of Judgement, where children and adults make judgement on the past--because the present will always be judged by the future; and that, folks, is it, all spinning around: human life: The (human) World.

0 - The Fool
I - The Magician
II - The High Priestess
III - The Empress
IV - The Emperor
V - The Hierophant
VI - The Lovers
VII - The Chariot
VIII - Strength
IX - The Hermit
X - Wheel of Fortune
XI - Justice
XII - The Hanged Man
XIII (unlucky for some) - Death
XIV - Temperance
XV - The Devil
XVI - The Tower
XVII - The Star
XVIII - The Moon
XIX - The Sun
XX - Judgement
XXI - The World

The Suits

Pentacles -- As above

Cups:

Ace - Natural uplifting.  The water fountains out of the cup.  Basic vitality

Two - When two people share their vitality--a lions head.  But the key is the honest sharing, the two cups being offered

Three - When three people share their vitality--time for dancing!

Four - After three, there's a bit of maybe dubious feeling.  The fourth cup appears from the cloud (a new person, maybe), but the guy under the tree isn't so sure.  The three cups are in a line.

Five - Disaster!  The cherished old friendships have soured, gone bad, and now there is no vitality!

Six - But...if one shares one's vitality, then, wow!  The children who grow up in such environments find sharing is natural.  There are flowers in their cups.

Seven - And then the teenage (and not so teenage) confusion.  Seven cups, and a different tone in each.  How to choose between the different lifestyles (vitalities) on offer?

Eight - Time to step away, take the long walk into deeper understanding.  

Nine - And voila!  You come back to find vitality in every cup!  A big grin and cups everywhere!  Now all people are seen to have vitality.  The zen grin.

Ten - And lo, the couple shared their vitality, here is the family, a rainbow of cups in the sky.  Vitality in full.

Page of Cups - He comes, offering you his vitality.  You need to make it interesting.  He has a fish in his cup.  Humour.  Vitality

Knight of Cups - He's got his armour on, so he's grown his shell, but still...he holds out his cup.  He is ready to drink with you; to bring the spirit of peace, not war.

Queen of Cups - Mysterious.  The only ornamented cup.  She stares at the cup and is inscrutable.  Maybe (hey, I think) she is the person who is given the strange, maybe ugly, gift, but accepts without taking; you offer your cup to the inscrutable, and so maybe you get to see your cup, for better or worse?

King of Cups - There he is.  Cup in hand.  He has his vitality with him at all times.  I imagine the person at the pub, beer on the table, ready to relate with whomever, no worries, the cup is part of his nature.

Swords.

Okay.  

Ace - The sword will fell kings.  The crown is pierced by the sword of reason.  Death to privilege!  The power of reason!

Two - Ah, but how to choose?  There are reasons for both options, but how to choose?  The essential problem with rationality.

Three - The heart pearced by three arrows.  The innocent who maybe doesn't know enough and then...stab stab stab.  Joining the argument without the necessary shields

Four - Three swords on the wall and one under the bed.  The knight sleeps.  No longer will the heart be stabbed: the three swords are on the wall.  The knight has his sword under his bed: a basic reason upon which to base arguments.  A basic strength

Five - You win the fight and lose the people.  The man collects the swords as his adversaries leave the scene.  Winning the argument and losing the human relationship

Six - Caution.  Build a protective wall with your reason as you move (in a boat): the refugee necessity: basic defence

Seven - The cheeky git who steals the swords.  Take's five and leaves two.  For me this is the chancer who can confuse the unwary with his various reasonable-seeming arguments, only to make off with their basic protective rationality (charlatans--but also, humorously, he's nicking the swords!  Cheats and tricksters.)

Eight - Reason abounds.  What can ye do?  Surrounded by reason, there's no escape.  I imagine something like a bad medical diagnosis, something where you cannae will your way out of it.  The facts mount up.

Nine - The black night.  Nine swords on the wall.  Alone with unbearable realities.

Ten - Death by rationality.  No way out.  You's dead.

Page - The youth tries out his rationality.  Young and innocent with his sword

Knight - Rushing forward.  Rushing to chop off heads.  The young zealot who has reason on his side.  Beware!

Queen - (She's beckoning with her finger): Come closer, so that I can chop off your head.  Bitterness.  Come close that I may use reason to hurt you mortally (if possible.)

King - The single sword of reason.  Battles done.  The King of Butterflies.  Reason as necessary weapon, held visible, but not threatening.  Weilding rationality.  But--butterflies on the throne.

Wands

Wahey!  This is the hardest one (it's the last one I learned, but...well...)

Ace - Basic organic power.  The wand is rounded.  It is not a sword.  It thumps but has fresh shoots, young leaves.  It is energetic.  Basic...vitality...but with a thumpier edge.

Two - Where two engaged energies meet--we'll discuss the world!  The man holds the globe.

Three - And where there are three, one will lead.  The person leads the discussion to the next ridge, but three together.

Four - Four of 'em and you have a house, a structure, strength.  A party!  Garlands.  Dancing

Five - Craziness!  Wild stick fights, but vital, unlike the swords.  Craziness as five vital thumpers battle

Six - And we have a winner!  The fun of being part of a group and winning.  The winner on the horse with his wand; the other wands the companeros, the compadres.

Seven - The solo fight!  The man on the hill battling the sticks below.  Wild, but he's bashing away with his stick.

Eight - And whoosh!  These sticks, you get enough and they take off!  The laws of physics are pushed by so much energy.  Flying sticks!

Nine - Woah, build a wall!  But you'll need the others--and yourself--to make that wall.  The guy looks a bit shifty on my card, as though he's not sure he wants to be part of it, but no way mate.  You need the others, and that hole is where your wand needs to go.

Ten - Hey, you're so full of energy, why don't you carry all of our sticks too?  Warning: If you let 'em, everyone'll be happy for you to do all the work.

Page - I have zis wand.  It is young and fruitful.  I ponder it (check out the shape!); budding energy.

Knight - He's all dressed up, lizards on his tunic, club in hand, but not crazily leaning forward (unlike the knight of swords.)  He's ready to bonk heads if necessary, but there isn't the aggression

Queen - She's in control.  Has her stick, but also sunflowers.  Complete command.  Sorta like the Empress when she's up off her couch (with its heart-shaped pillow.)

King - Inscrutible.  The only king who isn't face on.  The lizard eating its tail as a symbol on his throne.  I cannae get this one yet: maybe he's staring off into the next realities, time to get enlightened up again, or out.  His wand an accessory by now.  No violent acts here.  Hmmm.

---------------

There ya go!  My take on the Rider-Waite Illuminated Tarot cards.

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 05:13:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Brutal...

Migeru and you.. brutal...

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sun Sep 2nd, 2007 at 03:20:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Orson Scott Card: The Changed Man and the King of Words (short story in Omni, 1982 and various book collections)

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 08:31:48 AM EST
Italo Calvino (1973): Il Castello dei Destini Incrociati (see the English Wikipedia)

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 08:41:44 AM EST
... I cast when I asked whether Democrats should "compromise" on the four issues I ranted on as follows:
This is the difference between effective compromise, and compromise that simply leaves the progressive movement compromised ... effective compromise like the Medicare compromise to get public health care for retirees, and compromise like the No Child Left Behind program, where the concessions by Democrats are in exchange for hollow promised from the right wing movement.

If the boundary line is between a larger number and a smaller number dying unnecessarily because a lack of universal, comprehensive health care ... I don't want a 50/50 compromise, and doubt Americans are really 50/50 on the issue.

If the boundary line is between a larger number and a smaller number of American servicemen dying in Iraq in support of a strategy doomed to failure at the outset ... I don't want a 50/50 compromise, and doubt Americans are really 50/50 on the issue.

If the boundary line is between America's economy savagely mauled by energy dependence or America's economy crippled by energy dependence ... I don't want a 50/50 compromise, and doubt Americans are really 50/50 on the issue.

If the boundary line is between my grandchildren living in a nightmare world of hellish weather and floodtides, and a hard, miserable world of freakish weather and floodtides ... I don't want a 50/50 compromise, and doubt Americans are really 50/50 on the issue.

If the boundary line is between rapidly growing growing poverty and economic inequality, and slowly growing poverty and economic inequality ... I don't want a 50/50 compromise, and doubt Americans are really 50/50 on the issue.

All four of those issues have entrenched vested interests who will use talk of compromise as a tactic to try to push through us. We have to be determined to identify those vested interests and focus on pushing through them instead.

And got the reading:

Shock brings success.
Shock comes-oh, oh!
Laughing words-ha, ha!
The shock terrifies for a hundred miles,
And he does not let fall the sacrificial spoon and chalice.



I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 02:10:40 PM EST
... oh, yeah, ignoring moving lines, the odds are 1/64.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 02:11:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good, reformat[ative] diary, rg.

I recently viewed part I of Richard Dawkins'  BBC documentary 'Enemies of Reason' and came away thinking 'yes, but he doth protest too much'. Dawkins is right, in large part, but, as the French say, he seemed to be drowning the fish, having donned selective blinders of his own.

I agree entirely that narrative, stories and self-projection are essential to understanding oneself and others as we coexist in society. In fact, were members of Industrialized societies better neighbors, better story-tellers, I'm pretty sure we wouldn't be in the fix we find ourselves in, presently.

by Loefing on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 02:38:31 PM EST
does this mean we can talk about astrology now? :)
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 05:25:12 PM EST
Steady on! Play the white man, old chap! Next thing we'll be discussing the unusual fuselage module on one of the 911 planes that does not exist on any known commercial aircraft of the type. ;-)

Let's just stick to facts.

'Sceptic of Helsinki'

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 05:34:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
cool diary...

i read years ago, when i first became exposed to tarot, that a man, if he had a tarot deck, could escape from any prison.

whether that was because it serves as escapism, or because he could win over the guard, using the latter's natural fears of the unknown to inveigle him into setting him free, i still haven't decided.

there was a period when i practically lived by the tarot, between the ages of 18 to 30, throwing readings for any important choices, and throwing often just to 'check in'.

this deck was my favourite, and i never tired of it's worldview, its obliquity, and the plethora of stories it encapsulates.

there was a time when all manner of other tarot decks came out, that never rivalled the waite deck.

the cards language life's less easily described aspects, in a deliciously quirky, equivocal and opaque/translucent way, very alive, very present....

one morning i woke up in my sleeping bag near deja, majorca and the whole sky was overlaid with a seven of wands....

another time the emperor came to me in a dream, stepping out of the card...

then one afternoon i shuffled five consecutive occasions, pulling out a card at random, and it was the fool every time, and i felt it was going to be just before letting myself see the card.

that's when my doubts melted, never to return.

they hotwire parts of the psyche we don't have names or probes for yet, however quite possibly we enjoyed them in some distant past, when we counted other forms of wisdom more valuable than the earnest, irony-free, ersatz chimeras spouted and touted from our cathode oracles today.

maybe scanning the media, remote or mouse in hand, is a modern version of old skrying (always did love that word, lol!) techniques we used before, such as closely inspecting fresh killed animals' entrails, or tea leaves in a cup.

i love the tarot's compactness, did you ever see the mini-sized waite deck?

fab diary, rg, it feels like your holiday did you good!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 07:02:27 PM EST
Talking of dreams, I had the weirdest one last night, a trip inside a dream, which ended with me moving into someone else's dream (in the dream), in order to sort out whatever it was in the dreaming person's dream that was making them do negative things out in the real world...of my dream.

But the thoughts and the situations...very similar.

I woke up and it was just exactly like that moment of clarity after...you know...only it was a dream, so rather than the images staying clear, they started fading.

"Right," I thought.  "This is the perfect time to write a diary about the Tarot."

And for you, my word, I had to check the card first.  What if it was the nine of swords?!  Or the five of cups?  Pulling cards for someone....hey!  I shuffled, shuffled again, picked my place carefully.  Split the pack.

One fer the pair of us!  The wand on the right is reaching for its guitar.



Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 07:24:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Je garde....contre.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Sun Sep 2nd, 2007 at 12:15:39 PM EST
And there I was thinking the silly season was over ...

-----
sapere aude
by Number 6 on Tue Sep 4th, 2007 at 09:57:47 AM EST
well I came late to this thread :-)

best book I know on history of Tarocchi to the present day is Robert Place's The Tarot:  History, Symbolism, Divination.  he blows away all the grandiose mythologies of descent from Egyptian or Kabalistic ancientry and tells a very clear story of the persistent of "triumphs" (triumphal processions) from Roman Imperial times throughout the Renaissance, the traditional order of march in a triumph, and the connection with the order of Trumps or majors in the Tarocchi decks.

I too see the tarot tradition at its best [not, that is, in the hands of charlatans who pretend to predict or even influence the future] as a storytelling tool [and a fascinating niche art form -- many an illustrator has been deeply tempted by the challenge of illustrating an entire deck!].  the reader (self or other) tells a story using the cards as mnemonics and reference points, and the querent (self or other) can "try on" that jungian/archetypical story to see how it fits on their own anxieties or life.  like trying on a suit of clothing in a shop, it offers the oppo to see oneself in a different light/narrative...

it can also also a soothing, courteous and familiar social ritual -- not unlike cha-no-yu or Mass -- with a slow rhythm outside the desperate instrumentalism of our times.  and the cards are aesthetically pleasing and (especially if you are of euro descent) culturally resonant, with echoes of biblical lore, fairytales, and suchlike campfire memories.  the waking dreams of our village.

most of our cultural project as humans is the attempt to project meaning onto randomness...

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Tue Sep 11th, 2007 at 08:45:07 PM EST


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