tarot_scholar: An image of Norman Rockwell's interpretation of Rosie the Riveter (Rosie)


I'm not sure what today's first question ("What do I hate about myself? Why?") has to do with purgatory, but I'll just let that sit. But what do I hate about myself? I had plenty of time to sit and stew on this question before I actually flipped over a card. I thought about my tendency to be loud and domineering in circles; my tendency to just hold forth without actually facilitating a conversation. I thought about my need to always be right; to have the last word; to be sarcastic.

Five of Swords wouldn't be too far off the mark, I thought, and then drew my card. Page of Swords. Not too far off the mark, then?

The trick is connecting the Page of Swords to the reversed 10 of Pentacles, which came up way back on Day 11. I want to like that spread. I really do, but I had such a weird non-reading with it. Maybe that means I need to try it again. And if you go waaay back to the very first spread in this monthly meme, the Page of Swords comes up as my quest. But reversed. So if the Page of Swords is what I hate about myself, is the quest about ridding myself of that energy? Hm. Hmmm.

Likewise with the 4 of Cups: we've seen this card before: what I can't accept about myself. But this is in the Victorian Romantic Tarot, not the St. Petersburg or any other Waite-Smith clone, so the image is a bit different:


Someone is not having a good time! But seriously: what do I hate in other people, and why?

This one I didn't think as much about beforehand. I hate when people are greedy, hateful, self-serving, and so on...but that isn't what the 4 of Cups is about. It's about something so much more mundane and harmless: being grumpy.That's kind of low-key thing to hate, isn't it? So...petty. But I guess it isn't just any kind of grumpy that grinds my gears. It's the self-indulgent and childish sort of "I didn't get a pony for my brithday wah" grumpy. Depression is real, and we do all have to process disappointment and despair to be healthy, but then when it becomes that masochistic and self-destructive grumpy...no thanks. There's so much worse stuff going on that you should save your grumpy dollars for.

This is one I hate in myself, too. I know I can get this way fairly easily.  And I guess you often hate in others what you don't want to admit to yourself....

tarot_scholar: An image of Norman Rockwell's interpretation of Rosie the Riveter (Rosie)
Today's prompt is what can't I accept about myself? Why?

The card I pulled was the 4 of Cups, reversed. Oh boy, reversals!!

If the Page of Clubs was straightforward, this was another think-y draw. On its surface, the 4 of Cups is generally about discontentment and dissatisfaction. The honeymoon period is over, the magic is lost.

This is a card where a Waite-Smith (of which my St. Petersburg Tarot is a clone) and Thoth comparison is interesting and potentially fruitful.

In the Thoth deck, this card is titled Luxury, and is associated with Moon in Cancer. As the Moon is Cancer's natural ruler, this would initially seem like a positive and comfortable card. I mean, "luxury"? But the colors and image, while not devastating, are hardly warm and fuzzy:



But this was not a reading with the Thoth deck. This was, as with most of the readings so far, done with my St. Petersburg deck, which is a Waite-Smith clone.



The primary differences between the two are that the figure in the Russian Tarot is blonde and dressed in noticably luxurious (hey! that word!) clothing (of course, all of the clothing in the St. Petersburg Tarot has lovely embroidered bits along hems and ediges, but here it is overmuch), and instead of sitting with legs and arms crossed, he's kneeling and has one hand raised to his chast, palm out. But there are still three cups before him, a tree branch above him, and an ambiguous sky-hand. Is the fourth sky-cup one the figure is desiring in his grumpy mood? Or is it one being held out to him that he can't see because he's grumpy?

The LWB for this deck takes the reversed meaning of this card (since I did draw it reversed) as unambiguously positive: new possibilities, new solutions, new relationships, new knowledge. More or less in line with the reversed meaning given by Waite in The Pictorial Key to the Tarot. Hardly something I would "refuse to accept about myself."

I am not somehow secretly unhappy or dissatisfied with my life, generally speaking. Perhaps this "generally speaking" is the kernel of the issue: I'm not acknowledging whatever dissatisfactions I do have. In what arena of life could I be ignoring my own unhappiness?

After two years in a foreign country, I have a solid grasp on the language, though not the fluency of my mother tongue. But I'm handling it.

I have a solid, long-term, supportive relationship.

My career is a bit slipshod at the moment. At the moment I'm gunning to be a certfied teacher, but since my credentials aren't originally in education (aside a CELTA, which isn't nothing, but it's also not a multi-year degree program), I'm realizing now I potentially will have a lot to make up. And even now, I only think I'll like it. I know that schools can be a bereaucratic, political nightmare (all this on top of managing students) and I don't know if I have the inner reserves to handles that. Otherwise: do I have the inner reserves to be a proper freelancing editor and tutor? Or do I give up on all of my English-related career goals and return to retail instead? Should I focus more on my fiction writing? On jewelry?

LIkewise my partner's career is slipshod for similar reasons, namely having a lot of education to make up. It would be lying to say that it didn't stress us both out. This goes hand-in-hand with my slipshod career: we both have fairly meager safety nets to begin with, and we both acknowledge a sense of fiscal and general responsibility for the other. I do look at my other immigrant friends who are equally slipshod in their careers but who have partners with stable and fairly well-paying jobs, and sigh wistfully. Sometimes.

It would be a hard thing to admit that the career experience I've accrued so far might not be relevant for what I would actually end up doing, or that I might need to put my career aspirations on hold for the sake of a little more money (and probably a lot more peace of mind). Is this what I can't accept?
tarot_scholar: An image of Norman Rockwell's interpretation of Rosie the Riveter (Rosie)
I admit to having a fascination with the number 3 and its multiples. That's why I tend to look at the minor arcana in sets of three: Ace-2-3, 4-5-6, and 7-8-9. Some systems see 9 as completion and 10 as "too much"/degradation; other systems see 9 as incomplete and unstable and 10 as perfection. Over the years I've developed a slight preference for the former approach. In my scheme, the 10s are something like the mirror versions of the Aces. (The stark contrast between the "natural conclusions" of the Cups and Pentacles suits [overwhelmingly positive] and the Wands and Swords suits [unpleasant to say the least] is interesting and speaks to the nature of will, but I'll come to that another day. Or never!)

I have, at the moment, no literature to back up my intuitions. I haven't started digging yet. But I present: a pictorial defense. I mean that, if you look at the 3s, 6s, and 9s of each suit, they are among the clearest and strongest images (or at least within the RWS tradition) outside of the Aces. They all seem to embody something specific and distinct about their element. The previous two cards, to my intuition, lead up to "ah-hah" moment or triumph (or failure) in the final card of each triad.

The Swords. )

You can create similar stories for the rest of the suits and they all seem to follow a similar rhythm. You can use your own deck and see how well this miniature narratives stack up, but the images I had in mind were Colman-Smith's art; I don't know if this narrative model works well with, say, the Thoth deck.

CUPS

Emotions/sensitivity -> love -> joyous union/celebration

Disillusionment -> total loss -> redemption through (re)union, sharing, nostalgia

Delusions and daydreams -> left behind in the process of maturity -> a deeper, self-sufficient joy


WANDS

Inspiration -> planning -> implementation

Success stability -> the struggle to maintain success and stability -> victory

Defending one's "establishment" -> fighting every possible battle -> Pyrrhic victory


PENTACLES

Windfall/seed money -> juggling different investments -> proper discipline and success along a specific track

Greedy success -> downfall and lesson to be learned -> redemption and generous success

Expanding plans -> developing those plans to the next level -> the next level

Note that in all of the narratives, the 7s are a bit weird. They don't feel like natural introductions but rather in media res beginnings. I think this says something about the chaotic and confusing nature of all of the 7 cards. Likewise, the conflict or transmutation provided in all of the miniature stories by the 2s, 5s, and 8s showcases their combative nature. (Even with the 2 of Cups, there is an element of "combat": the dance of getting to know another person, flirtation, and attraction.)

That said, I don't think this triad model works at all in the majors. Aside from a few logical categories that have a lot of overlap, I mostly see each trump as a category and story/biography unto itself.
tarot_scholar: An image of Norman Rockwell's interpretation of Rosie the Riveter (Rosie)

Happy Midsummer, one and all! I decided to mark the occasion with a reading on another writing project, GAL. Starting with only the scrap of a D&D character, I tried my hand at urban fantasy with GAL during 2013's National Novel-Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and found myself stuck on plot. There are people in the world who win NaNoWriMo—that is to say, they write 50,000 words—by the seat of their pants, and I will never understand how they do it.

It's a character I like and it's a premise I think is interesting, so bring in the Tarot to help.



More about GAL. )


Many Tarot readers talk about the Tarot as simply reminding people of what they already know. Indeed, much of what showed up here I already knew and did little more than reinforce the story as it already is, using some of the same cards I would have chosen myself. I haven't walked away from this reading with anything really new and substantive, which is what I was looking for. This is why formulating a good question is so important for reading Tarot. And also having a good solid meal beforehand so you come at it with a clear head. ;) Even looking at this story months later I'm still blocked where I am, nor does this reflection point me in any particularly fruitful new directions. A follow-up is necessary but first I need to figure out what I need to know—my "known unknowns."

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