Tuesday Tarot -Majors 12, 13, & 14

The Minoan Tarot images lure me from the everyday. Even in the currently busy and hectic days, I want to sit down and stare at them. I suspect this is because they contain potent “headology”.  My favorite witch is not one of the classics like vengeful Medea or the pig-making Circe.  My favorite witch is Diskworld’s Granny Weatherwax who says it isn’t about spells and sticking pins in things — it’s about “headology.”  To me, this speaks a real truth about magic and enchantment — the one we usually must enchant is ourself!  Or sometimes the need is to disenchant someone.  I think the images of the Minoan Tarot have the deeply woven clues and hints to do both!

I am pretty sure Major Arcana card #12 – Sacrifice – will upset somebody with the somewhat graphic image of an animal awaiting getting its throat cut.  The card usually called The Hanged Man seemed more upsetting to me because although it had connotations of making sacrifices for future good as well; it also had meanings related to betrayal and treachery – and of being left, somewhat literally “twisting in the wind.”  This card, like most of the ‘big 22’ is more existential with the phrase “I surrender” and the Linear B for “olive tree” – long a symbol of peaceful endings.  This card hits me hard personally; there are things I need to surrender right NOW, for instance.  There ARE patterns in my life that need to dissolve.  Reversed, it suggests that refusing to sacrifice what needs to be offered up for the future results in losing control of it all.

#13 – Death – is likewise unsubtle.  An open tomb instead of a skeletal figure, with the phrase “I transform” assigned, and Linear B for “divine” suggests that our deepest fears and the change we really cannot see the other side of are right there in the NOW where we must grasp till tiller of our lives (and very rarely, our actual physical demise).  Perry insists this card does NOT mean physical death.  I beg to differ with her; while it usually means the death of something, not us – that doesn’t mean it cannot.  Reversal indicates refusing transformation, holding on to something in need of release and increasing personal pain.  Drop the hot rock, Pal, and move on!

#14 – Balance – is a card I much prefer to the usual deck!   “Temperance” always had a bit of a preachy vibe to one raised on stories of Carrie Nation bashing in barrels of whisky or beer!  Besides, who could resist that lovely young man vaulting that beautiful bull — nobody dies, everything is handled!  It IS about balance and focus to achieve and maintain towards a goal; avoiding extremes IS key.  Reversed. the card warns against over focus on only one area – over specialization, perhaps?  Or being all take and no give?

Tuesday Tarot – Minoan Major Arcana

Having worked with this deck a few times since I dealt with a gender-role quibble, I am enjoying the deck if I don’t use/look at the most offensive (to me) cards!  So, let’s begin to take a look at the 22 Major Arcana cards, shall we?

minoan-tarot-ma-0-2As I mentioned previously, Laura Perry uses a key phrase for each card.  I find I rather like this for the 22 trump cards of the tarot deck.  I’m still a bit ambivalent about the Linear B phrase on each card – although some of them are a better “fit” on these cards.  Most of her images are adapted from actual murals found in the excavated ruins of Minoan Crete.  I greatly like the colored borders as well.  I find the color use makes for easier reading.  Females and youths have paler skin; the male figures are more sun-tanned.  While I don’t think Minoan women spent less time in the sun?  It is a useful device for rapid recognition.

Perry, working with a civilization that was pre-Christian, somewhat re-defines the cards, generally in ways that I like.  I can more easily ignore a bit of gender stupidity and re-define that for myself than I can constant monotheistic “demonize all else” images on more traditional tarot decks.

The Fool – a Minoan youth whose key phrase is “I am.”  Linear B proclaims “wild” – he doesn’t look wild to me!  Of course, as I type this, it is snowing — so I think he looks likely to chill in his nakedness!  Perry sees this card as a primal beginning, a self-discovery state.  Reversed*, she credits it with speaking of living a non-authentic, entirely too-tamed “playing the crowd” of  “shoulds” life.

I have some issues with this card in any deck; while it is meant to suggest a primal innocence, I suspect it can also mean a willful idiot. In an America where people proclaim a pride in their ignorance, as if there is value in being an intentional moron — someone should explain that ignorance is NOT the same as innocence.  While innocence can lead one to make errors, only willful ignorance can lead to the special kind of harm we see on the news practically daily.

The High Priest – The key phrase is “I act.” and the Linear B is the word for priest.  Perry attributes this to outward action (animus and intellect) – finding one’s abilities and what to most fruitfully do with those strengths.  Again, the reversal of this card speaks of inauthenticity – trouble being other than you are told to be.  I’m sensing a trend in the reverse meanings!  Oddly, the image of this card almost calls to mind something Aztec. — I think it is all the feathers on his head.

This replacement name for the” Magician” works for me; it avoids the problematic idea of trickery and slight of hand.  You see the four representations of elements/suites: dagger-fire, rhyton-water, labrys-air, horns-earth.  I have a feeling my efforts to not be insulted by this “acting” figure may not entirely decline with time.  Of course, Perry would never suggest that her card is gender determinant — insisting it is a “characteristic” available to all.

The High Priestess – “I perceive” is the key phrase and the Linear B says “priestess”.  I still feel there is a bit of gender delineation here, but that could just be my usual contrary nature?  The traditional meaning of this card does speak to anima/intuition and internalization of “mystery” and hearing the inner promptings of spirit/mind.  Perhaps had I not taken such offense to the court cards, this would not be a nagging little bit of bitchery in my head?  It does not help that historically, possibly for every era SINCE Minoan Crete (or Catal Hayuk?) women’s “powers” have been relegated to the “inner mysteries” for the same reason women were known as witches and poisoners — women were denied other outlets of power.  The reversal again connotes being inauthentic — not hearing the inward voice because you fear it brings bad news.

With that in mind, I note to myself that the gender bias I find in the cards is also a reflection of history and FACT.  Just because it hurts me to look at it doesn’t mean the card attributions are wrong.  We don’t really know enough about life in Minoan Crete to know if the bare-breasted beauties of the murals there were so fully circumscribed as later Hellenic matrons and maidens – but I surely doubt it.  I think interpreting the images still vivid on volcano/quake/tsunami battered walls within such limits is an error.  My reading style will evolve beyond those definitions rather rapidly, I suspect.

Designers of tarot cards are human (alas, like designers of religion?) and thus bring their flaws to their design.  Even reading cards even more psychologically than psychically is more like poetry than prose.  So, for the sake of beautiful cards devoid of monotheistic images, I will cope with the perceived flaws in the stated definitions of the designer.

*I admit, I struggle with the issue of reversed cards.  I’ve been told in many books to cut the cards and reverse one stack.  I find this so artificial as to be impractical.  But with this deck, I did take about 1/4 or 1/3 of the deck at random and so turn it.  But my more usual method is to look at the card in the layout and if it makes no bloody sense at all, I try reading it as reversed even if it is upright.  If it makes more sense, I simply turn it in the spread at that point.  I’ve had much more luck, sense, and accuracy with that method.

Goodbye Leonard

No, not Nimoy — though frankly I am glad he never had to see Donald Trump elected. But Leonard Cohen — whose words evoke such thoughts that my old humanistic pagan soul responds with fervor as to a priest indeed.

What’s in a name?  Cohen – a name meaning priest.  My last name, on the other hand, means an empty field/plain.  In an America with Trump looming to take over, with Congress in the grip of grannie-starving Paul Ryan (and me a grannie!), and a poet gone?  I feel like that empty wind-swept plain indeed.

Black Moon : One, Two, Three, Four

…Tell me what are we fighting for?

two-toweringYes, the second new moon of the month, the “black moon” rose invisibly this morning — lost in the rosy first rays of the sun.  (No, ABC, you twits, it will not rise “tonight” — new moons rise in the dawn, one reason they are invisible in the sun’s glare – also because the bright reflective side is facing the sun, not earth!)  As I promised, I rose, and prepared to try to “change reality in accord with my Will.”  This new moon is in the sign Libra — the scales.  You know, like Lady Justice allegedly holds?  Does the toll of black bodies not yet outweigh white fears and misperceptions to balance those scales?

I bathed, watching steam rise in the unheated September air.  I dressed in black, red, and white — colors I often choose for magical work, but more than usually today as my sleepy mind paraphrased Joan Baez singing about Biko to be, “…at night I only dream in red; the outside world is black and white, with only one color dead. Oh, because…because…because…”

Are there two Americas?  One for whites and one for non-whites?  It is my paraphrase “because” that lit the candles of my mind to craft my working with the energies I gathered yesterday — looking up at towering twin trees, both lightening blasted at their tops — like the Tower of Tarot.

oneAmerica decried apartheid in South Africa.  But here at home, de facto segregation and educational/economic apartheid is very real and an unspoken blight upon what our nation meant to be in my youth.  We don’t confront the ideas that don’t match our action, do we? The storm we refuse to see coming can fell us all the same?  What light can shine into our minds to warn us?

One – if the element Air flows betwixt us all, does it carry/bear witness to all those who respire, aspire, conspire on this solitary blue sphere in the void of space?

Air carry my my thought,

Black lives and white lies matter,

See through dark fear’s fog!

twoTwo – the very Earth beneath our feet, the earth that trembles beneath armies and soaks up the blood of our ignorance and turmoil, is the basis of our life.  What could it bring to live out of fertile blood spilled?

Earth run energy,

As a seismic wave of change,

Germinate justice!

Three – our emotions flow as fast and changeable as the element Water, reflecting things true and illusory.  Is it too easy to not feel what isn’t happening to you?  Your blood is as red as the blood being shed from darker skins, is it not?  How is it that your white face does not flush with grief?

Water seep redly,

Crack the privileged hearts,

Paint empathy there!

threeFour – is our Will, our ability to work for change and progress as hot as it should be?  Is it the Fire in our lives, lighting the dark rotten hollows we never look at?  Do we quail before the task, thinking it too vast?  I walked the length of a fallen giant yesterday – reciting to myself, “The bigger they are, the harder they fall.”  And yes, any small breeze of beginning can catch in the wind to be a bigger fire.  Light a light –give it the wind of change to burn away the wrong?

Firepower by gun,

But not for every color?

Turn against that Fire!

Can we, Americans, recognize that there are many trees that make a forest; many peoples to make a nation?  And that if one tree falls in a forest, more trees grow from that loss; but in a nation that chooses to repeatedly burn down only certain people, what grows from that might burn down a nation?

That invisible black moon is high in the noon sky, as invisible, alas, as the insidious secret bias and racism and fear of “otherness” that blights and ends black lives in America.  The blaze of the sun hides every new moon, sadly like “all lives matter” non-sequitors try to hide that black lives matter because THOSE are the lives being TAKEN.  

But that moon is there.  Pulling tides and fault lines, invisible and easy to ignore until the moment when it blazes from the sunless sky — white as the lies privileged America prefers to cold brutal truth and grief and death.  Embrace that black moon, it is the monster we carry unacknowledged and uncontrolled.  Face your fears, destroy the lies, empathize and stop the killing!


Gratitude 17 September (Caturday?)

img_3478This morning, I am grateful for kitten paws on my face in the dim of six in the morning, and the pale dawn light shine on wet patio stones outside my window.

The light is very dim today, the air is fall coolness.  I light up more lamps in the house to counter the gloom.


Cat 0600

My hair is not a rat’s nest,

Instead it is a purring cat’s nest,

Her chin rests upon my ear,

Her three pound weight anchors me to pillow,

I wake from a nightmare of human ashes,

A paw pats my cheekbone as a purr announces,

Life and warmth and presence in now,

All the dread past and fearful future?

Collapses into morning’s first meow.