Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Hanged Man And All His Friends

It's my latest obsession. Tarot cards!

At the Doylestown Book Store, I bought the whole Tarot outfit, including a deck of Sharman-Caselli Tarot cards, a book explaining the cards written by Juliet Sharman-Burke, and a deck of cards that I can "color" myself. (I'll be skipping the part where I color my own Tarot cards.)

The cards are beautiful. They images are suggestive and evocative.

To the best of my recollection, I've had my cards read twice. The first time was the summer before my freshman year in college. Huh! I remember what I was wearing! This bright, turquoise Izod-style shirt. I went to Madame Edith, who plied her trade in New Hope. I think my "question" was something along the lines of, what the hell should I do with my life? I guess I told Madame Edith that I was wildly ambivalent about going off to college, because that's where she focused her attention. She told me that there was a male authority figure in my life ("Uhhh... I guess my dad?") who was telling me to go in one direction. So far, so good. But then, she said that there would come a "Dark Woman" who would try to seduce me from this path. And if I allowed that to happen, then my life would be ruined.

So Madame Edith pretty much missed the boat there. The only "Dark Woman" in my life then would have been Sade. I kinda liked her music, but I didn't wonder if she had any insights to offer about going off to a Catholic liberal arts college in Reading or keep cooking in restaurants and maybe get my own apartment. However, once I was in college, I used to joke with my friend Julieanna the Opera Singer, who was Black, that she was the Dark Woman who secretly wanted me to drop out of school.

So no.

The second time was a friend of my first boyfriend in NYC, this woman named Solange. (Is "Solange" the coolest name or what?) I don't remember a single thing she said. The boyfriend was deeeeply into being a Pagan. So it was all about shopping trips to Enchantments, this witch store on (I think) 9th Street in the East Village and casting spells and figuring out which deities required what color candles lit when and whatever. I was pretty much not down the whole Wiccan thing. ("I'm an Episcopalian!") This was also before I dealt with my passive-aggressive tendencies in therapy--I'm not perfect, but I'm sure a hell of a lot easier to deal with--so I imagine that while Solange was reading my cards, I was smoking and distractedly looking around the room. And not hearing any of it. Plus, I was still pretty much an Existentialist back then, so I saw prognostication as undermining human freedom. (*sigh* Remember your twenties? When you had things like that figured out?)


Why now? What gives?

Well, I'm not sure. Maybe it's because of the whole Shaman thing I've been rolling with over the past few years.

But mostly it's about dreams.

I love it when somebody says to me, "I had the strangest dream last night." I'm pretty good at interpretation of dreams. Five years of Freudian psychoanalysis will do that for ya. And I love when I just hit it, and the person is like, "Whooooaa... Yeah!" and is suddenly seeing life differently.

So that's how I'm thinking of the Tarot cards.

The images in dreams are mostly arbitrary, but we are creatures who like to think our lives have meaning. Analysis is just telling yourself the story of yourself. The interpretation of dreams is all about that. The dream is a story. What does the story mean? Why... it's a story about me!

That kind of thing.

So a spread of Tarot cards could be like a dream. "What does it mean?" And maybe, "Hey! It's about me!"

The images of the Tarot certainly lend themselves to that.

So just like I know that when you dream of a house, it can be interpreted as having something to say about a relationship ("And the house collapsed? Ooooh. That's bad."), learning what the Five of Cups might mean can have similar results.

And as a person who usually doesn't remember his dreams, learning the Tarot will sort of give me dreams on tap.

1 comment:

'bastian said...

I've gone through about 3 rounds of interest in the Tarot. I find the symbolism fascinating, even if the Hermit does annoying come up in like 80% of my readings. (Its the kind of truth that makes you believe).

For your more shaman-oriented energy, I reccomend the Druid Animal Oracle. I have a very interesting story about that, though I'm not totally comfortable sharing it in this forum.