Sunday, June 25, 2006

Tarot, Fear, and the Public Sphere

To those of us who read Tarot cards, Tarot is a positive, enlightening, non threatening window into forces that are not usually obvious to us. Of those who don't read, some see it as an opportunity to have the exiting personal experience of a reading; others view it as harmless superstitious nonsense. Still others, however, seem to regard Tarot as both "real" and "dangerous," perhaps even anti Christian or evil. A new movie features a Tarot card reader as the arch villian. Everyone remembers the Washington D.C. area sniper that left a Tarot card in the woods as a "clue" to play cat and mouse with the police who were hunting for him.

Any Tarot reader can tell you that, bizarre as it may sound, we all experience discrimination from time to time. We are told that we can't read cards for our organization's fundraiser, we can't have cards in the break lounge at work, or some such concern that somehow doesn't apply to knitting, reading, or anything others are doing in the same circumstances.

What is a reader to do? Some of our collegues say "suck it up and go somewhere where you are welcome." These tend to be fellow readers who have never had to deal with "real" discrimination in other areas of their lives, and perceive the answer to be as easy as slipping in and out of your identity as the need arises. Others of us, women and minorities who know what it is to be unable to change who you are, are more reluctant to do this because it reminds us of the awful choice of selling out who we are as people in order to fit in, out of necessity, at a job, school, or in a social environment.

Sure, Tarot is something we can show or hide as we see fit. What remains unanswered is, what is the right thing to do? Is it a show of respect to the greater community to stifle those parts of ourselves that others have prejudices against, or is this a disrespect and a disservice to those that are like us? Even more convoluted is the religious issue. Tarot isn't my "religion," but if another person is discriminating against me because they perceive it as such, it becomes religious discrimination on the grounds that I am perceived to be part of a protected category, and discriminated aginst for that reason. Now what is the right and proper response? What is best for the good of the entire community?

Either way , there is a price to be paid. I can "raise a stink," appear to be over sensitive and antagonistic, and contribute even more negatively to the image of Tarot readers. Or I can slink away, try to accomodate, apoplogize as if there is something wrong, and contribute to the establishment of the idea that Tarot, and Tarot readers, have no rightful place wherever it is that people have misconceptions about us.

I don't have "Tarot reader" stamped on my forehead, but if nothing else, there is value in having an appreciation for the impossible position that anyone facing true discrimination is faced with - a catch 22 that no one should be burdened with.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Happy Birthday to Bub (Dave)

Today is my brother's birthday and I have not been able to reach him on the phone. I would like to wish him a happy birthday on his actual birthday, but I suppose I'll settle for a happy birthday post- and tarot reading, of course.

I haven't spoken to Bub in quite a while, so I'm not sure what's going on in his life, but suffice it to say that there is some ambivalence right now about what you will have to give up in order to make a change that involves leaving behind something that you have put some work into and really built up a good foundation with. Go with your instincts, since change is happening either way, but be aware that it might not end up being much fun, to put it gently. I understand the recent frustration of waiting for something you were sure was coming but never did. Be cautious though, that you don't in your haste make a decision that will put you in an even worse spot.

Are you taking yourself too seriously with regards to this issue? Perhaps you just know that you are "right," and if that isn't being recognized or appreciated it is time to move on. Your unique gifts may well be invisible to someone else right now. Try not to take it personally.

If you are worried about your car, now is definately the time to get it checked. Since this is a birthday reading, I will emphasize that this goes for the next 12 months especially - don't let anything wait on it, keep it in good shape and watch out for other people on the road.

There is also a message here about family/community life. It's going to be simplified- some things that don't matter as much will be taking up less of your time.

Let me emphasize that as a birthday reading, this reading is relevant for the entire year ahead.

I had to do this quickly because my son needs attention, but I wanted to do it ON June 3. I'll be revisiting and adding to this.

(cards = 8 of cups reversed, the Moon, 8 of wands, 3 of wands reversed, ten of swords, Death, the Hierophant, page of cups reversed, the Chariot, 10 of pentacles reversed. Numerology: x,x,3,x,5,x,7,8/8,x,10/10,x,x,13

Friday, June 02, 2006

Net Neutrality Reading

Today I am posting my promised reading on Net Neutrality - the present situation regarding efforts by Congress to hand over control of internet information to a small handful of heavy hitter (and heavy polital contributor) telecom corporations.

Basically, what I see here is very painful, and runs deeper than it appears. First we have a picture of someone pretending that everything is just fine, but he sits in front of an enormous curtain that is hiding more than he is saying. This curtain is held in place by an image of prosperity, nine cups (nine of cups).

The card underneath this one, the truth behind the curtain, is that we are not under the thumb of this authority, we just think we are. We can change this situation, but we don't realize it (eight of swords)

In the past, we did not have an internet. The internet has given us unprecedented access to what we never could have accessed before (High Priestess reversed).

More recently, the internet has continued to pick up speed, literally (The Chariot). Very shortly, we will leap without looking into unknown territory (the Fool). I am inclined to interpret this as bad news because I am personally in favor of the status quo on this issue.

Internet users are happy and naive right now about how good they have it (6 of cups).

Congress and the telecom companies would really just like to skewer the heart of this beast of free, uncensored, information that they can not present or withold as they see fit. If they can impale the heart of this monster, they can defeat it (WOW!) (three of hearts).

Their hope is to nip this thing in the bud. It is also our fear. (ace of wands)

The future? I see choices taken away, (4 of cups reversed), and two miserable figures left out in the cold. I don't want to come to this conclusion, but the cards don't lie. Internet users will lose, democracy will lose, and the holy temple of Big Money will be erected on the site of our internet. (five of pentacles).

Interstingly, I had to try eight or nine times to even post this because I kept getting a message saying "the page was reset while it was loading." It took about 45 minutes. I thought that was an interesting sign. This type of message will not be welcome in the new era.

I have to say, though, that there are signs throghout this reading that we will be defeated only because we have been tricked into fooling ourselves. I think that means that the vast majority of internet users do not understand the internet enough to understand the implications. They also don't understand democracy enough to understand the political significance of something like this. The internet is the last bastion of our democracy that has been untouched by corruption. The playing field is 100% equal. How horrifying that this is now on the chopping block.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Death and the Devil?

Yesterday's post got a little deep, so today I am going to share my thoughts on some "scary" cards - the ones that people get nervous about when they come up in a reading. The cards with the greatest fear factor are by far Death and The Devil, although there are others that make people uneasy on sight - but let's stay focused on these two.

Death - Death does not really mean "Death," although depending on the surrounding cards a physical death is one potential meaning. Death means "change," and when you think of change, someone dying isn't really the first thing that comes to mind, is it? The Death card is about the death of old habits, old patterns, old ways of doing things, perhaps the end of a friendship or relationship, but the Death card indicates that you will be moving on - and often, you will be moving on up! When you see this card, it is a good sign, so you can relax.

The Devil - Lordy, lordy, I have had people refuse to even touch the deck because the "Devil" was depicted in it. These tend to be the same people who refuse to make deviled eggs until someone suggests they can call them "glory eggs" and be done with it (Actually, I could seriously go for some "glory eggs" right now). Nevertheless, any religion that incorporates Tarot, which is going to be some form of Pagan religion - does NOT even recognize the Devil as real. In fact, when referring to the idea of the Devil they will speak of "The Christian Devil" because the Devil really only exists for Christians.

During the rise of Christianity, the Cathilic Church had to deal with the traditional Pagan religions of the people they were converting. Local fertility goddesses became different incarnations of the Virgin Mary, but the fertility god, or "horned god," represented almost universally as a Pan type half goat/half man, was problematic. There was no suitable way for him to be incorporated, so he was quite literally demonized. His image became attributed to Satan, so that any further worship of such a god would be entirely out of the question, not to mention punishable by death. Pagans are painfully aware of this history, and recognize the Christian Devil as a perversion of a Pagan god, and the image of a horned beast as the "Devil" to be completely an invention of the Catholic Church.

So what is the Christian Devil doing here? He is serving as a symbol of addiction, co-dependency, or anything else that our minds can be "enslaved" to. When he comes up in a reading about relationships, possible interpretations include that two people are tied together by obligations, or fear, or bills, but not love. It could mean an unhealthy dependence that they have on each other. It could just mean a very unhealthy relationship. No Christian Devil. No "evil." No "hell." None of that at all.