ASK YOUR DECK #002

#002 – WHAT TO MAKE OF IT ALL?

You’re never in a secure position. You’re never at a point where you have it all sewn up. You have to choose to be secure, like a stone, or insecure – but able to flow…

~ Keith Jarrett

Being the second installment in this occasional series of frivolous ways to interact with the Tarot.

On this occasion, I approach with a certain levity, which may lead to matters of some gravity arising – a strange behaviour for gravity, which is mostly a drag. Tarot is one of those funny exceptions that resists attempts to define or pin down, so that whatever you set up as the premises for your interaction with it must be dismantled, turned inside out and upside down, in order to get to the real wisdom. It’s more like a poem than an equation, but more like a manuscript than an actual performance. The reverberations are in your mind, the performance silent and private. Funny peculiar.

It is both what you make of it, and everything that you don’t; light when you bring it dark things, determinedly witty when you are expecting sincerity and integrity, unfailingly serious when you come at it with a joke, mercifully female when your enquiry is masculine, mercilessly male when your demand is feminine, old when you require novelty and fresh when you require experience. But, like all mirrors, it only flips the image in one plane, and so remains useful, as long as you remember the essential illusion of what is staring back at you.

What was the Question?

Tarot is very reliable if only the querent, the one seeking its wisdom, is actually aware of the question. All the answers are there – indeed, they are everywhere, in everything – if only we can actually articulate and understand our question.

This is much harder than it sounds, and typically more pointless than you suspect at the outset.

What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?

~ Mark 8:36

And by a similar token, what good is the answer “42” to a question as vague and ranging as “What is the meaning of Life, the Universe and Everything?”

As Douglas Adams so humorously and penetratingly noticed: Sure, the answer might seem simple; but what exactly is the question?

Questions with meaningful answers cease to be questions, because a cogent, useful answer cancels the question interrogating reality in search of it, and the whole dynamic is reduced to Zero. “What do these carrots weigh?” is not the sort of question that can lead to tenure in a University philosophy department, precisely because it is a meaningful – and thus real – question with a meaningful – because real – answer.

“What are the directions to the morgue?” exists in a similarly tenuous situation of having an answer that cancels the premise of the enquiry. Once you’ve found accurate directions, and then the morgue, the question disappears; maybe all questions, depending on your reasons for seeking the location of the morgue.

What is my Question? is an amusing sort of tautology, and quite useful as a brief meditation, before it collapses into the title of a thankfully yet-to-be-made game show. Is there a God? Is there a Question? What if the Universe is a question? What if God is?

Questions which do not pass this muster include most questions like those above, posed by moral philosophers and religious organizations: “How should I live?”, “What is the meaning of {insert manifest living phenomenon that need not subscribe to the human need for ‘meaning’ here}”, “What happens after we die?” and similar intellectual labyrinths and cul-de-sacs, which emerge from unconscious panic around ‘the mind’ as the only tool you have, that it is a hammer, and that therefore every single aspect of Reality really should be – regardless of context and consciousness – a nail.

If the only tool you have available is not the tool for the job – why, then find some nails you *can* hammer away at, and make a living that way! Like arguing with straw-men instead of real ones, it beats working.

So, first let’s confront the fact that the question is a bit pokey. “What to make of it all?”  All what? Make how? And so on. The presumptions in the question are strong, critical, not incidental or of mere passing interest. I’ll make a film about that soon. It’s a side of consulting oracles that gets hardly any attention. If you really understand the Question, you probably don’t need Tarot cards, psychic trance, or sorcerous jiggery-pokery to get an answer. Are you sure you haven’t set your ego-mind up with an unsolvable riddle to play with, like those cards with “The statement on the other side is true” printed on one side and “The statement on the other side is false” printed on the other? Many Tarot consultations devolve into a search to understand a question more than a search for a useful answer. This is something that never ceases to amaze me, honestly.

But let’s indulge ourselves, and assume there is a resolvable, that is to say meaningful, confusion. This confusion is about All of It, Everything. By the science and art of divination, of giving voice to that which by default has none (the Divine), we can make sense of the Signals, which at the moment appear as just Noise. There are patterns in the clouds. We’re not just making it all up.

Those patterns, signals, what-have-you, include: the rising tides of old psycho-social diseases like fascism and populism with demagogues at the frothing, scummy crest of the wave; the imminent collapse of the ecosystem and the economy which must always, ultimately, reduce back to it, digits-on-screens as flowers-in-bees, profit here as loss there, the essential balance and homeostasis of a finite world; the inability of The System to confront and deal with its own mess; the failure of the Wise Men who are supposed to govern, or at least to confront those who do with wisdom; the failure of the socio-political systems of a few hundred years ago to manage populations and resources in the 21st Century with the easy, callous viciousness of the past; the absence of decent alternative ideas with any currency or Power to influence the Whole; the bankruptcy of ideologies; the disruption of tradition and protocols by technology; the automation of the workplace and redundancy of most of humanity; billionaires and starving children; pointless, soul-crushing tedium in the workplace; The System, dammit, the Whole Thing, *including Consciousness!* The impending collapse. Perhaps most importantly, most poignantly, my reaction to it on every level of Being.

Q: WHAT TO MAKE OF IT ALL?

SPREAD: Single Card Draw

A: The Ace of Cups
(+ The Hanged Man & Death – Elemental exegesis)

The Ace of Cups

This was one of those instances where the card fairly leapt from the deck during the shuffle, a unique ‘individual’ suddenly springing free of its Oppression within the ‘collective’ of the pack (perceptive readers might ‘see what I did there’, for which one must only count backwards from this particular Ace) to stand up, be counted, and Daring, Willing, to make itself Known1

A lone Ace. Kether, the Crown, in the Qabalah (its wettest ‘flavour’, being always inscrutable and ‘hidden’, the Monad, the Absolute). Water, the Form, as the mother of all expressions of water everywhere. The Great Flood. The Teardrop.

In situations where it’s just one card, or few enough to not be a huge distraction, or exactly the intended number for the spread selected, I will always allow these situations to dictate. Such cards deserve either to be the actual spread (if the exact required number), or certainly to enter into an ‘aside’ before the reading to consider the card(s) that have so urgently made themselves known before replacement into the deck for a new shuffle, for the actual cards to be drawn. 2If it comes up again – well, needless to say, immense focus should be centered on the card, element, modality or other dignity and location in the spread where it re-appears. If not then consider it a hidden aspect, a ‘nuclear’ (of the nucleus) aspect of the situation. Once you’re sat shuffling, game is on. Everything is Divine. Symbols are real, and real things are Symbols.

In this instance it was just that one, perfect Ace that revealed itself – though as an Elemental card (a pure Seed of the Element Water), and as the Root of the Powers of its element, it can be further understood by meditation (reflection would be a more appropriate term for watery meditation) on other cards, Trumps and Court, as we shall see (The Hanged Man – elemental Water, and Death – the Kerubic Water sign, and zodiacal ‘seat’ of the Princess of Cups, who is the ‘throne’ of this particular Ace).

So: The Ace of Cups is ‘what to make of it all’ – the synthesis required, which results, through this act of creation, of imagination, of science and art, of taking all the ingredients of ‘it all’ and ‘making’ something – in the Ace of Cups.

I was both delighted and surprised by this response. What a Holy Chalice! What a Sacred Athanor! The Grail! Fill to overflowing, and be merry with your spillage! Let your Cup runneth over…😉

Aces hold a special place in the Tarot, as they do in regular playing cards. Even in our vernacular, ‘ace’ has come to mean specific things: A hole-in-one type situation, a success on first attempt, an un-returnable serve, but not ‘beginners’ luck’ – an ace is the perfect balance of skill mixed with fate. She’s ace, he aced it, this is ace, it’s all coming up aces. There is the notion of good fortune (indeed, aces are ‘lucky cards’ in Tarot, signifying new beginnings, infinite potentialities which require activation, or the hand of a human to will-into-Being and manifest properly) but with the hidden implication that human agency must be combined with circumstance to manifest something. Perhaps only the mildest and most modest attention is required to move from ‘could be’ to ‘now is’, and set in motion the promise of the element hidden within its Seed. Destiny is present, but not still sufficient without some – however modest – aid from the participant. Even if that aid is The Hanged Man – the paradox of doing not-doing, of letting go of even the desire to let go.

The Root of the Powers of the Waters

Water is a fascinating element within Tarot, and the magickal philosophies that it recently represents. The base of all magickal systems – however draped in the cladding of religions, or not – revolve around theories of correspondence (“As above, so below…”). It’s why walnuts are good for your brain and honey attracts clients, it’s why bathing in basil leaves is a prosperity ritual and burning old photographs frees you from any residual influence of the people-and-time depicted in the image. So, let’s start above, and do the work of the below as an exercise within.

From the relentless drip-drip of your bathroom tap, via the puddle concealed beneath the wobbly paving slab, to the roar of the Iguazu Falls on the border of Argentina and Brazil, or the record-breaking rainfall that dumped itself on the USA last year, Water spans a vastness of scale that includes comets as frozen ice in interstellar space and 55-65% of the mass of every human being. We are, mostly, made of it, as indeed is our planet mostly covered in it (about 71% of the surface area, more than ⅔). Our emotional inner-scape and intuitive non-rationality ‘reflects’ (ahem) this. Consciousness floods us in waves, and shows us ourselves in the mirror.

Before we were born, from our conception to our birth, we floated in it, in the amniotic sac inside our Mother, listening to her heartbeat muffled through it’s medium, and feeling the blood, our blood, the water of life itself, coursing in our own veins. Water is feminine, maternal, acting as and through a sacred receptacle. Tidal, water obeys the rhythms and cycles of the Moon, ebbing, flowing, flooding, just as the moon waxes, fills, and wanes, all the way to empty, influencing water, sometimes a still reflective surface, other times a roaring, turbulent unstoppable rush. Water demands great respect, no less – albeit very different – than Fire, for while it is life-giving, cleansing, refreshing and transparent, it is also profound, mysterious, unfathomably deep, impenetrable, and smothering, deadly deep and murderous. Water on a good day is your most trusted (and taken for granted) friend, a refreshing slaking of the thirst and cleansing of the journey so far. Water at it’s worst is a devastating and implacable foe, unpredictable and merciless, journey’s end, a farewell to everything. Water is a great, unsolvable-because-ever-evolving Mystery. Water is always contextual. Water is rising, still or sinking.

Water changes state – solid, cold, hard as earth itself, but easy to sculpt, ever plastic; liquid, cool, welcoming, elastic and expansive; gas, heated, high-pressure and agitated. This transformative cycle is essential to its basic nature. It is very unusual in having its solid form be less dense than its liquid form, hence ice floating in water, and pain that cannot be released. Water is mysterious, and cyclical, hinting at the nature of consciousness and reality itself – ever transforming, but held in dynamic equilibrium always, neither created nor destroyed, just shifting phase, hard, soft, insubstantial, soft, hard again, invisibly ascending and descending its Worlds. 

Water depends, as liquid, on its receptacle – it flows, spreads, drips and is received by the emptiness of forms. It is the space inside the jug that determines the shape of the water, it is the valley (forged by a glacier, also water) that directs the stream, it is the high mountain rains that bring down the river, from above to below – water is a slave to gravity (the Moon’s and the Earth’s, Saturn’s, and no doubt all the other sources of gravity in the Universe, yours included)­ – the relationship between Water (Cups) and Earth (Disks, gravity, valleys, mountains etc.) is no less than the relationship of Water to Air through the action of Fire. Water relates, water is ever present, water is the lubricant of every negotiation, swimming in your gut, flooding you with emotion, quickening your blood, dissolving your fear, drowning you in your hope, and your dread. Water is the Universal Solvent, itself unsolvable.

Matron!

The Wand and the Cup – Tarot imagery and symbolism is occult (hidden) only if you lack eyes to see, and sometimes that blindness takes real effort. Symbols in the unconscious are primitive. The Wand as a great Phallus, Fire, seed-bearer, action, penetrating the Mystery, seeking Return. Yang, virile, outward, visionary. The Cup as great Yoni, Water, gestation, reception, fertilizing the Seed as the penetrated Mystery. Yin, fertile, inward, the vision itself – pregnant, gestating, manifesting a potential, with the fruit of the union of Wand and Cup emerging via Swords (Air) into Disks (Earth). Everything you know is a concept, made real by memory. Water transmits this memory through generations of incarnation into bloodlines, families, gene-pools.

Water is the Mother, Consciousness, Soul, in which Time and all Form is conceived – the Mother of all liquids: ink, blood, sulphuric acid, beer, wine, LSD.

Salad is mostly water, as is every dressing ever poured on it, and every soup or sauce made to break bread with those you love and nourish. Without Water, there is no nourishment.

Our emotions are Watery phenomena – real, no doubt about that, and yet ephemeral, difficult to contain, grasp, define, hold onto, or find firm ground beneath. They must be contained to be studied, and then they are not what they were, not wild, chaotic, free and flowing.

Only the shallowest flow allows ordinary physical mastery of more conventional solid environments, and even then one must be sure, ever mindful, not to get swept away or lose one’s footing, or actually slip up. Water, as soon as it moves, can be very treacherous. Care and attention are always required. Context is everything – how to respond now, authentically and spontaneously, ever conscious of flow, implying Time – where is the Source, and what is the Destination, and how do I navigate in the Now? Knowledge of the stars aids with mastery of Water – a useful Map, to help one locate where – and when – you are in that vast expanse, a sky-in-reverse, Below, to the Above. To navigate Water, look to the Stars.

Baptism – the end of an old, illusory life and the re-birth into a new, spiritually lensed vision – is a Watery sacrament, typically. Our emotions are turbulent, can easily overwhelm (‘whelm’ is Old English meaning ‘to submerge completely’ – like Baptism). Falling in love begins as a joyride over spectacular waterfalls, and we all hope it leads to pristine, beautiful lakes, still enough for reflection and bathing, deep enough for the Mystery to intrigue over the years, crystal clear, and supporting flora and fauna that delight; and yet, so often, we wind our way into a swamp, a stagnant, polluted and vacuous quicksand that swallows us and leaves no visible trace of our Foolish wandering, where only scavengers and outcasts prowl, and little grows but the fungus of past mistakes, and the mould of bitter recrimination, and the algae of regret. Water, with its mirror-like quality, the First Mirror, in fact, reflects us, and reflects our needs about ourselves – and so it deceives, as much as it clarifies and demonstrates. Water is slippery. Remember Narcissus, reflections are addictive. But they lead us to the Moon, the third great moment of reflection in the history of mankind, seeing The Pale Blue Dot from that Great Perspective for the first time, after the first still pool, and the first mirror glass. Water reflects. Vision, and our attachment to it, motivates. It is in the Cup that Soul attaches or not to the Fire that instinct has pulled from Spirit to contend with.

In Liber T – a reference work no serious student of Tarot should be without – the relationship between Princesses – and hence the Ace of which they are the ‘throne’ – with the rest of the zodiacal and planetary dignities of the Tarot is clearly laid out. The princesses – as the recipients, and youngest most uninitiated children of, the component energies of their Parents – The Knight and Queen – have yet to ‘earn’ the zodiacal real-estate that is their eventual inheritance – upon their marriage with the Beauty of the Prince, their betrothing to their ‘Spiritual groom’ (Holy Guardian Angel), in the Kerubic, fixed, expression of their Element, and immediate succession therefore to the throne of the Queen, ‘Awakening the Eld of the All-Father’, and so on.3 They thus rule the Earthly ‘quarters’ of the triplicities which house these zodiacal signs (each zodiac symbol is 30⁰ of arc in the night sky, 12 in total for the full circle of 360⁰ on the Wheel of Life (zodiac) – hence a consecutive triplicity is a 90⁰-quarter  – in the case of Water, the region centered beneath the Libra-Scorpio-Sagittarius arc, with the focus on Scorpio, Kerubic (Fixed) Water, where the Prince rules, and the Ace Power of Kether is ‘firmly established’ in form, in the realm of Yetzirah, Formation, the angelic (messenger) realm, not mere instinctual idea and emotional response of the higher planes of Soul). This Earthly quarter is The Pacific region.

There are 2 Major Arcana cards which warrant suitable meditation along with the Ace of Cups and should be included for added depth in our interpretation of this reading: Atu XII – The Hanged Man (because it is the Elemental archetype for Water), and Atu XIII – Death (because it is attributed to the zodiac sign Scorpio, and thus elaborates on the nature of the Ace of Cups, via the Princess and her Prince, with rulership in this exact area, both materially – the Princess – and Zodiacally – the Prince, and through its Elemental provenance, fixed (Kerubic) Water).

The Hanged Man

The Hanged Man

The Hanged Man is a fascinating Tarot card, and in the mystical traditions imposed on Tarot is attributed to the Hebrew Letter Intelligence Mem, which means ‘water’, as well as ‘people’, ‘nations’, ‘languages’ and ‘tongues’.

Water is the symbol par-excellence of consciousness in all it’s forms. The Gematria (number attribution in Hebrew) of the letter Mem is 40 – reminding us of the 40 days and nights of the Flood, 40 years in the wilderness, the 40 days of Moses revelation on Mt. Sinai, the 40 days of fasting and the 39 weeks – and then birth in the 40th – of the gestating human foetus. It is traditional in Judaism that the Holy Qabalah is not studied until the 40th year, the ‘year of wisdom’.

Other interesting gematria correspondences for the number 40 are ‘deceptive’, ‘loathing’, ‘brightness’, ‘to cut, strip off, flay’, ‘to bear, bring forth’, ‘to draw, lift out’, ‘to hang about’ (LOL!), ‘to be torn’, ‘in secret’, ‘concealed, hidden’, ‘if not’, ‘perhaps’ and ‘unless’. I think these are, indeed, times of Universal deception, of things hidden and secret.

The Hanged Man is a very particular level of initiation of the conscious journey in the Tarot – a picture more of the Garden of Gethsemane, and the relinquishing of control to a Higher Spiritual purpose, than the actual Crucifixion, despite the obviousness of the image and the connection to the artistic representation of punishment for traitors in medieval Italy on which it based, pittura infamante. It implies deep, deep meditation, reflection, silence and serenity. The whole phoneme of Mem relates to watery Mysteries – maternity, matter and the matrix of manifestation. Mmmmm. An absolute stopping of outer trajectory and the commencing of the inner trajectory, leading to liberation. AUM, the Word of Creation.

The ‘Man’ being Hanged is etymologically a pun on the root men- meaning “to think”, from which we derive our word “mind”. The Hanged part suggests, as Liber T usefully points out, “suspended from above”, i.e. dependant upon (and pendant from) something higher without support from anything beneath. There’s a vital meditation there for deeper understanding of consciousness-as-water, and the process of The Hanged Man.

Suspended mind: defeat of the Monkey, that Cynocephalus Ape that confuses the Word of the Magus. Indeed, the end of Self, or at least self-created-self, the endlessly spun yarn that somehow talks you into believing that ‘you’ control everything, and the World, and Life, is your personalclay for the moulding and modelling.

The Hanged Man is also indicative of sweeping social movements predicated in shared emotion, and hysterical crowd-reactions (as well as noble abandonment to Original Consciousness – “not my Will, but thine be done!” or, in more Thelemic vernacular, the alignment (through abandonment) of the individual will with the True Will, with the Word of the HGA or Holy Guardian Angel); getting out of your own way and discovering what is left in that absence.

That’s the Spiritually inclined interpretation, the less dignified are precisely that abandonment of self into group-think on a massive scale that ends in fandoms at best and lynch-mobs, baying crowds, and the Hitler Youth at worst.

The Hanged Man is thus the reassuring/devastating knowledge that the self *imagined* in ignorance to be the self is nothing of the sort, and that the extraordinary Truth of the new initiate is that of playful Life itself, all of it, forever, Eternity is real and you are It, expressing uniquely and in a never to be repeated fashion, as you have been since the Beginning-less beginning and will be until the End-less end. Most people experience something analogous when they ‘fall in love’.

It is a complete reversal of everything that has held you firm and assured you of What-Is-Actually-Going-On, a Damascene moment of utterly astonished upside-down-ness. What appeared (and still appears, from outside) to be sacrifice, loss, abnegation, defeat, is revealed, from within to be the absolute Victory of absolute Surrender.

The Hanged Man represents Neptune as an outer planet – the Sea God, of course, Poseidon, watery, but also – in the context of the question – Neptune rules over society-wide emotional journeys, dreams, delusions, rules the watery zeitgeist, the social-political-emotional sea in which we all swim, as well as mystic experiences, profound intuition. It was the Hanged Man who presided over the bizarre public displays of emotion when Princess Diana, or Prince, or David Bowie died, it was the Hanged Man who created the inner landscape to which Donald Trump and Brexit are the hopeful, desperate, inevitably unrequited and unfulfilled answers (obviously ludicrous, absurd questions…recall the preamble that began this reading, on the critical importance of understanding your enquiry…).

The Hanged Man, suspended mind, relinquishing of control to the Life Force that preceded and gives rise to it, a completely new relationship to Mind/Self, what it is for, what it most certainly is not for, and how this relationship changes absolutely everything, once you stop taking on jobs for which you are seriously not qualified and have none of the tools. The gift, or curse, of the Self – a rebirth, the Hanged Man is transitioning from caterpillar to pupal stage, no sign of butterfly, the Hanged Man represents, more than any other quality, the power of solution and desire for the dissolution inherent in the Element Water.

“Let go”, he whispers, dangling and deliberately helpless, hands tied, all action taking place within; that inner Vision being everything of value, the chai (“living”) 18 rays of green light flowing from the Ace of Wands into the watery athanor of the Ace of Cups, borne forth with the rider of the archetypal Chariot (chrysalis-as-container-for-change, Cancer, Cardinal Water), now become human, born at last, now here hanging, made flesh, and ‘suffering’ the liberating disillusionment that will be necessary for the real growth step towards…

Death

Death

Ole’ Bonesy again.
Atu XIII. “From the mundane to the Monumental…”

We have previously taken a different sort of sojourn through the cheeriness of this most beloved Arcana, but let’s consider him again, from the context here posed. Remember, Water – even more than every other Element – is always and totally contingent on container, context, dignity, and influence. The Question, dammit, the Question.

The ground that Death consecrates is the boneyard that is haunted by the corpse of ‘business as usual’. The nightmares and spirits stalking between the rows of headstones and memento mori on the unusually springy and fecund Earth are united in chorus: you can deny me, run away from my grinning visage all you want – but Things Cannot Go On Like This, and I’m not Going Away. Aces are new, hence Change. Growth, it has been noted, hurts.

Change is Here. Endings are Here. Transition. Before the Rebirth of the New: some long-overdue scything down and a period of mourning, burial of ‘headless forms’, putrefaction, liquification, transformation, re-absorption, and fertilization all depend on the journey through Scorpio’s watery Underworld, the Nile in which Osiris was drowned.

I think the greatest genuine fear that Death wields as this almighty taboo deep in the psyche is the end of relationship. I mean, that’s a fair definition of the Absolute, as well, if you think about it. The Absolute, by definition, has no relationship to any ‘thing’ else – ‘It’ ‘Is’ ‘All’, that’s what makes it Absolute, not Relative. No wonder Death is recognized as ‘meeting your maker’. No wonder it’s so hard to say goodbye to anybody, expected or unexpected, when they die; so hard to swim in those deep waters. Your relationship is frozen in time, no longer in the flow, no longer in the river, but a marker someone behind you, for ease or for ill – the things said, known, unspoken, hidden…forever seems suddenly so obvious, so real in the context of its previous abstraction, the solid ice that stretches as far as the eye can see around the hole of everything you didn’t communicate when there was still Time.

Time. Death is God as Timekeeper.

Death is le petit mort, the annihilation of orgasm, that window to non-Self that shatters the armour of the Charioteer (the card is, of course, named The Chariot), and gets down to, well, hard bonin’.

Birth and Death, the two end-states of the exact same Spectrum Disorder…or perhaps it’s a unique, ancient Spectrum Of Order, the alleles and ladder-steps of your DNA structure, von Neumann machines, replicating themselves and creating living, breathing advertising campaigns for that subtle code, seeking new programming environments to co-create permutations of that essential pattern, and devise new campaigns to attract a new Cup in which the Wand and Sword of Yang can stir the depths, and plough the Disk of the soils of Yin. The heaving breath of the Spring and the last gasp of the Autumn, Saturn returning for the final, sombre but footloose Dance while Mars seduces Venus with mythically bad pickup lines.

From the stillness of the Hanged Man, Mem, Water not subject to any influence, suspended only from Above; to Death, Nun, Fish, that which (ironically here!) lives in and depends on (or is upended in) Water.

The wisdom that is received in the 18-rayed flash of chai that is gestating toward that 4-coiled serpent manifestation at some other moment of Now demands a process as irrevocable, as relationship altering as Death, the real hard-to-say-goodbye-I-don’t-believe-it-say-it-isn’t-so reality of Death, Change, The End that Was Implied In The Beginning. The shattering instant of climax.

It would be lovely if completely letting go of ‘business as usual’ and redefining the entire apparatus of identity and meaning that Death implies really were a game of chess in a Bergman film, or a scheduled lunch appointment with Bonesy (who doesn’t eat much, after all) where you calmly and rationally (The Emperor, the 4 that Death’s 13 as 1+3 invites us to consider ‘of the nucleus’) hand over all the Life Force and ego infrastructure to the Reborn neshamah, or Divine Soul (notice the Nun at the beginning, the vibration-into-being of it as phoneme, nnnnnnnnnnn, a twanged ruler on the edge of a school-desk, an elastic band between the fingers, the unmissable announcement of Now as a manifestation, not mid-point between (mind-created) Past and Future…neshamah, the Soul, which is what measures Time, an illusion – much like Death!).

Death is a wake-up alarm, a reminder of what Real Value must be in the shadow of the transience of this insane struggle to live (allegedly). The Christian connotations of the fish and Death through the Rebirth of Baptism in the Hanged Man, the truest self-initiation, ‘the wet path’ abound: truly embrace Death, as your friend, your teacher, your constant companion. Mourn your cat, who is dead, long gone; grieve your pets, all buried already; shed the tears for your parents, who’s funeral you have just arrived back from; and your children, they are dust, their joy nothing but a memory for long since dead survivors; your business, an industry now obsolete for decades, all glories and tribulations forgotten; your life’s-work, however grand or mediocre, is rain in the relentless rhythm of time’s river, washed from recollection, a footnote in the sweeping narrative that roars and bounds under gravity’s spell through caverns and earth’s embrace, to the sea, to the sea, to the sea. Mourn! Grieve! The natural state of all this is Death! And so…

The next day, you awaken, and see: a miracle. The resurrection. Hallelujah, again! One last day, one more sunrise, one final chance – to be with them, go do that, perfect that other thing, or finish the whatnot. One remaining opportunity to understand, listen, be acknowledged, and to acknowledge. Rejoice, for Death is beaten once more! We are Risen! Look, Our Works!

One last swim in that fathomless, profound Cup, and its rivers running rapids through mountain and valley, such winding paths to return back to their origins in the profound dark depths of the Sea, or the frozen Ice of the poles, or the howling, apocalyptic winds and their storms, flames and destructive furies, heaving, seismic and molten, into the very heart of matter itself.

Forgiveness is, of course, a major theme – both the ‘treachery’ of the Hanged Man and the ‘attachments’ and inevitable pains of Death, with its binding impact on relationship. Dissolve it all. Drip drip drip, just time and patience, but don’t run out…Death carries an hourglass, Death has multiple alarms programmed in, Death is always busy, scheduled, booked up. Birth too, they work out of the same Office. Beep beep a beep. Beep beep a beep.

Right in the center of the Watery triplicity is the essential sexualization (again, a Scorpio, fixed Water theme in keeping with the zodiacal attribution) of consciousness that mediates between the bloodlines and specific karma of being born to particular parents in a particular land and culture at a particular time, with the journey from a specific family context into the World (Cancer, The Chariot, cardinal Water, 4th House) to the spiritual destination in mutable Pisces, the dissolution and sublimation of what is, prior to any other discovery, merely the reproductive instinct run amok and turned into a pornographic epicentre for programming the behaviour of the vehicle bearing these Mysteries within.

It is in the tousling with the Constant Companion – Ole’ Bonesy – that this drama will play out. From sexual fixation and satisfaction to…to what, exactly?

That’s a little beyond this blog post, perhaps. Not just another Boner, presumably. LOL 😉

The Princess

Finally, then, since the Princess of Cups is so deeply connected to her Ace – indeed, all Princesses to all Aces – we should cast our glance on her graceful, dancing, flowing form to consider her message to us, being a news-bearing type. I keep telling you, you can’t consider Tarot cards in isolation!

She is caught between the idealism and dream-romance of her basic nature and the pragmatism and realpolitik of the World she finds herself in. She is caught between the fear of being hurt further or giving herself over completely. There is a fragility there that is protected by layers of warmth and emotional creativity, by grace, and personable people-skills – but don’t let that fool you. The Princess of Cups often struggles with ‘reality’ – the consensual kind. She prefers her inner World, but must work hard to integrate in the Outer one, to Make Sense of It All.

She is the lighthouse – perhaps imagined, perhaps not – in the storm we did not prepare for, she reminds us that in the most profound darkness, we must choose to search for light, and continue to dream, to seek that light that is no light at all, that shines within – or does not shine. She comes to taunt us, lovingly, always friendly, with the memory that if we relinquish our optimism, then we guarantee that we will have nothing whatsoever to be optimistic about. She is the light-bearing wish when all other lights have gone out, reminding us of our own vital role in maintaining purpose, meaning and that rare commodity in this over-commodified, capital worshipping cult of the normal – hope. Hope not as carrot to keep us blindly trudging onwards, like a donkey ride on the beach where we are the donkey – but rather, hope as ideal, as goal, as purpose against which we can measure our actual, true progress.

The Princess of Cups is in search of simplicity in a time of diminishing resources. She, like the Ace of which she is Throne, invites us to consider the symbiosis of our relationships. She “represents the power of Water to give substance to idea, to support Life, and to form the basis of chemical combination” according to Crowley. She is the crystallization of instinct toward idea. Pragmatic, earthy steps are needed to transform the ephemeral, liquid transience of her Element into new stations of plan and action. She encourages the thoughtful gesture, the creative decision and process, the fixing of otherwise elusive and fanciful aims into definite goals and achievable steps of progress toward them. She is neither possessive, jealous, nor moonstruck. Any relationships which have been revealed to lack the necessary depth are up for review. She calls us forwards to new relationships, with ourselves and others.

In the I Ching the Earth-of-Water is Hexagram number 41 – Sun, Decreasing. The commentary speaks of the need to understand how the decrease of that which is lower automatically creates the increase of that which is higher, how giving relates to receiving. “Surely something is to be lost…”

“There is a time for decreasing the firm, and increasing the yielding”. All that is excessive must be trimmed, all that is insufficient will thus (as consequence) flourish.  

And you thought the Ace of Cups meant ‘Falling in love’!!!???

Sure, it can. The cost is often high, is all. Perhaps the Highest. There is no shallow end. You either sink, or swim. Ace of Cups, baby! Love and Death have the same precise effect on Consciousness. Sex too.

The Four Horsemen are abroad, do you not hear their charge? Do you not see the dust cloud on the horizon, slowly approaching? Do you not recognize those familiar, terrifying visages as your own, grinning reflection?

Die Daily!

~Aleister Crowley

TL;DR

Question: What to make of it all?

Draw: Ace of Cups

Answer: It’s not just a storm in a teacup.
Look toward community, and collaboration for solutions.
It’s all solution.

Here is the opportunity to reach others, and truly touch alike hearts. Withdraw. Be still. Don’t act. Diminish. Be simple.

This, too, shall pass.
As, too, shall you.

The most profound wisdom can be just the right amount forgotten.
Business as usual cannot continue.

Embrace the change, with grace, or be destroyed by it.
Draw those you love close, and let go.
Prepare the new vision with love and humility.

There is no shame in inactivity.
Inner activity demands stillness.
You must be open, receptive, something is gestating, and needs time.

Beware Time.

Please feel free to ask me anything you like, especially about any weird terms you don’t understand, or what the fuck I am ranting on about. I’ll answer pretty much anything I can.

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