Being Right . . . and Wrong

I was right about being awakened at midnight last night by fireworks. At first, still groggy from being half asleep, I worried something was happening to my house. Being responsible for a house is still so new to me (even though it has almost been three years since I moved here) that I panic at every strange noise. Admittedly, there aren’t as many strange noises as there used to be since I have come to recognize most of them. Still, banging noises do give me pause. But then I fully woke, realized people were celebrating the new year, blew a few wishes for all of you into the wind, and eventually went back to sleep. But not before I noticed there was a bit of snow coming down.

It’s still snowing, and has been all day, so I was wrong about my guess that we’d get a negligible amount of moisture. It turns out I was right to make the effort to plant my wildflower seeds yesterday. Those that didn’t get blown away will be firmly bedded for the rest of the winter, especially since it won’t get above freezing for a couple of days, and then only for two or three hours before the temperature plummets again.

I was also right that despite having a feeling of finality for the end of the year, I don’t have a similar sense of beginning for this new year. I do have a new calendar, though, with empty squares to fill with plans for fun and adventure, so that’s a beginning of sorts.

I also started with a new deck of tarot cards, one I haven’t used before. I never liked these particular cards, which is why I haven’t used them. They seem too bizarre to me and unmagical despite their name “The Magickal Tarot.” [Apparently, I’m wrong about not having used this deck before. While adding tags to this post, I happened to discover a previous discussion of the deck on my blog here: The Magickal Tarot]

This change of decks isn’t a new year sort of thing but a new month thing — every month I change the deck of cards I use, trying to find one that speaks to me. The Magickal Tarot is not such a deck. In fact, it dislikes me as much as I dislike it. The cards it fed me today are the seven of pentacles (Lord of Failure) reversed and the five of swords (Lord of Defeat).

Yikes! Talk about a bad omen for the new year! The first card of my two-card reading denotes the situation, the second card is the challenge I will face. My question was “What do I need to know this year?” and apparently, the cards think I need to know that my hopes will come to naught, and my challenge will be to deal with sorrow and loss and treachery. Oh, my!

The interesting thing to me about this reading was the reversed card. I make sure to keep the cards always in an upright position; I’ve even learned to deal the cards so they always face the same way. And yet, somehow, this one card, for the first time in the 18 months I have been doing a daily one- or two-card reading, was upside down. You’d think that a reversed card of failure would be the opposite of the upright card, but that is not true. If the card were upright, it would mean only delay and success unfulfilled, but reversed, it’s even worse.

I’m not worried about the prognostication. Most of my readings don’t seem to have anything to do with me, so I’m sure this reading is the same.

I hope I’m right about that!

***

Pat Bertram is the author of intriguing fiction and insightful works of grief.

The Magickal Tarot

The tarot deck I am using this month is called The Magickal Tarot, though I’m not sure what makes it magical other than that the cards are supposed to be symbolic representations of the seventy-eight non-physical entities that rule the inner workings of the cosmos. Whatever that means. And anyway, if it’s true that the tarot is a representative of those entities, all tarot decks would be just as magical.

It’s a strange deck, at least to my eyes, with weird artwork. What makes it even stranger is that the artist used an interpretation of symbolism derived from Aleister Crowley’s Book of Thoth, so by all rights, I should have skipped this deck and gone straight to Crowley’s Thoth Tarot Deck, but I chose this deck because it seemed to be an interesting look at the cards. Instead of a single interpretation of each card, he broke it down into three separate sections per card, a moral level, a mental level, and a material level, which I thought would give me a greater understanding of the cards. Unfortunately, he only did this for the Major Arcana (the twenty-two cards depicting human archetypes that show a person’s spiritual evolution into enlightenment).

For the minor arcana (the fifty-two cards that are similar to a regular pack of cards plus an extra face card per suit) he did what everyone else does — gives a simple interpretation.

Even worse, from my point of view, the interpretation of the card in the book is often at odds with the card itself.

For example, today’s card was the ten of cups, which is basically a card of good fortune and success, harmony and fulfillment. And yet the card itself mentions satiety and conflicting elements. The difference could be one of interpretation — after all, the artist didn’t write the book, he only created the cards.

Still, for all the drawbacks, I’ll stick with the deck. Who knows, I might learn something I wouldn’t otherwise know if I had passed on it. Besides, the month will be over soon, and I’ll be able to use a different deck, perhaps one that really does seem magical.

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

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