07/30/2013 by syrbal-labrys
Down to the numbered cards, we are. For the longest time, I used to use a really simple and likely completely “off” way of doing the numbered cards — I used some basic numerological symbolism plus the “element” attributions of each suit. Since I got an itchy, bitchy rash from the pagan/new age books on symbols or numerology, my source was a book I still use: J.E. Cirlot’s A Dictionary of Symbols. Nowadays, as you can see, it is being marketed as all “occult” and such; but when I first got it before I even thought about being heterodox in any manner, it was about the meanings in literature and art seen through psychology and history. It is still my go-to book for ferreting out dream meanings. But of course, tarot cards diverge from strict numerology and have historied meanings to particular cards, so trying to learn those as well as obey my own inner “Oh, hell NO…” occasionally makes it trickier than the way I once read. Onwards!
The numbered cards of the “Pagan 2000” deck, especially the Pentacles, are more appealing to me than the trumps. I see few decks that do the numbered suits simply, more like playing cards and I often feel conflicted about that. Sure, the fancy images on most new decks can be stunningly beautiful and symbol filled enough to simplify reading; but the rough-cut of mere playing card style brings me back to the German playing cards that eventually led me to tarot cards to begin with…beautiful decks adorned with branches of leaves, or bunches of acorns. However, the ribbon legends on the “Pagan 2000” decks are usually SO far off as to make me grind enamel off my teeth. Keep that in mind over the next 13 weeks, ok? Walker’s suit cards are where she diverges into her own revisionist mythos, still I find the stark nature sometimes a necessary wake up call. And she crams boatloads of odd mythologies in in this manner — her deck does not bore me. The “Cirque” deck is beautiful and symbol-laden, but for Pents at least, the Steampunk deck wins me again because it is so gorgeous!
Meaning? Oh, yeah…THAT! Well, number wise, the ones should mean being itself, a mystic center, a wholeness…but for me, the aces are more about stark new beginnings, those fragile times that can tip to disaster as fast as not. And Pentacles, connoting all things physical and monetary? That gives this ace the traditional rep as a good omen card. It connotes the season of winter, the direction north and the element earth.
If we follow the “element” pattern around, Air is next in the direction East and the Suit of Swords. Note, however, that the conflict I have long perceived…whether swords are Air or Fire, is played out in the Pagan 2000 deck. Also, oddly, in the attribution of season, my books tell me the season is “autumn” and it is spring for WANDS…which are most often given the element Fire. So, somewhere, sometime…I was not the only reader to go “Now wait a fucking minute, here!” I try to make myself read Swords as Air and thus mental/career related issues; but now and then I still struggle. Swords are made in fire, for pity’s sake…wand like things — spears and arrows fly THROUGH the Air…but I diverge into tail chasing, right? As you see, Pagan 2000 and Walker’s deck vastly differ in the interpretation! Generally, I would say only the reverse, or ill-dignified ace of swords deserves Walker’s harsh conclusion; but I wouldn’t give ‘victory’ a go, either. This card for me speaks of hard fought for new realizations, new ideas to build upon. The Cirque deck Ace of Swords is very beautiful…and the eagles hammer home plenty of “Air! Did you hear me, Air!”
Walker and the Cirque deck make the Ace of Wands impressively fiery, which as related above, sometimes makes me itch. The ugly dragon on the Pagan 2000 deck makes me itch worse. So the soothingly less obvious candle-lit Steampunk wand is my favorite. It is given South as direction, which jars the mind to have Spring assigned as season….since summer is (in this northern hemisphere) my natural thought. Luckily, I don’t often look for a “time stamp” in card readings because this seemingly irrational attribution would make me nuts. My gut says this is the card of Will … have Will will travel in fact; time to Keep Calm and Kick Ass. Yes, yes, the reverse is an abuse of power and too violent, it can even connote likelihood of death. They must know that shiny Steampunk wand makes me want to use it as a headspace adjustment tool on deserving morons?
No, Walker did not watch the Mermaid hoax show, this deck is far older, lol! But that one is in the running for the ugliest; and I hate those chalices on Pagan 2000, too. All the wateriness for emotional flow is adequately shown by all images, left with West for direction and Summer for season….I still find that jarringly off. I always think of new love before the bloom is off when I see this card, and of course, reversed the bloom is off and arguments and dissatisfaction ensue. Some see this as a card foretelling pregnancy, I think the surrounding cards are what makes that prognostication work. The cups are my least favorite in the Cirque deck, they give me the desire to reach for a Mae West vest. Well, that or watch Aquaman cartoon re-runs.