Textual Arachne

A weaver of threads.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Moving into the sky

The Tower crashes everything down. The Star is the clearing away of the debris. Cleansing, though not in a "hide it all" or even "get rid of it" sense. Wash it till it's clean. The Star is sad, and withdrawn, but also the first sign of hope.

The Moon is more than hope but not as unequivocally good as hope is. The Moon is possibilities bigger than any previously dreamed. The water glows with color, and two planets hang in the sky, and the little dream-spheres that litter the Minor Arcana bubble up here in huge numbers. Those dreams where the planets were huge, covering half the sky? This is it. This is going on after you've fallen and mourned and cleansed--it's the Big Sky that dreams lead to, and it's the midnight vigil.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Devil

I've studied this card out of context, and it's seemed to mean the Voice of our Adversary. Whether that's the external hating oppressive force or the internal self-loathing that takes over and would corrupt and destroy every aim, that's how the Devil has manifested.

I have placed less focus on the standard notion of enslavement by material things, material desires. It seems to be less spoken to by the card's image. However, there is a link between the idea of the "loose chains" and the voluntary enslavement and this card's idea of wrongness. The three-eyed (ram? goat) is either stupidly cruel or happily unaware of the third eye that has been placed upon it in a jeweled pile. The snake is malevolent and all-too-human in its eye, but the snake has been on many cards before and hasn't had a malicious reading.

Death, then Alchemy; then the Devil and the Tower. Why does Alchemy sit in that string of darkness, enslavement, eruption, and misfortune? Is it more negative than it seems? Is it not just a reaction but a catalyst?

Sunday, June 25, 2006

From hiatus: Justice, Hanged Man, Death

While on vacation, I worked my way through those three. They are at the center of the 22 cards of the Major Arcana, and yet they're some of the hardest for me to parse. The Hanged Man especially; even more because Haindl's version isn't suffering or ascetic but embracing and bright (possibly the brightest card--colorwheelwise--in the Majors).

What I did come up with was a small progression. Justice is the weighing of two alternatives, neither of which is obviously better or worse than the other. The Hanged Man is the process of embracing one of those paths or choices, including the initial sacrifices (typo: "scarifices") and shifts of perspective. Death, though, is the cataclysmic shift that comes from choosing that path. You might anticipate it, but it is more than you reckoned with. The choice of an action, preparation for the action, and action--action that leaves you forever changed. Like a marriage, or lovemaking, or moving: even if you regret it or annul it, you will forever be marked by it-- an ex-spouse or an old lover or a former inhabitant.

Death comes so early in the Majors, for those of us who perceive it as the end of all. Perhaps I am wrong.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Wheel

A little ironic that I'm doing this one today. My first entry, and last night's that parallels it, are so focused on the wheel of the year that in a way I feel like I've "done" the Wheel.

But not quite, of course. Haindl's illustrations don't let us rest with simplicity or with familiar interpretations.

A man's face above; a woman's below. Upon the wheel we don't have king and peasant, death and baby. Instead we have a tortoise and a unicorn, a bearded man, a snake (an indistinct snake, compared to Strength), water dripping, bubbles rising, stone and air. And in the center is a hand, that may be trying to spin the wheel or to stop it, but seems to be failing in its attempt to grasp. In the hand's center, a tiny golden flame.

The wheel doesn't give us what we expect. It's framed by us, and we think we can control it, but it eludes us and moves or halts as it will. It's not a card of whim but of change--and the fundamental thing of the Wheel's version of change is unpredictability. Merchant does not lead naturally to king, leading naturally to deposed noble. Rather, the motion that continues is necessary but unknowable.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Midsummer night

We've ended the longest day of the year. The last bits of light are gone.

Now is the high point of the wheel. Take the things you've been holding onto, building momentum through the rush of spring, and launch them like a discus out on their own. This isn't the time to lament that from here on out it just gets darker. That might be accurate, but it's not important. What's important is using this top of the arc to send our lights outward.

Sparks that fly off us as we spin.

Send them out, and spend the summer watching them glow, as some learn to spin on their own and others mark the sky with streaks, accelerating away from our sight. Be warmed by them in the next quarter of the year.

In midwinter, you will remember: The echo of the note struck today, and the promise that it will be sounded again, will call us back from death in the long nights.


The fuzziest card in terms of images, even if the Chariot and the Empress were more confusing. He walks away from a shape that I am interpreting as a city. Faces throughout the rock and the sand--owls with part-human eyes, predatory birds that seem to grow out of the stone. He didn't come out here to judge the city. He came out here seeking.

Hence the shepherd's crook and the lantern; also, the eyes turned upward not down in world-weary sadness. The Hermit might be old but he is not weary. Would a weary man, an exhausted man, who carries the knowledge of the world and has seen all there is to see--would he pick up and go out into the wilderness, seeking that great white light? Not to escape the city, but to see what is normally obscured by it. The stars. The light. The wild things in the rocks.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Why am I here?

Here, as in online--not here, as in on this planet.

This blog is not known (yet). As a result, I feel more able to be expressive in my spiritual writings than I do in my personal journal. I do not have an audience of friends. Yet I am also not talking to my shadowbox, or writing in a locked diary. These thoughts are available to others, even if noone knows to look for them.

I'm not shouting into the void, or acting out for my friends; I'm singing to myself, hoping that over time I get better at it. I am attempting to write out my thoughts on my paganism without the pressure of producing it for people who know the rest of me, and also without the luxury of privacy.

I want to be more consistent in my beliefs; more aware of my strengths and weaknesses, more in tune with my rhythms and systems and practices. I also want to end up creating a liturgy, as I explore some of the existing systems--the Tarot deck, the wheel of the year, and so on.

Part liturgy, part homily, part exploration.


Theoretically, this is one of the easy ones. Strength, right? Simple meaning. Name of card equals meaning of card.

She's not controlling the snake, barely even grasping it. She is indistinct compared to its bright green and red. The sky is dark with a crescent moon, but the sky reflected in the pool at her feet is light blue, even silvery.

It is not the vivid, immediate thing of the world (the snake) that has the greater strength. It is the indistinct, faint force guiding it, leading it. How does she lead this? I shifted my legs into the same position as in the card and discovered two things: It's uncomfortable, and it demands movement. It's not a pose of repose, a rest by the riverside while she toys with this three-yard-long reptile.

It's a moment in a dance. Strength is not forcing through the difficulties or bludgeoning themt, nor is it stubbornness. Strength is dancing with them.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Called up to the majors

Day eight. Still don't get The Chariot. Harnessing differences, yes; hurtling out of control, yes. But why does my deck's version have a boat? With wheels? Why the burning figure on the deck--why the screaming boar, the moon-and-star, the gold blocks? What is the chariot carrying, and what draws it?

Working my way through the Major Arcana is more confusing than I had anticipated. We're past the easy ones, and not yet to the ones that get the most thought (Tower, Moon, Alchemy).


All things are beginning. If the wheel of the year seems like a constant returning, retreading the same paths, then we must also be aware that this spinning wheel is always throwing off sparks. New starts, shooting off at a tangent and beginning to spin on their own.

It is appropriate that I am beginning this while approaching the summer solstice. It never feels like midsummer, or the point where everything starts to get dark again. It feels like the high point of velocity; like the peak of the roller coaster before you start the fantastic plummet toward the ground.

Midsummer is not the top of the wheel, where from here on out it's all woe and dark and ah, life is ending and shrinking again. No more than midwinter means an end to the death and the silence of snow. Midsummer is the escape-velocity moment of the year. This is when we take the things that have been spinning with us, getting ready to go--the flowers waiting to be pollinated, the year's work, the fledglings, the projects--and fling them out, using all the momentum of the frantic bursty growth of spring to heave them skyward. From there they find their own orbits, or continue on into the distance, burning brightly, and through all the rest of summer we watch them grow and fly. We bask in the ripening fruit and the glow of the sun, even as we're aware that the rest of the descent is waiting.

The note struck at midsummer is the echo that calls us back from the dead lands in midwinter.