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basic interpretations of the number cards

Oct. 8th, 2008 | 10:25 am
music: Ginormous's Our Ancestors' Intense Love Affair : To Reveal Interiors
posted by: shatterstripes in silicon_dawn

[ reposted to the S_D community rather than my own LJ, oops! ]

Here's some basic things to think about when trying to read with the Silicon Dawn.

The Majors are based on a mish-mash of historical decks - mostly the familiar Rider-Waite-Smith deck, and the Marsailles deck. A lot of my choices for archaic shades of meaning came from this website and this one.

For the Minors and the Courts, my two primary sources were the Golden Dawn deck and the Crowley/Harris Thoth. Both the Thoth and the RWS owe a lot to the Golden Dawn; I'd say that it's one of the major English-language decks, even though it was never widely printed - members of this mystical society made their own to better study it.

You can find the main Golden Dawn manual on the Tarot on the web: Book T. You can also find Crowley's book on the Tarot ("The Book of Thoth") on the web, but it's still in print, so I'll let you chase that down yourself.

In general, I have followed Crowley's modifications to the Golden Dawn deck - my structure for the Courts is based on his, and I've taken several of his number card revisions, like the 6 of Swords being "Science" rather than "Earned Success". My Majors, however, have none of his changes.

The big thing to keep in mind as you browse these references is that I've switched Wands and Pentacles(/Discs/Coins). Certain aspects of these suits have remained - Pents still talk about money more than any other suit - but the elemental associations and the astrological correspondences are totally swapped. Pents are Fire; Wands are Earth. They both talk a lot about building stuff, but in different ways.

Behind the cut is a list of all the number cards and their titles. A single asterisk indicates that it's based in Crowley's twist of the card; two asterisks indicate that it's my own change. The 99s and the 0 are obviously my own.

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I would suggest reading the text in Book T even for the cards I've marked as the Crowlean; some of the differences are really that TAC had a shorter, punchier title than "The Lord of Three Long Words" names that Book T tends towards. If you see something in my drawing that neither reference contains, then roll with it; this is a visual deck.

You can use the ultra-complicated method of divination given in Book T and reprised by Crowley if you like, or you can use whatever modern spread you prefer. In general, the systems this deck are derived from take no notice of reversals, but use the elemental associations of the neighboring cards; if you read with reversals, the general rule is that the less-pleasant meanings of the card are at the fore. Sometimes a bunch of reversals read as a smirk on the oracle's face, to me.

I'll be writing stuff about the cards as things about them strike me. If there's a particular card you'd like me to discuss sooner than later, let me know and I'll burble some about what my references said, and what I turned it into.

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the fool's journey

Sep. 26th, 2008 | 06:17 pm
music: Jethro Tull's Stormwatch : Dark Ages
posted by: shatterstripes in silicon_dawn

One interpretation of the Major Arcana is the "Fool's Journey" - a story of the road from innocence to enlightenment. In general, I feel that this is an awkward fit for the Majors; my research doesn't really make me feel that this was anything near the original intent of the 22 Trumps. Nevertheless, it's a popular metaphor, so I've decided to use it as an element in my deck.

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The List

Sep. 26th, 2008 | 04:08 pm
music: Yello's Pocket Universe : To the Sea
posted by: shatterstripes in silicon_dawn

Here's a list of direct links to the card images for easy reference when discussing them.

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15: The Devil

Sep. 26th, 2008 | 03:06 pm
music: Jean Michel Jarre's Revolutions : The Emigrant
posted by: shatterstripes in silicon_dawn

I'm starting this community off by reposting the card analysis I did during my trip.

Image you've already seenCollapse ) The main theme of this card is rejection of duality. This is a theme running through much of my deck, but it really comes to a point here. The main figure is sitting in a meditative pose, floating in the middle of a very black-and-white room. But she's not meditating - her eyes are open, she's looking off to one side. She is, perhaps, a little irritated. Irritated at being forced into the role of "the Devil", source of evil and ideas to suppress; irritated at her failure to meditate; irritated at something else in the spread next to her. (Did her gaze direct you to a particular card?) Or perhaps she is not so much irritated as disinterested, and distracted; her focus lies not on you sitting there dealing the cards, not on something in the image, but out of the panel.

She is the Devil, what the Christian mythology part of the deck would have you believe is the source of evil. And yet she is serene and not at all interested in tempting you. She is completely detached; she is something on a far larger scale than you work at - and she doesn't care about you. There's a bit of the Total Perspective Vortex going on in this card - you're just a tiny insignificant speck in the universe, you are not particularly loved or loathed by it, you're just there. You're technically her business, but she has broader things on her mind. She doesn't care about the fight between "good" and "evil" any more; maybe she never really did and that's just the story Christianity imposed.

In the context of a question with two main answers, she is a reminder to pause and consider what lies outside the binary thinking of your question - you think X or Y are mutually exclusive, but are they? Are they really just part of a single-dimensional continuum your thoughts are stuck in? What's the third, fourth, fifth option you're not seeing? Can you do X and Y at the same time, if they both tempt you?

Her costume is formal: this is the "man of wealth and taste" of the modern Devil. Were she to bother trying to take her official role and tempt you, you wouldn't notice those hooves, that fire-tipped tail; she'd seem a perfectly sensible businesswoman with a terribly attractive offer and a perfume from the steampunkier reaches of BPAL's range. This is a devil shaped by the industrial world. There's also some definite resonance with one particular Voodoo figure but I am not sufficiently versed in that to discuss it. Lightning-bolt markings on her head recall the linkage of the Christian Devil with various fire-bringer mythology, as well.

Traditional imagery for this card has two little humans in chains at the Devil's feet. Here, they are unchained, but contained within her briefcase: they are her business. They may already have sold themselves to her. They may be about to; what do you see in their interaction with the fiery serpent of her tail?

I am still not entirely certain of the symbolism of the cube and the piece of paper with the nearly-circle drawn on it. They connect with the 'think on more axes' message, but there's something more lurking there...

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