Sometimes I let myself be seduced by various esoteric schools’ claims to knowledge and the invention of a new system of correspondences. After the necessary ‘whoa,’ ‘how awesome,’ ‘fascinating,’ ‘brilliant,’ and ‘are you kidding me,’ I’m often left with a nagging little question, imperceptibly voiced: ‘so what?’ As a nice Sunday activity I decided to ask the tarot itself what it might think of correspondence. I took out 11 decks that I work with or that I find interesting. I let each say a piece of its mind. My precise question was this:
To what extent do you like being linked to all sorts of systems of correspondences? (Here I was thinking Astrology, Kabbalah, Enochian, Rosicrucian, cultural differences, this and that other religion, and so on).
The Tarot speaks:
THE VISCONTI SFORZA: Tre di Coppe, Cinque di Spade, Il Diavolo
‘Two battle for a third, and before you know it no one can settle the claim to superiority but the Devil. He decides which system of correspondence goes, so good luck with trusting him.’
THE MARSEILLE: Le Soleil, Tenperance, La Rove de Fortvne
‘I used to like it just fine until the alchemists of the world decided to constrain everything to rigid polarities so that now I’m stuck in a rut with one axiom only ruling: what goes up goes down. Boring.’
THE WAITE-SMITH: Four of Pentacles, Three of Pentacles, Four of Wands.
‘I’m holding on to it, my 4 worlds. Ok, the masons can chisel a bit more at it, tease more secrets out of the rose, and then we can all celebrate. 4 is a good magical number, after all.’
THE THOTH: Four of Cups, Knight of Swords, Five of Cups
‘Say what? A system of nice and neat correspondence? Impose that on tarot with reckless eagerness and you’ll end up with a tarot on a hot plate.’
THE T-TAROT: The Victorious-One, Hanging Man, Feeler
‘Bring in the Woman, quickly. Mastery of the self that is achieved through relying too much on controlling things only brings about a state of weeping. No system is good enough that is a system of correspondence. Feeling must go into it. Flow, not correspondence.’
SOLLEONE: Due di Bastoni, Sette di Bastoni, Due di Coppe
‘Let him bring it on, a new system. Look at his shining armor. We’ll dismantle it over the fire, burn it, and then for good measure we’ll administer some poison too. That’ll teach him.’
THE SHINING TRIBE: Seven of Rivers, Gift of Birds, Five of Trees
‘I don’t like all that coming and going up the river. Look at that circus. Let’s have some order here and let only the language of the birds be spoken. Better yet, shut up, and enjoy the silence of the night.’
THE CRONE: Two of Swords, Two of Cups, Shadow of Wands.
‘Now you see it, now you don’t. 2+2=1. Hot ideas burn.’
THE BAPHOMET: The Lovers, The Chariot, The Hermit
‘Penetrating, these systems, but what’s the point?’
DER AKRON: Drei Scheiben, Ass der Schwerter, Drei Stäbe
‘I like systems of correspondences. They have energy. They create processions of thought. The imagination that can think an army or a military! Now there we go.’
AMERIGO FOLGHI: Re di Coppe, Nove di Bastoni, Sei di Spade
‘With this cup I take thee to put behind bars. The 6 musketeers will protect your silk. You will love this system.’
As Vonnegut used to say: ‘So it goes.’ What mythologies people choose to feed their hearts and heads with is not for me to judge. But if we ask the tarot anything, we get a clear answer. Enjoy your Sunday activities.
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