Generally, my philosophy of reading cards is simple. I state this much in my intro pages to Taroflexions: “The cards tell you what you already know and what you don’t know. As soon as you see the relation between knowing and not knowing articulated in images, you get infinitely smarter. Therefore the cards are always right. If the outcome is ‘wrong’ it’s only because I’ve missed something. And why are the cards right? Because they speak poetry. Because they invite me to ‘look’ rather than state an opinion.”
Now, this philosophy has proved pretty reliable especially as it regards a specific question. The answer that we get from the cards often instigates to action, and that’s what most people, either want, dread, or would prefer not to see spelled out. But there are also situations when we come to the oracle for something else rather than an answer. We can pose the oracle a rhetorical question. Like today, when I found myself exclaiming, ‘now what?’ as soon as I realized that I had booked two important events on top of each other. As I wasn’t prepared to make a decision, I thought I could ask the cards to tell me something about this overlapping situation. I was quite convinced while shuffling the cards that I didn’t want an answer. I wanted a clue. The point with this exercise is to relax the mind, and breathe, since I know that before I know it, I must make that decision to go either with the one or the other event. To attend both of them at the same time is impossible, so what I’m looking at is a game of lose and win or win and lose, as time will show.
Now, given the situation, I used a deck that’s ‘funny.’ I picked the 16th century German cards designed by Jost Amman in about 1558. At that time many card makers and artists experimented with suits, and what we’ve got here is also an unusual set. We have books (probably spades), printers ink pads (probably clubs), jars (probably diamonds), and cups (probably hearts). As my ‘unfortunate’ situation involves events about teaching and learning, I thought that it would be ‘fun’ to ask this deck to offer its opinion. As the reading was basically a wrap already in the first three cards, I’ll spare you the details. Mainly also because it’s impossible to take a decent photo of all the 13 cards I used – Amman is a man of details, and we find an enormous amount of that in these cards. But the point that I’m trying to make is that we can read with any pack provided that we stick to the rules. Here the rules were dictated by the simple method of fortunetelling, particularly the way I’ve come to formulate it myself with the help of a few masters, and in accordance with my wish to always keep it simple.
I drew the first cards in this order: 2 1 3
The Five of Books tells me what I already know. And what a monkey situation it is! The man in the picture, due to his absentmindedness, is robbed of his possessions – and not to mention the pissing on his head. Yep, I deserve that. But good cheering to the left in the form of the Two Cups and playing music still stands. The people that invited me to contribute to these events still want me. So all I need to do is work on what is fair. It looks like the Ace of Ink Pads already chose its target: I’ll probably be going for the honors.
Now, although I haven’t asked for an answer for what to do, or which of the two events I should attend, this nice pack tells me ever so bluntly to stick to the first commitment. You don’t get the Ace of Ink Pads in that third position for nothing.
So, there you have it. A lot more could be said – also about what I make of the intended improbable that I leave out of this – but right now I need a glass of wine. The dog has been waiting for me to get over my frustration, and the Bartleby syndrome. And, please, someone don’t remind me of how Melville’s Bartleby the Scrivener ended.
Note about the deck: Jost Amman, 1558, a 2006 facsimile reproduction by Rose & Pentagram Design.