The question is the hardest, they say, and they are right.
What I like to do with special decks that lend themselves to combining pragmatic concerns with metaphysical ones is ask challenging questions – challenging not in the topical sense, but rather more so in the formal sense.
Whereas a metaphysical concern can manifest in a question about one’s purpose in life, the pragmatic approach investigates into how to go about it. So the idea is to formulate a question while having these two dimensions very clearly hovering in your head simultaneously.
Here’s what I did with the Dark Goddess Tarot. I asked it specifically to address a two-tiered question, one of now and one of floating both in the now and in some immediate future. Let me explain by demonstrating. You can ask the following and draw two cards:
Today is what? Tomorrow is what?
Firstly, you can think of today as quite literally covering your day. Same thing of tomorrow. You can think of it as your immediate future. And although I don’t advise to read cards the predictive way only so that you can proudly fling some statistics to people – ‘my rate of accuracy is 98 percent’, some claim – I prefer to think of the future as something that’s here already, but also something that we can point to – though not in terms of finding a referential point for the future, as that would contradict all the physical laws we know of. Fact is, the future doesn’t exist, so finding a reference point for it is downright stupid.
Secondly, you can think of Today as something that’s hovering, or that has been hovering over your head for what you may also perceive as an eternity already.
Same thing for Tomorrow. The sense of tomorrow can also be hovering like a haze over your head, and at the same time manifest as something more than a haze hovering, having a very distinct form. But what form?
With this in mind I drew two cards for myself:
For Today I got Cybele, the Anatolian Goddess of the Mountains. In Ellen Lorenzi Prince’s rendition, with Cybele you can transcend boundaries through community. As Cybele is associated with the Pope, or the Hierophant, it’s clear that what we’re dealing with here is a teaching situation. As a teacher, I nod. Yep, I get to do that every day, teach, and it also feels like I’ve been doing nothing else all my life.
Now, the point of drawing cards for Today and Tomorrow has to do with getting a sense of how you might experience something new, especially if Today feels like being in a rut. Change comes, but what of it?
Note the capital T that marks a continuity, or rather, as the letter itself also shows, an aspiration for something that hits a ceiling. Now think of an aspiration that hits a ceiling: what form does it take? It can’t be that lofty…
Tomorrow for me announces freshness. Tefnut, the Goddess of Dew and Rain tells me that renewal starts with simple pleasures. I welcome this freshness, and I look forward to it. And it’s good that we can be precise in our approach towards Tomorrow: It looks like, indeed, it’s the simple pleasures that count.
So the Dark Goddess can be very easily employed to answer a double question. And be just as precise at that too.
Now, for some variation. What I also like to do when I look at unusual cards, is ask another deck to support what I see in the first. I don’t do this for ‘clarification’, as I don’t feel that the Dark Goddess here needs any clarification. I do this to get a sense of grounding.
For this purpose I’ve asked a very stylized Tarot deck, the beautiful and intriguing Tarot de Louttre B, to accompany the two Goddesses. I decided to draw two cards for each Goddess.
10 cups and 7 batons tell me the following: You’ve had enough of your work. It’s time for some practical magic.
Fair enough. I like this.
And it’s ever so true that I’m tired of my university job. Though since this one is a good job that I’ve worked hard for and competed even harder for, I’m not interested in ditching it just yet [Update: I ditched this job 3 years after I wrote this – the cards knew better].
So I’m curious to see what changes might come, or what simple pleasures might bring some freshness into it, so that I won’t find myself making a decision I might regret [speaking of today, March 27, 2017, 3 years after, no regrets].
The Wheel of Fortune and Judgment suggest, however, that the changes I welcome may be of a more significant nature than I imagine.
In terms of how these two cards support the idea of renewal above, it’s clear that the message here is on the same page with Tefnut. The wheel turns and a new calling resounds.
Thus one can get wonderful confirmations of the first impressions of the Goddess by bringing in another set of images to speak further on behalf of the Goddess.
Here I have to say that I like it that the Dark Goddess seems to be very generous too. She doesn’t mind it at all having to preside over that which falls outside her own jurisdiction.
Tarot de Louttre B operates with a different set of lines than the Dark Goddess, so one can expect some interesting intersections to appear, and among them, some that are perhaps also contradictory.
But then so is the nature of reading cards. To tell us as many stories as we are willing to hear. Untangle the knots, if they’re complicated.
Enjoy the hovering of the day, today, when I share this again, on the New Moon in Aries, March 27, 2017, adding to this text the following note:
Speaking of change and freshness: Remember this this: When the New Moon is hovering over us, don’t express wishes, set intentions, or ‘do’ magic. Why? For the simple reason because when the Moon is with the Sun, she’s not craving anymore. She’s not chasing the Sun anymore, as she does on a daily basis, which, by the way is also the reason why the moon is your significator for desires.
When the Moon is with the Sun, conjunct the Sun, she’s content. She doesn’t give a damn about your desires and intentions. Also, when the Moon is new, she is as dark as hell. Unless you know exactly what you’re doing, I’d recommend that you stayed away from ‘doing’ magic. Wait until the first crescent, to get some light on it.
When the Moon is dark and new, find a quiet spot, and just sink into yourself. There’s a lot of power in letting things come to you, rather than chasing after them. Setting intentions is an expression of eagerness and craving. As the new moon has no power at all – astronomic fact – because she’s in the bosom of the Sun – you may discover that what you intend for eagerly can turn into a form of punishment. I wrote a short essay about this last year, New Moon Magic, that you may want to revisit, if you have the time.
Good luck with all your gods and goddesses, and then some.
The Dark Goddess, by Ellen Lorenzi-Prince, 2013, ArnellArt.
Tarot de Louttre B, by M. Louttre B, edited by Musée des Artes Décoratifs and Grimaud-Ducale, 1981.