Here’s what I think about the tarots that make me think: they are great as elastics. If a deck can give me a sense of the following question, then I’ll use it: How far can I stretch a ‘traditional’ meaning, or interpretation of a card? The ideal is neither too far from, nor too close to the breaking point, but rather exactly as much as it’s needed. That’s the art.
Andrew Kyle McGregor has been very kind to me. Not only did he invite me on his podcast series last month, but he also sent me a set of cards, the Tarot Waiting to Happen, that he very creatively and originally created.
Here’s a quick example of what I got from laying 3 cards on the table and considering, along with what I know about the so-called card meanings, what the tarot waiting to happen means.
As I never read the tarot without a question, I had one for this deck. I had a dream last night about having found the full skeleton of a fox – though the skeleton looked more like an Arctic Fox proper, judging by the fluffy, yet fossilized-looking tail. And yet, a skeleton it was nonetheless. I was trying to find some means of transporting it, and getting it through some airport security. My concern in the dream was with reporting it or not at customs. This morning I found in my mailbox Andrew’s tarot, and what do I see? The first card I lay my eyes on depicts the fox as the Fool. Already too cool.
Given that Andrew seems fond of foxes – more than a few cards depict a fox or have foxy lines – I then thought it would be a great idea to ask his deck precisely to give me a hint as to what my fox bones meant.
I got the following:
LE MONDE (The World), LE PENDU (The Hanged Man), LE BATELEUR (The Magician)
Straightforwardly I liked what the cards suggested:
You are not so sure of what seems to be a flake world. You change your mind about trying it out, by turning your back to it and going for getting a lift to elsewhere.
Now, why do I see this world here as a ‘flake’, a superficial world that lays a trap for me, as indicated by card next to it and which features a cake in a noose that is as yet untouched?
Well, simply because this is where the tarot waiting to happen stretches it too. The World is not quite the world, so we’re not quite there yet. Therefore we have here a sense of movement and unsettled relations as the flying animals in the card suggest. Followed by the card of Le Pendu – which to me often indicates simply carelessness and the unfortunate situation when YOU, not someone else, causes shit to happen to yourself – the World cannot be anything than a world full of promises and no delivery. Now, Le Bateleur, being a master of working on a hunch, will, of course, see all of this coming. He will not hesitate to take the next car to some other world. Moreover, as witnessed precisely by the trapping card next to this World, there’s a strong suggestion that there will be nothing to regret, or even ask potentially: what if? In another context, we could imagine the situation when we may ask, upon seeing the World followed by the Hanged Man, the following? What if I had stayed? What if I had not let it all hang? What if I had not given up? Such waste of time, but a common occurrence.
The Tarot Waiting to Happen gives us a very precise indication here that these last questions cannot be posed in all earnest, for there’s no evidence for why we should entertain the possibility that this world here that is left behind is also a wonderful world, and that it’s a shame, really, that we must leave it behind as we’ll probably miss out on many wondrous things.
Just as the fox is known for her ability to lay strategies, invent a plan out of nothing, calculate variables, weigh options and thus survive, so we are led here to believe that we are just fine with this magician. Leaving behind a superficial world that’s merely trapping is always a very good idea indeed, even if we may be tempted to think otherwise.
Traditionally, the World indicates full realizations and accomplishments. But this is often on the abstract level. Here I find that I have much more affinity with the French, Italian, and Balkan readers, rather than the Anglo-American ones, who all see the World on a practical level as a card that ends things, that puts a full stop to a project, or simply as a card that has no significant meaning at all where solutions are concerned. Quite literally, being all over the place is hardly desirable when what one needs is some focus or a trajectory. So even as a personality card, the World is not so attractive. I like readers such as Colette Silvestre who is often not that impressed with anyone’s cosmopolitanism when a situation calls for anything else but a floundering about from one airport to another, chitchatting with a lot of people about everything and nothing, and being superficial.
I see that there’s a lot of that here, in Andrew’s World card, a take on the practical. Perhaps the Tarot Waiting to Happen is all about being very practical in general. It’s all about doing things rather than soul-searching, even while waiting for things to happen. So, quite the departure from the ending that dictates that everyone lived happily ever after. Excellent deck. Excellent overall message: The world is a flake. The regrets have not yet happened as you have just avoided falling pray to any robbers, and there’s always a new destination you can move towards, if your hunch is strong enough and also proves the right one. Right.
Many thanks, Andrew, for your great cards, your generosity, and your friendship.
Note on the deck:
Tarot Waiting to Happen, Andrew Kyle McGregor for The Hermit’s Lamp, Toronto, 2013
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