People have been telling me that my cartomantic teachings change their lives. I’m happy to hear that, because I’m here to help with reading images, reading human nature, and reading the world around us.
But what I like the best is when this line: ‘You’ve changed my life’, manifests concretely. For instance, just this month I’ve been sharing the writing of my students in Cards and Magic. Writing that has been produced spontaneously, and as a sudden surge of inspiration. Just marvellous.
This week another student, musician and artist, Wendy Gadzuk, sent me a piece of writing inspired by our work in Radiant Reading.
She said: ‘You’re welcome to share it with others if you will.
And so I do. I share it here as a guest post, initiating also a fine tradition of sharing others’ writing, when this writing is not only relevant for the context of Taroflexions, but also very fine and inspiring. I’m grateful to Wendy for sharing her work, and for letting me know just what she gets out of our work together.
I hope you all enjoy her encounter here with the Devil himself.
“So where do YOU want to go when you die – heaven or hell?”
I was 6. He was 7, and so much more worldly and wise than I. He told me that in heaven, you get to have candy in your mouth all the time. There are pretty colors. In hell, you are constantly on fire. It hurts. You burn.
Of course heaven sounded better. But I wanted him to like me. He wanted to go to hell, so I told him I did too. Later, I asked our babysitter, who punished us more harshly for saying “Goddamn” than “damn,” where she would rather go.
“Heaven, of course.”
She taught me how to paint on ceramic Christmas trees, before they were fired to a glossy sheen, colors melting into one another. Some years later, I saw her name in the crime section of the local Gazette. She had been arrested for stealing diamonds from Kay Jewelers, where she was employed. I wondered if she would still go to heaven.
My mom told me her name was Sherry. She was 12. I saw her picture in the paper, wearing her tartan dress. “Catholic School Girl Stabs Mom to Death.” She was my mom’s French student. My mom said her mom never made their house a home. They had no furniture. Is that why she stabbed her mom? That seemed odd. If only her mom had bought furniture, I thought, she would still be alive. Was she in heaven? Would Sherry go to hell? Was she still Catholic? Was she ever Catholic?
“There is a house on Blunt Road where I hear a bunch of devil worshippers live. Wanna go find it?” What else was there to do on a Friday night with some friends with a car and a couple joints? Everyone else was scared. I was not. Is there something wrong with me? I wondered. “I hear there is a big goat skull out in front. Do you see it?” We never found the skull, or the house, but the rumors continued.
“Generals gathered in their masses, just like witches at black masses.”
I was 13. I had heard this was “Devil music.” It spoke to me. I wasn’t allowed to go out late at night, so I decided instead to stay home and worship the Devil. I played Black Sabbath records over and over and burned candles and incense and drew inverted crosses at my desk. Is this how I channel Him? Wait…what if I can’t come back? Seduced by the dark side, but too full of fear to surrender, I sat in the darkness, moonlight illuminating my window, still.
“They should realize before they criticize, that God is the only way to love.”
Wait…what?? Black Sabbath, my holy leaders down the path of darkness, are now singing about God and love? I burned my drawings and prayed, as best as I knew how, that I would not need an exorcism. I brushed my teeth and went to bed.
“Do you want to read cards like the Devil?” Camelia asks. Yes. Yes, I do. I think. What does this mean? I take her class. I learn that while in the language of the Tarot that I’m familiar with, the Devil often symbolizes addictions, obsessions, and being tied to something in an unhealthy manner, he also symbolizes freedom. Letting loose. Letting it all hang out. Using our base instincts to draw people to us. Sex. Animalizing. Telling it like it is without judgement, without the imposed restrictions of a moral code, without the need to classify “right” and “wrong.” We even have to tell the story of how we meet the Devil, as narrated by the cards. Because we all do. And this is not a bad thing.
I still do not know if the Devil truly resides in hell, but I do know that I can make peace with him and his presence, and still have lots of pure, unfiltered love to give and spread around. He does not stop this. In fact, he may even be a part of it.
The images featured here are Wendy’s own art. Ballpoint pen drawing: “Xobelo”, and mixed media assemblage: “Waiting For the Rain.”
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