Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Shoestring Spellcraft: Tarot without a deck

So, here's a semi-regular series of posts that mixes two of my great loves, magick and being a cheap wanker, and gives it to the verminous, venemous and I'm also betting, venereal vox populi. The real secret to magic/k, spells, and fuck it I'll just come out with it, getting a cheat-sheet for you everyday life, is this: Any old cunt can do it.

So, let's start it off with something really simple. Tarot.
Sure it's surrounded in a lot of old rigmarole, and it's the mainstay for any fortune teller who's looking for a quick buck. Just a tip, unless someone's offering you a free reading, and you trust them with judging yourself and your life, then it's probably a scam. Frankly, the best reading come from yourself. YOU should be the one who knows yourself the best, and if you aren't, playing with the tarot will probably help.
The Tarot is essentially two decks joined together. 56 minor arcana cards which divide themselves into 4 suits, cups, swords, pentacles, wands. And the Major Arcana, which has 22 (21 numbered, along with number none, The Fool) cards in it. In here you have your Tower, Sun, Moon and Death cards in it.
Usually the Minor Arcana is more day to day in its scope, while the Major Arcana traditionally shows stages of deep personal or spiritual growth.
Regardless of what you might have glimpsed from the media and fucking idiots, the Major Arcana are generally pretty rare to pick up in a spread, and generally a good practitioner of Tarot would re-contextualise an entire spread for every time one turns up in a reading.
The point of Tarot isn't to tell your future. Anyone who says so or uses it specifically for that purpose is going to be disappointed, and laughed at all the best parties. The point of the Tarot is WAY more archetypal. It shows the broad-strokes of persons, trials and relationships that appear in peoples lives, and it's, to a fault, VERY GENERAL. The greatest specifics you're going to find is the crap that you equate the imagery and metaphorical intensity attached to a card. Technically, you could use it to get a broad outline of your future, but if you somehow get it into your head that an actual, physical manifestation of the future is going to happen after you've looked into the cards, I'm either going to call you a liar and to please your clothes back on, or ask you for some of that primo-voodoo-space shit that you've been smoking.
But, at the same time, the generality of the cards also comes to your advantage. YOU DON'T NEED A FANCY DECK MOTHAFUCKA*. You see them in stores, and the traditional Rider-Waite deck that you know just cost 20 cents to make is almost 40 bucks. Well fuck 'em all. Here's a way I read that works just as well. And al you need is a normal deck of playing cards and the internet.

"All this nature, and dogs, and flowers and shit... Just makes me want to look up into the sky wistfully."

Kay, so, you can buy any standard pack, I got mine for $2.50 at a $2 store. It has a truly ugly photoshop-ed image of Sydney on it (why it was for sale in a Melbourne store is one of those mysteries of the universe). Open the pack. Take out the Jokers (which don't correspond to any Tarot card) and shuffle and cut like a demon.
Now, all you have to do is attribute swords to spades, wands to clubs, diamonds to pentacles and hearts to cups and you've got yourself a Minor Arcana deck.
An easy reading I've devised with this requires maybe a little drawing ability or a good printer.
First, get in the mood, use whatever aesthetics you need to get you into the "magick"/wicca zone, fancy robes maybe, incense, whatever. Then, use a Major Arcana card (or, an image of/from a card) that typifies a problem or a challenge you're feeling at the moment. Maybe you're feeling socially alienated, so you pick The Hermit which stands for introspection and solitude (in most readings). Or, you're a tad between projects and feeling torn between them, so you Choose the Hanged Man, which stands for-okay, I'll just quit telling you the meanings for the cards here, because it's all contended between a million different interpretations and you may as well just find a site or an app that you like the feel of. Yeah, so anyway, the card you picked is a signifier.
Any who, then pick a card that describes what you want to be, or what you want the outcome to specify. Maybe if you grabbed the Hermit before, you'll pick the Lovers, or the World (okay, I'll shut up now.) Place that a bit underneath the first image/card.
So finally, you use your Minor Arcana deck. Cut three times. While you're doing that, focus on your desire, and put them all back together. Draw your first card and put it on your left between the two signifiers face up. This represents a past context that's shaped your need for the thing. You know, the thing. That you want. Second card in the middle, right between the two signifiers. This is the present context, what you're experiencing now, and if you're savvy enough, you could probably scout out any problem you have with just these two. But then... The Third card represents future events that transpire from the second minor arcana card to the second signifier.
It requires a load of interpretation, and you can't get distracted in any way while you're doing it. Not for snacks, not for sex and definitely not for other social interaction. Cloister yourself somewhere where you won't be disturbed for this. Then again, I'm suggesting you use the internet, so good luck with that.
Anyway, if you want to zazz up your cards, or alter the reading in any way that makes you feel more comfortable, whatever, I'm not your mother. Do what thalt will shall be the whole of the lore (he said, badly paraphrasing).
So that's me for now, until the next time when I have something interesting to write. Bloody Babbler out.

(*Sorry I said that. It was to get your attention. And not because I'm a racist. Assuming that makes you a racistist.)

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