For my birthday, I made up this spread (inspired by this, this, and this one). I had a very nice, lazy, joyful day
today yesterday, so I’m getting to this pretty late. But since it’s for the entire year ahead I guess that doesn’t matter all too much. I’m still using the Tarot of the Silicon Dawn.
Here’s the layout overview complete with spread positions.
1. Past influences that are ending or passing out of my life
2. Issues carried forward from last year into the new year
3. My current material state
4. My current emotional state
5. My current spiritual state
6. Challenges that will be coming into my life in the near future
7. Opportunities that will be coming into my life in the near future
8. Where I would like to be on my next birthday
9. What I need to do this year to make my dreams come true
My gaze is first drawn to the computer keyboard in front of her, which first makes me think of my current job. I’m also spending a lot of my non-work time at my computer, but for some reason that doesn’t seem to be the focus here. Or is it? I think this is about all the worlds I find on the internet, the huge web of other people’s lives and ideas that I tap into so obsessively. Which is a wonderful thing because it creates connections between many rare creatures separated from physical touch by miles and miles and often an ocean or two. Because it helps me see the world through other peoples eyes, helps me learn patience and holding my tongue – or speaking up in carefully chosen words. And it’s also terrible because it sometimes renders me nearly bodiless, all mind and heart but no meat to hold it all together and put it into living, breathing, stumbling action. It’s easy to be elegant in cyberspace.
I’m still hanging onto my internet habit for now but at the same time I wish I wouldn’t find it so hard to be disconnected. Maybe it’s time to find and build and strengthen my connections in offline spaces.
2. Issues carried forward from last year into the new year — The Fool (0.2)
And see how elegantly I trip myself up again? But hey, there’s a camera, so I better give my best. Which reminds me of my ability to be silly and to exaggerate and to make myself look ridiculous on purpose (can you see the Sybill Trelawney-role connection?). I’ve found that people don’t often appreciate that kind of humor in an office context. But I still do it every now and then, if only to remind myself not to take that job so seriously.
I’m not sure I’m able to truly and fully embrace my failures like the Fool here, but I find it comforting that she’ll come with me into the next year of my life. I believe it’s good to have some kind of trickster-fool-clown energy in my life.
(By the way, the companion book says the Magician is the trickster figure here. I still believe they both have aspects of it.)
3. My current material state — Five of Wands
It looks as if I’ve just started to grow something and now that damn volcano is about to erupt all over my veggie patch. But maybe I can fill up that crack for now? And who is that who’s holding up that stick horizontally above my head? Is that some strange kind of dowsing stick? (The three little dangly things remind me of a tool I own, which has similar dangly bits hanging from it, but I’m not quite sure how it fits into this image.)
Well, as far as I can tell, I’m probably the one who’ll be causing the eruption once I hand in my notice at work. For now I’m financially secure (I even just got a raise!) but I will pull the plug on myself sometime soon. And then I’ll be living off my provisions for a while. However, I trust they will last even longer than they need to.
(And yes, I’m thinking about tattoos again. It’s about time I find a new image to put into my skin. You’ll only understand this bit if you know what the varnish layer shows.)
4. My current emotional state — Eight of Cups
It’s way past midnight and I’m still awake even though the party is definitely over. Apparently I needed to make really, really sure there was nothing left for me to miss out on (except sleep). It’s not quite clear if it was a fun party or if I just stayed until the end hoping it would eventually become fun. At any rate, it’s time to move on now. Sleep. Rest. Then tidy up and get on with life.
I’d say this also refers to my dissatisfaction with my job. It’s just not very fulfilling, and I’ve tried. Really, I’ve tried.
Now that I’ve slept on it, I would like to add that my emotional dissatisfaction covers more than just the area of work. There is a lack of something, or maybe an imbalance in what I’ve “ingested” emotionally. The solution is the same, however: move on and look for what’s missing elsewhere (which for me mostly means in another kind of framework thse days).
This is also the second casually and non-erotically topless female in a row. Not sure what that’s supposed to tell me.
5. My current spiritual state — The Lovers
I love that there are three figures in this card, none of which seems to be more in focus than the other ones (i.e. not the traditional Marseille or RWS version of a Lovers card, no duality or binary, and no default monogamy). A perfect triangle-circle, and – much to my delight – a really nice and subtle gender twist hidden in the varnish layer. Venus, Mars, and Mercury – female, male, and transgender/intersex/genderqueer? It’s very rare (and if memory serves, unprecedented) for me to see my life and loves depicted truthfully in a Lovers card (it’s not exactly how I would illustrate my own shade of queerness but the image still says something fundamentally true about it, more so than any other Lovers card I can remember just now).
Then there’s color: RGB (red, green, blue), layers of light that create white when added in full intensity to each other. Since I am both an occasional painter and the child of a man who worked in the wallpaper industry, I’m much more used to thinking in terms of material color (such as paint or ink) and a color model where all three primary colors together create almost-black), so this is another great stretch of the way I make sense of the world for me.
And it’s true, my spirituality doesn’t work in binaries or dualities. I’m always more interested in the colors, the gray areas, the inbetween, the fence, the edge, the third space, both-and or neither-nor instead of either-or. I was about to say that I’m currently circling around, searching for my spiritual “center” but just now I’m thinking that maybe this is my spiritual center after all: non-duality. Hm…
6. Challenges that will be coming into my life in the near future — Chevalier of Cups
This tells me about the need to balance my cheerful, social, optimistic side with my need to be alone and dive deep into the octopus’s garden on the back of a bell-eyed octopus. Perhaps I need to create my own tank that provides life support for when there’s no time to dive really deep and come back up in time.
And just because I thought of the song, here’s the Muppet version: In an Octopus’s Garden and here’s the German Sesame Street version I grew up with: Sesamstraße: Im Garten eines Kraken. And here’s a mind-blowingly fascinating article about octopi that I found via the Pirate Borealis blog a while ago.
7. Opportunities that will be coming into my life in the near future — Ninety-Nine of Cups
These girls sure have fun but for how long? Even the most wonderful thing gets boring after the umpteenth repetition. But wait, this is the card with the code in the companion book… I’m not quite a programmer myself but I work closely enough to the IT department that I can at least read some of the code written there. And I’ve taught myself some basic SQL query skills so I’ve developed more of an idea about the magic of code. Finally a place where perfectionism is useful! And where I get pretty clear and instant feedback about whether my code worked or not.
Automation. Finding a way to do the boring stuff faster and more efficiently so that there’s more time for the fun parts. Also: check the effect of a change every time, and only change one thing at a time.
This could also refer to a computer-related opportunity (or two) that has already arrived in my life in theory but that I may put into practice later this year. Or it may just refer to the need to create a new framework for those kinds of things that do need repeating over and over again. Because they might just be a ritual and not just a necessary waste of time.
8. Where I would like to be on my next birthday –Chevalier of (VOID)
I imagine the person has just come out of the water and is now walking towards a place to stay for the night (and possibly longer). And there is the phoenix-like burning feather again, which according to the companion book is really(?) a sword – but what use is a sword that is bent like that?
It’s true, I would like to have my life change in a fundamental way. I would like to redesign/rebuild my income-earning and my work (which isn’t necessarily the same) pretty much from scratch. Of course I’ll be able to draw on my experiences but I’ll have to give up being employed in one tidy full-time job. Which is a pretty drastic change. Or maybe it’s not and only seems that way because I’m still wearing the glasses of “normality” here.
At any rate, I need to get my butt in gear or nothing will happen. And this is where some of Egypt’s text comes in:
But where there is no fire, there is no ambition. And no ambition means no accomplishment. Go back home and watch some television; it might distract you from the emptiness inside.
Riffle through the pack and pull out another card. This one’s a fraud. Oh, just put the whole thing away. There’s nothing to see here. Nothing to learn. No secrets hidden anywhere, just a crazy lady blowing smoke up your ass. Sorry, you wasted your money on a bunch of pretty pictures. Go buy into whatever neurosis the advertisers are trying to sell you instead. It’s bleak but at least it’s safe.
This card is lies and giving up hope.
I believe this is another example of layers of voices that I’ve noticed earlier in the Silicon Dawn deck. The first sentence is simply true, and I have indeed been struggling with a lack of fire for quite a while now (I’m still at it). But what follows after that is just plain fireless, hopeless self-talk. It may feel true but it’s not really the truth. And that’s where the lies and the giving up of hope come in. They’re not in the card/reality, but in the story I/we tell ourselves about it. In reality, there is a glorious redorangepurplepink sunset at the beach in this card, a person full of potential (not even gender is a fixed given), and a sense of having a home to return to once the spectacle is over and it gets cold all of a sudden.
So, yes, I would like to lose that lack of fire and the depressing/depressive thought patterns that seem to come with it.
9. What I need to do this year to make my dreams come true — Chevalier of Pentacles
An third Chevalier! Did I just mention I wanted more fire? (The Chevaliers are associated with fire in the Silicon Dawn, just like they are in the Thoth deck.) Here I get double fire that should be enough to put some color back into the Chevalier of (VOID). A fire-breathing dragon rising from a huge fire and thick clouds of smoke. A superhero-esque woman throwing a fireball (is she a sister of the crystal ball-throwing Sybill Trelawney to whom I linked already earlier in this post?). A red-haired girl grinning smugly as she hands over a credit card.
Clearly, I need to take action. And this is where pentacles as fire make a whole lot of sense to me, because action needs to be rooted in materiality at some point or it’s nothing but virtual bubbles (cf. The Magician). I need to get away from what’s “killing” me and my fire. I need to aim, focus, and release energy to set things in motion towards my goal. And I need to take care of the price I’m required to pay for it (which can’t be too high judging by the satisfied grin on her face).
(There’s also some stuff about a thirteenth zodiac sign in the companion book but I’m way too tired to wrap my head around that one now.)
All in all I’m noticing that there are quite a few Cups cards, most of which aren’t all too cheerful. Therefore the three fiery Chevaliers make a lot of sense as a counterbalance, even if one of them is also a Cups card.
By the way, I haven’t added pictures for all of the varnish details. For one, these cards are notoriously hard to photograph properly in a way that shows at least some of them, but I also believe that I shouldn’t give all of the deck’s secrets away. Some really have to be discovered by yourselves – or left undiscovered if you’re not fascinated enough by that area of exploration. Either of which is fine.