Thursday, December 29, 2022

Divinatory bull's-eye: It's 2019 all over again in China

In my reading for 2022, I drew these two cards for the birdemic: the Four of Swords for the beginning of the year, and the Sun for the end.

My interpretation was as follows:

The Four of Swords often indicates rest and recuperation, corresponding to the widespread sense at the beginning of the year that the birdemic is winding down and will soon be over. The design of course also suggests death, and it is impossible in this context not to notice the resemblance of the swords to syringes.

It's not really over, though, because at the end of year we have -- the birdemic! In particular, the Sun card depicts the beginning of the birdemic, coming out of China and going forth "conquering and to conquer" (Rev. 6:2). There is widespread expectation that birdemic panic will be ginned up again in the lead-up to the midterm elections in 2022, or perhaps is will be a new phantom menace coming out of China.

As I've explained in other posts, the Sun card, numbered 19 like the birdemic, specifically indicates China. It features a red flag, for example, and the charges on the flag -- one large star and four smaller ones -- are represented by the sun and the four sunflowers. And what do we find at the end of 2022? The birdemic is considered to be mostly over in most parts of the world -- but China is going absolutely bonkers, welding people into their homes and all that, just as they did at the beginning of the birdemic.

For now, people are just seeing this as an oddity: Why is China alone reacting so extremely to something that the rest of the world has pretty much learned to live with? In my reading, I suggested that the panic would spread out of China, just as it did three years ago, but that remains to be seen.

Note added: AC's speculation regarding the birdemic situation in China:

It is possible by pursuing their zero-birdemic policies, China preserved small pockets of the original, more virulent strains as they originally existed, and they never let O come in to crowd out the old strains, or let the virus get passed around enough to mutate into a less virulent form. So this could be the same death plague which was originally there, and now we have gone and pecked all our populations, so they cannot fight off even the more harmless strains. And now China will let this death plague free on our societies

It'll be "interesting" (in the sense typically attributed, appropriately enough, to a "Chinese curse") to see how this all plays out. 

Monday, November 14, 2022

Oh, no, does this mean the "standing prophecies" continue beyond 2021?

In my October 2020 post "Can the deck itself be prophetic?" I investigated "standing prophecies" in the Rider-Waite deck -- that is, readings that do not depend on which cards you happen to draw from a shuffled deck but rather are implicit in the deck itself. Richard Arrowsmith had noticed how the 19th trump, The Sun, predicts the appearance of the birdemic in China in the year '19; and I then went on to demonstrate how the cards numbered 0, 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20 predict the winners of the U.S. presidential elections in the corresponding years of the present century.

This was before the 2020 election, and it unambiguously predicted that Trump would win. The 20th trump depicts and angel with orange-blond hair blowing a trump with a flag on it -- obviously indicating a certain orange-haired man named Trump who was born on Flag Day.

Well, so far Trump has still not been recognized as the winner of the 2020 election, but I think the hit is still impressive; regardless of who won, the 2020 election was undeniably about Donald Trump, and the 20th trump shows that. It also comments on other aspects of that election. For example, below the angel we see a crown of gray people celebrating. Could these not represent Biden voters, as in the meme?

These gray people are depicted rising from the grave, which is also relevant.

So I think that, despite the failure of my prediction about 2020, it remains true that the trumps of the Rider-Waite deck correlate with their corresponding election years.

There are only 21 trumps, though, so it would appear that there are no more standing prophecies for the rest of the century -- or are there?

Let's go back to the 2000 election. The Fool card is numbered 0 in the Rider-Waite, and it unambiguously calls the election for George W. Bush.

First there's the name of the card: "The Fool." In the running joke about the evil party vs. the stupid party, everyone understands that the Republicans are the stupid party. Bush in particular was portrayed by the media as a likable idiot (as opposed to Al Gore's "smart but wooden" persona), and one of his famous malapropisms even features the word fool.

Then there's the name of the winning candidate: George Walker Bush. The Fool is walking, and is the only depiction of a person walking in the Major Arcana, so there's Walker. He holds a rose, a flower which grows on a bush, so there's Bush. To get George, we have to take into account the astrological correspondences associated with the Fool card. The Golden Dawn, in a system based on the Sepher Yetzirah, assigned the 22 Major Arcana to the 12 zodiac signs, the seven classical "planets," and three of the four classical elements; and the Fool was assigned to Air. Following the discovery of Pluto, though, it became common to replace the three elements with the three "new" planets, and thus the Fool became associated with Uranus. Uranus is not that planet's oldest name, though; when William Herschel discovered it in 1781, he proposed the name Georgium Sidus, "the Georgian Star," in honor of King George III. That's a link to the name George, of course, but it's more than that: Dubya was literally President George III, having been preceded by his father and George Washington.

In my reading for the 2022 midterms, I drew the Fool card twice and tentatively interpreted it as referring to the state of Georgia. I reached this conclusion by browsing a gallery of state flowers and finding the one that most closely resembled the flower held by the Fool: the white Cherokee rose, state flower of Georgia. Only later did I make the Uranus connection -- the Georgian Star -- and then realize that one of the candidates from Georgia was named Herschel Walker. There's that name Walker again, and Herschel is about as explicit a reference to Uranus as you could ask for. Furthermore, Walker was even called "the Georgian star" when he was playing football for the University of Georgia -- whose mascot is a white dog.

At the time of this writing, it is still undecided whether or not Herschel Walker has won his race for the Senate; it was judged too close to call, and a runoff is planned. Anyway, win or lose, there is no denying that Herschel Walker is a key figure in the 2022 election, and that the Fool card fits him just as perfectly as it fit George W. Bush 22 years earlier.

This suggests that the "standing prophecies" continue beyond 2021 -- that after reaching the 21st and last trump we go back to zero and begin again. That would mean -- and this is where it gets ominous -- that the trump corresponding to the next presidential election, in 2024, would be the 2nd -- the High Priestess.

This is the same card I got in my one-card reading for Inauguration Day 2021, and it corresponds precisely what we saw on that day: a woman touching a Bible with her left hand while JB stands in the background.

Note also that the Golden Dawn system of correspondences associates this trump with the Hebrew letter gimel, meaning "camel." The Thoth version of this card -- designed and painted by a woman named Harris -- even includes a picture of a camel.

By the way, see that black crescent on the Thoth card? That even matches the phase of the moon on January 20, 2025 (but not in 2021, when it was a First Quarter, with the right side illuminated).

Can this possibly mean the reelection of Biden and Harris? With fraudulent elections, it certainly can't be ruled out. Or perhaps it will be Harris herself as president, without Slow Joe.

Debbie keeps predicting that we will get a Triumvirate government soon. I believe the Triumvirs she originally proposed were Kamala Harris, Donald Trump, and Jeff Bezos, though recently she's suggesting it may be Barack Obama rather than Harris. I don't really put too much stock in this prediction, but it's interesting to note that Jeff Bezos also has the initials JB. Or what if Obama is replacing Trump, not Harris? Then the Priestess is Kamala, and the pillars represent a black man named Barack and a white man named Jeff.

Or it could be someone entirely different. After all, getting the Fool again in 2022 didn't mean George W. Bush was coming back, just another person who also happened to match that card.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Election prediction assessment

In my midterm reading, I got the Five of Cups as the overall effect on the GOP. Daily Kos agrees.

For the overall effect on the Senate, I got the Fool -- a card I had already identified with Georgia. At the time of this writing, Georgia has emerged as the key state for the Senate, with a runoff election planned. Assuming the other races go as expected, the result in Georgia will decide whether or not the GOP gets a majority in the Senate.

I identified the Fool with Georgia for two reasons: (1) the white rose he holds suggests Georgia's state flower, the white Cherokee rose, and (2) "this card has been associated with the name George in the past." This was a reference to my 2020 post "Can the deck itself be prophetic?" in which I retrospectively read the Fool card -- numbered 0, and thus corresponding to the '00 election -- as predicting the election of George W. Bush. One of the reasons I gave was this:

The Fool card depicts a man walking. Bush was commonly referred to by his middle initial: W, or “Dubya.” His full name is George Walker Bush.

I would say that's a pretty good omen for Herschel Walker, one of the candidates in the Georgia runoff.

Update: Dude. The "Walker" link is just the beginning.

That's right, the Fool card is traditionally linked to a planet for which the proposed names included "Georgian Planet" and Herschel.

(This also further cements my George W. Bush interpretation of the card. The Fool is Uranus, and the discoverer of Uranus originally wanted to name it after George III. Dubya was America's "George III," the third president of that name after Washington and Bush père.)

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Hey, Rider-Waite, anything to say about the midterms?

I haven't been following the lead-up to the election and have no particular expectations. I'm just sort of testing my equipment here.

Three States with particularly significant or dramatic results:

Fool: This is a shot in the dark, but I'm going to say this is Georgia. There's a white rose on the card, and Georgia's state flower is the white Cherokee rose. Also, this card has been associated with the name George in the past. Eight of Pentacles: Looks like business as usual, presumably a win for the incumbent. Which doesn't sound very significant or dramatic.

Ace of Cups: Washington, D.C. There's a dove (D) and a cup (C), and there's a big W on the cup. The overall imagery is also connected with washing, and the Latin for "dove" is columba (District of Columbia). I guess California is a possibility, too, since its capital is Sacramento, but overall I'm pretty confident this is Washington. Does anything interesting ever happen in D.C. at midterms? It's so overwhelmingly Democratic that I can't imagine there are ever any surprises. Eight of Swords: Paralysis and blindness. A looong wait for the results. Again, I can't imagine this actually happening in a D.C. local election, so perhaps it refers to the effect on the federal government of the election as a whole.

Hanged Man: Not sure about this one. The gallows forms a big T, so it could be Tennessee or Texas -- more likely the latter, since TX = Tau cross. Just a wild guess. Nine of Swords: A nightmare -- but from whose point of view? Update: I'm kicking myself for not recognizing the Hanged Man as the Oz/Fetterman race. Upside down = antipodes = Australia = Oz, and it's literally a man hanging by a fetter around his ankle.

Overall effect on...

Okay, that's literally a blue wave in the House, and that imagery is echoed in each of the other cards. A major loss for the GOP, and the Dems feeling their oats. Not what any sane person would predict, but then sane people don't base their political predictions on Tarot cards, do they?

And finally, the whole election in a nutshell:

Defiance. Refusal to concede.

What it looks like to me: Massive, absolutely undeniable fraud, handing a big win to the Dems. A general rejection of the legitimacy of the results, leading to paralysis and a crisis in Washington. Perhaps accusations of fraud in the other direction in Georgia, where the Republican incumbent will win. And maybe something shocking in Texas? Don't tell me Beto's going to "win"!

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

The three-by-seven grid and the Sephiroth

I have been working with this layout of the 21 numbered trumps of the Tarot de Marseille.

I arranged the cards in three rows and seven columns for practical reasons. The dimensions of the above image are roughly 3×4, making it convenient to display the whole thing on a computer screen, to print it out on a piece of A4 paper, or to lay the cards out that way on a table. Three columns and seven rows would be a much more awkward 1×4.

Nevertheless, three columns seems more correct conceptually, as it calls to mind the three columns of the Tree of the Sephiroth. Actually, the standard 10-sephirah Tree of Life (absent Da'ath, which presumably corresponds to the Fool) arranges the sephiroth in three columns and seven vertical levels. If we overlay that on our three-by-seven grid, ten of the trumps would be mapped to sephiroth. Ther are four logical ways this could be done: We could start at the Kether level and move down or start at the Malkuth level and move up; and within each level we could go from left to right or from right to left. The most promising mapping starts at the Malkuth level and goes from right to left.

A few of these mappings are obvious "hits." Netzach means "victory," and that is the traditional meaning of the Chariot -- called, in the first known listing of the trumps, Lo carro triumphale, "the chariot of triumph." Yesod, "foundation," is mapped to the Pope. The first pope is supposed to have been St. Peter, of whom Christ said, "upon this rock I will build my church" (Matt. 16:18).

Most of the rest of the mappings are at least understandable and defensible. The first and highest sephirah, from which all the others emanate, is mapped to the Angel, called "Judgment," but representing the love of God. Chokmah, representing direct inspiration, fits well with the bolt from the sun; while Binah, representing reflective wisdom, is well symbolized by the reflected light of the Moon. Geburah, called the "left hand of God" meting out punishment, is the Devil. Tiphareth, "beauty," maps to the beautiful woman subduing a lion, and Hod, "glory," to the Hermit with his blazing lantern. At the gestalt level, the left and right columns correspond to yin/feminine and yang/masculine, as they should.

The only really jarring mapping is between Chesed, "mercy, kindness, benevolence," and Death.

Monday, October 3, 2022

The first row of the three-by-seven grid

In my last post, I discussed this layout of the 21 numbered trumps of the Tarot de Marseille.

In that post, I focused on the second row and suggested that is seven cards represent the Seven Heavenly Virtues: Prudence (the Papess), Faith (the Pope), Justice, Fortitude, Temperance, Hope (the Star), and Charity (the Angel).

The first row also seems to make sense as an orderly progression. The Magician with his wand becomes the Emperor with his scepter. We see this man with crown and scepter again the Chariot, where he directs a wheeled vehicle drawn by two animals -- horses in the classic Tarot de Marseille, but sphinxes (human-animal chimerae) in the deck of Jacques Viéville and those influenced by him. On the next card, the Wheel of Fortune, we see all the same elements: the wheel, the crowned ruler (now a sphinx himself), and the two animals or hybrid creatures -- but the ruler is no longer in control, and his position at the top is no longer stable. The wheel will turn -- there will be a revolution -- and he will fall. The next card, l'Arcane sans nom, shows the aftermath of this: a severed head on the ground, still wearing his crown. After the fall of the individual ruler, the fall of the institution itself: On the next card, a blast from the sun "decapitates" a tower, the top of which resembles a crown, and two young men fall to the ground. The final card in the series seems to show the aftermath of this: the Sun, which destroyed the tower, dominates the scene, and we see the two young men, naked, and behind them a low wall suggesting the ruins of the tower.

Sunday, October 2, 2022

The love of God in the Tarot

If the 21 numbered trumps of the Tarot de Marseille are laid out as below, in seven columns of three, meaningful patterns emerge.

The first thing to notice is that the three virtue cards -- Justice, Strength (originally called Fortitude), and Temperance -- are together in the center of the diagram. Many commentators have pointed out that only three of the four Cardinal Virtues are explicitly included in the Tarot and have tried to associate one of the other trumps (usually the Hermit) with the fourth, Prudence. The Tarot was designed by medieval Christians, though, not by ancient Greeks, and for them there were seven virtues: the four Cardinal Virtues plus the Theological Virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity. In our table above, the three explicitly named virtues are at the center of a row of seven cards, where they are flanked by the Pope (an obvious symbol of Faith) and the Star (a conventional symbol of Hope). That leaves the Papess and Judgment for the remaining two virtues, Prudence and Charity. The Papess is a good fit for Prudence, since that virtue has sometimes been personified as a crowned woman with a book.

That leaves the Judgment to represent Charity, which is admittedly not an obvious match. Charity, often described as unconditional love, seems the very opposite of judgment; and indeed Din ("judgment") is placed opposite Chesed ("lovingkindess") on the Tree of Life. In fact, though, Judgment is not the trump's original name, and the last judgment is not what it portrays. The earliest name of the 10th trump is The Angel, and the scene it depicts is the resurrection of the dead at the last trump, as described by St. Paul in two of his epistles. Neither passage makes any reference to a judgment.

Here is 1 Corinthians 15:51-57.

Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

This is not a judgment at all. On the contrary, Paul implies that resurrection is possible because the Law, which makes us guilty sinners worthy of death, has been superseded.

The second "trump" passage is 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

Again, nothing about judgment -- just a comforting promise that we will be reunited with our dead and with the Lord.

The resurrection of the dead is actually the perfect expression of "charity," or the love of God -- the noun form, in the original Greek, of the verb used in John 3:16-17.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

Resurrection is love. "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death" (1 Jn. 3:14). What we do not love, we are content to let perish. The resurrection is the love of God finding even in such corrupt and imperfect being as ourselves something worthy of being raised to immortality. Those who trust in the love of God can say with David, "my flesh also shall rest in hope, for thou wilt not [i.e. art unwilling to] leave my soul in hell" (Ps. 16:9-10).

St. Paul's discussion of the resurrection in 1 Cor. 15:41-42 also contains something potentially relevant to the part of the Tarot deck we are discussing:

There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption.

The sequence Star, Moon, Sun is invariant in all known historical orderings of the trumps, from Ferrara to Bologna to Marseille -- a fact that has puzzled commentators because it seems at odds with Medieval cosmology. The lowest of the heavenly spheres was that of the Moon, followed by the Inferior Planets, the Sun, the Superior Planets, and finally the Fixed Stars. Placing the Moon between the Stars and the Sun makes no sense -- and yet that is what we find in 1 Corinthians, apparently because Paul is ordering the heavenly bodies not by their location in the cosmos but by their brightness or "glory" as seen from Earth.

Star, Moon, Sun, Judgment, World. If we assume this is a continuation of Paul's scheme, then the Judgment and the World should represent two even higher degrees of glory, brighter than the Sun. The card called the World evolved from representations of the Throne of God, so that checks out. The Judgment, then, is a luminary brighter than the Sun and nigh unto the Throne of God. Astronomically, this would be Kolob, but its deeper meaning can only be "the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; . . . the most desirable above all things" (1 Ne. 11:22). Some old decks make it the highest trump of all, higher even than the World.

If this identification of the seven virtues is correct, their order in the Tarot is: Prudence, Faith, Justice, Fortitude, Temperance, Hope, Charity. This is consistent with Cicero's ordering of the four cardinal virtues in De Inventione and Paul's ordering of the theological virtues in 1 Cor. 13.

Divinatory bull's-eye: It's 2019 all over again in China

In my reading for 2022 , I drew these two cards for the birdemic: the Four of Swords for the beginning of the year, and the Sun for the end....