Sunday, January 16, 2022

The Visconti-Sforza Emperor cards

The earliest extant Tarot cards are those commissioned by Filippo Maria Visconti and Francesco Sforza, Dukes of Milan, in the mid-15th century, and most likely painted by Bonifacio Bembo. From these "Visconti-Sforza" Tarot decks, three Emperor cards survive -- making it the most represented of the Visconti-Sforza trumps.

Pierpont-Morgan-Bergamo (c. 1451), Brera-Brambilla (1463), Cary-Yale (c. 1466)

Some notable features of these cards:

Eagle headdress: All three of these cards show the emperor wearing a distinctive fan-shaped headdress marked with the black (or, on the BB card, blue) Reichsadler that was the emblem of the Holy Roman Emperors (and which also featured on the flag of the Duchy of Milan). The strange shape almost reminds one of a "pirate hat" or of the traverse crest of a Roman centurion. Despite considerable searching, I have not been able to find any other examples of such headgear, either in the Tarot or in images of historical Holy Roman Emperors. Bernhard Strigel's portrait of Maximilian I (r. 1486-1519) and his family does show hats with a roughly similar shape, but the differences from the Tarot card are still considerable.


It seems strange that the emperor would be depicted sitting on his throne, holding his orb and scepter, and yet not wearing his crown. The crown does appear as a motif on the PMB emperor's clothing, and in the hands of one of the CY emperor's attendants, but in no case is the monarch actually wearing it. Instead, he has this extraordinary ginkgo-leaf contraption with an eagle on it.

Minimalist scepter: On all three cards, the emperor's scepters is just a simple rod, with no finial. As with the hat, I have been unable to find any parallels in the Tarot or in the regalia of historical Holy Roman Emperors.

Cracked orb: A typical orb has a circular belt around the equator, a semicircular perpendicular band passing through the north pole, and a cross at the apex. Where these bands of jeweled material should be, the PMB and BB cards have zigzag lines instead, like cracks in an egg that is about to hatch, or like the sutures of a human skull. The egg/skull effect is reinforced on the BB card by the fact that the orb is white.


This "cracked orb" design appears to be unique to the Visconti-Sforza cards. On the CY card, there is no conventional orb at all. Instead, the emperor appears to be resting his left elbow on a golden disc etched with concentric circles.

Borromean rings: The PMB emperor's robe is decorated with a repeating motif of crowns and Borromean rings -- that is, three interlocking rings, like a Venn diagram, called "Borromean" because they appear on the coat of arms of the House of Borromeo, a prominent family in Milan which intermarried with the Viscontis.

Vegetation: A bit of leafy vegetation is visible near the PMB emperor's left foot. This was perpetuated in the Tarot de Marseille, further developed by the Swiss cardmakers, and finally turned into a tulip by Oswald Wirth. Why the emperor should be sitting on a throne out of doors, rather than in his palace, is another question.

Crossed legs: The CY card is the first to show the emperor with crossed legs. This, too, was picked up by the Tarot de Marseille, and much was later made of it by the French (and, later, English) occultists, who saw in the emperor's posture a hidden allusion to the alchemical symbol for sulfur.

Armor: It's not obvious, but if you look closely you can see that the CY emperor is wearing a suit of armor, including a breastplate with a second imperial eagle on it. This feature was lost in the Tarot de Marseille but was later reintroduced by Oswald Wirth, from whom it was copied by A. E. Waite.

Attendants: The smaller figures attending the CY emperor have their counterparts in a few other early Italian decks but were never picked up by the Marseille/occult mainstream. On the CY card they appear to be children, but this is more likely an Egyptian-style convention of portraying less important figures as physically smaller. The Emperor from the Rothschild-Bassano deck -- from Florence, and possibly a few decades older than the Visconti-Sforza cards themselves, though not unambiguously a Tarot -- features positively tiny attendants who nevertheless have beards and are thus clearly not children.


Note also that the Rothschild-Bassano figure is holding an oversized florin rather than a globus cruciger, so perhaps he is meant to be the King of Coins rather than the Emperor. In any case, it is an interesting parallel with the golden disc seen on the CY card.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Pondering his orb

It has just come to my attention that my November 21, 2021, post "The Emperor's orb" coincided with the rise of "pondering my orb" memes, though I was not aware of these memes until a month or so later. In draft, the post had been called "The Emperor's globus cruciger," but I later changed it because the Rider-Waite Emperor's orb doesn't have a cross on it.


I just wanted to add a few orb-related thoughts.

In Le Tarot des imagiers du moyen-âge, Oswald Wirth says that the constellation that corresponds most closely to the Emperor is Hercules, and he includes a drawing of Hercules holding a club in one hand and in the other a branch bearing the golden apples of the Hesperides.


In the text, Wirth explicitly connects the Emperor's scepter with the club of Hercules but does not make the corresponding connection between the orb and the golden apples. He calls the apples "the fruit of initiating knowledge" but sees the orb as a symbol of "universal domination."

The globe of the world which the Emperor holds in his left hand is a sign of universal domination. This globe, moreover, is the symbol, not of the physical universe, but of the Soul of the World, the entity thanks to which all the miracles of Nature and Art are performed. In his right hand the Emperor clasps a mssive sceptre which is not without analogy to the club of Hercules. However, we must not see in this a brutal weapon, but the emblem of the highest initiation, or magical, power.

Although Wirth portrays Herucles holding a branch bearing apples, it was also common in ancient iconography (as in the Hercules of the Forum Boarium, below) to represent him holding the apples themselves in the palm of his left hand, just as the Emperor holds his orb.


Hercules holds three apples, and the Emperor holds a single orb, but this is no very great objection to connecting the two, especially if we follow Vico in interpreting "three" in myths as being primarily an intensifier (as in "Thrice-Great Hermes" or "once, twice, three times a lady"). Vico argued that Neptune's trident and Cerberus's three maws were meant to convey the idea of a great spear and an enormous gullet, respectively, and he would doubtless have taken a similar approach to the three golden apples taken from the three Hesperides. (Vico would also of course have interpreted the apples, like all things golden, as representing corn, but this is too reductive.)

I had forgotten all about Wirth's mention of the golden apples when I ended "The Emperor's orb" with a mention of the golden apple of Eris. In fact, I had not realized until just now that Eris's "apple of discord" was also supposed to have come from the garden of the Hesperides.

In the myth, Paris had to choose to which of three goddesses to give the apple, and each offered a different reward if she was chosen. Paris, being weak and effeminate, rejected Hera's and Athena's offers of greatness and wisdom and awarded the apple to Aphrodite, who promised him another man's wife. When, centuries later, Prodicus wanted to create a parallel story in which the hero made a better choice, he decided to cast Hercules in the role of a more virtuous Paris. Classicists have expressed puzzlement over this choice, since Hercules was hardly a byword for sound moral judgment, but could he have been chosen because of his association with the golden apples? We know Prodicus's parable of the Choice of Hercules only via Xenophon, but even in Xenophon's brief summary the parallels to the story of the Judgment of Paris are obvious. Is it possible that the parallels were closer still in Prodicus's original, even featuring the golden apples?

Although Wirth calls the golden apples "the fruit of initiating knowledge," its function in myth seems to be closer to the biblical tree of life than to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The Norse goddess Iðunn (coincidentally similar to Eden) kept similar apples of immortality, which the gods had to eat from tiem to time to keep from growing old. Gilgamesh brought a plant with this same effect up from the bottom of the sea -- and Gilgamesh was the original, Sumerian name of the constellation later called Hercules. In "The Emperor's orb," I connected the golden apple with the golden ball brought up from the bottom of the pond by the frog in the fairy tale -- a clear echo of Gilgamesh once the golden apple is established as the missing link between the golden ball and the plant of immortality. Just as Hercules went to all the trouble of retrieving the golden apples, only to have Athena return them to the garden in the end, so Gilgamesh brought up the plant of immortality, only to have it eaten by a snake.

In "The Emperor's orb," I connected the Iron Rod and the Liahona -- both associated with the Book of Mormon figure Lehi -- with the Emperor's scepter and orb. (The name Lehi is associated with Samson, the "Hebrew Hercules.") The Iron Rod comes from Lehi's dream of the Tree of Life, bearing fruit which, though white rather than golden, is clearly analogous to the golden apples of immortality.

(I found this by searching for pondering orb liahona,
figuring someone else must have made the connection.)


Really weird synchronicity: After writing everything above this paragraph, but before finishing the post (I had planned to write some other things, but they ended up not making the final draft), I had to take a break to teach a children's English class. When I went up to the classroom, I found that one of the students had drawn this on the board:


A person wearing a crown and holding a scepter in one hand an an apple in the other! I had been working on this post on the computer in my office, where I'm sure this student could not have seen it. (Even if she had, she's a very young girl who can hardly read any English, and none of the illustrations shows anything recognizable as an apple, scepter, or crown.) So this is either a bit of subconscious telepathy or else just a really bizarre coincidence. It wouldn't be the first time!

Monday, January 10, 2022

A seriously weird coincidence with my Biden/Harris readings

There's an old, long-defunct podcast called Mother. Years ago I listened to one or two of the episodes about Whitley Strieber. Just recently I suddenly decided to methodically listen to all the episodes on YouTube, starting with the oldest. In the early hours of January 10, I was listening to an episode called "June 20 2015 Trio," and one of the three anonymous participants told a story about how, during a time when there had been a lot of Gray activity in his home, he had thrice found Tarot cards laid out on his living room table, apparently by them. As I listened, I fell to wondering if I could somehow get the Grays to lay out Tarot cards for me (this despite the fact that I've seen no real signs of Gray activity in Taiwan), and the thought occurred to me that perhaps my recent practice of drawing cards virtually, via a computer-mediated truly random number generator, might be making it more inconvenient for them (or other such intelligences) to intervene.

The speaker went on to relate the details of the three Tarot spreads. The first time was the Hermit, the Chariot, and the Tower from the Rider-Waite deck -- but it was the second incident that really got my attention

A: The other instance of this was the Prince of Wands from the Crowley deck, the Lovers, and -- and, uh, Strength.

B: The Prince of Wands is not Major Arcana.

A: No, it's Minor Arcana. So that deviates from Strieber's emphasis on the Major Arcana. There was the Prince of Wands, there was Strength -- which in the Crowley deck is Lust -- and there was -- I can't remember -- I don't -- well, I don't want to sidetrack the discussion too much, so, I mean, you can make of that what you will -- maybe the Priestess.

I have very little interest in, sympathy with, or knowledge of the Crowley deck, and cards from that deck have appeared on this blog only twice. The first time was in an old post that was just a gallery of Magician cards from dozens of different decks, including Crowley's. The second time was in "More on the U.S. presidency in 2022," posted less than three days before listening to the above material -- and the card was Strength/Lust.

Notice how the podcaster refers to "the Crowley deck" rather than using its proper name, the Thoth Tarot. He also twice calls the card Strength before mentioning parenthetically that Crowley actually renamed it Lust. Now compare that to my own language in introducing the same card: "Aleister Crowley's version of the Strength card (renamed Lust; in order to maintain his cred as the Wickedest Man in the World, Crowley renamed all three virtue trumps)." I, too, do not mention the Thoth Tarot by name, and I call the card Strength first, mentioning Crowley's renaming only parenthetically. Note that the podcaster also mentions the Prince of Wands and the Priestess -- names which are also distinctive to the Thoth Tarot and differ from the more traditional titles -- but the only name change he mentions is Strength to Lust.

In my post, I had connected Strength/Lust with Kamala Harris. While I was in the process of writing this present post, I read a comment by Debbie on one of my other posts, saying, "Doesn't the name Kamala in Sanskrit mean :'lotus' or 'pale red'???" I knew that Kamala meant "lotus" and was an epithet of Lakshmi, but I didn't know it meant "pale red," so this comment led me to look up the etymology again, and I found this:

Kamala (कमल) is a Sanskrit technical term translating to the color “lotus” or “lotus-flower”, but can also refer to “pale-red”, “rose-coloured” etc. and in a different context can also refer to “desirous”, “lustful” etc. It is used throughout Ayurvedic literature such as the Suśrutasaṃhita or the Carakasaṃhita.

Together with Strength/Lust, the podcaster mentioned the Prince of Wands and a third card which he first identified as the Lovers, then said he couldn't remember, and finally said might have been the Priestess. My own "Reading for 2022" had identified Harris with Strength and Biden with the Page of Wands. There is no Page of Wands in the Crowley deck; instead of the usual court-card scheme (King, Queen, Knight, Page), Crowley's courts consist of Knight, Queen, Prince, and Princess. It is the Princess that is most often considered to correspond to the Page in other decks, but a female Princess can hardly represent a male figure like Biden -- so if I wanted to "duplicate" my Page of Wands reading using the Crowley deck, the Prince of Wands would be the nearest equivalent.

Recall that in my own readings, one of the cards for the presidency showed a man and woman with a lion's head, and one of the cards for Harris showed a woman with a lion.


In a singularly appropriate twist, it turns out that the Prince of Wands -- nearest Crowley equivalent to one of the cards I drew for Biden -- shows a man with a lion.


As for the other cards mentioned, Crowley's Lovers shows an interracial marriage, which syncs with Harris in a broad way (she has an Indian mother, a Jamaican mulatto father, and a Jewish husband), but it was the Priestess that really blew my mind.

In my 2020 "Inauguration Day Reading," I drew the Rider-Waite High Priestess card, which seemed to show Harris's swearing in -- a woman with her left hand on the Bible, with "JB" (Joe Biden) standing in the background.


In that post, I mentioned that the Golden Dawn associated the High Priestess with the Hebrew letter gimel, a letter which is often said to represent a camel (suggesting Kamala).

In my "Reading for 2022," I also identified Harris with one of the figures on the Rider-Waite Devil card: a woman with a bunch of grapes growing from her tail.


So imagine my surprise when I looked up Crowley's Priestess card and found that it features this little detail.


That's right, among the clutter in the foreground of the card there is a camel next to a bunch of grapes! Waite and others may have thought of this trump as corresponding to gimel and thus to the camel, but who actually explicitly painted a camel on the card? Who? I emphasize once again that, though we call it the "Crowley deck," both the concept (Crowley had originally wanted to do a traditional Marseille-style deck) and the artwork itself were actually the work of a woman named Harris -- Frieda Harris, who incidentally moved to India shortly before her death.


I end with an irrelevant anecdote, for no other reason than that the story about Grays leaving out Tarot cards made me think of it.

One morning, somewhere in the 2007-2009 range (based on where I was living at the time), I got up, came downstairs, and found a big chunk of white styrofoam sitting in the exact center of the dining room table. It was about the size of a hen and was ragged around the edges, as if it had been torn from a much larger piece.

There were only two people living in that apartment: me and my wife, who suffers from such an extreme phobia of styrofoam that it would essentially have been physically impossible for her to have put it there herself. And I didn't do it. We kept our door locked all the time, and no one else had a key. So . . .

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Can an Indian be president?

I first got interested in the Tarot around the turn of the century. At around the same time, I discovered the legendary net.kook Gene Ray (1927-2015) -- self-proclaimed Greatest Thinker and Wisest Human, discovered of Nature's Harmonic Simultaneous 4-Day Time Cube, and author of a sprawling, hilariously offensive website that expounds on this incoherent theory-of-everything whilst belittling the reader.

Well, naturally, this led to the game of taking Tarot cards and replacing the titles with Gene Ray quotes that would give the picture a completely different meaning. I no longer have any of the original images, but here's a quick reconstruction of one that I remember.


Eventually, this developed into the project of designing a whole Cube Spirit deck (Majors only), modifying both the images and the titles to illustrate Time Cube principles. The Nuclear Waste lady, became a student wearing an MIT sweatshirt and jeans; an evil educator was added in the background, looking on in approval; and the number of stars in the sky was reduced to four (because "You can't have less than four, you can't have more than four").

The Empress card was renamed the Indian President, inspired by this Gene Ray quote.


Ray was clearly talking about American Indians here, and there was no indication that the Indian president might be a woman. However, when I looked at the Rider-Waite Empress card, her microphone-like scepter and floral-print gown made me think of a photo I had seen of Indira Gandhi -- who I guess was technically an Indian Prime Minister, but whatever.


I no longer have any of these cards, but I remember that this one was closely based on the Indira Gandhi photo but modified so as to suggest an American president delivering the State of the Union address. The president -- looking pretty much exactly like Indira Gandhi, but with a forehead dot added for extra Indian-ness -- stood at a podium, flanked by two generic clapping politicans, with a huge American flag hanging in the background.

In short, I had portrayed the Empress as a female Indian-American president of the United States -- and specifically patterned her after Indira Gandhi, daughter of Kamala Nehru.

Look back at that screenshot of Ray's "Indian president" question and notice that the immediate context refers to race-mixing ("racial slop") and to the US becoming a "black nation." Kamala Harris is mixed-race and generally presents herself not as an Indian-American but as "black."

I haven't thought of the Cube Spirit Tarot for ages, but a few months ago, in August 2021, I posted "Copper Queen," in which I connected Kamala Harris with the Empress card for completely unrelated reasons. That post was focused on the slightly modified Empress card that appears in the Grateful Dead "Ripple" video, in which the Empress holds a yin-yang symbol in one hand. In that post, I included a screenshot of the Wikipedia article for "Copper" and noted that it featured both a Venus symbol (such as appears on the Empress's shield) and a yin-yang symbol.


Now take a closer look at the paisley-floral motif on Indira Gandhi's costume.

Friday, January 7, 2022

More on the U.S. presidency in 2022

What fascinates me about Tarot reading is not that what the cards say always comes true, but rather the simple, astonishing fact that they always do say something. Whatever question I put to them, they always address it. It is not the accuracy that impresses so much as the sheer responsiveness. In theory, it can all be dismissed as coincidence and apophenia; in practice, this becomes harder and harder to do with a straight face.

Sometimes I think people like me shouldn't be allowed to play with Tarot cards. You take a tool designed to turn synchronicity up to 11 and put it in the hands of someone like me, and -- well, isn't that a bit reckless?

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My January 4 Reading for 2022 involved drawing "before" and "after" cards showing how various people and things would change or develop over the course of the coming year. Included were "before" and "after" cards for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

On January 6, wanting further clarification, I drew "before" and "after" cards for the presidency as a whole. Below are the two cards from the January 6 reading, with the corresponding Biden and Harris cards from the January 4 reading below.


The Two of Cups, for the start of 2022, clearly matches up with the Biden and Harris cards from the earlier reading.  It has precisely the same layout as the Devil card: a woman on the left, a man on the right, and a central non-human figure looming in the background. The man on the Two of Cups is wearing practically the same tunic as the Page of Wands, confirming that he is Biden, the woman is Harris, and the lion/devil is the shadowy power behind the throne.

At the end of 2022, the Queen of Cups shows a woman alone on the throne, dressed similarly to the woman on the Two of Cups (blue and white clothes, laurel wreath). Strength shows a woman with a lion. In my earlier reading, I was unsure as to which of the figures on the Devil card this lion represented, the man or the devil. In the Two of Cups, though, the lion clearly corresponds to the devil. It appears, then, that the year begins with Biden and Harris sharing nominal power but in fact controlled by a hidden "devil." By the end of the year, Biden is out of the picture and Harris is in control, in partnership with the "devil."

Leaving aside the Five of Wands, in which the five figures are not readily identifiable as individuals, we have the following mappings:
  • the Devil = the lion-headed caduceus on the Two of Cups = the lion on Strength
  • the Page of Wands = the Devil's male captive = the man on the Two of Cups = Joe Biden
  • the Queen of Cups = the Devil's female captive = the woman on the Two of Cups = the woman on Strength = Kamala Harris
Let us look at each of these in turn.

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The Devil

Looking at the Two of Cups in isolation, I would never have thought to connect it with the Devil. Once the connection has been made, though, another image immediately comes to mind as the "missing link" between the two: Éliphas Lévi's famous drawing of "Baphomet" or "the Sabbatic Goat," first published in 1856 in his Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie, and since coopted by self-styled Satanists. 

There is no question that Waite was very extensively influenced by Lévi, and his Devil is very clearly patterned after Lévi's Goat. We see the horns, the pentagram, the torch, the position of the arms, etc. -- all rather different from the way the Devil is typically portrayed in the Marseille tradition. However, Lévi's drawing also features feathered wings and a caduceus -- which appear not on Waite's Devil card but on his Two of Cups.

There is no lion's head on Lévi's Baphomet, though. For that, we need to look at another image: the myterious "Leontocephaline" (lion-headed) figure associated with Mithraism.


Notice the lion's head, the feathered wings, and the caduceus -- all the elements that feature in the Two of Cups. The exact identity of this figure is a matter of speculation and scholarly debate, but it has become conventional to refer to it as Arimanius -- that is to say, Ahriman, the "devil" of Zoroastrianism, whose name would later be used by Rudolf Steiner (and later still by my own circle of Romantic Christians) to refer to the materialistic, bureaucratic, "lawful evil" aspect of the demonic.

Are the two people on the Two of Cups drinking a toast to the devil, then? Ah, but the cups combined with the caduceus give an added meaning.


The cup and serpent is the Bowl of Hygieia, symbol of pharmacy. Here we have two cups and two serpents -- but the serpents are combined to form a caduceus, symbol of commerce. Isn't such an unholy combination precisely what we have in mind when we say "Big Pharma"? And isn't Big Pharma one of the primary manifestations of Ahriman in the modern world?

In this context, another detail of Lévi's Baphomet image becomes interesting: The monster's raised right arm is labeled "Solve," and his lowered left arm is labeled "Coagula." These have an alchemical meaning in their original context, but in the context of Big Pharma in 2022, it is impossible not to notice the resonance with a particular medical intervention, being pushed relentlessly by the Ahrimanic establishment, which is supposed to "solve" a supposed crisis but is actually causing a real crisis having to do with hematological "coagulation."

In addition to whatever Mithraic meaning it may have, the winged lion also appears in the Bible (Daniel 7) as a symbol of Nebuchadnezzar's Babylon. The "guardian of peace and security" statue that was briefly installed at the UN headquarters at the end of last year was connected by many with this beast, as well as with the Beast of Revelation -- which also represents "Babylon," meaning Rome.


Babylon, Rome, 666, the UN, Big Pharma -- Ahriman. The devil figure on these cards represents not some particular person who is the real power behind the throne, but rather the Ahrimanic System which is the power behind all thrones -- at least "till the thrones are cast down" (Dan. 7:9).

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The Page of Wands (Biden)

There is little to add to my discussion of Biden in "Reading for 2022." However, the addition of Baphomet to the mix suggests a possible interpretation of the Devil setting fire to the Biden figure's tail with the torch he holds in his left hand. The corresponding arm on Lévi's Baphomet is labeled coagula -- could this be a hint that Biden could be removed from action by pharmacologically induced thrombosis? That would be a very plausibly deniable way of offing him wouldn't it -- Alec Baldwinning him next time he does a fake peck photo op? The effect needn't be immediate, either. The Devil card shows his tail being lit as if it were a fuse, which makes me think of these lines from the They Might Be Giants song "Hide Away Folk Family."

Tippy-toe to the front door, Mother,
'Cause there's a guy with a long, long fuse
And the one thing you can't hide is all the fear you feel inside
As the fuse is spelling out these words

Chorus:
Hide away folk family
Or else someone's gonna get ya (Someone's gonna get ya)
Someone's gonna get ya
Hide away folk family
Better hide away
Better hide away

Tippy-toe to the flat-bed, Father,
Because they're pouring out our gasoline
And sadly the cross-eyed bear's been put to sleep behind the stairs
And his shoes are laced with irony

Chorus

Hello. This is Lesley Down with the daily home astrology report.
Taurus: Contemplate domestic turmoil.
Aquarius: Abandon hope for future plans.

I'm not sure if the Taurus and Aquarius references mean anything, but it's interesting to note that Inauguration Day is often the day the Sun enters Aquarius.

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The Queen of Cups (Harris)

Looking at all of the cards we are considering, we find Harris represented four times: twice as a woman with a cup, once as a woman with grapes growing from her tail, and once as a woman with a lion. This theme of cups and grapes reminds me that in Aleister Crowley's version of the Strength card (renamed Lust; in order to maintain his cred as the Wickedest Man in the World, Crowley renamed all three virtue trumps), the woman is portrayed as the biblical Whore of Babylon and is holding a cup.


Crowley himself characterizes this cup as "the Holy Grail burned with love and death," but in the Bible it is "a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication" (Rev. 17:17), and "the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication" (Rev. 17:2). 

The identification (divinatory, not literal!) is clinched by the way this character is introduced in Revelation: "I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters" (Rev. 17:1). If you look at the Queen of Cups, you will see that she, too, sits upon many waters, her throne being on a tiny island or promontory, with water all around. Note also that Biden and Harris are often disparagingly referred to as "Joe and the Hoe" -- the latter title being nothing but a dialect version of the word used in Revelation.

Oh, and did I mention that "Crowley's" cards were actually painted by a woman named Harris?

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Reading for 2022

On the morning of January 4, 2022, I decided to do a reading for the year ahead. Not having any cards handy, I did this in a rather unorthodox way: I put a list of the 78 Tarot cards into random.org's list randomizer, and for each card I wanted to draw, I concentrated on the question and clicked "randomize," and took the first card on the randomized list. To draw the next card, I didn't take the second card on the list, but rather clicked "randomize" again and took the first. As a result, it was possible to draw the same card more than once, and in fact this happened twice.

I decided to look at a few different aspects of the United States in 2022, and I drew two cards for each of these: one for the start of the year, and one for the end -- the idea being that comparing the two would suggest what if any changes would take place over the course of the year.

I'm not entirely sure why I decided to do this, and even less sure why anyone else would want to read about it, since my credibility as a Tarot reader is essentially zero at this point. Readers of this blog will know that I mainly write about the history and symbolism of the cards and rarely ever make Tarot-based predictions -- the one exception being my extremely confident prediction that Trump would win the 2020 election. I made this prediction before the election, when it seemed that I was just stating the obvious, and then I stood by it for months afterwards, insisting that, no matter how increasingly impossible it appeared, somehow the election results would be reversed and Trump would end up back in the White House after all. The message of the cards was just so unmistably clear!

I suppose this could in principle still happen -- my prediction won't be definitively falsified until the 2024 election, after which even if Trump comes back, it won't be as the winner of the 2020 election -- but I'm not holding my breath. I could also try to defend myself with special pleading -- saying for example that I had predicted the true winner of the election, not the usurper who actually took power -- but I'm not going to do that. To all appearances, my prediction simply failed. Given free will, that happens. "Whether there be prophecies, they shall fail" (1 Cor. 13:8). Let's see if I have any better luck this time.

Here's my spread:


A few things immediately jump out here. I have written extensively about the link (originally proposed by Richard Arrowsmith) between the Sun card and the birdemic, and the Sun appears in this spread as one of the two cards for the birdemic. My probably-failed prediction about the 2020 election was entirely based on the extensive links between the Judgement card and Trump, and that card appears here under Trump. Finally, I interpreted a variant of the Strength card as Harris controlling Biden, and the Strength card appears here under Harris. So that's a pretty impressive set of coincidences.

How impressive? The Sun is the only card I have associated with the birdemic, the chance of at least one of the two birdemic cards being the Sun is 2.548%. I have associated two cards, the High Priestess and Strength, with Biden and Harris. The chance of at least one of the four Biden/Harris cards being one of those is 9.869%. I have associated two cards, Judgement and the Sun, with Trump. The chance of at least one of the two Trump cards being one of those is 5.062%. The chance of all three of these things occurring in a single spread is the product of the three percentages given, or 0.01273% -- approximately 1 in 7,856.

Now for my tentative interpretation of the details of the spread.

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Birdemic

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.

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Biden

Biden begins the year as the Page of Wands, whose quarterstaff and feathered cap suggest Robin Hood. The main point, though, is that a page -- a personal attendant of a person of rank -- is not in any way a leader. As is obvious to everyone, Biden is barely even enough of a leader to qualify as a "figurehead"; he is taking orders from someone. A "page of wands" is literally a servant to a wand or staff, and Biden has said before that he's going to "get in trouble with my staff" for taking unapproved questions from the press. "As if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself, as if it were no wood" (Isa. 10:15).

The year ends with the Five of Wands -- a chaotic brawl. This same card appears at the end of the year for Trump, suggesting that the chaotic conflict depicted will be between Biden and Trump.

The good news, from Biden's point of view, is that he's apparently still alive at the end of the year!

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Harris

The first card for Kamala Harris is the Devil. Her middle name is Devi, so even the name of the card is a hit! One obvious interpretation is that Harris begins 2022 as "the devil" -- that is, as an extremely unpopular person no one in either party likes. A closer look at the image on the Rider-Waite card suggests a more interesting, reading, though.


Suppose we identify Harris not with the devil himself but with the only female figure on this card. Since it seems obvious that neither Biden nor Harris is really running the country, the devil figure in the background represents whoever or whatever is. The two chained figures, then, would be Biden and Harris -- naked to indicate that they are a public embarrassment. If you ignore the devil figure, Harris is standing on Biden's right, indicating that (to those who can't see what's really going on) he is the leader and she is his "right hand man." In  fact, though, the devil is the central figure and thus the leader, Harris is his "right hand man," and Biden is in the less important "left hand man" position. Furthermore, the devil appears to be using his firebrand (French brandon) to set fire to Biden's tail! I have mentioned many times my persistent premonitions regarding Biden and "spontaneous human combustion"; one dream even had people saying "Joe Biden didn't spontaneously combust" in much the same way they say "Jeffrey Epstein didn't kill himself." Whatever is to be made of this puzzling theme, this card would seem to reinforce it.

The Harris figure's own tail ends in a bunch of grapes, and this made me think of an old sync post which I had not connected with Harris at all at the time: "Vineyard shouting with the bee whom hump" (sic). Hump suggests camel and thus Kamala. Bee is interesting because of the other Harris card in this spread, Strength. As I have said elsewhere, the Strength card is a "female Samson" -- that is, it was originally a picture of Samson killing a lion, but the figure was later misinterpreted as female because of the long hair. The only real "female Samson" -- that is, the only woman ever to fill Samson's role of biblical "judge" -- was Deborah, whose name is the Hebrew word for "bee." The Hebrew name is actually more accurately transliterated as Devorah -- so the nickname Debbie would be equivalent to Devi. Furthermore, the word-salad title "Vineyard shouting with the bee whom hump" is from a Google search result for a video of a sermon about the Hindu goddess Durga, referred to in the sermon as Mata, "Mother." Kamala Devi Harris is named after a Hindu goddess (Kamala is an epithet of Lakshmi), and she goes by Momala even though she is not a mother. Durga, according to Wikipedia, "is worshipped as a principal aspect of the mother goddess Devi," and "is often depicted as a beautiful woman, riding a lion or tiger" (like Magna Mater in Rome). A woman riding a lion is obviously related to the image on the Strength card, and the tiger is interesting because the Year of the Tiger -- and thus of Durga? -- will begin on February 1, 2022.

If the year begins with Harris in a position of weakness -- chained and subjected to the devil -- it ends with her in a position of strength. Where the Devil card has three figures, Strength only has two, and the woman is in control. Which of the figures on the Devil card does the lion correspond to, then -- the chained man (Biden) or the devil (the shadowy power behind the throne)? In my post "Strength in the Grateful Dead 'Ripple' video," I discuss a variant of this card in which the woman is black and is controlling a wolf rather than a lion; I identify the black woman with Harris, and the wolf with Biden (whose horoscope prominently features the constellation Lupus).

Alternatively, the lion could correspond to "the devil, as a roaring lion" (1 Pet. 5:8) and thus to whoever is controlling both Biden and Harris at the beginning of the year. There is widespread speculation that the power behind the throne is Barack Obama, who is a Leo. It is intereting to note that the biblical Deborah controls a man named Barak. I have also floated the idea here that Trump, another leonine figure and a popular "devil," is actually the power behind the throne.

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Trump

Trump begins the year with the Judgement. As I have already detailed many times on this blog, the angel on that card unambiguously represents Trump, encoding his name, his birthday (June 14, Flag Day), and even his trademark orange/blond hair. The image shows that Trump begins the year as quite popular (though his supporters bear a disturbing resemblance to gray "NPCs") but also "in limbo," suspended between heaven and earth, his status unclear. He has no contact with the ground, suggesting that he is increasingly out of touch with his base -- as can be seen in his recent tone-deaf shilling for the pecks, causing his own supporters to boo him.

As mentioned above, the year ends with Trump and Biden locked in some sort of chaotic combat -- with staves, not swords; a brawl, not a war. Is it possible that, after all this time, the result of the 2020 election will be challenged in a meaningful way, so that the year will end with it still up in the air? It can be argued that, since Biden is going to be in office for a while, it is in Trump's best interest to let him serve two years and make his comeback as soon after January 20, 2023, as possible. That way, depending on how the courts interpret the 22nd Amendment, Trump may get a 10-year presidency -- being elected twice, in 2016 and 2024, plus serving just under two years of a term to which someone else was elected (Biden in 2020). I don't think this is likely to work, but it does seem likely that Trump will give it a try and may intensify his efforts to challenge the election around the end of this year.

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Cabal

By "Cabal," I mean Them -- the demonic Establishment, spiritual wickedness in high places. They begin the year with godlike power over the whole World and end it as -- the Knight of Wands? I'm not sure what to make of this, except that it clearly seems to be a step down from the World. There's also an obvious connection to Biden as Page of Wands. A knight is a page's master. The two cards also feature the same background scene of a desert landscape with three mounds or pyramids.

The most optimistic reading would be to note that the Knight of Wands traditionally represents departure or flight, and to see Cabal "on the run" by the end of the year. I lack such optimism, to put it mildly.

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Christianity

Nothing very clear here. The Queen of Cups often means "loyal but stupid; loving, but overlooking the obvious" -- all of which I suppose could be called a fair description of organized Christendom's pathetic loyalty to the satanic System.

The King of Pentacles -- "dogmatic, materialistic, doing only what is expected of him" -- strikes an even bleaker note at the end of the year. We might note that many of the themes from the Devil card -- horns, grapes, a pentagram -- reappear on the King of Pentacles. It doesn't look as if we can expect any mass Christian awakening this year.

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Daily life

Absolutely unchanged! The before and after pictures are the same: Queen of Swords -- representing loneliness, isolation, and pointless cruelty. 

Monday, December 20, 2021

The Three of Swords and the Immaculate Heart

Waite, influenced by the Sola Busca, illustrated his Three of Swords with a heart being pierced by three swords.

Sola Busca (late 15th century), Rider-Waite (1909)

The Gospel of Luke records a man named Simeon saying to Mary, shortly after the birth of Jesus, "Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed" (Luke 2:35). It is for this reason that the Immaculate Heart of Mary is often portrayed with a sword through it.

Sometimes, though, the Immaculate Heart is shown with seven swords through it, representing the Seven Sorrows of Mary.

These Seven Sorrows are:

  1. the prophecy of Simeon already mentioned
  2. the flight into Egypt
  3. the loss of the child Jesus at the Temple
  4. meeting Jesus on the road to Calvary
  5. the Crucifixion
  6. Jesus' body being taken down from the cross
  7. the burial of Jesus

The number seven is obviously somewhat contrived here -- four of the Sorrows are basically part of the same event, the Crucifixion, and their number could easily be arbitrarily increased or decreased (cf. the 14 Stations of the Cross). Nevertheless, it has become traditional, and our interpretation of the Tarot card should respect that.

Note that Simeon's prophecy of a sword piercing Mary's soul is taken as a reference to these Seven Sorrows -- but that one of those sorrows is that prophecy itself! Thus, Simeon prophesied six sorrows, and that prophecy of six sorrows is itself the seventh (or first) sorrow. Likewise, the Three of Swords shows a heart with six wounds (for each sword makes an entry and an exit wound), and the whole image itself represents the remaining sorrow, the prophecy of Simeon.

The Visconti-Sforza Emperor cards

The earliest extant Tarot cards are those commissioned by Filippo Maria Visconti and Francesco Sforza, Dukes of Milan, in the mid-15th centu...