Don Bisdorf

Inexpert Tarot Reading: March 13

Categories: [blog]

I know you're only here because it's a slow news week and there's nothing else interesting to read on the web, but still, thanks for coming by!

Today's cards are the Ace of Pentacles and the Three of Swords.

Tarot cards depicting a heavenly hand holding a gold disk above a garden, and a heart with three swords through it.

Do the aces in this deck remind you of those cutout animations from Monty Python?

Whereas there's not much going on in the Three of Swords ("I am so tired of this job," the deck artist said. "For this card I'm just going to jab three swords into a heart and call it a day.") the Ace has at least a few puzzling details. To my mind, this card appears to suggest that you, the reader, are standing in a lovely, scuplted garden, and there's a path running through the garden to a topiary arch. Through that arch, a long long way away, are some gray misty mountains. And in the sky, a heavenly hand, offering a hefty gold circle. "Come this way," the hand seems to suggest. "Leave your garden and come to the mountains. There's a commemorative gold coin in it for you."

And what happens if you do?

Three swords through your heart, and a rainstorm.

The cards today are recapitulating a profound universal pattern: the bait and switch. Temptation and downfall. Ambition and overreach. It's the same tragedy that Lucy van Pelt and Charlie Brown act out again and again. Charlie will always try to kick that football, just like the coyote will always chase that roadrunner, and like the Brain will always ask, with hope and optimism, whether Pinky this time really is thinking the same thing the Brain is thinking. Roscoe P. Coltrane is a modern Sisyphus, doomed to always chase them Duke boys, and to always end up in a ditch. (Please subscribe to my Patreon where I fully lay out the parallels between the Dukes of Hazzard and Greek myth.)

We tell this story over and over because it's primal. It's archetypal. It shows that hope and disappointment are two sides of a coin, as are bravery and foolishness, speed and haste. It demonstrates the difference between comedy and tragedy: if you're holding the football, it's a comedy. If you're get the idea.

So what's the message? Never try?

Clearly not. I think the message is that sometimes it's better to go do something else.

Charlie could go play with his dog for once. Roscoe could get off the back roads and give speeding tickets to tourists on the freeway. The coyote could order some frozen roadrunner from Amazon. And the Brain could...well, no, I think we all agree that the Brain always needs to ask Pinky if he's thinking what Brain is thinking.

But you see what I mean, right? Progress isn't a one-lane road. There are other paths to success, and maybe the path through the topiary arch isn't the path for you. And honestly, that big floating hand with the gold coin is a little scary, so why did you take that path anyway?

Sometimes you need a change of tactics. A shift of perspective. Sometimes you need to stop staring at the keyboard, searching for the right word, and...

Does anyone else want tea? I'm going to go make some tea.

« »