I’m working with the cards from the newly created Arc Tarot – a gift to the cartomantic community – and suddenly I understand more deeply where the idea for the many arrows in this collaborative project comes from.
It comes from a distinct weariness with statements, claims, convictions, and beliefs.
As a Zen oriented woman, the first thing that I practice on a daily basis very much relies of an act of impaling statements, claims, convictions, and beliefs.
This act is quite at odds with what I do for a living, namely, promulgate statements and formulate claims myself. I write and teach, and I read fortunes for people who want nothing more than to believe in their future or possibility for self-empowerment.
So why do I seemingly sabotage my bread and butter?
Because I like gambling and a fine explosion. While very much solidly invested in my writing and fortunetelling career, I do it all from the position of the archer seeking to send an arrow straight into the heart of received expectations. ‘Boom,’ I say to myself, let’s see what’s left of this grand narrative (about the self, identity, empowerment, love, hate, and all the things we cling to or cherish as a matter of habit).
‘Bull’s eye’, I also like to say, and then investigate the hole made through what we hold as precious. I so like the empty space of a circle… It’s a shame I never became a national champion at archery, though judging by my approach to all things, it looks like that spirit is very much alive in me.
So I often tell my cartomancy students that reading cards is not about belief. Reading cards is about seeing what there is to see. This act of seeing has zero to do with belief. You can actually be a very successful fortuneteller and not buy into any kind of conceptual discourse whatsoever. At least that’s what I tell the incredulous, every time I also have to answer the question about how I reconcile being Zen, anchored in the now, with fortunetelling, all about the future.
The same with writing. I don’t write because there’s a point to it, or because I aim to be convincing in my argument. I don’t write because I believe in what I write. I write because writing makes me think about what I’m thinking. That is to say, writing make me think twice.
In other words, I don’t write and read fortunes because I’m convinced about the certitude of tomorrow or about what I know now. If anything, I prefer to ask myself about holding any opinion: ‘How do you know that?’ I write and read fortunes because I like detective work. I like to uncover obscurities and get clear about things. I like to say to myself: ‘This is clear’, rather than, ‘This I know’.
As far as I’m concerned, any process of discovery has nothing to do with what I believe in. I look at the cards and simply say, ‘it looks like this,’ whether this is in response to a question about the future, or about what to do to score a job. People can take this discovery and do what they will with it, believe in it, or put it to some other use.
Trumps on Target
Given this context, I took Arc Tarot for a spin on a number of questions that I’ve read the cards for this week, beginning with my own curiosity and moving into fortunetelling for others.
I hope you’ll enjoy the snappiness of it.
What’s your greatest strength as a divination tool?
Divination is about taking the risk of finding a just cause for your questions so they can be answered in truth.
How can my wisdom be transmitted, if making claims is to be avoided?
Ground Zero, the Writer, the Party
Start with the void. Don’t shout from the top of your lungs that insofar as nothing has substance, nothing can be transmitted. Write about what you think and leave it at that. Have a glass of wine, and join others in their celebration under the influence of none other than, precisely, substance.
Will I see my sister on Sunday as planned, due to the unexpected death of her father-in-law?
The Party, the Strategist, Divorce
No. You planned to party, but if her family schedules the funeral for Sunday, you’ll part ways, as she’ll be going to that event.
Does he still love me?
The Cosmopolitan, the Historian, Attention
No. The attraction to your world has made it in the history books. You’re now focussed elsewhere than on receiving love from a past love. This your lover knows, hence his act of archiving you.
How can I strengthen my relationship with my business partner?
The Siren, the Liar, the Altruist
If your partner has a tendency towards insincerity, call him out on it, but do it from the position of giving your all.
I could go on, but it looks like the trumps of the Arc Tarot are on target when you read for what you see, not for what you happen to believe in.
What is Arc Tarot?
Arc Tarot was designed and created in its entirety on one fine afternoon, while I was receiving guests on top of the mountain in Norway. Cartomancy students Merete Veian and Nicholas Maher came for coffee, as it were, and we ended up with a Tarot deck. We uploaded the images to the Make Playing Cards website at no profit for us, because we wanted to make a gift to the community in celebration of the activities within Aradia Academy. What one pays is production cost only.
I like collaborative projects that take no longer than an afternoon to create, as are very satisfying. They have a quality of randomness that is enchanting and appropriate to working with cards. At the same time, it’s great when impromptu projects develop a unified idea that is right on target.
At the time of the visit, I was sitting with the fine art of paper marbling in the style of Japanese ‘suminagashi’, when an idea hit us.
Why not make a deck of cards that draws on inspiration from non-traditional Marseille Tarot cards, calligraphy, sigil art, and martial arts – with a Norwegian, Danish, Romanian, American, and Japanese flavor? We did have an entire afternoon for it.
I provided the idea that we create keywords for 22 new cards, based on reading 2-card combinations of old Marseille trumps. You can see the combinations in the margins of the new cards.
I also designed a sigil to go with the keywords, and provided a suminagashi ‘witch’s head’ to serve as the back of the deck. As the sigils took the unplanned form or arrows, and Cupid showed up upon divining for a name, Arc Tarot presented itself as a given.
Merete Veian provided most of the drawings for the keywords we came up with in a 10-minute brainstorm, and she was also the head designer of putting it all together.
Nicholas Maher provided ‘occult’ touches to Merete’s drawings and also liquified the background of the old Marseille cards, following the suminagashi spirit.
So far Arc Tarot has proved to be both sharp and useful, judging by the multitude of divinatory readings that people have shared in the social media already. So we can say that not only has this Tarot been warmly embraced, but that it also produces very keen insights.
If you give Arc Tarot a try, make sure to have fun with its straight arrows, as it can shoot to death.
People say: “Arc Tarot is merciless as the TdM on steroids” – Fortuna Aphro
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