About a year ago while in bookstore in Scotland, I happened across a Tarot deck that appealed to me greatly. I have decided to take a new turn in cartomancy by taking daily readings from this deck and then looking to how the day progresses in order learn the relationship between the patterns of the cards and my experience of the day. The spread I am following is a basic elaboration of the three-card past-self-future spread, following a four-cornered pattern with correspondences to the cardinal directions and their winds. I will elaborate on this for my next post, but for now I will get right on to my first regular reading.

A First Reading in the afternoon of October 23rd:

The inverted king of pentacles was in the North Wind. The Stars was in the East Wind while the ten of Pentacles and the Lovers, both inverted, were in the South and West Winds respectively.

I took this reading in the mid-afternoon as I prepared for my classes on grammar: a two hour and forty-five minute, basic grammar course, and a three-hour course on college writing. Both of these are being offered through the local community college. I am teaching these because, according to their accrediting agency, I do not have enough hours of English courses on my transcripts. Thus I can only teach 100 level English courses at the most.

(Slight pause for derisive and slightly maniacal laughter as I remember teaching three and four hundred level courses in Medieval Literature, including — among others — courses on Chaucer, Scandinavian and Gaelic literature and no less the history of the English language. A further pause, while I get a large glass of Scotch and sit in a darkened bathroom, weeping quietly to myself.)

I don’t really mind, as I get to celebrate my slightly unhealthy love of grammar and hopefully introduce people to the bizarre wonders of what I consider is really literary philosophy. Anyway, the interpretation that I drew from the cards was that the inverted King implied that I was to be cautious not to allow my own opinion of myself as an academic, with a strict focus on my research and a certain distaste for English, get in the way of the spiritual discipline of teaching. The students come first and their grasp of the material must be priority one once the class begins. At the same time, the financial benefit of teaching here, not only immediately but the experience of teaching at t more basic level, would lead to further mastery of the teacher’s art.

The Stars indicate my desire for hope and guidance on the professional path I have chosen. I have been short-listed for a research position in Ireland, for which I interview by videoconference on the third, and this hope, however much a long shot, shines like the Pleiades in my mind.

The inverted ten of Pentacles I read as a manifestation of my new position as a teacher and the new role I am to play as the leader of these minds through the first thickets of grammatical investigation. I took it to represent the student-teacher bond and my place in the family of the university.

Lastly I took the inverted Lovers as a cautionary token. In the place of the West Wind, I felt this to be the most esoteric, the most “felt” card and possibly the most important — more of a warning than any of the others. In my little, growing family, the bedtime ritual with the children has become our most important ritual of the day. With these new classes I will be missing four out of seven nights putting the kids down, and I consider this vision of the inverted lovers to be a warning to maintain proper priorities.

At the same time, it seemed to me that the four cards together were a warning not to push my students too far in the discipline of grammar. After all, I have lived with the grammars of several languages for some ten years now and many very abstract concepts I take for granted. It so happened that I did push my basic English class too far and will have to make up for that this coming week by spending almost the whole class carrying them through practical exercises. I was able to pull back more with my compositional class, but it was still a strain for me to keep from simply rambling on happily about post-position adjectival phrases and conditional, future-less vivid compound verbs.

The come-uppance was, of course, not very clear whether the cards were predicting my evening or depicting my inner landscape. I have always considered cartomancy to be more a process of self-discovery, but I am going to explore this further in. For now, I will wait to describe in depth the other card readings I have cast since, but I will list their positions below.

Two Readings on the morning of October 24th:

First reading for myself:

In the Position of the North Wind, stood the Empress. In the East wind stood the six of wands. In the South stood the inverted nine of pentacles while in the West stood the eight of pentacles.

Second reading for Duileóg:

In the position of the North Wind stood the inverted fool, while in the East wind stood the inverted three of wands. In the South wind stood the two of pentacles and in the West stood the knight of swords.

October 25th (this morning):

Judgment stood in the place of the North Wind, with the inverted Chariot in the place of the East. The seven of Chalices was in the South and the four of Pentacles in the West.


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