It’s been a long time since we did a blog hop! This one is on the topic of sacred knowledge. What have we learned, working with the tarot? (To read what my fellow blog hoppers have to say about this, use the links at the top and bottom of each post to hop through.)
I almost started writing without consulting the cards. Surely I know what I’ve learned from tarot? But it’s late, I’m tired, and also, I have asked the tarot every other blog hop question. It’s not getting out of this one so easily!
So I pulled out the Wild Unknown Oracle and, because it’s also Halloween, the Halloween Tarot. What do I understand that I didn’t understand before I started playing with these cards?
The Wild Unknown Oracle tells me, The Hunter. Oh, well done, Wild Unknown. This is why we use cards–they are so very fast.
Divination is a hunt for knowledge.
So first of all yes. We can ask questions. We can talk to the invisible. We can hunt for sacred knowledge. We’re not required to sit around with sad patience saying to each other, “we must have faith,” or, “that bird feather means this or that vague utterance.” We are allowed to hunt down the universe, grab it by its lapels, and demand: “You explain yourself and you explain yourself NOW and this better be good.”
Oh? Is that not how you talk to your gods or ancestors or spirit guides?
Ha ha ha ha ha!
Well. Why the hell not? It’s how they talk to YOU.
Besides Mars just went into Scorpio and this Scorpio is ready to fight.
Also, though. This Scorpio also just went back to school, divinity school. I started last fall but am full time this fall. And I’m reading some parts of the Old Testament for the very first time. Oh my, there’s a lot of divination in there. How did divination first begin? Well, I can’t be certain. Maybe some of you can. But one of the oldest forms was reading entrails. So The Hunter appearing seems like a rather ancient reference, actually. More ancient than the Bible, even though the Bible makes me think of it. Because the sacrifices made in the Bible were generally animals raised by humans, but divination predates farming. I think at one point in time, divination was a process that may well have often begun with a hunt.
All hunters divine. They look for signs, for traces, they read the weather.
And they are cold hard realists. They don’t take the existence of what they hunt on faith. Neither do gatherers. They both prefer evidence. And they don’t wait for it to come to them either. They go find it. The signs hunters look for aren’t always pretty. Like I said, these are realists. They look for the broken places. They look for fur. They look for scat. And blood.
In some times and places, the wise hunter should also consider that what’s being hunted might also hunt. (Where I grew up, there are grizzly bears.) What you’re looking for might also be looking for you. Are you sure you want to find it? Might want to take some time to reflect on that before starting the hunt.
All that from one card? Yes, well, I bet a hunter could tell you a lot from a single trace too. We can glean far more than faith from our divinings. (I’m not anti-faith, I think faith is vital, but it is also too often offered as if it was all we needed and too often held out by people who are peddling bridges that they want you to have faith in.) The point of divination is not to pat you on the hand and say, “yes, there is a God(s)(ess)(es).” All that does is reinforce all the biases you already have. And if you’re not ready to have your entire belief system challenged, then you are not ready for the divine.
I won’t analyze each of the cards I drew from the Halloween Tarot in such detail. You’ve already read this far and there are other blogs to hop to. But I will note that pictured here is a modified mini Celtic cross. The three cards in the center, the Chariot, Emperor, and Queen of Pumpkins, are my significator in this hunt, my situation re this hunt in this life (and woah, there’s my tarot birth card, the Emperor, representing that–that’s why I hunt for information by the way, because I’m a control freak and must have all the available information about all possible variables), and what’s covering me. Then we have a root or foundation card, what led into this, a crowning card, and where this is leading.
Divination must be honest.
Point of interest (if you’re interested–if not you can pop down to the link to the next blog in the hop): the past as the Five of Pumpkins–that’s me outside the church because I couldn’t find the information I was after inside it. Don’t think I didn’t look thoroughly (actually I continue to). And don’t think the church (I mean the Christian church but I suspect you could say this about any organized faith) isn’t valid. It’s valid enough. It’s just not…honest enough, for me. Or its practitioners aren’t. Not that they don’t try. It’s just that the form of dishonesty presented in Christianity operates like this: “I don’t see you over there. I don’t see you! Stop talking to me; I’ve told you I don’t see you! Oh wait, you’ve said something I do recognize. Okay I know what to do. Hold still while I define your experience as not existing.” I’m digressing on this but it’s for a good reason and the reason is something I have also found in, and perhaps learned from, tarot: We have to be honest and precise even when what we see (not just in divination but in life, which is also divination, so) isn’t what we expected and even when what we see isn’t something we agree with. Inconvenient realities still exist even if you put on a blindfold so you can’t see them. (Some parts of the Catholic Church genuinely do recognize that one has to honestly face inconvenient realities: the Jesuits are really good about it, in my opinion. And there are plenty of religious people around who take honesty seriously. But unfortunately there are also plenty who don’t. And many religious organizations that claim to be all about honesty, still aren’t and still have some areas of “what, is something over there? did you hear something? no, I didn’t hear anything”: I see you, American Buddhism!)
The search for knowledge should be nonviolent.
Another point of interest: that crowning Five of Bats. To me the Five of Swords (swords appear as bats in the Halloween Tarot) is about walking away from a fight. The search for knowledge, at least for me, is the search of a pacifist. It’s a nonviolent path. For me. I’m not here to fight with anyone about what they think. I know how to throw a good punch, I have broken a board with one, but punching you won’t change the fact that I’m right and you’re wrong, now will it? (Good thing I know how to duck and block too.) I am not here for the fighting. Well, I am here for the fighting. (I think I just explained about Mars in Scorpio.) I just am not here for the violent fighting. Is that just my personal preference? Well, it is, but also no: divination is nonviolent, and at its best and most honest, I don’t see how it supports violence. Every death is like burning a library. That knowledge, the things that person knew and experienced, may not be available to humanity through any other source. So I stand by this: if you care about knowledge, you are fundamentally nonviolent (are there exceptions? yes–but you don’t get to just assume you have found one, see honesty, above).
Divination also, by its nature, means assessing a situation, usually in order to choose a path that is the best fit–it’s tailor-made for pacifism. (Even though the Bible, as I’m discovering, is full of kings divining on whether they will win their battles, sometimes asking tens or hundreds of diviners whether they will win their battles, like a jilted lover asking every psychic on the Internet if their lover will come back.) Because pacifism isn’t just folding your arms and saying “hell no, I won’t go.” The smarter pacifist looks ahead long before that point to discern which path is most and least likely to lead to violence. So does the smart warrior. (Hey Biblical kings, why didn’t you ask your diviners what would happen if you did NOT go to war?) Here’s a story for you that I heard when I first started studying martial arts:
A person was dying. They wanted to see which of their three children was the wisest. So they put a pillow on the top of their door and called in the oldest child. As the child opened the door, the pillow fell, and the child caught it and politely handed it to their parent. The person put the pillow back on top of the door and called the second oldest. The second oldest saw the pillow falling, whipped out a sword, and sliced the pillow in two as it fell. The person sighed and got another pillow to put on top of the door, and then called the youngest in. The youngest opened the door slightly, glanced up and realized there was a pillow there, and then reached up and took the pillow down before coming into the room.
None of those responses was bad. But that youngest child is the best diviner–and certainly the best hunter and best warrior, which is why this is a martial arts story.
Anyway, there are blogs to read, off you go.