Another Crazy Quilt
Taking a break from "Lore" . . .
In the last three EP posts, I set out to update/expand some book reviews written for Tarot: History, Mystery, and Lore—a whole thirty years ago now. That sounded like a pretty easy lift.
But as happens so often, I got much more than I bargained for! First of all, I was surprised by who the authors were before they wrote their books. Second of all, I could never have imagined what they did afterwards.
As it turns out, the first three books/authors I chose (“at random”) to revisit had fairly complex stories. So it’s time for a simplicity break!
In that spirit, I’ve pieced together another crazy quilt of Tarot-adjacent notes.
Whatever anyone thinks about the causes of climate change, they can’t reasonably doubt that Earth is experiencing a prolonged period of severe drought and extreme heat.
Most of the consequences so far belong on the “really bad” list. Raging forest fires, dwindling water supplies, ruined crops, and human casualties . . . .
But one consequence also highlights a truth that’s relevant to the practice of Tarot divination: some significant realities exist, but are hidden from view.
Just consider this carving of three Buddhas, recently revealed by low water levels in the Yangtze, Asia’s largest river:
The site is only about 600 years old, but has been underwater for centuries.
Then consider the Dolmen of Guadalperal, also known as the “Spanish Stonehenge.”
This arrangement of standing stones is probably 5,000 years old! And though it wasn’t entirely unknown, the site has only been visible four times in known history.
Take a short video tour from NBC News to see more, including newly visible dinosaur tracks, remains of an ancient Roman bridge across the Tiber, and Nazi warships sunk in the Danube.
I am not generally a fan of the macabre. So I looked up the word to be sure I understand it correctly. In the arts, macabre means "the quality of having a grim or ghastly atmosphere" and/or “emphasizing the details and symbols of death.”
Apparently no one knows how this word came into use, or what it originally meant. But if you want to see some guesses, here’s an interesting post on the Oxford University Press blog.
In its lack of etymology, the word “macabre” turns out to have something in common with the word “Tarot.” And of course there’s an obvious connection, in the sense that the image on Tarot’s Death card is historically (and absolutely) macabre . . .
Not, to my eye, just an image of “change,” as Tarot commentators often prefer today.
But one place you can always count on seeing Tarot in a context of the macabre is Morbid Anatomy. And I was captivated by some images that recently appeared in their gallery:
These photographs are made by a duo of Belgian artists who have taken the name Mothmeister—and you can see many more of their works, along with an extensive interview, at Beautiful Bizarre.
Needless to say, I hope there will be a Mothmeister Tarot. When the macabre is executed with such fantastic imagination and creative detail, I’m all in.
Looks like I only made two quilt squares today. So I’ll add two more before August is over. And I’ll also update on my plans for September.
See you soon. C