Time Capsule #5
Notes to self . . . .
As teased last week, I found in the Capsule drawers a page of notes written on a return trip from the Bay Area Tarot Symposium in (I think) 1993. And here it is:
The first thing I’ll take note of is the school-girl handwriting—which strikes me as hilarious. But luckily, it’s much more readable than the way I write now.
At least up until the last few lines. I finally deciphered the last word in the next to the last line: “multimedia.” There’s a word in the line above that I can’t figure out, though. “New ? and new tools . . . “
Not that it matters! My other guesses about future Tarot developments were quite off, at least in terms of the past 30 years. There’s no sign of “penetrate business, science, and politics,” despite heroic efforts by Jim Wanless. Not sure what I meant by “shift in the archetypes,” but whatever it was, I don’t think it’s happened.
Obviously, “computers” have played an enormous role in the evolution (or devolution, depending on how you look at it) of Tarot. There’s a whole landscape of Tarot services, products, courses, et cetera, crisscrossed by social media highways and dotted with Etsy enclaves.
That’s about it, though. My fantasies about a virtual reality “Tarot world”—sort of like Second Life—never came true, and I doubt Tarot is going to be big in the metaverse.
You’d suppose, now that 3D printing is relatively accessible, someone would have created 3D trumps, similar to a chess set. I’m not sure whether it would be uniquely useful, but it might be fun. (If I’ve missed this, let me know!)
The phrase “Possible Tarot” did make it into the book I was about to write, as the title of Chapter 1. And so did references to those “Recent experiences” listed in my notes-to-self. But here are some lightly extended descriptions:
Jim Wanless drove me along the Pacific Coast Highway to a place that lives in my memory as a kind of picnic-cafe in the woods. We talked about Tarot, and I made a tape recording of our conversation. (Looking for it . . . )
I think this was the year I stayed with Susan Levitt—and whether it was then or another year, I remember we talked about her approach to Tarot and ate at the kind of Japanese restaurant where sushi floats by in front of you, on little boats.
I know I stayed that year with Mary Greer and Ed Buryn in their amazing, book-filled house, where Mary was experimenting in her impressive aromatherapy laboratory. We talked about Tarot on walks around their wooded sanctuary.
I only wish I could remember it all in more detail. But I’m certain the conversations I had on that trip helped to formulate two items found on my sheet of notes: “core of Tarot = structure” and “not the history of an object but the history of an idea.”
In the latter case, I would now say “not only . . . but also,” because I have much more interest in certain aspects of Tarot’s object-evolution than I had at the time. And I think the note above that one, about “the need to mystify Tarot,” has some elements of truth, but is much too snarky.
As for “we were all in the back seat singing”—I have absolutely no idea what I had in mind. That’s the shorthand version of a catch-phrase which (in my family) usually begins “But Officer!”
Best guess? I may have meant those of us writing/theorizing about Tarot at the time were being led (driven) by a collective energy around the topic. Or maybe it referred to a general giddiness, induced by Tarot camaraderie. Honestly, no idea.
Thanks for going with me on this trip down memory lane. But I think I’d better add some commentary . . . .
When I look back at those notes—and remember many other events of the 1990s—I have to reflect on what happened after all that. On why I gradually withdrew from the Tarot community. On what happened to eclipse, even erase, the creative momentum I had (perhaps naively) assumed would sweep Tarot into an exciting new millennium.
I have some ideas about what changed, or at least what changed for me. I’ll share those on Thursday.
Warm regards, Cynthia