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Saturday, 5 April 2014

I want a duvet like this

Spiral Tarot (US Games 1997)
Yes, I'm using my newly-arrived replacement copy of the Spiral Tarot. You may recall I bought this last July and in a fit of spontaneity, cut the borders off. I instantly hated it. At last I've bought a new one. The weird borders offend my sensibilities, but the images themselves are so appealing to me, I had to have the deck. This is a deck that NEEDS to be republished - a larger size, plain inoffensive white borders, no extra colours or embellishments, and a pliable, matte cardstock. In my dreams. As it is, I will have to live with a rather small, highly laminated US Games edition with very ill-advised purple and white marbled borders and inexplicably chosen red and white inner border with strange white on red cartouche card title. (Was the designer colour blind? Or maybe just plain blind?)

Never mind, look PAAAAST the ugly outer bits to the glory within.

(There could be a huge lesson there, now that I've just typed that sentence and stared at it for a few seconds.)

I love this image for 4 of Swords - a lady relaxing in her chaise longe, all wrapped up in a big duvet decorated with huge poppies. The afternoon sun slants in through the windows. The candle she's been staring at, possibly meditating, possibly in a sort of trance state, has just finally burned out, and sends up its little last hurrah of smoke. She'll feel so rested when she wakes up after this power nap.

Four of Swords is 'Lord of Truce' in Golden Dawn tradition. It is a respite, a time of rest and recovery. I thought I'd get out Aleister Crowley's Book of Thoth and see what he has to say about it this morning. That was a silly idea. As usual, what he says makes no sense to me. He was probably high anyway. I thought I'd quote it for your amusement:

The number four, Chesed, is here manifested in the realm of the Intellect. Chesed refers to Jupiter who rules in Libra in this decanate. The sum of these symbols is therefore without opposition; hence the card proclaims the idea of authority in the intellectual world. It is the establishment of dogma, and law concerning it. It represents a refuge from mental chaos, chosen in an arbitrary manner. It argues for convention. 

Minds too indolent or too cowardly to think out their own problems hail joyfully this policy of appeasement. As always, the four is the term; as in this case there is no justification for repose, its disturbance by the five holds no promise of advance; its static shams go pell-mell into the melting pot; the issue is mere mess, usually signalized by fetid stench. But it has to be done!

....Riiiiight. Thanks for that, Uncle Al. So much clearer.

Let's turn to others who express themselves better. Okay, the 4 of Swords is Jupiter in Libra. Here are some of the qualities of Jupiter in Libra:

Life for Jupiter in Libra is pretty easy! It is often popular, attractive, and taken care of. Can be lazy, reaping the benefits of the hard work of others. Jupiter in Libra tends to have a lot of lucky breaks. It tends to have it so easy, though, that it can't tolerate stress very well at all. It wants everything to be as light and easy as possible. It likes harmony and balance, and tends to detach from reality and go into a fantasy of these things if stuff gets too 'real'. It doesn't like stress and will naturally try to deflect it. Anytime Jupiter in Libra has the chance to see that life is about facing and balancing the wonderful and the terrible, they will be very fortunate. ~ As Above So Below

I like that description, and I think it sits will with the 4 of Swords card. The contemporary interpretation of this card is usually 'rest' or taking a break, taking it easy from thinking or stressing about things. A reprieve. I can see how that fits in with Jupiter in Libra.


  1. "Never mind, look PAAAAST the ugly outer bits to the glory within." Now that's a phrase worthy of quotations marks :D

  2. I'm beginning to see how Arthur Waite and Aleister Crowley were peers; their lifestyles may have been different, but they both surely loved to write wordy, tangled paragraphs. :D
    I too would love to see this deck republishes sans borders (or at least a better color scheme). Even so, it's still one of my favorites.

    1. Me too! Maybe we should start a letter writing campaign.