It Takes A Village: VNV Wednesday Cartomancy Edition

The Village News & Views March 29, 2017
Wednesday Get Over the Hump Free for All

Greetings, Village People!

It’s day 69 of the Resistance to the regime of Trump and the Republican majority. The sheer level of tension and intensity is affecting everyone except those who are insulated by ignorance or devotion to bigotry.

One way to process situations and events which threaten to overwhelm us is to look for our own hidden perceptions through the use of symbols.

I’ve been fascinated by one such method of seeking understanding, Tarot cards, for many years. I don’t read often and I don’t read for others but I love the cards, love the deep layers of symbolism and love the way these things can coax out of a receptive consciousness new aspects of understanding about things we already know.

I have half a dozen decks or so, but like most people, the first exposure I had was via the Rider-Waite deck.

The cards were drawn by illustrator Pamela Colman Smith from the instructions of academic and mystic A. E. Waite, and published by the Rider Company.

Some imagery remains similar to that found in earlier decks, but overall the Waite-Smith card designs represent a substantial departure from their predecessors. The Christian imagery of previous decks cards was toned down, for instance the “Pope” card became the “Hierophant”, the “Papess” became the “High Priestess”.

Nevertheless, there is still a lot of Christian imagery in the illustrations, which appear to be set roughly in a medieval European environment.

Which brings me to something I ended up doodling with in Photoshop, and then before I knew it things had gone a little bit beyond doodling. I don’t really have a good excuse for this. Nevertheless I wanted to bring it out, in spite of the fact that it’s one of the rather craziest things I’ve done in a while, and coming from me, well, let’s just say that’s an interesting proposition.


Yes, it’s the Devil.

Now, let’s be clear. I don’t think Donald Trump is the Devil. That’s actually giving him way too much credit. However the image came to me, and once it had there was no shaking it loose.

I tried to talk myself out of it, but once I’d refreshed my memory as to the meaning of the card, there was just no getting around it.

The card represents: Being seduced by the material world and physical pleasures; lust for and an obsession with money and power. Also: Living in fear, domination and bondage; being caged by an overabundance of luxury

My version isn’t much of a departure, in fact if the Rider-Waite deck wasn’t arguably in the public domain I might hesitate to publish it. However The Donald represents lust for money and power, and corruption through the material world and physical pleasures, as well as the need, even the obsession to dominate. As you can see, in my card, he’s dominating his family, who, at least in the case of these two (as well as the older sons) are far from innocent victims, nevertheless they are as much in bondage to him as they appear here in the card.

The next one you see here was almost an afterthought. It might just as well be the symbol of 11/9/2016.

The Tower.

This card follows immediately after The Devil in all Tarots that contain it, and is associated with sudden, disruptive, revelation, and potentially destructive change.

This was just too easy, especially since it is numerically the next card the the deck to The Devil.

Most sources, especially for beginners, are usually quick to explain that cards like Death, The Devil, and The Tower in a reading rarely mean something extremely dire is about to befall the querent. In the case of The Tower it definitely denotes change, however, often unexpected and disruptive. Hence my association with the recent election. (And if the Tower even in its original form reminds you too much of another date, 9/11, you are not alone, however no desire for any physical catastrophe is intended here.)

I don’t wish to leave you there, however. These images are violent and perhaps frightening if they don’t strike you immediately as silly or ridiculous. However I couldn’t have stopped there and while re-purposing the entire Major Arcana in terms of the current political situation is probably more real work than I am likely to do, it’s not the first time I have played around mentally with pairing cards and certain people. Some day I’d like to do The Magician as Barack Obama, Michelle perhaps as Temperance, and while a certain Junior Senator from Vermont might see himself as the Hermit, I tend to lean more towards the Hanged Man.

Before 11/9, I would have placed Mrs. Clinton as The High Priestess, because after all, she’s brilliant, a wonk, and as far as I can tell deeply spiritual. However when I considered her again against the deck, another and for the moment, better association struck me.


In the original Rider-Waite version, the female figure is petting, or gently restraining, the lion (yes, that’s what a medieval lion looks like).

In my version, the young girl is calming the lion, her hand held protectively by guess who. I have the infinity symbol above the girl’s head instead of the major figure, since that I think is where Hillary would place it. The children are our eternity, and Hillary has always been there to give them the best shot at a better tomorrow.

I tried not to cover the text on the girl’s shirt but just couldn’t manage it. The shirt says, “I’m Not Bossy, I have Leadership Skills” and this is from a photo taken during the campaign.

Here is one interpretation of the card:

Strength indicates the importance of mind over matter, and reminds you to focus on what you do want rather than what you don’t want in your life. Its main point is that you have the ability to harness your thoughts and to use them for your – and everyone else’s – highest good. Not only do you have the ability; you have the responsibility. So conquer your fears, control your impulses, and never lose patience with yourself or what you are doing.

Strength is something we need in order to maintain the Resistance, and yet as the card illustrates, it is not a brute force, rather, it is calm, confidence, in line with the fact that the card’s original or earlier name was Fortitude.

And that is all I have for you today as far as symbolism and meaning, but if it nudges your mind into interesting paths or even gives you a respite from other concerns and worries, then that’s enough.

What The Fuck Just Happened Today?

Resisting Bernie’s Siren Song In The Age Of Trump

Bill O’Reilly Thinks He Has Room To Talk About Maxine Waters’s Hair

Thank you for your patience. Love and peace, Village! Enjoy your Wednesday gathering.

We are #StrongerTogether

We are #TheResistance and #WePersist

All are welcome!


About MomentaryGrace 41 Articles
I voted for the Democrat in every election since 1976. I appreciate honesty, kindness and courage. I loathe cruelty and indifference. I am Discordian. I mean you no harm. But if you are cruel, or indifferent, I may point and laugh. #stillwithher.


  1. Momentary Grace, this is awesome. Really.

    My first language is symbolism, and I spend a great deal of energy translating what’s in my mind into words so that I can talk with people. End up not talking much :)

    I could literally feel the soft scritches behind my ears as I absorbed the images, the meanings.

    If you should do the entire Tarot deck, please share!

    • Yay! Thank you, inkaudlay! I’m glad this had some value, sometimes I get these odd thoughts and my fingers take over, but I do wonder if the results are frivolous or just silly in the context of these times.

      I’m not sure if I’ll ever do all the Major Arcana cards but it’s likely to be a long Resistance so who knows!

  2. good morning Momentary Grace, your diary is fascinating this morning. I like what you have done with the imagery here and especially strength. That’s something that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, I like your conclusions and intend to think about this as I continue to limit my time online. That has helped my spirits as well as pushed along the refinishing project. I finished stripping the footstool yesterday and will start on the chair after breakfast. Once that’s done the rest will go fast so we can deliver to the upholsterer. Thanks for posting, hope you have a wonderful day.

    • Thank you for checking in, wordsinthewind! I’m glad my efforts provided some interest! Like you I often find myself needing to separate from the bombardment of all the news, the craziness, the negativity. Having the Wednesday posts to do has given me a mark to hit, and I’m better when I have something specific to do, like your refinishing project. Any chance you might share a picture of your project? I’d be fascinated by a before and after… ♥♥♥♥♥

      • I was thinking yesterday I should be taking photos. The chair itself looks awful since it still has the original 30s silk brocade upholstery, well that’s in shreds but still there. It is what was called a split chaise, the front of the chair is bowed out and the footstool is curved to fight right up against the chair. As comfortable as a chaise but much easier piece to have around not taking up as much fixed space. I’ve had it for a long time, part of my lifelong chair collection. Seriously, I still have a couple of my own child sized chairs that started the interest. I’ve sold some but of course bought a whole lot more.

        • Take a picture now and then as the steps of restoration are completed. Then we can see the process. {{{wordsinthewind}}}

          • I just took some pictures of the ratty before on the chair and stripped off legs on the footstool. One of those interesting facts I learned from the upholsterer is that if you can see the legs it’s called a footstool, if you can’t it’s an ottoman. Mr w will be more than happy to take pix while I’m stripping on the chair so everyone can enjoy that whole messy process. The results are worth the effort so I persist. After all that I’m turning it over to a professional.

          • Aha! That’s the difference between a footstool and an ottoman. Looking forward to seeing how things come off/out. moar {{{HUGS}}}

        • Oh yes, pictures!!! They might even inspire me to finish one or two of the projects I’ve started… ;D

          • in times like this I find I really need the satisfaction of completing projects. I’ve plenty to choose from…

      • thanks ink, it’s a whole lot more fun than fending off assaults on the internet. I should send a thank you to the admins at d k for making me turn the computer off.

  3. Thank you MomentaryGrace for another wonderful diary. I’m curious as to where #Purrsist might go…

    Happy #Purrsistance!

    • Hi basket! ♥♥♥♥♥

      I can see #Purrsist being an alternate card for Strength, actually. Hmm now my brain is trying to inch towards a whole Resistance Deck. Need moar coffee… ;)

    • {{{Basket}}} – #Purrsist might be an alternate to the Strength key, but it also might be the Star key (which in my “tradition’ represents the function of attractiing desirables to replace the deplorables zotted in the Tower key) or the Moon (which in my tradition is lighting the path of balance between Nature and Humankind). However, as I’m not technically competent at all, much less technically accomplished as MomentaryGrace is, I will have to leave it to her. :) Healing Energy and moar {{{HUGS}}}

          • From the Biddy website:

            In relation to others, Temperance represents adaptation, coordination, and tempering external influences. You are able to work in harmony with others and there is a heightened level of co-operation in your activities with others. You are able to combine forces and join with others in order to bring it all together. There is a beautiful synergy at work that leverages the right mix of talents, experiences, abilities and skills.

            Temperance asks you to be patient so that you can act with timing and precision. Patience and moderation will result in good management of all things. Do not feel that you need to rush, just let the situation evolve at its natural pace.

            That kinda sounds like persistence… mebbe? :)

          • Well, you do have to persist to achieve temperance (a much misused word in our society). Even though the name of the Key is Temperance I tend to regard it as Balance just looking at it. Tempering can be alleviating an extreme (tempering the wind to the shorn lamb sort of thing) but it can also be the results of the application of alternating extremes (tempered steel). Looking at the picture itself (BOTA set), you see the spiritual entity wearing the 7-pointed star of human engineering and holding water over the fire sign (Leo/lion) and fire over the water sign (Scorpio/eagle) and standing with one foot on land and one in water. The path through the mountains to the Crown begins at that pool of water (which is constantly renewed/refilled from the robes of the Priestess – She who holds the Law).

            So I guess you could plunk purrsistence multiple places in the symbology of Temperance. :)

  4. {{{MomentaryGrace}}} – my tarot ‘set’ is from BOTA – very similar but not exactly like Rider – and I actually only have the Major Arcana (used for “meditation”). One of the teachings about the Devil (which is the “evil” reversal of the Lovers) is that yes, it’s very scary but it’s also ridiculous. That it is up to us to determine whether or not we cower before it and allow ourselves to be chained to it – or laugh at it. The chains are very loose. The persons chained could just lift them off and walk away if they thought about it – but the horns imply a connection to that big scary thing. If they lift the chains and walk away, they are still connected. But if they laugh at it, laugh at how ridiculous it is and how ridiculous its claims to power over them are – then both chains and horns dissolve.

    And my teachings of the Strength key (and I love what you did with it) are that the Strength of the Female is used to gently (the BOTA shows a ‘rope’ of roses and the Rider shows the woman’s arms around the lion’s neck) control the Power of the lion.

    The Crown on the Tower that is lightening struck is illegitimate and those falling from it represent ignorance and lies – the lightening itself is the “AHA!” illumination that both shows us the legitimate foundation and destroys the illegitimate structure at the same time.

    I love the symbology of the Tarot. And thank you for bringing your version and interpretation to us. Resistance must be at all levels – including the metaphysical/spiritual. In fact, it must start at the spiritual. {{{Village Peeps}}}

    • The BOTA illustrations are interesting – when the differences are slight it’s always neat to see what the creator thought was important to change or do differently. The Rider-Waite deck is far from the prettiest or even most interesting designs I’ve seen but they are so widely recognized that they seem to have a good connection to the cultural consciousness.

      I love reading your explanation of the Devil, Strength and Tower cards. Particularly the Tower. I make take another run at that one, I think there is more I could do with it. Trump and his Towers. Ozymandias in the flesh.

      And on the pedestal these words appear:
      ‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
      Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
      Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
      Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
      The lone and level sands stretch far away.

      • The Tower is the one I’ve been “working” with for some time now. The lightning flash illuminates the good foundation as it destroys the illegitimate Crown/Power and the lies and ignorance that allowed the illegitimate Power to take the Crown – but it’s only a flash and it doesn’t rebuild the legitimate Power/Crown or replace the lies and ignorance with truth and knowledge. Either we will do that work or else that good foundation will either be re-possessed by Evil or fall to ruins like the works of Ozymandias. The Star “invites” the legitimate Power, truth and knowledge to us. The Moon lights the path between the natural world and the human-modified one. The Sun is the new/young Crown/Power.

        Hard being at the “Tower” end of this, but good to remember where we can go from here.

        • The Tower is also sometimes associated in some decks with the Tower of Babel (more Judeo-Christian imagery) which would add the attribute of hubris to the structure itself.

          Your take on the Moon is interesting, I tend to see it as an association with psychological issues or struggle. Intuition versus reason when they are not in sync.

          • True re: the Tower if you are assuming that judeo-christian imagery – but notice the lightning only knocks off the crown and throws out those representing lies and ignorance. It doesn’t damage the whole thing.

            The Moon is lighting the path of both natural and human/social evolution – the path starts with the crayfish (invertebrate water creature) and runs between the dog (human intervention) and wolf (natural), wild lands and farm lands, on between the human-built towers of legitimate and illegitimate power and further to the much taller/bigger/solid natural mountain (where the Hermit stands holding a guiding light). So if you take these symbols to mean intuition and reason, mental and emotional, physical and spiritual – the Moon illuminates the path between, the points where they touch.

  5. Good morning, all who dwell at the Pond. Thanks, MG, for another unique and delightful diary. I was not anticipating two originals today and applaud you. That said, I must now eat breakfast so I can start my workout. # RESIST. #PERSIST. #STRONGER TOGETHER.

    • Hi hi WYgalinCali! I wouldn’t necessarily call it two originals, you are being kind. Moose Pond gets the meal, DK gets the leftovers I’m afraid, as is often the case. When I feel hesitant about the content working over there I just scrape off the meat and post the bread. #^_^#

      Good to see you in both places!

    • {{{WYgalinCali}}} – I got so wrapped up in talking about Tarot symbology with MomentaryGrace I forgot to say “hai” – hope you had a good breakfast and a better workout (or vice versa as you prefer). Moar {{{HUGS}}}

  6. Thanks MG for this interesting diary…I too love the imagery of the Tarot cards…I had a collection of quite a few decks but decided when I moved to give a lot of them away to friends…boy I believe they are still packed away in a box from the move…I should dig them out…one of my favorites is the Goddess Tarot…I’ve alway collected images of Goddesses along with statues so they were a great addition…still I like others like a wood cut Forest one…I’d post a picture if I knew how…does MM allow pictures?

    • If you have a place to host the images you can put them in a post using html, which is usually how I do it in comments. If you have author status here you can upload images for adding to posts but I have yet to try using those in a comment.

      If you don’t have a place to host your images I might be able to do it…

  7. Thanks, Grace for the post…now please help a sister out. What are tarot cards used for? What is a reading? How does one become “qualified” to do a reading? I’d say I’m asking for a friend, but we all know that I have huge gaps in my knowledge of stuff that everyone else seems to know!

    • Wikipedia does a decent job at giving the bones of the history of the Tarot, which started as a deck of cards for playing games! It has four suits, and arguably modern playing card decks evolved from it. What people refer to as “the Tarot” nowadays is often associated with the “extra” cards – the deck has a 21 card set of trumps (I know, but that’s the word), which are special cards with names and meanings. Any decent gypsy can tell your fortune with a regular deck of playing cards but the Major Arcana, the special set of trumps, tend to inspire imaginative interpretations with very interesting imagery. Various groups have redrawn and re-purposed them.

      Wiki page on Tarot

      A “reading” would be the use of the cards, either full deck or just the Major Arcana, to perform divination, which has all kinds of methods, from reading entrails, to tea leaves, to the I Ching.

      All those things are, at least in my view, ways of harnessing intuitive skills to project what a person knows or guesses into a form that can be recognized by the reasoning consciousness.

      bfitzinAR could probably tell you more about the practice of using the cards for meditation.

      I just love the imagery, the history and the symbolism. As far as I know there is no qualification to do readings, but it helps to have a grasp of the original meanings and symbolism of the specific cards so you have something to fix and draw from.

      I’ve heard tell that Jan Burch (jan4insight on DK and twitter) does readings, her website says she uses the Stargate deck (there are many different version of the Tarot, many many…)

      I don’t know if I’ve helped or made it more confusing…

      • It helped! (I wanted to hear it from other than Wiki.) I tend to be a very linear thinker, although my daughter insists that I have a strong intuitive side that I’ve buried with my rational approach to most things. I used to disagree with her about that, but as I’ve gotten older and less compelled to “follow the rules,” I think there may be something to what she says. At any rate, my lack of knowledge of Tarot is directly related to my youthful, Spock-like approach; if it was not logical, I didn’t delve too deeply.

        • Depending on what you are using it for, Tarot is quite logical – just not linearly. It’s symbolism – partly cultural, partly personal. Even when used for divination the what and how can vary greatly depending on what the symbol in question means to you and to the person doing the reading. {{{DoReMI}}}

        • Logic is simply a tool, like the Tarot. ;) You can apply it to anything, rational or not. I think of it as algebra for verbal reasoning.

          Of course I made a Tarot card of DJT as the Devil too, so you can judge my reasoning powers accordingly. ;)

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