18 April 2011

How do you react?

On my last metaphysics post I discussed almost all of my ritual activity for the Spring Equinox. I omitted one item which is complex enough that it may take up a post of its own. On the 21st of March I did a special tarot reading, for that and for the 77 following days. It was the first time I ever did a tarot reading using the whole deck.

Tarot is a useful tool, but I do not usually take it very far. I have only performed a handful of readings for other people in real life. And I am unsophisticated at it, and new enough at it, that on the eleventh of September 2001 I did not even know that this card was in my deck, although I had used it a few dozen times already at that point. One thing which I still have not done is figure out how many shuffles are required to randomize a 78 card tarot deck with two possible orientations for each card. For a 52 card playing deck we have peer reviewed work in Combinatorics which gives the number of shuffles needed: seven. When I shuffle a tarot deck I shuffle it 49 times, with an inversion for around half of those. This is a number I arrived at experimentally when I first bought the deck and it took that many shuffles to convince myself that the factory order had finally been obliterated. More often than not, when somebody asks me to perform a reading for them, they lose interest in the exercise before I finish shuffling.

On the 21st of March I performed my scrupulous 49-times shuffle, read the first ten cards per normal; I then wrote down the first ten and the following 68 for the purpose of a 78 day regimen of studying one card per day, using that card to reflect upon that day, and refine my one-liner representation of the card that I use for readings. Most of my interpretations are based upon Rachel Pollack's book, which has many flaws but which contains mostly great information.

For today, day number 29 in the series, the card is the five cups. My one-liner summary for this card is: "How do you react?" This comes from a man who has nothing to do with tarot that I know of--college football coach Nick Saban. I have written before about my fascination with sports talk radio, but this is an indication of how deep this fascination goes. I do not even like college athletics. There are thousands of professional football and basketball games televised yearly with the most-skilled athletes--far too many to watch it all. It never ceases to amaze me that people have any time at all to attend to college players. In spite of never watching college football, I listened to Nick Saban's radio show when he was coaching at Louisiana State, because he told the most fascinating stories. This is why I love sports talk radio--it has great stories.

I can recall verbatim one time Saban discussing his coaching philosophy and he said:

"Everybody gets hurt. Everybody gets sick. Everybody makes mistakes. It makes all the difference in the world between winning and losing, success and failure: how do you react?"

It stuck with me enough that I penciled it into my Pollack tarot book right below the five cups. It is fully consistent with Pollack's explanation of the card's meaning, and it is one of the better one-liners I have now for all of the cards in the deck.

1 comment:

robert said...

i have not communicated with you in so long that i cannot comment on your blog. i need a general update first.

bob coughlin


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About Craig

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Houston, Texas, United States
I have been living in the lovely neighborhood of Spring Branch in the great city of Houston since late in 2005. I started out with the idea of making this blog about my life in this neighborhood. That did not last long. Right now I am posting every five days on the alternating topics of literature, philosophy, psychology, and metaphysics. This project has been ongoing since July 27, 2010 and I believe it will continue for at least a few more months.