I am switching up my tarot game (again) and trying out the Six Controversies spread offered by Benebell Wen in her Holistic Tarot. The Six Controversies spread is intended to direct the querent to the six knots or obstacles that are blocking her way to a particular goal. For my purposes, I am looking for the obstacles that are placed in my path due to my astrological fate. This feeds into other exercises I am experimenting with, namely, rituals designed to clear out all of my astrological misfortunes, leaving only the good fortune. My hypothesis is, if I divine for a window into what those misfortunes are, my rituals will be more effective in nudging me out of their away - hence my slightly off book use of the Six Controversies spread.
My spread hashed out like so:
The Six Controversies spread gives no indication towards significance of any one position in the thread, Benebell Wen instead recommends an open and intuitive reading. Previously I was pulling cards that related specifically to a particular day or two in the upcoming lunar week. This proved to be pretty effective but with time, that effectiveness seemed to fade for me. My attention to the cards also waned, becoming rote.
My analysis (again, using Holistic Tarot as my guide) of my spread for the Decan stage beginning on July 11th and lasting until July 22nd is as follows:
Signifier: Eight of Swords Reversed - Keyword Incident: injustice, bondage
Position 1: Six of Wands - Keyword Domestique: career advancement, questioning the validity of success, victory with no satisfaction
Position 2: Three of Cups Reversed - Keyword Exposition de'Affaires: more play than work, too much pleasure seeking, hedonism to overcome deep restlessness
Position 3: Knight of Swords Reversed - Keyword Ignorance: war, hostilities, impatience
Position 4: Seven of Coins - Keyword Argent: hesitation in accepting rewards, workaholism
Position 5: Three of Coins - Keyword Noble: recognition in an institution
Position 6: Eight of Wands - Partie de Campagne: work, career, personal creative projects
It seems to me that Position 1, representing the Signifier, and Position 6 are directly related and indicate a journey from bondage to success in my professional life and in my creative projects (this blog being one of them). The obstacles in between me and that good fortune are my own tendency towards hedonism, workaholism, and self-doubt. I am now armed with a better understanding of what my obstacles are and, in theory, my ritual work for the next ten days will be more precise in its petitioning. I have also adjusted my sigil statements for this ten day period to reflect the obstacles the Six Controversies spread has defined. This is a bit of a sea-change from my normal sigil statements, which have a great diversity but normally are directed to the world outside of me and are an attempt to change others or to change circumstances. Aligning my statements for this next astrological period towards the three controversies I've outlined have forced me to turn my sigilmancy back on myself, maybe, to even recognize where the real solutions to my life's puzzles hide.
The card that landed in position two, the Three of Cups, has particular significance for me as well. I have been refocusing my attention on the oeuvre of Lovecraft, searching for actionable, magical technology. I've been using the most complete collection of his works I've been able to find. This week I performed a close reading of his story, Celephais. The premise of this short is a man who prefers to live inside of a dream world instead of in his real life as a near destitute and nameless denizen of turn of the twentieth century London. He describes his loneliness and the weight that London places on him, which mapped to other experiences in that city that I've recently read.
In the first few sentences I encountered the word 'daydream', and something clicked in the dusty old attic I call a brain. There is a tarot card, one that I've already had in front of me this year since I've started a magical diary (really, its an Evernote, but we live in technocratic times). I searched quickly and there it was, the Three of Cups. I had come across it earlier in the year when I was still working with the Marseilles deck and Jodorwosky's book of interpretations. Now that I've switched to Benebell's Holistic Tarot and my Etteilla deck, the word hadn't come up. I almost missed the significance of the card in position 2. Reading further into Celephais, the protagonist who in dreams goes by the name Kuranas but in London has no title, Kuranas discovers the jewel-like city of Celephais. Or re-discovers rather as he recalls being there in a significant dream from his youth. He then wakes up in his London flat and loses the city once again. Three days later he comes back to it and this time is lucid enough to go an visit all of the individuals and places that he had the very first time he had walked its 'onyx sidewalks' (onyx has much more significance for me now, then it did the first time I read through Lovecraft's works).
He visits the temple of Nath-Horthat, made of turquoise and staffed with priests wreathed in orchids. He also finds the captain of a ship by the name of Athib. Names are so specific in Lovecraft... I am writing them down here so that I can build a more complete map of this magical reality sometime and somewhere further in my journey. Athib is significant as he takes Kuranas out on his ship and into the sea / sky of this dream world. This was the second to last time that the protagonist will ever see Celephais.
Daydreaming, and living in dreams, maps to the Three of Cups very well. Kuranas proceeds to do this but cannot find his jeweled city again. He embarks on many other crepuscular and inky adventures, meeting the King Kunaratholis, a sworn enemy of the Gods and champion of man. He meets a nameless and faceless priest in the desert of Leng (a place name I recognize from my first read through of Lovecraft years ago) that wears a terrifying silk mask that obscures his features. He comes across a colossal and ancient wall inscribed in a language he cannot read and of such scale that it is obvious that it was not made by the hands of man (perhaps an ancient alien artifact?).
All the while, his oppressed and disintegrating form in London is spinning into a world of hedonism and drugs. Hedonism is the reversed meaning (or warning) of the Three of Cups. In this story we can see both sides of this card very well and are given further archetypal figures to associate with and deepen its meaning. Kuranas, the protagonist, standing tall in the middle of this archetypal vision, his hair and eyes wild from staring at and living in his dreams for too long. Within the world of dreams we have the Skyship Captain, Athib, who shows Kuranas the landscape of his dreams and facilitates the positive aspects of that journey. On the other side of Kuranas is the masked Yellow Priest of Leng - the most sinister antagonist in the story, he represents the hedonism and drug use that Kuranas indulges in willfully in an attempt to connect his waking life where he is being crushed by the stone and inky mud London Kali-Yuga to the pink-hued air sea beyond the ports of Celephais.
I will leave the end of the story for Lovecraft to tell, himself.