the oldest tarot spread in the world


listening to: idioteque - radiohead

since i was already at Mary K. Greer's blog, i poked around a bit and found this,

the oldest spread to ever appear in print.

more of a method than a spread, but seemed intriguing. gave it a shot without a question, just to see what happens. i got five pairs, which i arranged in two rows - three pairs on top, two below. the top three were: seven of wands with death, six of swords with judgement, and eight of swords with the high priestess. the bottom two were: ten of swords with strength, and the five of swords with justice.

so swords-y! so difficult! the first pair makes me think of how grandma's death was looming above me as this kind of mounting dread, ever braced for the news. i realized that it's no longer there. there is a loss and a sadness but it's not as opressive as whatever was happening the last few months. additionally the "hounded" feeling of the seven of wands made me think of another difficult thing that we were braced for as a family that has come to pass (expensive renovation). we're still going to be paying it for a while, but at least it's a certainty. i'll take shitty certainty over an extended period of uncertainty any day. the next pair seems to confirm that i'm on my way to a more harmonious place, ready to start new things. more mental space to welcome new ideas.

the third pair in this row seems to gently criticize my attempts at "surrounding myself with mystery/mysticism", ie trying to build a deep spiritual practice while accosted by stress from all directions. true, an established practice can be a great tool to deal with calamities great and small, but such situations aren't at all conducive to the open, creative state needed to build something from scratch, at least in my case. so this seems like a little flick on the nose. also the imagery (enchanted tarot) suggests inspiration will come as the mental space clears, and i've already had glimmers of that.

the second row seems to be more shadowy, or about things still unresolved/in progress. the ten of swords with strength seems to be contrasting the passing of our cat with the passing of grandma. grandma's was long anticipated, there was plenty of time to grieve and say goodbye etc. our cat's passing was very traumatic, and the five of swords with justice reads to me as still trying to make sense of it. "it's not fair", because fair is a strange human concept to apply to the chaos of life/death, but justice here makes me think of finding/making meaning, especially with the imagery of the five (a person seems to be commanding/orchestrating the five lightning bolts). ironically seeing them "contrasted" is soothing to me. not everything can be gradual and predictable. isn't it "fair" that some things should be chaotic? why should all pain be of one variety? the gentle pain of "natural" loss vs. the sudden pain of "sudden" loss - that's natural too.

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