By now you may have fallen on the wrong side of fate and found out that I can almost paint a picture. Nah, I can totally paint a picture, all the way through. I'm not the worst at painting either! Maybe 5th or 6th worst - but not the worst
. I also have a bit more than a passing interest in divination. The contemporary landscape demands that you qualify such interests, so here goes that: Intuition and Induction my friends. You see and hear a whole lot more than you know, and in your dreams you put it all together in novel and inconceivable ways, and from dreams you have inspirations, and from inspirations you have the whole wide world. My point is just that, if I have to justify my interest in magical and esoteric stuff to you - I'm very disinclined to do so* - but if you really want an explanation, I'll tell you that it's correct to train yourself to perceive your circumstances in a metaphorical light, and that you should work constantly to erode the barrier between your dreamlife and your waking world.
So here's a way that I have decided to do that, and to get (maybe slightly) better at painting pictures. I decided that this year a project I would carry out would be making my own Tarot. Starting with the 1 in the first place I commenced today painting the first of the major arcana. Note to you who are weird about these things - and by weird I mean, reverential or easily drawn into the rigor common in religious and esoteric clubs - I Do What I Want
and so I start with #1 and skip #0 for the moment - plenty of time to get to the fool.
So there it is #1 the Salesman. Traditionally the #1 has been the Juggler or the Mountebank (if you're french enough) later on the Thelemites swapped the stage magic for the idea of Tony-Robbins style Personal Power and ended up with the Magician
. Now what I have seen in the world and what I know about secret societies and religions is this - if you can persuade people that your average street performer is a personally empowered demigod - you've perpetrated a cunning act of salesmanship. One of the best. Salesmanship man. Persuading the rubes that you can heal by faith, that you have the innate power, the voice of god, the magic tablets, the ten commandments - that's the alchemy right there - turning falsehoods and petty ambitions into Reality. Plenty of con-men have drawn followings, and sometimes those followings go on to do amazing things. Like found nations, religions, put people on the moon. That kind of thing. Turning ideas into reality is pretty much magical, so my magician, the magus for the moment is the Salesman.
Here's a little guide to the Imagery - if you need it. First off - the yellow background and the flowering plants? Stolen straight out of Rider-Waite - because hey, sure, and also - I am terrible at painting feet/shoes. Next you have the folding table and the laptop. He's got that folding table, standing in the weeds because he can give his pitch anywhere. A good pitch - if you haven't heard one before, is like an incantation, it'll bring you on board, it'll draw you in, it is a kind of power. He can perpetrate his pitch any old time, any old place, standing in the weeds at the old folding table. He has his power point presentation as well- useful for the sales-minded. On his Power-Point? The Hermetic Elements
- cause after all, dude is still related to the old guard, Trismegistus
and all that. Now, understand, I struggled mightily with settling on the hermetic elements, I thought very hard about switching to the 17 elements in Pokemon
- but I don't think I can paint 17 elements in a 3"x3" space - and besides, it's still weird to me that Normal is an elemental type.
Next up you've got him eternally juggling the suits- "the infinity sign is just an 8!" you protest. You know what? it isn't. It's on it's side - why? Because that's the way it goes. Now he's juggling the suits, he can bring one out at any time, the one that'll persuade you most. He's like a politician, he can be patrician and condescending, he can be earthly and common, he can be an erudite true believer. Now, I've changed the old suits to suit me. First off - Cups, kept the same, but it doesn't mean much about Clergy now.
I put in the starbucks cup because honestly, I doubt there's a more recognizable kind of cup, and what's more, I think that the hospitality industry and the daily drugging we all take substitutes well for the medieval church. Well enough anyhow. The cup is also water, it is also compassion, in the way that the barista knows what you want and has it ready for you before you order, because you are a regular and you have attained coffeehouse absolution.
Next up is the 2nd Estate - which in the past was the nobility, represented by the Spade or the Sword. I live in a democracy where power comes from legislators, that is, people who write, so I put a picture of my favorite kind of pen to substitute for the sword. There's that old chestnut about the pen and the sword as well - I just know that the ruling classes rule with a pen and not a sword, and if I subbed in a gun for a sword I'd have to acknowledge soldiers, cops and gun enthusiasts and knights of some kind - which I will never ever do. So the Sharpie Pen.
After that the Pentacles are obviously replaced by Bucks. Maybe eventually and later I'll get into it about gold and fiat currency and dollars and whatever currency isn't dollars. For now Money will substitute for Money - the urban classes, commerce and civilization. All there, all at the Salesman's disposal.
Then? See, you're supposed to put in Clubs, or the Rod - to mean the farmers. This was the hard one for me, but then I reasoned, everything else is something you carry with you, something you have on you that makes you capable of having your day. You need a pen, your coffee, some money, you also need a phone. You can leave your house without keys anymore, but you dare not go out without your phone. The phone, the smartphone - also substitutes nicely as it suggests the content-creator, the people behind the internet, who are a kind of farmer, farmers of ideas? Well, if you believe that I've got a car to sell you! And a bridge you can drive it on.
The Salesman. Learn to emulate his confidence, initiative and personal power, learn to give the pitch, to say things that are compelling, to draw the congregations, to pull in the swing voters.
* Okay, I'll give you this explanation. My friend said 'why would you believe in ghosts!?' All stressed that I might, I said 'Because it makes my life better to believe in them.'