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Busy and tired - themes of the moment. Paycheck though - so I am able to survive another day. That's the feeling, that I am everywhere and doing everything and that I'm a little low on the resources required. I need MORE. That's the sense right now - of not having enough of all the requisite elements of life. Not enough money (never enough). Not enough love (never enough). Not enough time (usually, I'm alright here). Not enough sleep (never enough). Not enough strength, attention, focus or skill - the big ones, the ones that fall on me to rectify. So skill is earned through practice, attention is gained through concentration, focus is gained through the abolition of distractions and strength flows from all of these. Probably.

I went to run my game yesterday and on the train across the river I was corresponding about magic and practice. So I was thinking about Intention and it's role in the practice of the magician (me) and how I can explain and how it can be understood. Really -the only people I've heard talking persuasively about intention with any real knowledge that meant anything were the Tango instructors. Surprising to no-one I'm very good at Tango.

Just too tall to be doing it often.

So here's intention as it occurs to you on the daily. You're walking down the street and there's a little kid with you. She's just going along because she lacks intention- she's distracted and notices every little bug and every flower on the path around her, she's fixated and gets lost, wanders off the path - or would if you didn't hold her hand and try to keep her on task. You though, you're walking. You're aware of the moment during a footfall. The bottom of your shoe strikes the sidewalk, you feel it as a moment, an instant that you consider briefly as NOW - and then it passes, the other foot falls, there's the swing in your gait - the foot falls and you are again at NOW. Now keeps happening, increments of time - irrelevant if they are heartbeats or seconds or footfalls - NOW - NOW - NOW there's a definite rythym. You are looking forward, you are on this path and you are walking you have a forward motivation- animation in the limbs and you are acutely aware NOW of the mind driving the body, there is a purpose to your going and you are engaged in purpose. You are looking ahead and see a sign, you can't read it but it is on your path, part of the trip you see the sign and are going toward it and it comes into view NOW as your foot strikes the pavement, you are aware of it NOW as it goes past your right shoulder, you are aware NOW that you've passed the sign and it's out of relevance - there's a next milestone and a next, ahead- you are intent on those pieces and there is a NOW and a NOW a cadence of experiences in sequence each of which you are aware of.

And then you get to where you were going. You aren't thinking of where you've been all the steps you've taken. You aren't narrating each moment of your walk down Rocky-River, someone asks - "How'd you get here?" You say: "I just walked from the train station." It's all of a piece - the walk each step, you unbind the steps and sights, the signs and the sequence and relate the whole thing as a scene - a single element. There's this power in you to aim at a thing and to consume all the moments and efforts that lead to that thing - to devise them all into a single episode though it's composed of a billion invisible things and a hundred visible. There's a narration that's spoken this little one-sentence story you tell about it. "I walked from the train station." That describes every step and that says nothing about any of the steps, the detail is lost because there is only one detail that matters. "I am here. This is now." The trance of the sequential is over and now you're into a different type of scene, a new one where intention isn't significant, collaborative or what-have-you, you're reacting and lacking intention you're addressing statements, interacting with others - there's no work here, but there is activity. You may spend hours where you go - at work or at the game or wherever and there's not an intention, so there's no end-point, and so there's no steps taken to achieve it. You are simply doing.

And then you leave, see the thing ahead of you you are aiming at, the words flashing up on the screen a letter at a time - a sentence you concieve and compose so that there is nothing between the thought in your mind and the actuality of the thought composed as words but these steps TYPE-TYPE-TYPE - the words flash up, a sentence is formed, but the sentence existed it only needed to be worked on to be transformed. The place on the path ahead exists, but it takes these steps the sequence of STEP-STEP-STEP to get there. All the undetectable NOW-NOW-NOW that gets you to the place you know to exist but which doesn't exist without effort.

You take your partner in your arms, you feel yourself projected to a place just beyond them, 20 inches through them, you feel yourself in that spot and you are moving into it- Intention. You do not push, shove or drive but wait for your partner to accept and then the intention is joined and you are moving into that spot.

And Astor Piazzolla plays his accordion
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After making such a fuss and going to such weird expository lengths with #8 - I was pretty pleased to have a clean, easy, and unambiguous idea for #9. In the traditional Tarot 9 is the Hermit. Now, the hermit means a few things, like Enlightenment,Guidance, Reflection - and oh yeah, loneliness. See, the Hermit is like the Yoda of Tarot. But I had already done some solitary figure with #6 - Satisfaction. I realized that if I just paint a lot of weird loners - I'm not going to get much of anywhere with this project. But this idea came to me pretty easily.

I'm not utterly content with Commonwealth, #8- but that's perhaps a useful guide to the journey you make through the Arcana. The Hermit means a sense of guidance that comes from the strength of Justice - which I've pointed out - tenuous. But here, I didn't have to illustrate some under-defined philosophical concept - but a person. So I flipped the expectation, I made a solitary Lovers card, and two together for the Hermit. And then I put them in wedding clothes and then I called it Loneliness. Now. I'm not above an amount of irony, but I am not throwing out irony for its own sake understand. This is all... Something. Something I mean to be a little profound.

So look at the journey so far - from Satisfaction --> Infrastructure --> Commonwealth --> Loneliness. So there is a road you travel into communion. But here, that concept is betrayed, somewhat. Why do you seek that union? Is it out of your own fear? Out of your own worries about being lonesome? That's the question posed here. Are the couple marrying out of love or desperation? Are they motivated by their affection? Where does their affection come from? I knew a guy, he was alone for so long, and then he loved a woman, the one he met, and what he loved about her was that she had saved him from loneliness. So I have them - together but lonely. That's the concept at the core of this card, this sense.

The I-Ching was helpful again too. Hexagram 9 - The Taming Power of the Small. Now I've been married before, I can't disguise or try to suggest that that experience doesn't inform my choice here. But I didn't pair-bond out of loneliness, this is another idea - this is a sense of the power of something small, that nagging voice that warns you that you will be alone - this is the little thing in your mind that governs and terrorizes you, this is what tames you. Loneliness. You are bound and submit to binding because of this fear. This little fear that tames you. That is the essential idea.

I didn't want them to be sad, not sad at all, but they can't look at each other, they are apart - still alone, because they are ashamed. Or they are afraid still, their union hasn't abolished loneliness, it has changed the tone of it. They have not been true, they are not true, so they are ashamed, they can't share anything, not even their fear, because Loneliness makes you a liar, makes you untrue, in your heart. So I wanted that sense to be included. This idea of the defeat, that Communion, that the Commonwealth, could be subverted by disingenuous participants.

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So right away you can tell I will never-ever be a civil engineer. Or a traffic-engineer,or a car designer or an aeronautics-designer. You can tell, and I concede. Someone tries to offer me those licenses and diplomas and I scatter them on the ground and say: "Nasty old Fishes."

So! The Chariot. This one was a little tricky, to think about. I was debating my processes a little today and i mentioned to an interested party that I don't actually plan these out. The meditative painting-act is fairly sublime and I kind of make what wants to be made. Without being too gross or mysterious - that's what I do. I start painting and try to have a fugue state or something. Then I step back and fix everything that's gone wrong whilst I was fugueing. The Chariot itself isn't easy to interpret. It has a meaning of war and strength - probably lost on contemporary generations - something filthy, something there is that doesn't love a war, or strength. Romantics you know? They have a faith in the more sensual conflicts - can't see the muscle on muscle violence for their fixation on the glorious dead. The Chariot - to me - implies victory. It's... Antique. More than the other cards so far, they're rooted in their time - the Chariot bespeaks an elder age, of martial cruelty, of danger and an intimate conflict. That's a strange strength.

But too, I wanted to move away and out of the personal. I'd tackled that, the personal and the innate, the Self - I did that. So I wanted a step out of there. The Duke of Zhou was helpful with that - the 6th Hexagram being THE ARMY. See there. Public works, the strength of the united public, of the polity, or the social order - all pulling together to exert a profound and effective influence.
The Army - a good start. I went to the Infrastructure, and I've painted up a highway or... Something suggesting a highway - and that bespeaks the power of the many. Denies the significance of the few or the one. There are cars on it, trucks, buses - and those don't arise from a vacuum you know - there's a profound potency in the world - that allows these things to come to be - that then demands that they exist, that builds roads and bridges and a whole unseen, forgotten world to house them.

I had thought that my Chariot might end up being a fighter plane, or some kind of racecar. I thought about it. But Power, a strange and hard to define or understand strength - to me this speaks of the unity of society, of that strength - which is fearful and beautiful and altogether the best part of being all together. I'm writing this to you on the internet and McCluhan was right- the medium is the message. We make the world together and the world is made for us. My Chariot -the Infrastructure - it's meant to suggest that. To imply us all being in this together, to accomplish amazing things, and then to regard those things as commonplace.

Of course the infrastructure gets rusty, it gets graffitied upon, it gets used in novel ways and ignored in depressing ones. This power requires maintenance and unity to hold together. Energy, Success, Wealth, Bravery, Command, Discipline. These are identities that go with the old Charioteer -but I see them in the highway and the bridge and the structure of the world that we inhabit. In the best version of the world, no doubt these things are constantly refreshed -but in the meantime they're made so powerfully that they'll last through the ages.

The chariot is traditionally pulled by a black and a white Sphinx - and they've got abstract and unfamiliar provenance. I went with the airplanes - because they provoke a sense of dread - menace - they could bomb the whole thing to pieces, they could. They could erase it all - but if they do, that's the conquest of one infrastructure over another. The plane builders who had the iterative capacity, built over and over and developed through development to overwhelm the underdeveloped. But they are reassuring too - these images of mastery, of a strength over the nations - of motion and speed - we have those, we have it within us to make those. To exert that might. Which is a great thing, a great mastery that sprouts from the shoulders of all the generations before.

So continuity and the threat of ruin, of motion and unity, of the recklessness of disunion and the folly of individuality, and self-seeking. That is The Infrastructure.
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I know what you're thinking. Look what you've painted Kingtycoon! Look at that. How the heck does this relate to This

I have answers for you. A few.

First of all - look at that image. The Lovers. I love the period at the end - The Lovers -Period. Obviously though, I think there's more to say. Look at Adam and Eve and their bellybuttons. Look at them. Stupid. There they are in the Eden, in paradise. They're about to go the wrong way. But look - look at the magic figure connecting them. You see these lovers -but the figure putting them together is central to the whole image. That's the figure I connect with in this image, and that's who I kind of focused on.

The Lovers has some traditional meanings involving a few conditions. First of all - Choice. So my figure, and I say MY kind of insistently - if you didn't know or can't tell - this is pretty much a self portrait - you can tell because of the green kitchen table. Just like mine. So this figure is presented with choices - there are choices - right there on the table. Do I eat? Smoke? Drink the Coffee? Paint? Write? Read? Write? Do I look at the empty chair and feel... Something? Want? Need? Loneliness? And then you look at the card and see it's called Satisfaction. So are you happy because you have choices? Or are you happy that you've made the choice that you've made?

And really, just look. Peanut Butter & Jelly. Coffee & Cigarettes. They go together don't they? They're more identifiable, comfortable pairs than Adam and Eve any day. Paint and brush? These things are on teams, together. Paper and ink, books and more books. There are pairings, combinations - you put things together- you create. You choose a thing to make. That, the fruition of your combinatory exercise - you're GENERATIVE CAPACITY - that's satisfying as hell.

It's also a choice. The choice of human things, of material, creative endeavors, which to pursue? Creation? Art? Learning? Chemical dependency? Or... Look at that Empty Chair. There's room isn't there? You can collaborate, there could be a collaboration... Why isn't there?

See this is the Eden. This is the paradise that you can be tempted away from. Hell, as you know, is other people. Here is the suggestion of peace, of heavenly paradise, and there's that empty chair. There's that temptation to seek out the other. A girl, a lady - someone else. That's the temptation - to abandon paradise for something else. Or - or to invite someone else to the paradise. Empty chair after all. Available space.

So I've accommodated the concept of choice, of desire, of pleasure, humanism, personal values (I missed you Wikipedia! I missed you so bad.) But where is the Sexyness? Where's the beauty? The Physical Attraction?

Seriously? You're asking? Look at this motherfucker

So there it is. #6 - Satisfaction.

True story - the name was the hardest part. rejected ideas:

#6 - Kingtycoon
#6 - The Lover
#6 - Bachelor
#6 - Loner
#6 - Paradise


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