kingtycoon: (Default)
The sense right now is that the hardest things are behind us. Have happened. Are over. That’s the feeling, like getting that one foot up on the edge of the hole – you can tell you’re through it and will climb out, most likely. Still - efforts are needed, but the victory is in sight.

For example – I hopped off the 10, and it was a weird afternoon on the 10 – extra crowded and with the scarred and scared denizens of the Buckeye neighborhood that filter in and out, that ride up and down 93rd street. The bus was crowded and I talked for a moment, fleeting but sweet to the Plainswoman, and was cheered and inflated by that, a buoyant harmonious feeling to talk to her and that carried me off the bus on Euclid. I looked at the sun, setting now and a maze of uncertain smudged colors, I looked and I thought- I will walk. A long way.
Up unfamiliar hills and through divergent paths, I made it to Shaker Square and then rambled back down Coventry and made it to home just in time to wait.
The long, good walk up hills and back down – that’s the needed and missing catharsis – for me – the mind, my mind it vanishes out of speculation, there’s just the ongoing action of foot and foot and foot in the long train. Here and there, there is traffic, cars – my perpetual enemies – they stop me going and I stand and it’s strange to suddenly stop – momentum being sufficient, I feel, to carry me on indefinitely. I wonder, sometimes, how far I’d make it, how long I could keep it going, what’s the longest I could go?
My longest walk, in memory now, is better than 10 miles. On facebook I’m told constantly that the people I went to highschool or college with – they run dozens and dozens of miles every day. I hate running. For real I hate it, I get an angry scowl on me when I do it. But I think, I wonder if I could run a mile? I don’t even know, but I could walk forever and seemingly never stop.

And then you stop once you reach home and then your legs are strong and weak at once, they quiver that little bit and your back is stiff and glad and you’ve spent an hour in motion without stopping, and you’ve spent a couple of hours with the good wind on you and the right pace of things to compel you forward.
Julie comes by, it’s Tuesday and we have a plan to meet and write. I am not shy about drinking beer and eating the pizza she brings, I’m starving- I announce it. She loves to get the pizza because she loves to talk to the pizza-man. I love to eat pizza. I have my party at the end of the week, which dominates my finances – my money’s all spoken for this month – and I think of it in a wistful way, looking at my filled up canvases – thinking, I’d like more, I want to paint, not write. I feel like painting and haven’t lately.

I talk, we talk, for a long time, I explain that lately it’s the visual arts, for me, I could work on my spellbook or my magic project that I’m fashioning for my Plainswoman, or I could paint my Tarot version 2 –or I could paint my maps… I could’ve painted my maps- I could paint my maps (now that I think of it), but instead it’s time to write.

I explain – “I’m pretty good at writing, people seem to like it, if they’re of a mind to like it, I don’t have problems conveying what I mean – what appears on the page is close to what I want to say – it approaches it as closely as Achilles approaches the tortoise, you understand, it’s never exactly what you’d want, but it’s also surprisingly appealing.” I said that, say that – just that way. I drop Zeno’s arrow in polite conversation, that’s just my way. I explain that I like putting pen to paper, that I like the act of writing, that I like the things I have to write, but that I don’t know where I have to go with it.

Painting, I get better, I notice and try – I get better. Spellbooks, wizardry – my weird affected, hyperreal praxis – these improve with practice.
I moan on this for a moment, and put my pen to the paper and knock down page after page, competently and well. Saying: “I don’t know if I feel like writing.” And then I do write, competently, well. Maybe just well enough.

I explain – “I’m at a plateau here. I can’t tell what being better at this would be like; I can’t tell how I even would get better at this. I don’t know where I could go or how.” Which is so.

In the end we talk about the people we’re interested in, drink more of my excellent scotch, stay up late laughing like weirdos. We talk about the fantasy lives that we each engage in, the dreams and visions that you give yourself over to until you fall asleep.

And then sleep.
kingtycoon: (Default)
First - I'd like to point out what a difference two years make.
I painted this one first - just a little over two years ago:
and this is the version I polished off today:

Here's what I think.
- The Salesman is my Magician for a few reasons - first, because it's a role that's similar, they both turn bullshit into money. More or less. Charm, ease, confidence. Conman or Salesman - they turn bullshit to money. That's the purely mundane, secular relationship between these two. Second, because they both convey a sense of interior power. A mastery of the self and the self's internal impulses. These are people who are able to form their best perceptions and sense of themselves and then use that - that compressed diamond within to create... Something. A conversation, a ritual, a plan, a transaction. In either of these cases these are people with limited tools - language based tools, who can transmute by skill - those tools into power & the exercise of power. In both cases these are figures who have an undeserved dominance - because in both cases these are people who have formed themselves into a tool - useful only to themselves.

Here's how I read it.
- The Salesman has a powerful internal identity, a drive from within that comes from equal parts strength and flaws, he's a realized avatar of the Self - and internal identity that sometimes can have dominance in the self. By no means the complete man, nor the perfected man, the Salesman is a powerful man that derives from an inward drive and sense. So where the Student conveys a total lack of awareness - the Salesman represents a hyper-awareness but only of the internal self. Of his capabilities. He's uncertain of the world - but he does have the confidence and the power he needs to try and exert some dominance over the world itself. He is a man of will who gets by with a few accoutrements and little else.
The Pen, the Phone, the Money and the Cup - he's got the minor arcana, the symbols of the estates and the elements and the humors - he's got those spinning in the air, tools, toys to him. He has them and uses them - but may not quite appreciate their influence. He's self aware and understands their value to him - but may miss their function in the larger world. The Salesman masters himself, not the world - he's effective in the world but not the ruler.
He relies on the written word and the spoken word, on symbols and language. These are the effective centers of his abilities. He has a name for his qualities, and is good at equivocation, at reasoning and at persuasion. Words are his power - they're a thorough expression of his inner self - which is a manifested identity- to the outer world which may have no distinct identity. He's like Adam then - he names the creatures of the field. This is a source of power in him.

This time around I'm being more deliberate about my application of the hexagrams of the I-Ching. Here, you have Pushing Upward - Sheng - The breeze from within the earth. Pushing upward is a supreme success - Fear not - one must See the Great Man. This is a sign of the man who sees, clearly, the best in himself, and struggles to express it outwardly. Now- whether this really is the best in himself, is not truly manifest - it's a sign though, of what we hold dear about ourselves, and what we have within us, that makes us content in ourselves.

I wrote a story about it.

Here I am again under the lights.” he thinks. The day's started, the samples are all in place, the world is beginning to align in lighted forms and shapes. The objects on the horizon become distinct – cars and buildings and trees – cast in deep shadow from the rising sun. He drinks his bad coffee from his foam cup, it's burned and tastes burned and hot and burns his tongue. He flattens the wrinkes out of his suit and preens in the mirror. He looks fine. “Here I am again.” He says. “Under the lights.” He says this into his mirror, he's sure that he could say something more, something that would mean everything, that would change something for him today. He can't think of what though. He feels a certain shame, a certain restlessness and a certain anxiety.

They're almost here.” He says. Customers, is what he means – prospects, marks. Someone he'll pitch. He tries his pitches out. They come clumsily to his mouth, he's burned his tongue, it's swollen against his teeth and he feels unready. He's always been unready. If he'd prepared... “If I'd prepared more, I'd be doing something else.” He thinks this, remembers his college friends who learned engineering, who learned law. “Lack of preparation.” He's learned, that he's not the prepared type though, preparation doesn't agree with him.

At least I'm resourceful. It's better to be resourceful than prepared.” He says this to himself and he's sitting down by the door now, watching the lot to see if a customer will approach. He's coloring in the scuffs on his shoes with a marker. It looks fine, he's together. If he didn't shine his shoes today, that's more time he had for better things. If he didn't prepare by shining his shoes, at least he's resourceful enough to fix the scuffs with marker. He realizes that he's a genius. He drinks the coffee, it's cooled now but his tongue's gone numb. He looks at the phone – there is a list of people he needs to call today. He's good on the phone even if he doesn't like using it. People don't answer enough – sometimes they're angry that he's calling. He's good on the phone – when he can reach them. They come in, one out of twenty, they come in and of those one out of four will buy. He's alright, as a Salesman, he's alright, but just alright. There are better. “Always better.” He says. Thinking about it ruefully. The old man in sunglasses, the young kid that everyone seems to love and pity. The preacher, the highschool football hero. There's always someone better. But there's always someone, each day, who's the best. Who's the best is a matter for daily reckoning, something calculated by the sudden quirk of fate that grants vision and strength, the suddenly possible realities that emerge out of seemingly nothing.

It's all chance.” He says, and knows it. “Today's my day.” He doesn't really believe it, but repeating it helps.

It's after ten when the first customer comes up. He goes straight to him. A strange man in a crumpled suit. Trendy, nice – but it looks like he's slept in it. He goes right up, no hesitation. He manifests within himself a feeling - “This is where I want to be.” That's what he tells himself and walks right up.

Sir.” He says, approaching. “Good morning sir, you're well?” He extends his hand, the man takes it.

Ah, I been better, but not often. How are you doing fella?”

It's a beautiful day isn't it?” He's suddenly realizing that it is. The ice has receded. He isn't feeling the cold – there's no wind now. It's warm and the sun is out. He shouldn't be doing this, but he's looking away from the customer, the prospect. He's got his eyes shaded and he's looking at the sun, rising up.

It is isn't it. You're right. Listen, can you tell me about this one? I come by here all the time and I keep seeing this guy, I want to know about it, I been wondering.”

The Salesman looks at the unit, it's a nice one, but not the nicest. It doesn't seem like it will match the man's style, but the man's style is peculiar, now that he's noticing it.

We can go inside and I'll show you all the literature, come on in.”

Nah, nah, I'll stay out here and smoke – you wanna smoke?”

A little. You want some coffee? I'll get us some coffee and we can talk out here.”

Nice plan, sure. No sugar, light cream.”

Be right back.”

Not going anywhere fella.”

It's the kind of thing someone says when they are planning, in fact, to go somewhere. He realizes that. But also, he feels a great confidence. A lot of people come by just to look, like they want to know about the units, about product. A lot more people come by just to make small talk with a Salesman. Old guys, lonely. This one? He seems like – well it seems different, to the Salesman, it seems like he's interested, genuinely, in the Salesman himself. He gets the coffee out of the waiting room, brings it back – two tall foam cups.

The prospect, he offers a cigarette and a light. They stand there, drinking coffee and looking at the sun rising.

So you like this work?”

Not always, but today it's good.”

What don't you like about it?”

The uncertainty.” The Salesman doesn't hesitate.

What do you like about it?”

The certainty.”

Hah! How you figure that?”

heh, well – it's like this. I can't count on a customer coming up, and if one does, I can't count on them buying – so it's uncertain. But I can count on them liking me, and remembering me, and I can count on knowing my product and I can count on having a conversation. I like that, so that's what I can count on.”

So you're uncertain about everyone but yourself.”

That's it. I like that. I'm out here, just me, and that's all I can count on, and I like that. Counting on myself.”

But if you really counted on yourself, wouldn't you think you could close every prospect?”

Oh, now - I can say that I can, and I can believe that, but I don't know that I can. That's different. Believing and knowing.”

What makes the difference then?”

They sip coffee and smoke a while. It's not yet time to talk, the Salesman has to think about it.

Well – so I know I'm right handed – because that's the hand I use to write. But I believe I could get myself to write with my left hand, if I had to.”

So you know you're good, but you believe you could do better.”

If I needed to.”

So why don't you need to?”

Do better? Well... I hadn't thought about it really. I mean – if you had to write southpaw, you could do it, but only if you knew about writing in the first place, you know where you want to get to. So you believe you can get somewhere you already know about. But think about this – I'm talking to you, and I don't know you, or if you want to buy, or even if you could buy if you wanted to. A lot of people don't have any money, or they can't get financed. A lot of people. So I don't really believe I can sell you, but I know I can talk to you.”

So you talk.”

You don't mind?”

I'm here ain't I?”

You want to look at this unit?”

Yeah – tell me about it.”

Top of the line, in its time, it's pretty good still. Here's an old brochure – literature – that's what we call it.”

Literature. Words. Talking. Words. Pitch, Slogan, Jingle. Words.”

That's it. Words.”

So is it just words, that turn a prospect to a customer?”

And a conversation into a Sale. That's right.”

So tell me about that, words.”

Funny you should say that.”

You laughing at me?”

No, myself – you know, I think about it. Are there magic words? Alchemy – they used to have alchemists right? They turned lead to gold. Now, we've got Salesmen, we turn words to money.”

Top of the line you say?”

In it's time, it's still nice though, still strong – it's got character – see, look at this, and here.” It had character, that unit.

I get you. So why should I buy it?”

Well, because you can, and because I want you to.”

So what makes you so important?”

It's because this is my day. It's my day to be the best.”

And the prospect gets out his wallet, hands over the money – words transmuted to currency – right there on the lot.

Magic performed.

kingtycoon: (Default)

Well, that's a first pass on the Western Coast. Much can be said about all of this, in fact it will be.

I think, optimally, wishes being granted by a magic ring style ambitions? I'd like to finish this up in watercolors so that it's 5'x12' and then get some nice photos of the pieces, get them color-corrected and edited lightly digitally. Then join them up together into a big scaleable image file and then put that on the internet and make it interactive so that you click on a spot on the map and it gives you the option to read something about that place by choosing an author and a time.

I guess I should explain that when I write the history of my imaginary country I make up primary and secondary sources and that I kind of really do write it as a history - rather than as a novel. There's a lot of forged documents that count as authentic testaments of previous times. It's a whole thing. Can I tell you why I'd want to do this? I cannot.

Anyhow- the top of the coast is where you'll find Pinepath - the first of the Kannylte to join the Empire after the conquest of the Weft Valley. Pinepath is prinicpaly the home of the Zun people who joined up nice and easy because their existing civilization was governed by a handful of Mad Alchemists who were easy enough for the Empire to roll over, particularly with the groundswell of support by the common folk, who were pretty much done with being ruled by Mad Alchemists. Naturally there's an undercurrent there of Sane Alchemy now, which will is based on my modified hermeticism that uses 6 elements each with 2 'genders' or 'poles' that will end up being a mashup of the Tao and the Kybalion. Probably. They're called Pinepath in reference to the Mad Alchemists being crucified along the roads - but also, because of the roads themselves being made of wooden-boards and rope bridges, largely.

Next down is Copperring which has a similar backstory - here, you see the concentric rings of river and hill and mountain and river (sorta - it's something that doesn't really come out in a map, but the experience of the people living there is all about this concentric orientation). There's copper in the hills and in the river - so that's partly the source of the name. Also, this area was the head of a proto-imperial system, where the Url-King who'd fashioned the Copper-Ring, a kind of lightning-rod/static-sulfur-ball contraption lived. He used his technical knowledge, including the understanding of metal-smithing to draw people into his authority and governed his own region for 300 years(!) but also became a patron and defender of the people further south. Those people had been terrorized by the Eno (a tribe of religious zealot/assassin/nihilist/satanists) who lived on and worshiped the big mountain in the middle of the plain. The smaller kingdoms that the Eno preyed upon turned first to the Url-King for help and defense. He in turn disseminated his technical ability and knowledge throughout the region (but in a methodical, experimental way, so that some of the kingdoms were given some knowledge and denied other knowledge). This was effective at stemming the tide of the Eno's predations, but was not sufficient to turn them back entirely. The Url-King in turn pledges himself and all of his clients to the Empire so long as the Empire agrees to conquer the Eno. Being somewhat benign, the Empire drives the Eno of off the One Mountain and into a permanent diaspora. This ends a period of human history in which knowledge and wisdom might have prevailed against danger and heralds the age of Steel, in which military dominance and force become the final argument. Below Copperring are a couple of Kannylte that lie on what is called the Ruined Coast- in that it is full of ruins, not that it is ruined itself. Here you can still find the weird remnants of the Url-King's client states, a mish-mash of peculiar, individualistic city-states. I'm working on names for these places right now because the ones I had, I just don't like.

Stealing from Sargon the Great who conquered everything to the Persian Gulf and erected a monument saying: "I have washed my weapons in the sea." I have considered Tidescour or Oceanflight - but also things like Seaflight and Wavemask. None of them is really doing it for me so far. I'd probably really like Tidescour if it didn't sound too much like some kind of cleaning solution. The idea is that places are named for part of their conquest - so they should have some reference to people being driven to the sea, and some reference of the Empire rescuing them by marching to the sea. The Sea.

South of that, at the end, you can see the mountainous fingers rising out of the ocean - this is Whitesail which is sort of like Novaya Zemlya - at the southern tips these peninsulas are conjoined and linked on a seasonal basis, but the very, extremely, super-duper old old mountain range (appalachian style but with glaciers and fjords) help create these warm lowlands and super-rich fisheries. These areas are the traditional home of the Hlorii people - who express a lot more sexual dimorphism than you're used to. The dudes are 3 meters tall and sometimes have fangs, and the ladies are like, regular sized lady Fado singers. These people have a lot of weird duality in their cultural attitudes that are based on the land and the sea, the man & the woman, the highland and the lowland and so on. Their deal is a devotion to old-time religion that's dualistic and theological (rather than mystical). They gave up on resisting the Empire after a famous event in which one of their Hetmen's harem was captured and ransomed back to him in exchange for his complicity in helping the Empire.
kingtycoon: (Default)
At times like these I like to remember that I'm almost 40.

After a very long day full of progress bars and upload templates & field management I got drawn back to my imaginary world-  you know the one, the one I go crazy and work on endlessly, the one that I consider to be my main work in life.

So yesterday I realized something I wanted to work on, and then I did work on it. Because I love doing that and being busy and useful to myself.  I do not like washing dishes or cleaning up after myself because those things just don't seem useful.

Actually - let me talk about that thing - see, I was in the midst of the winter malaise because of all the effing cold and dark and I thought "I should have more fruits." But the thing is - I kind of don't like eating fruits. I don't mind them, but I... I don't even know. I like Square Meals. There's hardly any square fruits. What I decided to do was to just make potions for a few weeks. I mean, I got a blender don't I? Ain't I got a blender?! I do, so I bought like, nonsensical amounts of fruits and have been grinding their bones to make my juice. Anyhow - a couple of weeks of heavy potion consumption have left my guts somewhat out of proper order. My thought was to substitute all sugar and candy with fruits and then to drink them up all the time. Anyhow that was fine, as things to do go, except that there's a trashbag full of peels and cartons and peels and washing out the blender is a nuisance and... For all it's dietary imperfections the peanut-butter nutella diet is tidier with less hassles about cleanups. Anyhow I hate cleaning and love messing. I would make a sweet nomad, wandering the earth, littering it with peels and cartons as I move to less messier pastures.

Tomorrow, I'll clean up - I have to, no one will do it for me, and I'm supposed to be a kind of person. The kind of a person who has a clean blender. This reminds me - actually, of when I was a salesman - you'd always be pitching people on how you'd save them from hassles. People hate hassles. I bet 100% of all people dislike hassles, if someone did like hassles, man, I bet you wouldn't even want to know a person like that.

Of course, I like complicated challenges with no payoff a lot. I love that stuff. That's not a hassle. That is weird pleasure.
It came to me that I could work harder on my imaginary country and I realized that I could paint a whole big map of it. I work better from maps - they give good ideas, geography=history you know - all human experiences are predicated and mediated by the local environment, so I work on setting up the world as a bunch of pictures. A bunch of feet by a bunch of feet - this is going to be a big-fun and big fun project. Also? 0 payoff, and extra effort. But washing my blender is a HASSLE. It's weird being alive no? My size 14 shib-shib is thrown in there for scale.

Here's the first pass on the upper northwest corner -
more details to be added, more embellishments to fall, labels, the whole thing.

and for the extra pinch of verisimilitude:
kingtycoon: (Default)

Have you ever lost momentum? Have you ambitions ever exceeded your abilities? This to me, is right, this is part of the nature of becoming. It's important to always be in the act of becoming. So by inclination I'm an autodidact. I thought, those years ago, that I'd like to learn how to paint, and I thought, I was interested in magic and maybe I'd like to learn the Tarot. Likewise, I wanted to know the future and wanted to invent a way that I could see it. So I started something, and then I carried it pretty far, and then I realized that I had learned, I'd gotten better than I had been. So I'm going back - this is my second pass. I'm going to finish this up on better terms, with better knowledge and better skill. That's the plan. If at first you succeed, try to succeed harder.

The Student is unaware.  At the beginning of a journey, disheveled and unready.  I've tried this once before and I liked the results, but I like this second pass much more.

The appearance of the sun was something that I was missing before, and which needed inclusion this time around. Representative time's passage - here the sun indicates the danger of distraction and the dawn of awareness. The student is intent but unaware, disorganized and lost in details. She can't see that the bus has emptied, that the world moves around her. And she can't see that she's losing track of her possessions
I wanted to include the minor arcana - the symbols of mastery and understanding and social position here - while indicating that their value is not clear to the student. She can't understand the value of these things and so she lets them fall to the floor unattended. The student loses things, misplaces things, the student is at the cusp of really learning.

The form of the learning is not distinct here though. Will she recover her articles and leave the bus? Will she sit unaware and become forgotten? The card alone can't answer that - but it's meant to cue this awareness. Are you missing what is happening around you? Are you going to learn something you didn't want to know purely by misadventure or are you going to catch on before it's too late. This is what the card asks you to consider.

I think that this time through I'm going to do something I should have done before - I'm going to give the story that I internally devise that helps me put the picture together.

0 The Student.

It’s 11 after 7 when he gets on the bus. There’s nothing auspicious about this because
the bus is almost always on time, it doesn’t mean anything that it’s on time
today. This disappoints him because he’d
really like to draw on the movements of the bus as part of his presentation
today. He hasn’t worked on his
presentation at all, but usually he has enough time to scribble it out in shaky pothole-addled lines during his journey
to school.

It may not work today – he’s almost sure it won’t. He’s put off this presentation – Prophecy of
Eschatology is probably his worst class & he worries about how well he’s
doing. He’s already in trouble with his
parents after his performance in his Raising Up a Moral Family in The Fallen
World exam. He’s not even close to
getting a decent grade in his best classes either. He’s very poor, as a Student, ineffective. He
knows this and he’s starting to really worry about it. It’s not helpful, going into Prophecies
either, It’s depressing in an uplifting way.

He kicks rocks at the bus-stop – a patch of gravel where
the sidewalk’s crumbled. Thinking: (it’s
only 8 after 7 – the bus not yet come) The
End Time is upon us but I have to do homework & prepare for a future even
though the Eschaton is certainly incepted
He’s young yet & lacks the self-awareness to see how the conflict
between the preparatory mission of high-school is contradicted by the hopeless anticipation of the end of the
world. Maybe it’ll end before 3rd
He mentions this out loud to
no-one. It’s dark still, this morning,
& cold. His hair is getting stiff in
the late autumn air, freezing up since he’s left the house with his head still
wet from the shower. Stiff so it snaps
without breaking in his fingers – just like ice crackling. It’s very distracting and he chooses to be
distracted instead of thinking hard about what he can say about the impending
collapse of the wicked global economy.
He has no idea that his hair is now mussed comically, that his buttons
are uneven on his shirt.

He is absurdly disheveled,
completely unprepared & utterly distracted by the competing messages of
powerlessness, diligence & commerce that surround him. The digital clock on the bank façade that
stands above the bus stop says 7:10 – he realizes that he should probably pray
for guidance but he hates praying because it draws too much unwanted attention,
too many people assume that he is crazy and he’s self-conscious about appearing
to be crazy. Because he already looks
like he probably is.

On the bus there are often crazy people & they
usually pray & often it’s full of curses and shouting. Sometimes a businessman will yell at someone
for praying too loudly. He tries to
think about this though. It’s come up
today & usually doesn’t – Prayer. You’re not supposed pray in public to draw
attention to your devotion, except that you really are supposed to be if you
don’t you express a deceitful shame in your devotion – but ostentatious prayer –
meant to draw attention. Which is wickeder? The crazy people aren’t ashamed at all. They are usually really crazy – not wicked –
they smell bad & curse & tare drunk.
Are they being ostentatious though?
He doesn’t much feel like they’re trying to be more devout than him or
anyone else. Praying is a contest to see who is more crazy. He decides it right then.

He decides it exactly at 7:11 A.M. He gets on the bus
which is lit up within against the gloomy crepuscular Midwestern sky. He thinks that the bus is like the Solar
Barge of Amun-Re, that it will take him to school & then rise up in the
East & light the world. He won’t
pray to Amun-Re, falcon-headed king. He
resolves that whatever is supposed to happen will happen as preordained by
scripture & decides he doesn’t need to pray – unless he is supposed to, in
which case he probably will.

Since he doesn’t go to normal school he has to take city
buses & almost no-one else on the bus is a kid, they’re mostly people going
to work or coming home or are crazy. Usually. Sometimes when it’s very early in the month
there are a lot of crazy people on the bus.
Because they have to go downtown or wherever crazy people have to go on
the first week of the month. He tries
his best not to draw attention but it’s been three months now since school
started & on the first week of September he sat next to the worst smelling
lady who prayed the entire time. The bus
was empty but she sat down net to him.
He did his best not to look at her but had to glance over when she
started saying that someone was trying to fuck Jesus in the ass.

She kept saying that someone was trying to fuck Jesus in
the ass and that the man who was trying to do it was a snake who was fucking
Jesus in the ass – it seemed really blasphemous but also funny and he couldn’t
help but ok over and it was terrible because she was looking right at him and
yelling at him specifically. She was
telling everyone (just the bus driver) that she thought he must be trying to fuck Jesus in the ass. The bus driver didn’t seem to care which was discouraging because he was just a
boy and felt like the adult bus driver should say something. The lady kept yelling at him until he got off
the bus. He kept thinking that if she
really, truly thought that he was trying fuck Jesus in the ass that instead of
just yelling it at everyone she should have probably asked him to stop. Instead she just narrated it, like it was
something she couldn’t believe that she was seeing.

The lady didn’t come back in October but there was
someone else who came and sat right next to him at the beginning of that
month. Just the same. This guy had half of his hair in tight braids
& the other half was just wild, like he had to stop getting his braids done
halfway through. He didn’t say anything,
just sat down & scowled really hard.
When it was time for the Student
to ring the bell for his stop the man wouldn’t get up to let him off & he
had to climb out of his seat over the back of the seat in front of him. He tripped over the handrail and landed on
the molded rubber floor of the bus. The
driver laughed & self-consciously the Student
looked at the angry half-braided man – who didn’t laugh. He looked angrier than ever & started to
get up. The Student stood right up, panicking.
He scrambled out the open door of the bus without looking back, without
ever really gaining his feet. He fell on
all fours out the bus & scuffed both of his palms. So later, there were blood stains down the
legs of his uniform & one of the knees got a hole in it.

Now it was November & he hadn’t considered that he
might meet someone else, crazy, on the bus.
He was wearing the same uniform & the knee hole had spread so that
the flat bone of his kneecap poked through when he sat down. He couldn’t explain the relationship between
the hole in his pants, the bus and the angry man. It didn’t register to him that these things
had any corresponding interaction at all.
He had no awareness of his history, no narrative to explain any of his
actions or circumstances. He had a hole
in his uniform and there was no context beyond that. Without any sense that the past informed the
present, he wasn’t able, either, to extrapolate a future from his present. Life to him was only spiraling chaos becoming
more and more chaotic. Entropy behind

He struggled, at 7:11, with his bookbag – searching out
his Eschatology textbook, but he’d left it somewhere. He couldn’t say where, it just wasn’t in the

All of his textbooks were covered with the same
grocery-bag covers and couldn’t be easily distinguished from one another – what
he’d thought was End Times For the Repentant Sinner was in fact his
biology textbook – Dinosaurs in the Levitical Tradition. Interesting for the pictures but useless for
auguring his chances in the times of tribulation.

Sure that he must have packed something that could help
him – he rummaged furiously in his bag – coming up with some crumpled papers –
remembering suddenly that all of them, all the papers required both of his
parents’ signatures.

For the first itme in his life it occurred to him that he
could, perhaps, deceive someone. Maybe
he could avoid his father’s anger (he’d be plenty angry – 2 D’s & an F –
all in Pre Calculus for the Innumerate).
I could just do it. I could.
He resoved then to lie, cheat & forge. Planned to commit himself utterly to crime
& deception. And so doing he reached
for a pen, absentmindedly searching his pockets, growing more assertive in his
search & finally with a dawning sense of futility realizing that he’d not
brought a pen & in his bag he only had a broken pencil to keep the scraps
of paper and trash company.

“Christ just look at you, whadda mess – Jesus Kid.”

The Student
never noticed the man getting on the bus, and didn’t see him sit down next to
him. Hadn’t even heard him until he
spoke. Now the man, wearing a suit,
smiling very pleasantly, even as he scolded – almost laughing – was snatching
the papers from the Student’s
hans. He produced a pen & very
competently scawled his father’s signature and followed it up with a very
elegant simulation of his mother’s signature.
He even went so far as to write a little apologetic note on one of

“You don’t know this stuff? Or you didn’t pay attention? Here’s a tip – the tests are always on Tuesdays
– did you notice that yet?”

“They are? The
tests? Are?” The Student
really had nothing to say, the man had appeared and immediately taken hold of a
conversation that the Student had
already been having with himself. As if
the man could read his mind and as if it were natural that they discuss what
was on it.

“Sure, but maybe you’re just dumb. That’s okay – you can be dumb. Now.
You gotta get it together soon though kid. Jesus, you ever even see a mirror?” The man produced a comb & began
straightening the Student’s
hair. Unbreakable black plastic. Suddenly the Student became very afraid.
His father & classmates often called him a faggot & hye had a
dawning sense of understanding about what that actually meant. Was this man – combing his hair – on the bus –
was this man a faggot? Had he followed
him around and…

“Hey – how do you know my parents’ names!”

“Haha, Christ kid, yer a mess. Keep the comb, ya need it.” The man produced a cigarette and lit it. Tried leaning back on the rainbow-pattern
injection molded bus seat & looked grouchy when he found he couldn’t. “Shabby.
Dingy. Well, it’s still better
than you deserve – for sure. Christ you’re
a mess, yer a real mess. Listen. What’s it gonna take? This bullshit mighta flown in little kid
school but yer about to be shaving!
Christ! I bet yer kinda dumb
huh? You like to read? Learn?
Whaddya know about? Haha! Kid…
Alright – take this list…”

The man, whose fingers were thick & flat – bony, he
produces a notebook and begins to write.
His own handwriting is deft & precise. He prints the words & seems to anticipate
the bus’s inevitable pothole encounters – stopping his writing when it’s time. He had no trouble talking while he
wrote. “So you’re just gonna take
it? Keep that comb, you’re thinking –
this guy on the bus – comes at me. Is he
crazy? Is he gonna hurt me? Yer just sitting there waiting for what? To see if someone else? Who?
You think some adult’s gunna save you?
You got no fire in you kid. Do
ya? Nah, I called ya stupid and ugly
& you just sit there proving my point – how’d it come to this? Yer gutless.
Don’t even talk, listen. Take
this paper, read these books and comb yer fucking hair. I’ll check in on you. Lissen – I like you but you gotta work on being
likeable. Sometime soon yer gonna get
yer ass kicked – not by me – you’ll have it coming though so just know that.”

“Oh! Last thing –
school is bullshit – your school in particular – don’t wrry about it. Oh!
Almost forgot, I brought breakfast.
Here’s yer coffee, black, no sugar – easy that way. You wanna split this donut? Sour cream, they’re the best – I can’t eat a
whole one though. Take it.”

The Student
takes the coffe & the donut half (really about a third) and sits

“Caffine & sugar kid, ya need em.” He watches the Student take a bite & a halting sip - his first ever – of coffee. It’s served him in a tall heavy Styrofoam cup
with a logo on t. After a bit of still
almost silence common to the early morning bus-ride the driver grumbles out two
stops & then the man in the suit smiles & reaches across the Student to pull the bell. “My stop.”
He gets up to leave and winks at the Student. “Go get em champ.”

So here is the first of the Major Arcana.  I'm trying harder to paint better, and I'm trying to give better indications about the cards meaning and I'm trying to do much more to make these a coherent, functional tool.  I really don't think that I will try to explain myself any further, except to say that I think my pace will be substantially slower than it has been in the past.

kingtycoon: (Default)

Agatha - The Page of Cups

When I started this, now more than a year ago, I didn't really know how far I'd go - but once I started on the minor arcana I knew I'd have to do something special for the face cards - the top of the suits. It came to me that I aught to work with actual faces - the ones I know, and so I started thinking about who exemplifies which characteristics of the cards and started planning how I'd do this. Then I got deep into the phones and the pens - and I don't mind telling you, while it's kind of interesting and I'm somewhat proud of how I've reasoned out that Phones replace Rods and Pens replace Swords - figuring out how to paint a picture where there are 8 cellphones laying around - it's not that fun. Anyhow, I wanted to get to one of these and I don't even care, I don't need to go in sequence here. The Duke of Zhou only had 64 Hexagrams - which amounts to all of the Major Arcana (less the Student #0) and all of the numbered cards - meaning these face cards fall out of sequence anyway. Anyway, and also - I do what I want.

Page of Cups Agatha So here is Agatha, the Page of Cups.  Agatha loves Pokemon, hates school, loves Rootbeer milkshakes from Tommy's.  She is really incredibly good at drawing, very, very poor at remembering to call people on the phone or to turn in her homework.  She's a good and loyal friend, when she remembers to be, a kind and compassionate person, when she remembers how to be and wouldn't knowingly do anything bad ever.  That's all to say that Agatha is a 10 year old girl who lives in her head, has an imagination bigger than the world and can't always be relied on not to stay camped out there when there are things she needs to be paying attention to in the real world.  Agatha is principally Good - but practically somewhat Neutral - owing, effectively to her lack of attention for the material world.  Practicality though, that doesn't really suit her anyway.

Page of Cups
Agatha's got freckles to spare and promises that she doesn't want to grow up vain even though strangers all want to comment on her hair and tell her how pretty she is.  She makes friends with everyone, even if she won't remember their names, loves animals and peanut butter, is terrified of the Slender Man and still usually rides on her father's shoulders.  She's smart as a whip but lacks application, she's perceptive about surprising things and knowledgeable about the weirdest fan esoterica.  She can't see without her glasses and if it were up to her, she'd spend all day making sprites for video games.  She doesn't usually finish the things she starts and she has never even attempted to clean her room.


Agatha loves sugar and hates vegetables, she rarely eats and usually just a little.  She's picky about food. Indifferent to most of life's comforts, she has to be reminded to eat, to change her clothes and not to sleep on a bare mattress.  She's very earnest and incredibly polite.  She is good humored and funny and would rather cut up with her friends than listen to a teacher.  She can dance and loves the Beatles, Gangnam Style and Michael Jackson.

She's a good card to draw and she's got my favorite face of all the faces.

The Page of Cups represents the inspiration that drives you to a new creative effort.  So for that, I have Agatha - without whom?  I don't know if I'd ever have picked up a brush...

kingtycoon: (Default)
It is that time again no? Or more likely it's been too long between these visits... Have I been shirking? Why yes, and that is the theme of the 5 of Pens, and so the meta-commentary now matches the card itself. Shirking. Not laziness, not even indifference, rather a very powerful engagement. The 5 of Pens connotes an interest in something that goes too far, that drives you to ignore those things that can't bear ignoring.


Have you done this? Have you relied excessively on alt+tab to conceal your bad behavior, your tricky gaming of the system? Your betrayal? Your biting of the hand that feeds? Sure, sure, your interests are your prime concern, your creations are more significant, by far, than those petty works that you're paid to accomplish, that you're expected to pursue. See - the card here tells about working on your hobbies while you're on the clock - ignoring what you're supposed to do to pursue the interest that has come upon you. Like the 3 of Pens - which spoke of growing indifferent to love, or the 4 of cups, which tells of a fascination with idle pleasures - the 5 of Pens here tells about an obsessive, consuming project that leads you to ignore your other responsibilities. Are you reckless? Sure, are you obsessive? Maybe, probably. Are you going to get fired? Could Be!

This is about having something you pursue regardless of a personal danger - whether of simply dishonoring yourself, or more substantially - of alienating those who are on your side. You're endangered by your pursuit here, your intellectual hypnosis.


Of course, the 40 hour workweek and the omnipresence of the internet are complicating factors here - in the contemporary world. There's hardly anyone that needs all 40 hours to do their job, there's downtime, idle hours. Perhaps your coworkers fill these with conversation - gossip. But you're obsessed, you'll drive through your work, just an inconvenience between you and what you're really trying to do. We've all written a novel or Two on company time, on company equipment after all.Untitled

Well? Haven't we?

kingtycoon: (Default)

Do you know the ontological argument for the existence of Superman? It goes like this - you are imperfect (come on, admit it) and you have the quality of existence. Superman is perfect. Since you are imperfect and have the quality of existence, Superman must exist because he is better than you.

Of course Superman does exist in fiction and that's the corollary or rebuttal of the argument - that non-existence is the sine-qua-non of perfection. Nothing is perfect that physically exists. Or, if you like, carried forward - what is real is not what is best.

There you are - the best argument for the life of the mind, the inward looking eye and the contemplative dream. What's best isn't real and what's real isn't best.

This is what the 4 of Pens is all about - retreating from the mundane and becoming absorbed in the beatific and sublime.


Captured - as it were, by the perfection of a fiction, of an idea. Compelling, it's compelling just to think of it - the Deity as a concept is something that has absorbed people since they've been people. To me this relates very closely to the 4 of Cups - a figure immersed in a dream, on the one hand you have a spiritual fulfillment that arises in spite of the world's efforts, in the other you have a person withdrawing from and forgetting the world - which goes on, quite indifferent.


The distinction - between those withdrawing is that the one is ignoring what is good in the world, the other is turning away from what is bad. Simple enough, maybe a fine distinction. But consider - there is perfection in thought that doesn't exist in the material realm. Platonism for you. The world is just shadows of a better idea. It's sensible to be captured by the idea. In the 4 of Cups he's captured by the world, ignoring the spiritual, or fulfilled already, turns to the material.

The 4 of Pens connotes not only an abandonment of earthly cares - but a rejection of the validity of them,


A trance of the nobler world - this situation likewise implies a final sleep - the translation of the mortal to the spiritual through that eventual magician called death. Sure, you're going to get there from here. And when the heart stops and the brain dies the mind goes on. Maybe. In fiction it might and fiction, unlike the mundane world, has the quality of being capable of perfection.


kingtycoon: (Default)

Do this. Think about what I'm going to tell you - do that.

There's an idea, it comes to you, you like it, you like it a lot. You take it into you and try to make it into something. You look at the few sentences you've strung together and think to yourself that you want it to become something. A book, many books, a system, a plan, your plan for your future, anything, something. You have this in you now and you're going to carry it through. Carry it through. Carry it through.

What does that even mean? I mean practically. What is the day to day that you face now, that you've taken this idea into yourself, now that you've submitted to its dominion in your life? Will your relationships suffer? Will you lose interest in your job? In your family? How far will you take your efforts? Who are you, when the idea comes to consume you? When you're held in its grip and in its thrall? Can you have an idea stronger than you? Or can you have an idea that's weaker than you?

So we're back to asking - what is an idea? Is the idea god? I had a vision, where the idea, all of them, together, they are the consciousness of the world and people, we - us - we're the teeth, we digest matter that feeds the idea, the idea is all things, everything the Reason.


What is love to you when the idea is in you? Does it matter? Is it an old idea? One that's tired, one that's been used before, to poor effect yet? Will you absorb it or abandon it for something... new? For your own idea.

We digest the thoughts we have to contribute to the larger thoughts. We are the organs of language, we are the method by which thought perceives.

It is by the works of human hands that thought grows. We are the hands of ideas.


Do we believe in things or know them? Is the difference between these the difference between happiness and sorrow? Or between different species of intellectual amalgams - the ghost-minds in the sky that we contribute to, as the biome, the ecology of the idea. We are preyed upon by language, we are the servants of these larger things - built up through the centuries, timeless, immortal. What are we, once the idea enters us? We are the vessels of ideas. We transmit knowledge, we transmute language into reality, into language into reality. We are the teeth and jaws of thought, the stomach of thinking.

As the 3 of cups is the first stable form, and the 3 of phones is the first stable form - those suits being built up upon relationships and work, the 3 of pens is the stable form. It is the stability that comes of knowing or accepting the state of solitude, exclusion, loss. It is the state of abandoning the doubts that come (and they come, I'll tell you) when you're deep in the work, deep in the idea. You lose sight of the world, and then regain it, in turns, and find yourself doubting - were you right to spend so much of your life? Waste so much of your effort? Can you communicate the idea? The idea is in you, the idea is the guide for who you are, what you do. What are you if the idea is fraud?

So forsake doubt, attention, affection. These are all attacks, hostile to the thing within you, the great, pure and real idea, the matter that you wish to bear, to give birth to. Any other notion, any division of your attention, that is a distraction - deadly to the germinating thought.

3 of Pens

The 3 of pens, of Swords- it's a card for heartbreak - it connotes the solidity, the stability that comes of abandoning attachments, of refusing the external in favor of the internal. The heart is dead, long live the mind.

kingtycoon: (blue)
I told you before all about feelings, and then I told you about doing - now it's time to talk about thinking.

Ace of pens

Before the totemic symbol for thinking was the sword - it was a symbol for more than thinking but thinking is the elemental essence of what the swords are about. Here's some of what it's all about (and I'm going to get into it, and into some elaborate thinking-type thoughts here as well so get accustomed to it for the next 10 entries) The swords are about division - an in the antique sense they indicate the division between moments - where decisions happen, where thinking occurs. They also have the power of division between sense and nonsense and significantly between things that are and things that are not. Duality is essential in the suit of the swords because they divide the real and the unreal - by thought.

There's a practical element to this as well - the swords divide the physical from the spiritual - in a very pragmatic, murderous way. Everyone's soul is eventually excised, they're made from whole being to a soul and a corpse - the sword is violence as well. Danger and - significantly, professionalism.

That's a weird relationship that's lost now - we live in the world of guns and I've seen Tarot where the sword was substituted with a gun - but the gun... the gun undermines and is plainly in opposition to the principles behind the sword. A sword - you don't just have one and then have the ability to go around killing guys - that's the gun. The sword needs skill, training and a big investment by the society that arms you and then trains you in the first place. The sword requires skill and it requires training - it signifies membership in a professional caste of killers - people for whom killing is part of their professional capacity. It's not done lightly. Well, it wasn't.


Now we have the pens. There still is a professional class, they still have matters of life and death in their oeuvre, they still have to make decisions and they still are symbolized by something that divides the real and the unreal - in this case The Pen.

See, a pen divides the purely mental from the physical - it's the transcendental bridge between what is thought and what actually is. Because you can write down your thoughts - you can make physically manifest your ideas, your thoughts, your grocery list. Things are recorded, memory becomes irrefutable fact - we live and die by things written by professional men who are tasked with making decisions and signing. Sign your name - something ephemeral, meaningful sure, but spoken and heard on the wind, a sound unlike any other - and you sign, your mark, unlike any other. You turn something from being theoretical to actual. A bill becomes a law, a pad of paper becomes a prescription, a semester of work becomes another grade, a strategy becomes an order.

You get the idea - from a martial ruling class to a technocrat ruling class the transition is from the sword to the pen.


But, briefly, back to duality. Maybe the soul is an archaic idea, maybe it doesn't have a place here - maybe. It doesn't mean that there's not a difference between the substantial, experiential world and the dreamworld of pure consciousness, of reason and dreams. The Pen has the effect of dividing these as well - and combining them. In some respects The Pen is a kind of psychopomp - through physical exertion it generates non-physical ideas. In antiquity it was argued that God must by necessity exist because it was theorized to be perfect, and being perfect it must have the qualities that imperfect things have as well as whatever qualities make it perfect. So since imperfect things exist, the theoretical perfect thing must by needs exist! Since existence is a quality possessed by imperfect things, a perfect thing must have that quality as well. Without getting into too many confusing logical arguments we can extrapolate backward and look at just one confusing logical argument:

So if we consider that we exist and are receptacles for things that do not exist - memories, fantasies, dreams - then it means that the physical by needs contains all perfect iterations of itself. And really - if we conceive of fantasies and dreams as having physical characteristics - and these characteristics are superior to our own then they tell the truth on us - that the physical is the sublime and the imagined is the mundane. Superman. Superman is the manifestation of human wishes and greatness, it is an idea - that became real through the exercise of that noblest of human creations - The Pen.


Anyhow- these sharpies are my favorite pens ever so they will probably figure prominently in the suit.

kingtycoon: (blue)
9 of Phones

Hello! Remember this? Yeah, yeah, I'm still going pretty strong but I had this thought that life is maybe not long enough for me to finish everything I want to do, so I've been working kind of hard on all of my other projects too.

But I still have a lot of love for my own Tarot and I'm working on it all the time.   Even if I'm not exactly painting it.

You may recall that the Phones - my iteration of the Wands - relates to the condition of servitude you and I call work. Some other time I'll get carried away with politics and beliefs and care to express this all to you - but for now- yes, the industrial/commercial subsistence worker is the same as the agricultural serf. That's just so - we can go into it another time, but yes - the wand, staff, stick = the contemporary Phone. We all have phones, it's sometimes part of the job.

My job gives me a phone, and I got my job near to when I started painting the phones arcana here - it's been a good fit. Later, I'll run-through the whole suit of Phones and explain that journey - for now, I have to tell you about this one thing, so that I can absolve myself of responsibility and avoid getting written up.

9 of phones

Yep - I'll build the hedge against blame that you probably (if you have a job) know as Covering Your Ass. That's this guy here. He's building up the wall of separation, putting himself ahead and apart from his coworkers - it's on them if it all fails, not him! Why, he's almost... It's almost as if he's immobilized by his efforts to insulate himself!

Not by accident do I tell you this! I want you to know that I DO NOT believe in trouble. As in - you can't get into trouble. You can make mistakes- I do, often - that's the consequence of being bold. But when you try and remove yourself from the fray - when you quit all real participation to hedge yourself against blame and trouble - then you're taking no chances, you're afraid.

And hey - no blame. I've been there too, you might hate your job but you need it too - this is what this card is about, in some respects as well. You can fortify yourself in your cubicle so no-one will ever, ever know what it is you even do, no one will question you because you're hedged up and in - beyond reproach. Truthfully - I think a goodly portion of the hierarchies that exist in employment exist and are pursued because someone says - "Well if I'm in charge then I can't be in trouble."

They're forgetting and maybe you are too - that they/you never really could be in trouble either! It's being afraid of trouble that makes you strive to keep your ass Covered - but it's not gonna make you a million dollars - you're not going to be valued for your efforts, you're not going to be respected as a peer. You're going to be in the lonesome castle of finger-pointing shenanigans.


And really this one goes beyond the workplace - this is the card, and you can tell I don't love it's message right? One of emotional preparation - distance yourself from the possibility of blame - caution - this is the card where you withdraw from cooperation so that you can put the blame for all the failures on someone else.

Don't do that- in life I mean. Don't be that person.

kingtycoon: (Default)
6 of Phones 002

So a couple of things just to get out of the way on this one.  First - Soundtrack:

  Accept that shit into your heart.  Take your time, I'll wait.

Now - on to the true facts.  1st true fact  - am not down on the contemporary scene.  I ain't make judgements or hate, but I don't listen neither so I have no sense of what is cool for the moment.  So I painted up what I guess is a idealized type of rockstar guy - like if Prince was in Zep and also the only member?  Whatever, I've never seen a stadium show!  The Agora is the biggest venue I've ever been to and even then I was always down and front by the stage.  Once I caught a guy that Henry Rollins threw into the air, it was kinda great.

Maybe I'm trying to paint something a little more like this:

  I mean, sure there are famous singers and whatnot, but I mean - everyone falls very short of metal-style triumphalism right?  You go and see these fools now and they're supposed to be rock-stars and they stare at the stage or whatever.  They're just playing music - it's kind of different from super-human rock & roller.

Anyway - the 6 of Phones is about being this hero, this victor and especially this spectacle.  There's an idea within the concept of a great person arising from the ranks - one of the many made heroic by achievement.  That's a concept within the card.  You're one of many and somehow empowered.

Well, not somehow - it's by virtue, by trying effort and something innate - the 6 of phones is the fulfillment of the pure-expression of the self.  That is - those qualities - the ones you suspect you have but you wish other people would notice?  The ones that will win everyone over - women will want you, men will want to smoke the same cigarettes?  Well - when your day comes and the full expression of your secret glorious inner-self is made manifest - you'll be a crossfire hurricane, you'll be 1,000,000 stories tall. 

6 of Phones 011  See - that's you in the spotlight, that's the faceless many taking notice,  wanting to save and keep something of you - an image, some recollection.  You are scripted by Lee & Kirby, you are invented by Bob Kane, you are the great one.

See the lights?

6 of Phones 010

You know I never meant it to be a crown, I didn't intend it anyway and you know - that's half the matter right there - working out the secrets by meditative attempting - so there you are - crowned in light, gaped and gawked at by the faceless many - all of whom are worshipful, adoring.

And suddenly I know just what song to play you:
kingtycoon: (Default)
Who's Calling?  It's me the Phones!  Uh, or something not dumb.

My Own Tarot 002It's weird, you know - that you can get calls - someone might call you.  I think, I wanna say I was about 7?  The first time someone called me?  Back then we had a directory for the school - so kids could just look each other up and call.  Cause, right, who changed phone-numbers?  The 80's...  Anyhow-  I think it was...  Lisa?  A girl Lisa wanted to call and talk to me about stuff.  I guess?  Sometimes girls want to talk on the phone.  For real - that's probably the biggest hole in my abilities re- romance.  I hate calling on the phone, and I don't like being called on the phone- it turns out that way.

I guess in the end I can't stop thinking that I'm just talking to a machine.  I know there's another person and all - not, like - solopsistic - they're all secretly robots and it's a simulation - not like that - more like.  I am here and talking and I am talking into a machine and that is like talking to a dog or the air.  It is a thing of a crazyperson.

My Own Tarot 008
Remember those blue-tooth head things?  Sometimes people still have them, I hate those things because they make it harder to distinguish between who is crazy and who is not.  Knowing who is crazy is an important skill in the world and I'm okay at it.  Except that maybe talking on the phone is a thing for crazy people.

So...  With all that said-  I still did make the Phones my symbol - replacing the Rod in the more traditional tarot.  But for real - what is crazier - a dude talking to himself or a dude walking around with some quantity of rods?  I mean, unless you are a rod-deliveryman you basically have no good reason to be carrying around rods.  Maybe a fisherman could get away with it.  Wands are likewise a personal affectation that will not get you many phone numbers if you brandish them in quantities greater than... I dunno, probably zero.  Zero Wands is the optimal number of wands to be carrying around.  And let's not even get into clubs.  You shouldn't be carrying around a club, not even that collapsible kind that sometimes would-be tough guys have.  Really you shouldn't carry things that the police are only going to have to wrestle you for.

My Own Tarot 006

I mean, unless you should.  It could be that that is who you are and, I won't say - 'No Judgement' because I will judge you - not in a judgmental way, exactly, but in a discerning way.  In the way that I don't just yell and get upset about the guy doing karate moves on the corner (there is such a guy) but rather-  never speak or look directly at him.  Not that he's got a very nice phone though - he's more of a cups, more of a swords kind of guy.  You know how I know?  Cause the Phones are not just activity, not just doing - they're symbolic of something else.  Something simultaneously miraculous and prosaic.

Rather like the cellular phone.  You see 'em around, heck you might manage their use and function as part of your day to day - because they are part of the day to day - common.  They're a common thing that makes the world turn and bend - they're pretty much miraculous.  A company that makes them is, as of this writing, the biggest corporation in the world.  Who knew right?  They're a non-trivial portion of the wealth of all nations.  Crazy.  Just as I imagine stick-gathering was a fundamental chore for the laboring classes of medieval times.  True story - gather wood or die freezing - that's just the nature of things.

Which is to say that the phones mark a kind of middle-of-the-road.  A kind of baseline human condition, the lowest common denominator.  Kind of.  It's a little trickier than thinking of them like say - opinions and assholes.  It isn't quite something everyone has.  That's not what the Phones/wands/clubs/rods are about.  No - this is more about your assimilation into the broader popular culture.  Being caught up with the phones means you're more in the mode - you know the popular culture, you know the cool bands, the nice clothes, the popular political opinion, the tolerable political ideology.

My Own Tarot 003

These are 3rd estate things.  They're for the people that make the world work - and in our world the best and newest is the way of things.  If I were painting this all in the 60's I'd probably have the wands be cars - in the 90's maybe computers (maybe).  But a tool that's contemporary and that's a statement about personality.  Well - to an extent.  You know there are i-people and android-people and wall-phone people right?  It's this idea that there are these kinds of people - when really, there's an unseen class of people who don't have any of those.  Like the millionaires in the 60's with drivers and the executives in the 80's with receptionists.  They're not of the mode - they're above/beyond.  It's a working-man's tool.  And so-  the phone.

The Phone is also - activity - and that's what I've been having - activity - I'm active!  Doing-Making!  Full activity is the thing of the phones- fire and happening.  So don't imagine for a second that I've been slack.


Really - I should mention it was a long languid summer of breaks before I got the Cups all done - and here I got the first 3 Phones in a weekend.  Maybe have the next three by the end of this weekend!  Maybe.  

And here's the rundown:

The Phones start out - kind of telling a story.

You start with the 2 - you're up and at 'em - you're out the door (or I am) at the crack-of-doomy-dawn you're ready, you're capable. You've got calls coming in already - maybe you even have to check your mail and the weather on your personal phone - you've got things happening. There's a man or a woman that you know who gives out different numbers for different reasons - that's someone who's got Things Going On. That's the 2 of Phones.

Then you're on your way - You're in the world and you're really - in-the-world, in the loop, you can see what it is and where you are going in it. The world is a golden paradise for you - because you're ready, and part of the world - it's a welcoming place that's just waiting for you. So - waiting, and ready-goodness. It's the next stop of the day - the Bus Stop.

And after that? Well you've got things to do, you're the golden one - bright prospects, when you talk - people listen, eyes dilate, blood in the cheeks - you're the golden one- on the shining path - you've heeded the call and now you're encircled by the shekina glory! The magic ring of jesus-fire - if you will. Fire.
It's all to do with fire - movement, and a signal. Like the bars on the phone - you're in a good spot, good reception for the Gnosis - you're on the shining path. In a way. It's still earthly, but it's a rising, transcendent earthliness.

You are, in a word - Effective.
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Ace of Phones 002

So now you can see I'm leaving some things behind. As in the past, as in history. I'm leaving behind the Stick, the wand, the staff, the club. I'm sure you know that the suits in a deck of cards represent the different social classes in the premodern period right? Espada - swords for the knights, the rulers, diamonds - the coins, for the merchants, cups for the church and clubs for the peasants. Why Clubs? In the ancient past people beat crops out of the ground using sticks. True story.

You don't buy it? Well, I'm only exaggerating. They beat everything out of the world, peasants, farmers, serfs. They had sticks, not metal tools, not implements as you'd know them, sticks. Robbers? Vikings? Early frost? They had sticks for that. Staves, wands, whatever - sticks. I'm telling you, for the longest time some variety of sticks was all people had. Heck, that's what they used to make and to carry fire for goodness sakes, stick houses, sticks for fences, sticks for every damned thing.

Nowadays we don't do shit with sticks. The club is a symbol of I dunno - baseball. Who gets things done with a stick nowadays?

Ace of Phones 001

Nowadays we have the phone. I'm not gonna say that the phone is the symbol of work. I mean, I use mine for that, almost entirely, but it is a symbol, and a token - a thing you probably have on you, that you use to Get Things Done. Make Things Happen. The wands are the fire-sign in the Tarot, the quick, the fast, the aggressive and the ready. Making things happen. That's what the phone is about.

Now let's be real - you call some people, you start a thing, you sell them on ideas, you get things done on the phone.

Ace of Phones 003

Or you know, the internet, the email whatever. But we're at a weird moment right? Where the phone isn't in the house on the wall, it's this object you carry with you that lets you get things accomplished. What can you do if you leave home without your phone? Can you find a restaurant? Can you find a coffee shop? Can you function? Can you do your job without a phone? Without... The Internet? The internet and phones are about to be the same thing. We're at a weird moment. That's what I'm saying.

So here is the phone - which subs for the Wands - because I don't know anybody that uses a stick to get shit done, but when it comes to getting shit done the tool most people seem to use is their phone.

Ain't got time to mess around? Do you have tasks? Missions? Goals?

Dude my phone wakes me up in the morning and it's the last thing I look at before I go to bed. I read the news, I read my email, I figure out what bus I'm gonna take - all with my phone. It's your possession that makes your life possible, it's your main tool - so here it is. The 21st century stick. The phone.

The Ace of Wands is supposed to represent the hermetic elements as well. Mountain, stream, the stick itself, the wand, is fire - you're supposed to see ACTION acting on the WORLD. Because the world is elements etc...

Ace of Phones 004

We've got those things here. The mountain, the stream - permanence and change- and they're broadcast through the sky by electric-space-fire. Motherfucker this is the PHONE it's about jumping up off your chair and taking action, getting SHIT DONE. Have a little FUCKING ENTHUSIASM.

Motherfucker this is the PHONE. Answer your PHONE!

You got to get some shit DONE

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Let me get this out of the way right now:

I could try and be clever and win people over with witty, contemporary music, but I'll level with you right here - if there was only one record ever and it was Burl Ives sings the Hobo Songbook - I'd be set, pretty much set.

Here's a picture:
Tarot 005

That's right, the 10 of cups, already! Already through the cups! Well kinda. I've got another plan for the Page, the Knight, the Queen and the King - that's later, maybe last. But Ace-10 is done, a whole journey.

I'll digest the journey in another post. I think that I'll probably compose a whole guide to the cards at some point, how to read them. What to infer, what to believe, how to divine the future! In the meantime, the 10 of Cups is pretty much the least ambiguous card of all the cards so far. There's not a lot of mystery here. It's Happiness. The good, the true and the purest kind.

Tarot 003

Now, when I started up on this guy I was all - "the Museum!" But I couldn't find a bit of inspiration there. Well, a bit, a lot, but I couldn't find any pictures of rainbows.

You know I can see why the Rainbow is this image of promise, of transcendence and whatnot in ancient cultures. The bridge between worlds, the leprechaun's road, god's promise of benign neglect. It's a pretty positive image, a pretty nice thing to see.

Tarot 001

There's even kinds of rainbows. In the winter, when it's very cold sometimes the moon will have a halo, a full moon. I've seen that before, a completely circular rainbow, all white though, and it's around the moon, like a ring, like The Eye of Outer Space.

That was a thing that blew my mind, pretty seriously, and you know what? I kind of paid attention and called it to other people's attention and after a few minutes I went home. Because there's nice things to see in the world, sure, but you're still getting on with your life. It's just nice when life has these things in it, a lot. So here's the 10 of Cups, all about that. Cigarette trees and lemonade springs and soda water fountains! It's the good life, the goodest life in fact.

Tarot 004
The purely correct manifestation of all one's wishes and hopes. This, so you know, is the card you want when you ask the cards to tell you something. You want the Best Of All Possible Worlds. That's the 10 of Cups, Dr. Pangloss pats you on the back and says, go ahead on to the Emerald City, the permanent springtime paradise.

Go on and get it.

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Tarot 027
I don't always quote Dickens, but when I do you can be sure I'm not going to be nearly as sentimental.

You know I come from a place where sentimentality is looked down upon as the fake emotion, maudlin as hell it's to feelings what porno is to sex. It's garish and weird and probably pretty compelling to about half the people out there. Which is to say, sure I've got a passing interest in sentimentality but I'm not all in for it, I don't carry on with nostalgia for things that don't have their own merits. I know a lot of people in my peer group are nostalgic for their childhoods and whatnot, they collect old toys - that kind of thing. I... hate that. Just me I guess, looking back, at the awful crap I got my parents to get me - a waste! But nostalgia and sentimentality, there can be good things too. There's art in everything after all, and some of it is pretty good.

So you know, I have nostalgia - usually for actually wonderful things that deserve to be looked back on happily. Now, when I think of the things that I'm really happy about, that I recall with some satisfaction and nostalgia - most of them are things that I caused to happen - in one way or another. The Best Day - our March Birthday Party - old Supperteam - sure, all good times! Inventions of MeMyselfandI. This guy, #9 of Cups, he's kind of about that. See the person sitting at the table? Places set with the golden cups. Sure that guy looks happy! He set it all up.

#9 of Cups is supposed to represent something like - having your cake and eating it. Something like, prospering from your works. A good theme on Labor Day no? You should own your own production right? Well here's what it looks like when you do. More or less.

Tarot 029
Somewhat by accident I painted a Lion-Man. I didn't set out to, but there it is. A lion-man. He's happy as hell, he's got it all set up, the party is getting ready to go. To me, you see - the image is of a person with their nine cups, their big success, having what they wanted - but you have all these cups? What to do with them? Well you throw a party is what you do. You invite everyone by!

Now - this is especially resonant today since I have eff-all to do on this, the Working-man's day. Recalling that this is an unfortunate side-effect of not making plans oneself I resolve to do better and throw more parties.

That's the plan right there - throw more parties - then I won't have to worry about what I'm doing on any given night, I'll be having people over! Of course!

I mentioned on #8 that I'd rage-quit a bad-ish situation and had come into something very closely resembling 'my own' after a few years out in the wilderness. So here's #9 - where the celebrant-king invites everyone over to share his bountiful good fortune.

That's the plan you fellows.
Tarot 031
Of course, probably less drinks and more food.
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Quitting! Haha, not at all or really. Summer vacation is over now, or would be if I were a member of a better civilization! I try to keep my private world in the shape I'd like to see the rest of the world, so I take long vacations in the summer because... Well because that's how it ought to be. Oh opinions! I got plenty of them! You know, it's a political season so I kind of quit the internet, this is the... what? 4th big election I've been all-in on the internet for? Also the ugliest and worst. If I thought of the internet as my neighborhood I'd say it's gone to hell. November will be come and gone soon enough and everyone can finally calm down and enjoy Obama's second term. Really it's the forgone conclusion of the whole farce, overdone preposterously for the ad dollars.


Politics right? I quit that nonsense! Sickened of it! I invite you to recall that every opinion or 'news' story that you've seen in the last year is not much more than an advertisement. Sure it seems like these TV personae really care about the nonsense they say, but can you imagine filling 4 hours of airtime everyday and trying to come up with something entertaining about politics to say? Of course they say nonsense, terrible nonsense - but I guess not everyone sees it for the beer and investment banking ad that it is. Also boner pills. Nice.

Anyhow! I quit following politics and am eager for the news to resume, to occupy that little area of broadcasting in between sports and weather, the behemoths of informational programming


DSC04551But that's just one of the many examples of the stupid nuisances that you might choose to abruptly quit. You might quit a person, a job, a game - something, anything. "I quit this motherfucker!" Shouts the crazy grump-man in his table-flipping rage. I like a good table-flipping rage. It comes up from time to time and I tell you one thing - I won't quit being enthusiastic about authentic anger-interactions. When that shit happens it's pretty nuts, to see someone really flip the table.

Rider-Waite just has a man leaving the cups behind, but I didn't care for that. While the 7 of cups represents the idle want for worldly dross, the 8 of Cups tends to suggest getting over that wanting. If we extend the idea of the minor arcana being a journey through an emotional or spiritual process - then the 8 of cups is a kind of waking, a rejection of the idle dream and the long awaited fulfillment of worthless promises.

One of the fun things about my way of working through the divinations is that there are sometimes synchronicities - the 32nd Hexagram that I've included here is Heng - Duration. Perseverance furthers. It furthers someone to have a place to go. I really do love that- you can put up with a lot, maybe everything, if you feel it's getting you somewhere. When it seems like you're being misled or getting nowhere but have endured all the same - that's when you flip the table. When you're losing the game after putting too much effort into it. When you notice that you've paid a dumb amount of attention to something you can't change anyway.

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Comics 004
So #15 is traditionally - THE DEVIL! Maybe you're spooked of the Devil? Maybe not, I bet you can tell what kind of a person you are if you are or aren't. That's my opinion. Well, that's an aspect of my opinion, there's actually rather a lot to it. Why not explore? Yes lets!

So in some ancient forms the Devil is representative of temptation, think of Christ being tempted in the wilderness for example - the Devil appears and tries to get Christ to act all wrong and then Christ resists. The Devil also appears and tempts Job - "Curse God and Die!" The Devil tempts. Kind of a weird thing to tempt a person to - hopelessness? I can see that, hopelessness is a real vice.

Over time this figure changes into a manichean opposite of god, goes from the Adversary meant to tempt creation into an enemy, possibly even on equal footing, the Devil, to be opposed, thwarted, tossed in the lake of fire. Now this is probably the more familiar of the Devils you've heard of and the Tarot kind of works from that, and it kind of mentions the older meaning too. The Devil represents Vice and the temptation to vice. And this... This is representative of a worldview that may prevail, but I'd say not by many. The idea here is that there is a force that tempts you to the wicked actions - this force is purely malevolent and wants to doom you. Now - I don't buy that. That there is a dark force that turns your hand and heart to wickedness - well I don't deny that. But we're talking about dualism and soul/mind/body divisions - I'm not exactly going that way. It's not a dark spiritual force that tempts you to wickedness - is what I am saying.

Rather, the Devil represents the dooming component of human existence - which is our frailty. Our physical frailty specifically. The Devil represents a kind of arrogance, in my mind, that there is a special force that rules over evil and compels you to evil action. Vice is maybe its own temptation, but I theorize something else.

For example. I see the people driving their $100,000 cars in my neighborhood and you know, I daydream about robbing them, I totally do. Because I want money. Which is gross! But here's the thing - the wolf is at the door, the menace is in the world, there are menacing forces that would drive me to do such things. Or maybe you've grown too attached to someone, you'd rather they were dead than without you, or you're menaced by another who looks to outcompete you, or you've got a vague anxiety that the person you are with is going to be the last person to love you, the last person to touch you. You can have these fears and they'll tempt, tempt or drive you to vice. I don't suggest that people have any innate wickedness but that their fragility predisposes them to it. Not a fall of man - but the story of the fall of man kind of sums this up. The immortal and invincible person is of course the good guy - there is no danger that he faces.

Comics 003
This of course doesn't allow for mad-dog killers and the sort. Serial murderers and ladies that execute their babies in bathtubs. Genuinely I don't think those people are wicked, I think they are probably very crazy and that is sad.

So the Wolves. The wolf is kind of the same as the person - pack hunters, tribal and so forth. We're similar in our ecological neighborhood. But the wolf, you know, they have a few million years of adaptive advantage over us, they're more capable, dangerous - they're more effective and less fragile. They're a paradigm of human fear, a good marker of human frailty. The wolves at the door, the danger that waits lurking. Man is a wolf to other men - the big bad wolf- it comes up and hasn't faded imagery wise.

The wolf means another thing too though.
Comics 005
The beneficence of human genius. Cause the dog is a wolf and it's our best friend. Not mine you understand, but I get it - a dog, you can get somewhere with a dog, it is the primordial danger and fear turned on its head, made a tool. A useful tool to turn against our other predators, other people included. It's a sign that this fragility, while it tempts us to dark deeds - is also a tendency that can be mastered. The frailty endemic to the human condition, that creates the human condition, it can be snatched away and have its nature changed. Because we're better than the world, we can solve the puzzle of biology and darkness and primordial fear.

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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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In the end I think I'm better at painting that photography, or maybe my camera is poor, or maybe my lighting is crummy, anyway, this one is (and take my word for it) nicer than it looks. But it's also pretty complicated and hard to explain. It was hard to think about too.

Here's the image I was going off of. You notice that it's #11 in the Waite deck - but that's to do with Astrology and I honestly haven't included any astrological themes so far, I don't know if I will. Astrology is cool and all, I won't speak against it exactly - but this is my deck and it's all about the Wasteland and my experience and I don't see a lot of stars in my city. When I do - I don't recognize them, so Astrology is out. But Justice is often enough and traditionally the 8th card. So I started thinking about Justice.

This wasn't awesome for me - it turns out that I don't really value justice as a virtue. True fact, I think of Justice as being fairly regressive as a quality - right up there with Honor. It is altogether worse to have Justice than it is to have something else, that Justice, conceptually, negates. This was just a feeling I had, a sense, but I wanted to understand it so I did a little studying. What is Justice? I looked into it and thought about it a lot. In the end I concluded that Justice is a concept in the West that is based on principles of Natural Law - which I do not condone. Life-Liberty-Property - okay? Sure you have these rights? Except that no. No, that's a purely western and I think, reckless construction. Now in that state where you have those natural rights, then Justice is a significant concept because you're constantly going to be in conflict with other people. Your liberties and properties, maybe even your life is always getting on the toes of everyone else's life liberty and property. So you have to have a system of justice to figure things out within the paradigm. You with me so far? So I thought and thought about what that all means - and I couldn't get anywhere. Locke is, fine I guess, Tabula Rasa.... hey man, if you say so. But people who know me know I tend to hold with Hobbes, a little more. And after looking into Utilitarianism etc... I found that I liked Hobbes a little better in terms of his ideas about Justice.

So this image was very informative for me. The Leviathan, the state, the power of the overwhelming giant-king. See? I put it in there too. Giant menacing kings.

At this point though - the symbolism kind of spoke to me. The sword- my sword is the Sharpie Pen - the pen being the sign of political stakeholders (i.e.: Legislators) and intellectualism (i.e.: Me and you). So a pen, he's got that big pen? Sure, I get it. And the little village, heck I like that little village, that speaks to me.

But what's my idea here? What's my thought? What is the concept I'm trying to convey that will eventually have a mythic and mystic connotation when removed from this (overwrought) context?

So I consult the I-Ching, and it's showing me Hexagram #8 - Holding Together - Union So I had it. The union of people. From there some of the imagery came. Now - I'm kind of happy that I paint these things without a plan or special insight, and maybe I'm doing a lot of after-the fact rationalizing. but look.
Here's the little village in the valley with the wall of bricks in a ring. The Bricks. Unity - apart, alone? What's a brick? Together they make the strong wall that holds the predatory giant king at bay. More than that they're a ring, it's a ring - the union of lovers, the sanctioned, unbreakable union. Together - together and united the little village in the valley is not menaced by the king, he may prey upon them, but together they resist his overwhelming strength, force him to reconcile, to wait. His pen, the law, his official strength, it looms over the village but the walls are strong. The roads - the roads join together, all unity of the hill. There are the terraced little farms on the hillsides
015 in the image of hexagram #8 - they're common, together, the road leads to the safety of the village where they are joined together into the one road.

But what about this guy?
This shirtless little weirdo? Well, this came about. Honestly this was a hard painting to paint. I had ideas, but couldn't make them come together, I actually erased and repainted it a few times. But I kept having this other hill. And I thought - it's got to mean something, and the menacing king. Look - Justice, conceptually - is delivered by an overwhelming power - in our society justice is handed down from the court, it is decided by the bureaucracy. There is an element of inequality inherent in systems of justice - of all vs. all within the concept of Natural Law. So this shirtless little madman represents that - the idea of the individual claiming his rights, challenging the power of the king. He stands atop the other peak and is not effectual, not against the power of the giants. He carries his own pen, trying to go to the battle, thinking that it is a swordfight. See, he's undone already, he has contended according to a lopsided system that automatically doesn't favor him. He is aggrieved and considers Justice to be something he deserves, but that he must fight for. Because Justice has within it that quality of inequity. So there is the little village, that is untroubled by the predation of the great, because in communion the many have the power to resist. So... Commonwealth.

I suppose I should note that these cards, these ideas flow out of one another, into one another - there's an organism being made. $6 Satisfaction leads to a journey - the journey requires the #7 Infrastructure, which suggests the unity of action, but is also a destination for the querent - #8 the Commonwealth.


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