Monday, April 15, 2013

Questions for my spread

Using Scott's Tarot deck, a Waite/Classic deck, I did a ten-card spread with the following questions.  

Significator: Birthday - May 18, 1982.  5 + 18 + 1982 = 2005 = 7

The Chariot: sometimes called Victory.  Signifies the person who has successfully traveled through the challenges of the previous cards (The Magician, The High Priestess, The Empress, The Emperor, Hierophant, and The Lovers).  The charioteer has not really resolved all the troublesome issues with problems and contradictions in life.  The Charioteer represents will, which focuses energy to a purpose and unites the qualities and lessons of the previous cards.

Main question to start the spread: How should I relate to you, Cabot-Koppers Superfund?

1. What does it mean to be part of the Gainesville community? 

Drawn: Ten of Swords. Position within the spread: immediate present.

Classic reading: The Ten of Swords is the most fearsome card because it carries the Swords theme of conflict and mental difficulties. Yet, using Scott's Waite/Classic deck, the image has calm water and light below the black clouds, meaning things are not as bad as they seem.

Updated reading: Although major conflicts exist, more often than not there are smooth ways to deal with them. The solutions to the conflicts are not as overwhelming as one may think.  Staying calm and consistent will be fruitful in moving toward an effective solution. Because Gainesville is a semi-transit town (nearly half of its “residents” are college students who are only here for four years and then move elsewhere to start their careers), most, if confronted with the Cabot-Koppers Superfund issue, would be conflicted on how to approach such a disaster: they don’t have any real investment in the town; yet, possibly their conscience would move them to be involved.  In other words, this card signifies the conflict that people might have while living temporally in a place and knowing a major environmental and social issue will affect many people and the environment. Being part of the Gainesville community during this moment means having to deal with the conflict of consumption for satisfaction of desire and the ramifications that consumption has.

Archived image: Cabot-Koppers “You are here” map

2. What special message does Cabot-Koppers bring me?

Drawn: The Lovers. Trump card. Position within the spread: immediate challenge

Classic reading: Many see the Lovers card as a choice between different paths in life.  The three Waite/Classic figures (the man, the woman, and the angel) show aspects of the self, so that the card does not always mean an intimate relationship.  The man symbolizes conscious awareness, the woman the emotions and unconscious energy.  The angel signifies that higher consciousness that we seek as we move through the trumps.  We need knowledge and reason but they can take us only so far.

Updated reading: Prudence. Before making decisions consider all the angles and consequences of the options.  In other words, think critically about your choices. Then, make a decision. The Lovers functions as an immediate challenge to what we can understand about the Cabot-Koppers site.  We have a (major) choice to make with Cabot-Koppers Superfund: continue to argue who is responsible for the accident or all take responsibility for the accident and invest the resources to resolve the intoxication before the problem gets to be much worse.  We can’t only rationalize who is responsible, but must identify our own desires that have far-reaching implications (exemplified in Cabot-Koppers as a product of our desires).

Archived image: Aerial view of checkered table with coffee and cigarettes

3. What does Cabot-Koppers teach me?

Drawn: Ace of Pentacles. Court card

Classic reading: The gift of reality.  The magic of nature.  Often, this card is the most favorable of all cards

Updated reading: The Ace of Pentacles shows us that reality at times simply is. Although most of reality is socially constructed, reality also is what it is, regardless of humans’ activity to manipulate, create, and shape it.  Humans are not powerfully enough to control nature; rather, nature has its own agency, often times much more overpowering than any individual or collective human efforts to master it (epistemologically or ontologically). Humans experience their limit.

Archived image: New Orleans living room after Hurricane Katrina OR Miss Bessie

4. Where does Cabot-Koppers come from?

Drawn: Wheel of Fortune. Trump card 

Classic reading: The cycles of nature, especially the way the Sun fades and returns, and the way plants die and come back to life, all imply the idea of continual rebirth.  Traditions that teach of reincarnation often describe the soul as moving from life to life on a turning wheel.  Sometimes we rise up, sometimes down, according to laws we do not fully understand. Our lives sometimes depend on events we cannot control.  The Tarot itself is a game, sometimes played for money.  As in readings, the game works because we cannot control where the cards will fall.  The Wheel of Fortune card signifies our lack of control over the outer circumstances of our lives.

Updated reading: In following the Ace of Pentacles for this spread, the Wheel of Fortune underscores the limitations humans have in understanding the consequences of their activities.  Yes, many (potential) ramifications can be identified, and humans can try to take the necessary steps to prevent such disasters, but to be human means to have a feeling of limit, that limit being knowledge of consequences.  Both individually and collectively, we cannot totally control destinies. Cabot-Koppers emerges from past and present consumptions that both each person and other people had/have.

Archived image: Iggy Pop and Tom Waits sitting at a coffee table

5. How does Cabot-Koppers work?

Drawn: The Fool.  Trump card. Position within the spread: immediate future

Classic reading: The Fool gives the Tarot life.  Without him, the cards in the Tarot deck would become stiff figures in formal poses.  The Fool leads us to take risks, do something impulsive, wild.

Updated reading: The Fool is the flow in life, the force that runs through life, the dynamics within this ecology.  Without such flow, life becomes stagnant and nonexistent. 

Archived image: Jack and Meg White looking at Tesla Coil.

6. What is the everyday beauty of Cabot-Koppers?

Drawn: Queen of Pentacles. Court card

Classic reading: This is a lush card.  The Queen of Earth is a Queen of prosperity and fertility.  The Voyager Woman of Worlds is pregnant, while the Waite sits in an abundant garden.  She holds her pentacle in both hands and looks down with an awareness of all the good things life has given her.  Her physical surroundings matter greatly to her, whether in nature or a beautiful home.  She believes in herself and shares her wealth and happiness freely.

Updated reading: As destructive and bleak life can be, life also offers beautiful moments (sometimes found in those dark times), which often emerge in the mundane activities.  Furthermore, those dark experiences can facilitate opportunities for novel ways of rethinking decisions, experiences, relationships, and life.

Archived image: Miss Bessie

7.  How should we approach/address Cabot-Koppers Superfund site?

Drawn: Strength. Trump card

Classic reading: Strength acts as a counter to the Chariot. When the Fool gives up control, she can discover her inner Strength. The Fool needs Strength to give up the Chariot's outer success and turn inward toward self-discovery and surrender. In a crisis reading, Strength assures the person that she can do what needs to be done.

Updated reading: While others help one to achieve goals, one needs to both explore and identify the agency within oneself and acknowledge and accept the limitation of that agency.  Success isn’t defined by what material possessions one owns, rather how not only one develops the strength to see oneself succeed, but more importantly how one shows others’ their own agency.

Archived image: RZA, GZA, and Bill Murray in coffee shop

8. What does the Gaineville community need to know about Cabot-Koppers?

Drawn: Two of Swords

Classic reading: With Swords, communication raises the idea of conflict. A further theme of Two is balance, and here the person seeks balance by avoiding communication. The Waite woman has tied a blindfold over her eyes so she will not have to look at anyone. She holds the Swords at her shoulders as if to strike anyone who tries to approach her.

Updated reading: Conflict will emerge as communication channels open. Some will not want to remove the blindfold and simply feel attacked.  This is how Cabot-Koppers has been handled, and that avoidance or blindness will increase with the current communication habits.  Different approaches need to emerge though if the Gainesville community is to understand what needs to be done with the Superfund site.

Archived image: Passengers finding their seats on an airplane

9. What should I do with my Einstellung?

Drawn: Kings of Swords. Court card.

Classic reading: One of the most powerful of the court cards, kingly authority matches the Swords themes of intellect, judgment, and force. The card signifies someone strong-minded, even brilliant. He may overwhelm people who do not think as clearly and brilliantly as he does. At his best he is idealistic and fair. He may, however, see things from a narrow rationalist perspective, with little respect for emotions.

Updated reading: Continue with your attitude toward the betterment of others, opening spaces for them to articulate their stories and to empower themselves. While many may view disenfranchised others without enough credit for critical thinking, be more optimistic about their potential.  Use your attitude to see the beauty in the overseen dimensions of everyday life and point out these to those who refuse to see.

Archived image: 9th Ward New Orleans folks on front porch

10. What should I do?

Drawn: Nine of Pentacles. Position within the spread: Final Outcome

A simpler and happier card. Prompt fulfillment of what is presaged by neighboring cards.  In the Waite/Classic deck, we see a woman in a fruitful garden.  The garden is hers, and she has grown it through hard work.  The hooded falcon symbolizes the discipline that has allowed her to create a good life for herself.  This is a card of property and satisfaction.  And yet, she is alone.  She may have sacrificed relationships, or pleasure, in order to work in her "garden."

Updated reading: Continue to work hard toward the well-being of individuals and community.  This means using various methodologies and methods to express what it means to be part of the macrocosm.  Also stress that one’s well-being often means sacrifice, but in the long run and within the larger context, that sacrifice creates a greater sense of existence and meaning.  Cabot-Koppers Superfund will be resolved with diligent work in connecting people with each other and with themselves.

Archived image: Swing set in Arequipa

Saturday, April 13, 2013

earth as a conductor of acoustical resonance

The Fool

“Nikola Tesla perceived the earth as a conductor of acoustical resonance.” 

Thursday, April 4, 2013


Rachel Pollack's Tarot presentation notes

Our seminar is currently addressing Rachel Pollack's Guide to Tarot, a basic understanding of the history, the complexities and evolution of the art/game of Tarot.  As Pollack remarks, “Tarot works with the symbols which describe deeper truths that give meaning to our lives” (8).  To understand the Tarot symbolism, as well as the images and imagery, allows us to "continue to draw us ever deeper into fresh discoveries and wonders because the individual pictures form the surface of a living world.  This is the world of structure and symbolism, a world where ideas and images move in and out of each other, giving birth to deeper awareness" (41).  

The cards each have, arguably, "universal" meanings. For example, the Wheel of Fortune card: "represents outward shift, the way life reaches a high point and then begins to move downward"; the Hanged Man card: "symbolizes the internal change as the person reverses consciousness from outward conquest to inward acceptance"; the World card enables us to understand fully our connection to all existence” (93).

Now, each card, as Pollack continues, has a special character, but they all form a story, the journey of an innocent called the Fool (42). My bandmate Dhana talks more about the Fool here.

The symbolic structures "inspire us to marvel at the hidden beauties of the world. Tarot reading of the structures: make a meaningful statement about our lives" (41).  These hidden beauties connect to Robert Smithson’s "blind spots." As Ann Reynolds remarks, “Enantiomorphic construction literally, and by extension, metaphorically, allows Smithson to reveal the blind spots or enantiomorphic situations embedded within a number of historically contemporary models of perception.  These models are usually binary in structure, but their oppositional terms are really just mirror images of one another―enantiomorphs―with a shared blind spot, a set of hidden assumptions” (xvii). Tarot and Smithson's hidden beauties/blind spots can be identified with Wim Wenders articulation of Einstellung, which, as we (have) use(ed), enables us to capture moments and/or images that communicate new insights and different gazes. In addition, because Tarot cards function in their relationship to each other, Tarot readings resemble an approach Smithson used with post cards (and something I tried to do with my blog posts from five days ago). Smithson sends “a sequence of postcards spaced out over the course of months. Each card contained an isolated phrase, word, or image that made little sense on its own. But when the cards are arranged according to the order in which they were received, the sequence produces a complete sentence or coherent message” (163). Both Tarot and Smithson are interested in the combination of images (the collection of signifiers) that articulate meanings, which will aid in better understanding and, particularly for our purposes, decision making.

Symbols tap into our uncanny, which plays an important role in Tarot, as well as in our blog and heuretics. Furthermore, archetypes also connect to our uncanny. By identifying archetypes and our uncanny attraction(-repulsion), we might be able to develop flash reason and/or a universal. Thus, although reading is subjective, and culturally specific, we all might arrive at the same patterns, which could foster prudence on behalf of well-being.

An interesting note I want to point out is the numbering system in Tarot as it relates to what Ulmer suggested for a spread. Ulmer recommended that we do a five-card spread. Numbering systems, as Pollack mentions, are based on reality. Number system based on 10: first five suggest aspects of the body and the world around us (49).  One head, two arms, two legs (five points).  “The five-pointed star links the human body to the heavens [what I would say is the macrocosm]” (49).  Also, “Five introduces time, with all its limitations, including sickness and death.  We might say that, as the symbol of the body, Five brings us into physical reality, and so opens us to all the problems life can bring us” (50). Thus, is there a connection between the reading we're supposed to do and the sensory experience/embodiment we acknowledge and articulate?

Ultimately, we should first be looking for patterns in our blogs. Also, we should consider the relationship of our blog images to each other. As Pollack notes, “Tarot card readings show patterns and likelihoods. . . . The modern Tarot revival has always sought to empower people, to give them the tools to change themselves and their lives” (130). Here is where we see how Tarot and konsulting connect: putting people back in/with agency. Tarot/Konsult rejuvenates agency (eradicates the loss of agency).

And so a possible instruction from Pollack's Guide to Tarot: Identify patterns (maybe 2 or 3) in your blog.  As you do so, consider if there’s an uncanny attraction-repulsion and/or that connects to Cabot-Koppers Superfund site. This pattern(s) may be a way to select images for your prezi.

[included below are notes from yesterday's seminar meeting]

For our Tarot reading, we should ask similar questions from pages 174-175 in Guide to Tarot. I originally had the following five questions:

1. What does Part 1 of my blog mean? (Reflection/microcosm)
2. What does it mean for me to be part of the Gainesville community? (micro-marcocosm connection)
3. How should we approach/address Cabot-Koppers Superfund site? (Invention)
4. What might Part 2 of my blog reveal? (Direction)
5. What should I do with my Einstellung? (Invention)

Thus, a possible instruction: Do a Tarot reading with one or several of these questions. Write down or identify an immediate thought about each card.  (Like Derrida’s haecceity, during the chaos, something pops out and we immediately identify it. We are trying to see what the cards say to/about our uncanny. The uncanny taps into archetypes, which will be the Target in our CATTt.).

For example, I asked “what does Part 1 of my blog mean?” here.
- Current Influences/Significator: Death card: “Transformation, great, and perhaps terrible, is near at hand. You will find ideas and relationships you have long depended on challenged.” In other words, I read this card as how my recent reconsiderations about activism have manifested. What does it mean to be an activist? What are the ways to be an activist? What is activism? My previous thoughts about activism have been challenged by this seminar, which has opened possibilities for thinking about how people engage with community, with social and political issues, with digital technology, and with making decisions.  Furthermore, this card speaks to my allegory of prudence: why I came to graduate school and what I want(ed) to do. A decision is going to be made, in fact, in the next 24 hours about where I will go for a PhD program....and MSU has more connections to community literacy studies and cultural rhetorics.

And so we are left with an important question for our class:  How do we update the Tarot content (similar to how the Tarot has been updated for centuries)? Where/How does electracy play in Tarot?

Pollack, Rachel. Guide to Tarot. New York: Gramercy Books, 1999. Print.

Reynolds, Ann. Robert Smithson: Learning from New Jersey and Elsewhere. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2003. Print. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Tarot reading online - What does Part 1 of my blog mean?

Tarot reading from taken on April 2, 2013. 

Question asked: What does Part 1 of my blog mean?

Here is your Tarot reading

  • End
  • New beginning
  • Loss
  • Dramatic change
  • Destruction

Current Influences

Your present position. This card reveals influences, and shows the general direction of the reading.
Death is indicative of change in your future. This change can be in almost any aspect of your life, but it will almost certainly be permanent, significant, and absolute. Death suggests a complete severance between the past and the future, and it will likely be painful. Despite the sense of loss that may accompany it, Death fills an important and natural role in life, and leads eventually to acceptance. It is a necessary part of moving forward, and you will find the changes easiest if you embrace them, rather than fight them. Expect the end of a close friendship, a job, a marriage, or even a life, but do not focus too greatly on the negative.
In this position, the card reveals:
Transformation, great, and perhaps terrible, is near at hand. You will find ideas and relationships you have long depended on challenged.


Immediate Influences. This card reveals the nature of the obstacles immediately before you.
The single resounding theme associated with the II of Cups is partnership. What sort of partnership is less clear, but you are in the past, present, or future, part of a powerful one. This partnership will involve absolute trust and commanding respect. It may, of course, be a particularly emotional love affair, but it could just as easily be a deep and abiding friendship. The exact nature may be revealed by the rest of the spread, or it may not. It will be a source of happiness for you, though, a presence in your life you can count on at every turn, and whose well-being will be as important to you as your own.
In this position, the card reveals:
You will enter a loving union or close partnership.
Two of Cups
  • Commitment
  • Friendship
  • Love
  • Partnership
  • Relationship
The Chariot
  • Journey
  • Progression
  • Strong character
  • Success from effort
  • Transportation and movement

Past Foundations

Recent influences or events in the past from which your current situation has arisen.
You have some hard work ahead of you. It may be resolved quickly, but the Chariot is a powerful card, and the labor you are undertaking will probably trend towards long and difficult. You will quite possibly experience rough roads, long uphill slopes, dead ends, and painful setbacks. A good outcome is only assured if the card is upright, but do not let yourself lose hope: This hard road will instil in you a strength of purpose, the ability to overcome through organization and endurance, and the confidence possessed only by those who have done what they thought they could not. Harnessed correctly, few forces can stand against an individual like that.
In this position, the card reveals:
Your tendency to protect your own interests and psyche has tested your character, and strengthened it, making victory possible.

Past Events

Reveals a recent influence or event which is coming to an end.
The World is an indicator of a major and inexorable change, of tectonic breadth. This change represents a chance for you to bring about a desirable end to the Old and a good beginning to the New. It is indicative of growing maturity, a sense of inner balance and deeper understanding. It suggests that you may be approaching a more final sense of identity, and the security in the self that comes with age. It also represents the falling away of boundaries, sometimes in the effusive sense of the spiritual, but sometimes in a purely physical sense, indicating travels or journeys in the future.
In this position, the card reveals:
You may still be coming to the realization, but you are in a good position to accept new responsibilities into your life, thanks to recently gained freedoms.
The World
  • Certainty
  • Completion
  • Positive
  • Reward
  • Satisfaction
Seven of Cups
  • Confusion
  • Dreams and ambitions
  • Speculating
  • Decision
  • Temptation

Goals and Destiny

Shows your desired goals and aims, and reveals the best outcome that can be achieved in your current situation.
This card speaks strongly to your inner self. It is trying to tell you something about your unconscious or the realms of your imagination. Your hopes, dreams, and unrealized aspirations are all fair game to the VII of Cups. It speaks of a deep confusion, or a lack of understanding of your true motivations by your conscious mind. It is time to look carefully at your own motivations and reexamine your goals, but it is also a risky time to act upon your conclusions.
In this position, the card reveals:
You have a chance for two successes. The first will come for certain, but if you rest on your laurels you will lose a chance for a second, greater, success.

Future Influences

Reveals a new influence that will soon be brought to bear in your life.
The Ace of Cups signifies the beginning of period of strong emotional health for you. Expect copious joy, happiness, and love to surround you during this time. Existing personal relationships may strengthen, meaningful new ones are likely to form. If marriage is in your future, you are likely to lay the foundations for it during this time.
In this position, the card reveals:
An emotionally difficult event will nonetheless come to good end.
Ace of Cups
  • Abundance
  • Creativity
  • Intense relationship
  • Satisfaction
  • Success
The Emperor
  • Authority
  • Father figure
  • Masculine influence
  • Rational
  • Stable

The Querant (you)

This card reveals your negative feelings, and provides additional information about how you feel in your present environment.
Counterpart to the Empress, the Emperor is signifies a powerful influence, generally male in nature. This can also include concepts in your life historically considered masculine, such as leadership and authority, self-discipline, and stability through the power of action. Its positive influences suggest you may be on a path to advancement or promotion, but it can also be neutral. Often a companion to those destined to take on greater responsibility, it may presage change or loss that necessitates you stepping forward to shoulder a greater burden than you have in the past. Whatever the impetus for the change, it indicates you may possess an uncommon inner strength that will compel you act and to lead.
In this position, the card reveals:
Maintain a sense of adventure; there may be discomfort or hardship around you, but courage and kindness will see you through.

Friends and Family

This card shows your influence on the people around you, and their influence on you. It also shows how they fit into your home, work, and surroundings.
You almost certainly have great reserves of courage, and the perseverance to see yourself through difficult times. You may not be aware you possess these qualities, but you will find yourself needing them soon. Expect conflicts, possibly small, but more likely significant. It is not certain where they will arise, but there is no doubt you possess the ability to overcome your adversaries.
In this position, the card reveals:
You will receive support for new work or a major change in your life exactly when it is most needed.
Seven of Wands
  • Coping and Resistance
  • Courage
  • Long-term successes
  • Perseverance
  • Strength
Three of Wands
  • Achievement
  • Fresh starts
  • Long-term success
  • Partnerships
  • Trade

Hopes, Fears, and Ideals

Your inner emotions.
If you can bring the fullness of your creativity and inventiveness to the table, then the III of Wands brings good news. You are about to enter a time where your potential for productivity and accomplishment is very favourable. Keep your eyes open for new career opportunities and your mind open to new possibilities. The rewards these new opportunities bring, however, will only come in the fullness of time. You will need to be patient and stick around for the long haul. Also, look for new allies, as any new undertakings will be most successful if undertaken as partnerships.
In this position, the card reveals:
Your plans will only bring reward if they are put into action.

The Final Outcome

This card reveals the final outcome to your question. It's the product of all the other influences shown in this spread.
The II is, as always, bound up in the forces of change, and of balance. Like its brothers, the II of Pentacles can mean good or ill, but it as a strong indicator that the status quo will be disrupted. There will be challenges in your future, but your fate is largely in your own hands in the sense that the final outcome depends own how you respond to these challenges. The suit of this card suggests your best outcome is one that can be reached through prudence and careful planning.
In this position, the card reveals:
Recent changes on your part, and similar changes in your future, will bring you joy.
Two of Pentacles
  • Balance
  • Fluctuating Wealth
  • Juggling
  • Prudence
  • Transfer or Exchange