March tarot reading
Everything gets weird, and fast; Temperance offers a way through, with, into times of upheaval and change.
Welcome to the Saturday newsletter for paid subscribers, which offers literary and esoteric guidance for the week ahead. I’m taking next week off to focus on grading midterm essays. You can expect the next essay for free subscribers to appear on Wednesday, March 15. Thanks for being here!
In truth, I was a little surprised by the drawing for March.
With two outer planets changing signs this month, I expected the tarot to reflect the movements of Saturn and Pluto (and Mars), perhaps with cards that linked up to these planets, perhaps with cards that emphasized their new zodiacal homes of Pisces, Aquarius, and Cancer, respectively. Perhaps the Tower, I thought, for the breakthroughs and breakdowns associated with a debilitated Mars in the domicile of the Moon. Or The Eight of Cups, the swamp-lit land of Pisces I that Saturn will trek across for the entirety of 2023. Maybe the Five of Swords, for Pluto’s risky new abode in first decan of Aquarius, or Judgment, Pluto’s calling card of death and transformation in the modern psychological system of tarot.
None of these showed up.
Instead, the reversed Queen of Pentacles and Temperance appeared atop the floral ottoman I’ve used as my reading table for years now. I stared at the upside-down Queen as she faced Temperance’s oasis, appearing to offer the angel her coin. But the angel seemed preoccupied, too concerned with its goblet-filled hands, the double-flowing water to pay the Queen any mind. I felt preoccupied, too. I’d lit candles, cleaned my altar for help with reading. Frankincense burned. But the symbols seemed mixed up. Meaning wouldn’t fall. The Queen’s coin mirrored the angel’s sun, I noticed. I felt a kind of dread. I didn’t want to write to you about transaction or transformation. I didn’t want to write to you about the stagnancy of reversal. I cringe at the word “alchemy,” so often used as a synonym for Temperance.
In truth, I had my own agenda: to write of big changes, the beginning of major upheaval, what every other astrologer is writing and talking about these days. Saturn hasn’t been in Pisces since 1996. Pluto last dragged itself through Aquarius in the final decades of the 1700s. Until this month, Mars had stalled out, pregnant with Geminian chaos since last August. Nothing will remain the same, nothing ever does; I wanted to speak of power and domination in the age of air for Pluto in Aquarius; fungal death for Saturn in Pisces; Icarus drowning for Mars in Cancer; where these themes tracked through our charts, our collective human life.
But the cards were speaking a different language.
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