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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Lent / Tarot / The Tower

Every tarot fan has her story that she can tell you.

Here's mine.

While reading, please listen to this. The music you will hear at that link is entitled "Dies Irae." That's a Latin phrase for "Day of Wrath." Whose wrath? God's wrath. Really, you do not want to make God angry.

I had had three eyebrow-raising encounters with tarot decades ago, but I did not pursue them. There was enough eyebrow-raising material in my life. I didn't need to chase more.

But then there was the moment, the thunderclap.

You know a moment is a thunderclap when you remember it in vivid detail, even if you don't have much of a memory.

I was in Sharon Pugh's home in Bloomington, Indiana. The school year had not yet begun. I was browsing her bookcase because that's what I do in other people's homes. I came upon a tarot deck. I don't think I had ever handled a tarot deck before that – others had done readings for me. I asked the cards what my experience of graduate school at Indiana would be like. I drew The Tower. And I just knew.

My essay "A Small Miracle" which you can read here tells the story of what happened to me at IU. What happened?

Look at the image on The Tower. We associate towers with royalty and security from danger. In this image, lightning has struck. The humans are disgorged, violently and suddenly, from the tower. They are upside down.

The Tower, for my money, is one of the worst two cards in the deck. If I draw the other card during the remaining twelve days of Lent, I'll tell you what I think the other worst card is.

Tower experiences pop up in the lives of the saints, and also in the lives of shamans. You are hit by a train, abandoned by your friends, left lying in the lurch, and suddenly you gain awareness.

If you are reading a saint's biography, The Tower narrative has a happy ending.

Me? No happy ending. Which is one of the reasons why, I think, God through Binoculars has been so hard to publish. They like the pages leading up to the ending, but they don't like the ending, because God never swept down and kissed my booboos and, as in the case of Job, gave me back everything he took from me, and then some.

I think my ending is more realistic than the ending to the book of Job. Unless, of course, you remember how that book ended for Job's kids. Yes, yes, Job was issued new children. But the original set all died. The End.

Just like the end of this blog post, where I refuse to come up with a happy ending for someone who has been subjected to a Tower experience. In a sense, that refusal is my happy ending – I respect what you went through, and I refuse to attempt to Disneyfy it or put a smiley face on it. Some aspects of God remain inscrutable, and one job – no pun intended – we have as ethical beings is to respect each other's devastation, when it occurs. 

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