I recently came across Tarotist Craig Conley’s latest project – the “Punctuation Tarot”. It is stunning and quite unique! I asked Craig if he would like to do a guest blog, and he kindly agreed! Enjoy!
On May 31, Bonnie presented a short spread from the “Shadowscapes Tarot” (Stephanie Pui-Mun Law, Barbara Moore). From the companion book she used a spread called Message From the Universe. It’s a four card spread with the positions defined as: (1) Body, (2) Heart, (3) Mind, and (4) Spirit.
The cards Bonnie drew were:
1. Body – The Empress
2. Heart – The High Priestess
3. Mind – Death
4. Spirit – The Sun
Let’s have some fun and see if Bonnie’s reading might have been different had she used the Punctuated Tarot <www.mysteryarts.com/punctuated/tarot/>.
The Empress’ punctuation is the prime symbol of mathematics, representing the “derivative function.” In the context of the Body, what is derived or obtained could be likened to the fruits of one’s physical labors. This symbol also speaks of the rate of change of a function (perhaps the aging process, given this context). The Empress card proclaims that issues of the body are of prime or first importance and are worthy of honor.
The High Priestess appears in the position of the Heart. Her punctuation is the question mark—a riddle. Given her place in the Heart position, the High Priestess guides the Seeker to protect her loving emotions with a veil of mystique. The High Priestess suggests that some puzzles, such as the meaning of love, are best left unsolved.
Death appears in the position of the Mind. This position relates to how the Seeker thinks about and sees the world, and the way that she approaches problems. Death’s punctuation is the ellipsis, indicating a suspension point or a trailing off. The Seeker is cautioned to let go of antiquated mental constructs, to allow them to dissolve, to trail off into silence.
Note that when an ellipsis occurs at the end of a sentence, it can suggest a feeling of melancholic longing. That melancholia is tied to the next card: the black Sun’s dark night of the soul.
The Sun appears in the position of Spirit. The Sun’s punctuation is the bullet, introducing items in a list. This position points to how the Seeker can allow spirit to fill her daily life, and the Sun’s bullet suggests that an enumeration is in order. The word “bullet” comes from the French for “small ball.” The small ball on this card suggests the Sol Niger, the paradoxical black sun that emits both light and darkness (for without light there can be no shadow). In alchemical terms, it is the blackening synonymous with melancholia. In Jungian terms, it is an archetype of the unconscious.
If we read these cards as a sort of rebus puzzle of punctuation marks, we can construct a hidden message. The puzzle pieces are: prime, question, ellipsis, bullet. We might decode these symbols as follows: The prime enigma dissolves the lead bullet hiding the alchemical golden light.
Note: Craig is also guest blogging on the “Punctuation Tarot” with Tarotist Catherine Chapman – http://www.tarotelements.com/contributors/ritual-as-punctuation/.
An eccentric lexicographer and scholar, Craig Conley is author of the Tarot of Portmeirion, Magic Words: A Dictionary (Weiser Books) and One-Letter Words: A Dictionary (HarperCollins). His website is OneLetterWords.com.