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Deck of the week: Poker K25

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Brief weekly thoughts about a card randomly drawn from a Malpertuis deck - either about its creation, or possible factors to consider when it appears in a reading

Seven of Swords 19th January 2017
from the Tyldwick Tarot (2013)

My main resolution for this year has been to read more, after slipping from the habit somewhat through 2016 (when I commuted, I used to tear through a novel most weeks on the train - but I don't now have that obvious daily gap to fill). In the past week I've read William Gerhardie's 1922 novel Futility. So it didn't surprise me entirely that the Seven of Swords showed up for this week's draw. The card's commonly associated with deception and betrayal in the RWS tradition, but Crowley labels the card as Futility - and I was more aligned to this latter interpretation when I designed this card.

The main theme of Gerhardie's novel appears to be 'waiting' - quite specifically, that sense of resigned, passive procrastination which Beckett was to explore more famously many years later. And it captures perfectly the utter listlessness of Russian upper class life. The main characters are imprisoned by their own inertia - pathologically unable to make active decisions, they abdicate themselves entirely from the process of making choices. It's easier just to do nothing - maybe Godot will turn up soon.

(An aside: the script on this card design is in Russian. I'd love to claim that I was making a deliberate connection between Russian history and the theme of pointlessness, but I think it was more coincidental than that).

Inertia and indecisiveness are both slowly corrosive conditions which need to be kept in check - the former in particular can very quickly establish itself into the pattern of life. I often see this card as a stark reminder of all those 'must dos' that never get done. The fence which we mean to paint, but leave until it goes rotten. The friend we mean to catch up with but don't, until we've left it too late. More generally, our 'big ideas' that we never put into action, leaving them to wither on the vine.


Card of the week