“You got to go to the Lonesome Valley/You got to go there by yourself/Nobody else can go for you/You got to go there by yourself/Oh, you got to ask the Lord’s forgiveness/Nobody else can ask him for you/You got to go to the Lonesome Valley/You got to go there by yourself/Nobody else, nobody else can go for you/You got to go there by yourself”
Okay. We took
a week off, and now I’m ready to jump back on the Tarot Tuesday bandwagon. And how handy that this week’s card is, in fact, a wagon.
Card 7, The Chariot, is this week’s study in archetype and interpretation.
That word, interpretation, is important. When people say they’re “reading” the cards, they’re not telling you your fortune. Unless they’re charlatans. If someone tells you she’s going to tell you your future by “reading” your cards put your wallet away and run.
Because I guarantee you she’ll have extracted payment first.
I’m not psychic. Just intelligent enough to know the type.
Run far, and run hard.
Everyone is entitled to their own belief system, but I am heavily academic and scientific and that means that I possess a revenous curiosity but an equally indestructible tendency toward skepticism.
The proof, for me, is in the puddin’, puddin’.
That’s why it’s important that everyone understand that when I look at the Tarot cards I see mythology, I see philosophy, I see Jung and his psychodynamic theory of personality, and I see an opportunity to reframe my current experience.
To reinterpret what I’m going through.
To take an aerial perspective on a problem and let an unbiased third party suggest a direction in which to focus, or a facet through which to examine the situation, for a change of pace.
A potential angle from which to refocus.
Often, what’s needed to make a really shit situation at least marginally better is to change perspective. When I’m stuck, it often helps to just draw a random card and think about the situation in relation to that card’s message.
I don’t know. I’m repeating myself, I know it, but I’m not sure whether I’m being clear.
Feedback is always greatly appreciated, by the way. Comments are unmoderated.
And entirely free.
Just putting that out there.
The Chariot is a card of movement. Of journey. Of setting a new course.
I’m reminded of a couple popular culture references. Because I’m always reminded of popular culture references, because for me dissociation is an Olympic sport and I don’t do drugs, so I have to choose appropriate ways to get the hell out of my own head each day and movies and music are my chosen vehicles.
Not for nothing, music and movies are both a means of storytelling, and I know that we don’t value the importance of capital-S “Story” in this society much anymore, but I think we do and just don’t realize it.
We view story as a pastime. A hobby. A luxury. A diversion. A silly, insignificant thing.
Wrong, you all. So dead wrong.
Story is all of those things, but it’s also one of the few things that set us entirely apart from animals. Humans are meaning-making beings. We are never, ever content to just see or experience something and not interpret it. Not analyze it. Not make sense of it. We are sense-seeking, and we are absolutely meaning-making.
Them’s just facts, homie.
That’s how religion was born. We had no idea what the shit lightning was and it scared us so we needed to understand it and, lacking science, we came up with God.
I know it’s not an entirely popular opinion, especially in this county, but it is mine. I’m not discounting religion. If you have faith, then good for you.
I’m jealous, actually.
I believe the ability to have faith in a higher power probably would have kept me out of a number of the negative experiences I’ve had – both those that were thrust upon me and those I chose.
Honestly, almost all of our experiences are a mixture of externally and internally imposed, aren’t they? If we’re honest?
Anyhow, see how I ramble without coffee at the ready?
Okay. Focus, Stace.
So interpretation and journey. Those are our two anchors here. The Chariot represents a journey, and I cannot think of a better movie and music combo reference than O Brother Where Art Thou.
Holy rabies, you guys, I love this movie.
Because I love Greek mythology and humor and John Goodman and John Turturro and satire and the 1930s & ’40s and O Brother is a delicious little combination of all of those things. It’s based loosely on Homer’s “The Odyssey,” but it includes the social mythology of the American south at one of my favorite historical time periods in terms of dress and music and slang and hairstyles and men.
So it’s basically one of my favorite things in the history of ever.
Anyhow, like the epic poem on which it is based, O Brother is the tale of an epic journey.
And one of the songs in the soundtrack, which is one of the best soundtracks ever, ever, ever ever ever, is “Lonesome Valley,” written by Woodie Guthrie and stunningly delivered a capella in the film.
The quality of this clip kinda sucks, which sucks, but this is by far the best single moment in the whole thing. It’s just one of the most powerful moments in story I’ve seen rendered in my entire life. I love it. Every single thing about it.
Jung talked about both an outer and an inner journey that each individual goes through, focusing on the internal journey toward a state called individuation.
Here’s a good paper on individuation and authenticity that’s been helpful to me in several of my posts, as well as just, like, in life. If you’re interested.
If you just read a 34-page social science thesis for fun, then call me.
I need you in my life.
Now. It’s 8:30 at night and I need to take some diphenhydramine, watch Silent Hill, and G.T.F.T. Sleep.
I don’t really have time to go much deeper into tarot Tuesday so I’m just going to blow my whole load right here and be done.
Sometimes on a journey, a lone journey like our charioteer appears to be on, we have to chart our own course and take what comes on our own.
Sometimes we’re being pulled in opposite directions. Like the black and the white Sphinx seem to represent.
But we’ve got a chariot and it will swing low, and carry us home, if we just put on our big girl panties and drive that shit like we just stole it.
I don’t know. I got held up today and now I’m tired and that’s the best I got. I’m done.