It’s been a while! I wish I could say that wouldn’t happen again, but here’s the thing: I do boffer LARPs. So, like, at least four times a year I’m away for a weekend hitting my friends with padded weapons, plus there’s a week of prep beforehand and a couple weeks after wherein I remove Nature from my sinuses and beat my laundry into submission. Such is the way.
Back now, though, and the next LARP won’t be until late March. So let’s hit more of the Tarot. This one has been brought to you not so much by booze, but by earlier dental procedures and the tranquilizers I need to face them with any sort of dignity. My life is like a way less glamorous Stones biopic.
Two naked people hang out in a pastoral setting. Usually one has a dick and the other has breasts and a vulva, because heteronormativity. There’s generally a tree or trees, which may symbolize various Eden-y things, even though I thought the point of the Garden of Eden was that Adam and Eve weren’t lovers pre-snake, classically, but whatevs, I am not in charge here. Similarly, there’s often an angel watching over events benevolently slash like a giant perv.
The most obvious interpretation of this card is…obvious. Congratulations, Someone Gets Laid. It can also mean a choice about a relationship, though, and often, absent romance, it means “harmonious union” in general, though: people, forces, and so on working together. (I have Some Feelings about the general Sex as Mystical Union of Souls trope, and those feelings are that it’s glurgey bullshit ninety percent of the time, but if you’re doing it specifically as a sacred/magical thing, sure, why not?)
After the Fool-Through-Hierophant cards, which are all about people as individuals, the Lovers starts the series of cards devoted to the ways that different people or forces interact with each other. Notably, in the Lovers, Thing A and Thing B are approaching from equal positions, and deciding of their own free will to partner up in some manner. “Partner” is the key word, whether buddy cops, actual lovers, or alchemical components.
On the other hand, The Chariot is about making things work together. If The Lovers is the beginning of a beautiful friendship, The Chariot is “too bad, he’s your partner” or “stop fighting or so help me I’ll turn this car around”. The second example is especially pertinent here, because The Chariot is also about forward motion. The Lovers can be about partnership or union for all kinds of reasons, but The Chariot is making opposing forces work together to achieve a particular goal. It’s going somewhere, and you do what you need to do to get there.
“What you need to do,” on most cards, is control black and white unicorns or sphinxes. Sometimes the charioteer is carrying a sword or a wand, sometimes the chariot is decorated with stars, but as long as you’ve got opposite-colored mythical animals, you’re probably doing well with the general sense of things.
If you’re using the Thoth Tarot, this card is “Lust,” because Aleister fucking Crowley. Most iterations show a woman doing something to a lion (there are older ones where either a man or a woman is breaking a pillar, according to Wikipedia). In the classic image, she’s holding the lion’s jaws shut; sometimes she’s riding it; in Lust, she’s kind of falling off it while holding a flaming chalice with one hand and a riding crop with the other, and the lion has four human faces, and there’s just a lot going on.
(The Thoth Tarot also makes Strength/Lust 11 rather than 8, which is not really Crowley’s fault. In fact, the original deck had it that way, and the Rider-Waite folks switched it. We are going to blame the Victorians for confusing everything and move on.)
This is the third of the interaction cards, and here the two parties aren’t working together from an equal basis: one is overcoming, using, or mastering the other, and it’s generally not the one you’d expect. Strength is generally not about crushing your enemies in a Conan-style manner; it can be about making the untamed part of yourself work for you by accepting and training it, or it can be about toughing a situation out as long as you need to, without getting angry or impatient.
Or it can be about languidly falling off a lionesque abomination. You do you, Crowley.
Next time: The Hermit, who says fuck this interaction noise; the Wheel of Fortune, when things change; and Justice.
ETA: One day, I will update main pages like a person who gets links together and stuff. Meanwhile, check out Isabel Cooper at Amazon or B&N for new Highland Dragon books, and follow me on Twitter at @ICooperauthor for crankiness and puppy-based RTs.