The cards shown above come from the Shadowscapes deck, and the spread is a favorite of mine for dream interpretations. Here’s a link to the original spread from Aeclectic, although I modified it a bit and call it “the Red King’s Crown”.
1. (Center) Signifies the Querent. Eight of Cups.
2. (Crossing) The crux of the issue. Seven of Pentacles.
3. (Top) Themes to consider. Eight of Pentacles.
4. (Upper left) Symbols from the dream. Four of Pentacles.
5. (Upper right) Symbols from reality. Four of Cups.
6. (Lower left) Why the dream doesn’t wake up. The Hermit.
7. (Lower right) Why reality doesn’t sleep and dream. The Wheel of Fortune.
8. (Bottom) Future, culmination. Ace of Wands.
09 April 2016. I dreamed of being in a computer laboratory where all the work stations had boxy beige monitors from the mid-1990s. It felt like a grimy, cluttered place and someone out the corner of my eye kept muttering out loud to no one in particular how everything I was doing was going exactly according to their plan. This creeped me out, so I went back to this apartment I don’t live in in waking life, and Miasma was there in a black trenchcoat and lying facedown on a giant mattress. We kept giving each other the silent treatment.
I like that this reading feels like it actually says something meaningful. For a long while recently, any spread I laid out would feel like a number of random cards had been randomized in a shuffle and then randomly drawn.
One of my beliefs in how the tarot works does go that way: The trouble with personal reasoning is that it develops trends and regularities. When one gets stuck in a thought pattern or a life pattern, then something random can get someone unstuck. Specifically, the ideas introduced by some system of divination, which itself can rely on external patterns that don’t reasonably apply. Reasoning can form a trap.
How regularly I read, and the associations that I’ve developed by reading each card, might have made a regularity of a random thing like a deck of cards. Still, I conjecture that the shuffle keeps things fresh.
Another one of my beliefs in how the tarot works developed after a Quest to some vague idea of a tarot or oracular intelligence. She was one of the first guisers I’d met, before I’d even taken to calling these people ‘guisers’. I named her Lavender. After about two years of sharing and working within that liminal space, Lavender vanished with Eddy and all the furniture in my astral home. I can guess at, but can’t be entirely sure of, what happened there. And I have no clue at all about Lavender’s history or nature, apart from that we could interact in the otherreal and surreal, and that Lavender had some association with this tarot deck.
I still read this same deck after Lavender left. It still operated the way a tarot deck would, but without Lavender, it would kind of bother me that I didn’t know how. I could default to thematic apperception, subconscious knowledge coming to the consciousness as intuition, or the Weirdly ordered universe doing that weird thing where everything is perfectly ordered and therefore meaningful. That third option which I outright reject because it doesn’t validate my pessimistic and cynical worldview.
Onwards, regardless, to the reading pictured above. The querent’s significator denotes an inner emotional questing, which matches up with a spread for dream interpretation. The crux of the issue appears to be a frustrated fruition of something. Themes I should consider would be the ordinariness, or stability, of daily corporeal life, represented by the Eight of Pentacles.
Symbols from the dream represented by the Four of Pentacles could indicate the sort of expeditious retreat from whoever was in the dream computer lab and verbally holding me to my own nature, just because it would affect the speaker positively (and I neither intended nor consented to that.) It could also indicate the “silent treatment” that Dream Miasma and I were giving each other, when Miasma was literally not doing anything in the dream, and I had felt that same sort of contemptuous repression.
This becomes a symbol of reality, the Four of Cups, in how the tendency to compress ends up draining more stamina than it should (by all reason) save.
The “dream won’t wake up” (whatever that means) because, well, the way the Hermit mirrors the dragon hoarding the coins, it’s a dream that’s already going to be as awake as it’s going to get. And, “reality won’t fall asleep” (whatever that means) because it isn’t the, umm, metaphysical season for the waking and dreaming worlds to cross over each other?
In a spread so locked into ordinariness, regularity, and inwardly-bound movements, the card that represents the outcome is a welcome one. The Ace of Wands represents to me some burst of inspiration, some way out of the rut.