The following entry may contain triggering material, spoilers for Steven Universe and Soylent Green.
I appreciate how commonplace playing cards are, and I admire fellow whatever-you-call-us’s tips to turn commonplace objects wishcraftsy. Too bad the images are too abstract for me in this case. I’d have the same reader’s block with a lot of tarot “pip decks”. I like them fully-illustrated with some sort of story to make of those images. At the same time, structure mattered a bit, not enough that I’d ever master the Opening of the Key spread. I’d trimmed the Dream Cards (sliced off the borders, had a corner-rounder for them and everything, though I don’t recommend pen cutters—broad bladed box cutters made for cleaner slices) but kept trying to think them into a tarot system anyway, which was awfully limited of me to think. If I hadn’t lost them when I ran away from home, I’d finish the trimming and try to appreciate that deck as a structureless, intuitive oracle. My first reading with the elected major arcana and court cards of that deck was eerily accurate.
When I wondered about Steven Universe as a pop culture pagan thing, my next thought was that there was enough story to fit with something as abstract and structured as a card deck.
I. Each of the suits would be ruled by one of the four survivors of the Gem Wars: Garnet as the balanced heavy-hitter, clubs; Amethyst as the challenger from Earth, spades; Pearl with the structures and lucidity, diamonds; and Rose Quartz as ruling the suit of hearts.
II. What the ones to tens of each suit would mean then got me thinking about numbers as a pure notion. The tarot aces, I would interpret as a pure, nascent form of the suit. The Ace of Cups would be a flash of intuition or interpersonal understanding, the Ace of Swords would be an irritation or epiphany…Maybe tens would symbolize overall excessiveness, but in between I didn’t think to interpret by pip number. I’d learned keywords, and putting a number to the suit would be more a way to organize those keyword concepts, than significant in and of itself.
III. I drew up a spreadsheet to write keywords in as they occurred to me. Ace of Garnet would be stardust, two would be fission, three would be fusion, four would be home because the fandom name for her is Square Mom…Ace of Amethyst would be seed, two would be rejection, three would be curiosity, four would be self…Ace of Pearl would be order, two would be fealty, three would be balance…
IV. What does suit plus number mean to each of them? Once I filled out the table, I thought, I could consider the whole and find general patterns (what’s the three-ness between fusion, curiosity, and balance?)—and then make adjustments to better fit that general pattern.
Except that the suit of Rose Quartz came to mind like: Ace of Rose is love, two is love (healing?), three is love, four is love, five is love (protection?), six is love (honesty? c’mon R.Q. gimme something more specific), seven is love, eight is love, nine is so much love (cosmic?), ten is so much love…
So I got to actually shuffling an actual deck of cards, to find out what meanings I could intuit based on what I knew of the story. The above spread just occurred to me and felt right to do. The question was: What should I know, about all of you and this method?
1.) Garnet, top, the multiple possibilities of a foreseeable future. Six of Diamonds.
2.) Amethyst, mid-right, how to attack…erm, approach this issue. Three of Spades.
3.) Pearl, mid-left, what to worry about (plan for or resolve). Two of Clubs.
4.) Rose Quartz, bottom, foundations for healing/growth and protection. Five of Diamonds.
Six from the suit of Pearl in the position of Garnet generate a Sardonyx with a quality of six-ness. This conveyed to me a moderate number of equally likely futures, perfectly calculable but not worthy of the effort. The stakes of choosing one over another path are average.
Three from the suit of Amethyst in the position of Amethyst, with a quality of three-ness. Just do a thing to make a thing happen.
Two from the suit of Garnet in the position of Pearl didn’t come off as a fusion this time, but an irreconcilable distance between reasoning and passion.
Five from the suit of Pearl in the position of Rose Quartz came off more like a suggestion to being humble and charitable…so, I admit this is a slapdash mess and I post it here for anybody who can make something of it to make something of it.
I think what I liked most about this reading was that this deck is made of flippy, slippy, plastic card. As I understand to make it called for dredging up fossilized ancestors to fuel some pollution of the air, and it takes so long to break down and become part of the ecosystem again, and even when it does a bit, the tiny plastic bits displace the nutrients in baby seagulls’ digestive systems and whatever other animals accidentally eat it, so they starve without feeling hungry, so the diligent seagull parents never get to see their baby seagulls grow because they die and the seagulls never know what they did wrong by their babies—I don’t like this part. It’s a horrible part.
But when I wondered if plastic cards would be less conducive to cartomancy for not having some distant relation to some earthly autotroph who was wise in the ways of life before getting bleached and dyed with chemicals we make for a shortsighted purpose and then just throw somewhere else, but it’s tree pulp so it’s natural and more magical…and I admit, I usually am more comfortable working with natural materials. It’s the texture, or the smell. It’s usually comfy. I liked shuffling these cards, though…
…I thought I could hear Garnet reminding me that these cards are made of stardust, just like everything else in the corporeal world—and besides, Gems are all about technological innovation. Waterproof playing cards are fine representations of that.
(…but we citizens of the developed and developing worlds accidentally created an artificial island out of garbage…This deck will outlive me and end up there, and our descendants would be crying over soap bars and tomatoes, visiting tree museums, referring to women as “furniture”, and eating Soylent Green. Soylent Green looks like plastic chips.)
…Hrmm…maybe I should have thought up a Steven Universe based divination system using dice in shapes other than cubes. Those can look like gems.