Monday, January 25, 2016

X-Files Returns With Chris Carter Triumph In "My Struggle"

"Situation critical. Need to see you both. ASAP." So Director Skinner announces that the X-Files needs to be reopened, and Mulder and Scully need to go back on the job. X-Files fans are in full agreement with that idea.
Let us a begin with a warning.

You may be aware that there have been many articles written in the MSM the past few days in the run-up to the premier of the new season of X-Files, that say the first episode, "My Struggle" is a dud. Some of these articles make the further case that Chris Carter, the creator of X-Files and writer/director on "My Struggle", is himself a dud, who can no longer write interesting X-Files stories because he is so jadedly lost in the garbage-heap of the show's mythologies.

As Joanna Robinson writes at Vanity Fair:
"'My Struggle,' the premiere which aired Sunday, January 24 on Fox, was far from the show’s best work. Written and directed by creator Chris Carter, the jumbled hour was enough to cause many critics—including myself—to wish Fox had never rebooted the series in the first place."
And so, let me tell you in plain terms that when you read those assessments, you are reading halfwitted hacks who all need to be fired and certainly no longer read for any reason. Because Chris Carter is back. X-Files is back. And the first episode of the new season is one of the greatest X-Files episodes I've ever seen. Carter has completely reinvented the show for our soulless, braindead age. And I don't mean by this he is pandering to the great undead horde of zombies. In keeping with the sharp wits the show always demanded, it is quite the opposite. And of course that's the problem.

The main mythology of the show, which rests on the premise that there is something deeply and profoundly and destructively conspiratorial going on in the USA and the world, if only we could figure out what it was, has gone from being kitschy tabloid headlines—the inspiration for 1993's original X-Files—to being our 24-7 dreadful reality in 2016. It isn't that something beneficial will be gotten if only we can figure out exactly which conspiracy is true, and how so. It is that all the conspiracies are true. All the rotten, evil, "uber-violent fascist elites" (as Mulder puts it) are doing all the horrible things to all the rest of us that you can possibly imagine.

"My Struggle" makes the case that the real conspiracy is complete and all-consuming, and has invaded and corrupted the entire body of our civilization. In fact, the name "My Struggle", in addition to being an English translation of Hitler's title for his Nazi manifesto, Mein Kampf, is also the English translation for the 6-volume bio-novels of Norwegian writer, Karl Ove Knausgaard. Chris Carter says:
"I think [Mulder's] been struggling with depression. I saw the Knausgaard titles as, really, for me, indicative of how Mulder was looking at his own life."
The first few pages of the first volume of Knausgaard's books, discusses how upon the moment of death, "enormous hordes of bacteria", having previously waited until the body was all used up by its original owner, then "launch their invasion of the new landscape." As Knausgaard points out, this corruption of the body can only occur when the defenders of the body have abandoned their posts in admission that there is nothing left to save.

Chris Carter seems to be asking are we and our civilization at that point already, in other words the point where the body (politic) "belongs to death"?

The MSM, which trends overwhelmingly corporate-liberal, views such questions as inherently attacking the leadership of the nation, particularly that of Barack Obama. In fact, Obama, who recall has often been attacked for his alien nature (even in the sense of his being like Star Trek's Spock) in a sense stars as the Satanically-grinning face of government, laughing off the suggestion that he or his minions would ever lie to citizens, about outer-space invaders or anything else.

Creepy still from the Obama appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, where Obama plainly admits that outer-space aliens "exercise strict control over us." Of course, Obama was attempting to mock that idea, but let us say President Hope-Dope hasn't inspired the greatest confidence in the American people in his honesty or integrity. As Mulder says, Obama is making fun of his (i.e., the conspiratorial) lifestyle. And as head of the main perpetrator of evil (the US government) in X-Files, Obama is, after CSM, the main enemy of the people.
So, naturally, the MSM and its culture-bots are opposed to affirming a show that plainly and clearly makes the case against the trustworthiness of government, basically accusing it of being an instrument of perpetrating the most heinous crime against humanity ever devised. Of course, what that crime is exactly, we're still trying to figure out. But "they" after all are scribes of "them"—the corporate monsters who are engineering the global corruption. And if they and them aren't exactly invaders from outer space or hordes of bacteria, they'll do until those guys reveal themselves and their evil schemes.

I've seen a lot of people the last few days declaring themselves real X-Files fans but then they make a distinction between two kinds of fans: the myth fans and the monster fans. The myth fans, so these declarations argue, are those who go for Chris Carter's politically-tinged indictment of the evils of government conspiracies. The monster fans, on the other hand, were the viewers who were only buying into the show to have fun, and who it is suggested aren't quite as silly as the fans who invested deeply into trying to decipher or even keep track of the show's labyrinth of conspiracy theories.

Let us just say about this alleged split, that it only exists for non-fans of the show. People who made the all-in investment in X-Files never saw or acknowledged any such dichotomy. While what became known as the monster-of-the-week episodes were definitely a kind of comic relief from the gloomy-doomy central arc of the show, they weren't an antithetical diversion supplied for that purpose. No, the real idea Carter was exploring was again to pose this question: what if all the conspiracy theories, and all the cryptozoological creatures, and all the ghost and monster stories were true?

And of course these allegedly farfetched propositions were used as metaphors for examining what we as citizens of political and cultural organizations should ever trust in the claims and actions of those who have power over us.

In the 1990s, those questions were aimed at critiquing trust as a naive feature of citizenship that we could no longer afford to give to authorities. These critiques built in power through the 1990s until we saw in popular media products like The Matrix and Fight Club suggestions that open rebellion against government authority was not merely an option, but was the only viable moral choice left. Then 9/11 happened, and all bets were off, and all political opposition evaporated in the massive hysteria intentionally created to keep the American people in perpetual terror. For a while, Americans hopefully bought into the idea that government, even government run by a worthless piece of dreck like George W. Bush, was looking after their interests.

In 2016, few people with any brains are suffering from that delusion. And while the terror of immediate death by religious fanatics has given away to a general dread that doom and destruction are out there—like the truth—awaiting all of us, the general sense of the inevitability of this fate, combined with an utter loss of trust in the credibility of government authority, has also eroded any hope that anything can be done about it. The American people are exhausted looking about for any political solution to their myriad, metastasizing problems.

And in that kind of context, one either sinks into the lethargy of depression, or one keeps alive a tiny candlelight of hope, manifested in the idea that if an elected official cannot or will not come to our rescue, maybe there exists a rogue spirit, or someone whose basic wisdom and good nature seems in our dire situation to be aberrant and dangerous, who can yet save the day.

Inside the context and the mythology of the X-Files, this hope takes a reassuring and familiar form, with Scully looking at Mulder towards the end of "My Struggle", and saying the plain truth, and the only one that needs to be found, out there or in here, or anywhere:
"Someone has to stop these sons-of-bitches."

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Looking Ahead to 2016


In addition to a cartomantic overview of your version of 2016, the 12-Month Reading provides you a summary of each month, to see how it will fit into your developing story of your year ahead.

Act now to get your preview of 2016, and don’t forget it is a great time to gift friends and family with their own 2016 Twelve-Month Tarot Reading.

I look forward to reading for you.

Happy holidays!

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

The Basic Conflict Between Expectations And Reality in Tarot Reading

Many clients of Tarot readers, being people after all, are committed Queens of Denial. Part of the evidence for this is the tendency to look backwards on what happened as a kind of unavoidable accident—or part of their ever-mutating plan (of endlessly failing). In either case, the Queen will demand that she is not at fault. Either she is overwhelmed by cruel enemies (and that could just be true), or she is mired in the back of the very slow boat, going nowhere, but at least Denial looks pretty much the same no matter where you go. It looks like everything is OK, and it's going to be OK. Maybe not so much in reality though.
Here is the basic problem in Tarot reading. If you are going to read the cards as they lay, which is to say you are committed to reading the cards and not the client, you will run into an objection: what if the reading contradicts the expectations of the querent (client)? And what if the contradiction is so complete, it offends the idea the querent has of what is possible?

Now, in a cold-reading situation, where the reader is definitely assessing, with an eye to affirming, the feelings of the querent, no such contradiction will be encountered, because good reading principles in that case plainly state: reject what is likely to challenge or offend the expectations and desires of the querent. Otherwise, one risks losing that person as a customer.

For example, in the latter situation, where a cold reading and an affirming reading, of the querent is the ideal, and say the querent has asked about their financial future—when will they be rich and comfortable they ask—not only do you, as the querent-affirming reader, provide a prediction of when this shall happen—likely much sooner than later—but it never even occurs to you to suggest to the person that maybe they never will be financially so well off that they are comfortable. For one thing, what a depressing thought! That years of struggle has resulted in the need for years of more struggle—and then they die. You sure as hell do not want to deliver that message.

Unless of course your interest is in reading cards instead of people.

Yes, it would be nice if most people could rightly look forward to a betterment of their condition. It would be just so much easier to read those kinds of futures. But those are not the majority or anything like the majority of human experiences. Even in the West, we still have millions upon millions of people who struggle to make ends meet, who struggle to navigate the waters of romance, who further struggle to make their marriages work, and who struggle to gain an understanding of their place in the universe (assuming such a thing is real and can be figured out).

At best, a Tarot reading provides guidance to such people to make course corrections. Generally, these corrections will be small and incremental. But over time they can build up and amount to the difference between getting there and failure. Even in the best case, with the vast majority of people, the best case enables a lightening of the loads struggling people bear.

But what about people who, in most areas of their lives, are not struggling? For example, what of someone whose financial situation is solid, but who has trouble with interpersonal relationships. When will they finally connect with the right people they ask. The problem of course may not be that there are few right people to connect to. The problem may be that the querent herself lacks the skills or the motivation to connect. Or she expects others to do most of the work. And the cards—if they work at all—ought to show this. But how many readers really have the courage to say to a querent: damn, if you would just stop being such an awful bitch to everyone, people might like you better.

Any readers who have been at it for a while, and who have any skill, have encountered the client who simply denies the indications of the cards, even though the cards clearly show the situation the client has described. Denial is a serious problem in clients, because 1. the client is announcing they are resisting your counsel (not necessarily always a bad thing, but certainly a bad thing if the reader is right) 2. the client may be living in total denial—in which case providing any assistance to them is going to be pretty difficult.

In consideration of this difficulty, we should note that most of humanity lives in a constant state of denial of reality. Republicans, for example, redefine "science" to mean "what the Bible says" so that climate change is a hoax. And all manner of self-delusions of lesser consequence confront a reader every day.

One should be prepared for this. How? Look for silver linings. No, you won't ever be comfortable financially—but you won't be homeless either. Yay!! And yeah, those silver linings may be of little solace to people whose sense of entitlement is so exaggeratedly absurd they cannot imagine anything bad—i.e. "normal"—happening to them.

At that point, there is a helpful attitude to adopt as a reader, and as I have said:

I read their cards. They live their lives.

There is only so much you can do for your clients, but what you owe them is, to the best of your ability—tell them the truth

Good luck out there.

The Life Reading can change your life. This is just one of the great Tarot readings you can get at

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Tarot History and Mystery Facebook Group

My new Facebook group, Tarot History and Mystery, is focused on Tarot history, mystery and the way in which these worlds often collide.
It was just the other day on an innocuous Facebook group, and someone was going on and kind of off about the glorious deeper truth of one those "Ur" decks the plebs these days get drawn to—in this case the "Mantegna" deck.

The person going on and off called it the "Mantegna Tarot", and everyone on the innocuous group was very approving and noted how lucky Tarot was to have a mother deck like Mantegna.

I then added my little bit of commentary, very short: "It isn't really a Tarot deck of course."

It didn't take long before I was told I didn't know anything about Tarot, and that I was using a "Catholic" Tarot that was just another version, and that I was a fool for disagreeing with him. First, I hadn't really said what kind of Tarot I was using. I just pointed out the Mantegna deck did not count as a Tarot pack, chiefly because Tarot packs have a particular structure (even in the 15th century) the Mantegna cards do not have.

I tried to point this out to the Mantegna lover, but his understanding of the word "Tarot" was essentially "fortune-telling" pack. When I pointed out Tarot was invented to play card games, I was told, among other things, that I was spitting in the face of the ancients by suggesting they and their wonderful ideas would ever have anything to do with card games.

Pretty soon, the group's admin, who does go on and on about sex and sexiness, complained:

"Can we debate and be sexy at the same time?"

Well, it is a little difficult to do that when one's sex partner is a frothing-at-the-mouth looney—AKA newage Tarot expert.

Anyway, I questioned how and why learning facts about Tarot history wasn't sexy—on a Tarot group anyway—and was told Facebook was not the proper place to be arguing about it, or arguing about anything.

Anyway, I then decided to create a Tarot History and Mystery Facebook group, where arguing about it is OK. If you have an interest in arguing or reading or asking about it, join and learn.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

What Is Tarot?

The structure of the Tarot deck is part of the symbolism of the cards. The history of Tarot tells us how and why the way Tarot is put together affected how the symbolism of Tarot was established and interpreted.
I have a new article on my site. It is actually an extensive update to an article I had on my old Tarotica site.

In "What is Tarot?", I explore the history of the structure and the symbolism of the cards, starting with the Mamluk playing card decks, which provided Tarot with a lot of its basic symbolism, and going through the modern era of occultist packs.

Tarot is not an easy study, and that is true even if you leave out all the occultist theories and just deal with the way the gaming decks developed over time. Even just examining the evolution of Tarot games, it is easy to affirm the occult Tarot idea that no matter how established an idea or a symbol, things can change and they often do in Tarot.

Not all of the changes are always that helpful. And unfortunately unlike mutations in lifeforms, that often quickly kill off the unfortunate mutants, Tarot mutation is celebrated by modern practitioners and game deck designers (especially) as a means of keeping Tarot a "living" artform.

Maybe. But it would be nice if people bothered to learn what it is they are changing and often killing just to keep the mutant going.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

How To Read The Celtic Cross Layout

This probably looks familiar—if you know even a little bit about Tarot reading. But another thing it looks to many people, especially beginning readers, is totally confusing. So, I wrote a detailed explanation of the Celtic Cross to try and answer most of the basic and some advanced questions.
Yes, I know, you think you know the Celtic Cross reading. How can you not? It's the most popular Tarot reading in the world. And it is probably the first reading most people learn or attempt.

But, at the same time, most people, if they are honest, have a really hard time trying to read it. There are lots of cards, lots of vague meanings to the card positions, and certainly lots of anxiety about how and whether to read that last card.

So, almost twenty years ago, I wrote a basic guideline for how to use this reading as a supplement to the alt.tarot FAQ, which I wrote and maintained for many years.

I have now updated this set of notes into a much more detailed article on how to read the Celtic Cross layout. Even if you are an experienced reader, I recommend you read it and consider what it says. I posted Waite's explanation for his "Celtic Method" as a means of comparison. His is much more concise—and weird. Mine will tell you what is going on and how to actually read the layout. Read both.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

My Interview With H. R. Giger

H.  R. Giger as one of his favorite subjects, Baphomet, that being the composite occult creature popularized by Eliphas Lévi in the 19th century and made spookily biomechanical by Giger in the 20th century. Giger spoke with me in 2001 about how and how much occultism had influenced his work and we discussed how this enabled his work to function as Tarot cards.
In January 2001, I was working on a review of the Giger Tarot, which was the Baphomet Tarot without Akron's occultism covering up H. R. Giger's occultism.

I wanted to find out from Giger what he thought about it, and about occultism and Tarot in general, so I asked him a lot of questions about it over two nights of talking, and he answered my questions.

What did not make it into the 2001 published edition of the interview, and none of the online copies you may find on the web, are the comments of Giger's which I edited out, as per the request of his agent, mainly dealing with Giger's views about Akron.

In this new version of the interview, I have reinserted these comments, along with some additional insights about Giger and his approach to art and occultism.

Also, you can read my review of the Giger Tarot.