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Major arcana

0: The Fool

Myrmecoleon: I have heard it argued before (though I am not sure who first posited this) that the Fool’s knapsack contains the same implements as those available to the Magician— he simply does not yet know what it is that he carries.

I: The Magician

Myrmecoleon: He is, in some sense, the ace of majors, and each of the minor aces is visible on the altar before him. His gestures show that he knows what the stars have in store for him, and he plans his next move accordingly, joining the above and below. For the Magician, there is always another way forward, another option: all of the elements are potential tools towards his own ends.

II: The High Priestess

Myrmecoleon: She is inherently subversive: her domain is the space beyond the limits of humanity’s ability to map or control, in contrast with the Magician, whose domain is that which mankind has seized from the unknown to project onto the world.

Myrmecoleon: Marian apparitions: the image of a mysterious small girl, atop the moon no less, appearing to a lonely traveller in his passage through the wilderness.

V: The Hierophant

Lubanko Tarot: This Hierophant is not welcoming. It is meant to be watched with attention, as prey would watch a predator. The mask is hypnotic, but reveals intentions not overtly stated. It extends hands of blessing and knowledge, but do we let its hands touch our own? Does the knowledge contained in the books strengthen, or bind us? We must learn our traditions to understand where we come from and where our unconscious biases may lie. To ignore where you come from is ignorance, and so is blind adherence to it.

VII: The Chariot

Compound Eye: I would love to see the Chariot represented as a helicopter in a future deck. The operation of the main and rear rotors in orthogonal counterbalance introduces spatial axes of being, rather than simply describing aligned forces in terms of chirality. Such a vehicle requires management of opposed spatial forces to achieve seemingly impossible flight with a hummingbird’s grace.

VIII: Strength

Compound Eye: it is generally understood that the woman handling the lion is a reflection of some invisible, self-control process on the outwardly-facing self

Compound Eye: Strength is something of a foil to the Chariot: while the latter tells a story of bridling disparate forces within the self to achieve victory, the former invites instead satiation of the uncontrolled interior for the sake of harmony with it.

IX: The Hermit

Compound Eye: In the company of the Hermit, it is simply best to listen, observe, and entertain the possibility that your fundamental assumptions about the nature of your surroundings are flawed. After all, why wouldn’t they be? The act of being you is an extremely specific matter.

XIII: Death

Compound Eye: if 1 in 78 pulls from this deck killed you, you would never touch it. But if it could tell you when a significant element in your life may be permanently lost, you’d be glad it told you to get your affairs in order. [...] Death in Tarot should always be treated with that degree of respect, the guest who might arrive at any time, and must be accommodated. It is entirely understandable, even right sometimes to fear impermanence, but it still must be acknowledged.

XV: The Devil

Compound Eye: Devil, the master of id and sin. They reflect our vices and most violent impulses, the ways in which we just can’t help ourselves. And we absolutely love them. [...] The Devil and Strength are linked: is the animal self under control, or does it have us enthralled?

Compound Eye: When we think of the Devil in Tarot, we think of various forms of bondage, whether they be to vice, sin, addiction, or debt. It encompasses all matters in which we have no choice but to deal with his domain in order to move forward. These things do not happen in a vacuum, of course; it is very rare that we have the good fortune to choose who our creditors are, and who in all pays the price of our bonds.



Compound Eye: While fire is not matter, it is certainly substance from a human perspective: yellow and orange ferns growing and withering from shallow roots of fuel. Wands are that fuel. [...] Wands gets at the core of an expanded idea of Fire: animation and what animates, convictions, ideologies, beliefs, and tendencies to act that are otherwise unseen.

Compound Eye: The wind through the trees is the hum of the wires is the flickering of the screen is the unlit cigarette of the Woodsman is the voice that the Log Lady hears when she presses the log to her ear. That’s just the start, and the whole damn thing is the Suit of Wands: the unseen flow of spirit that pushes us to keep the fire alive in a darkened world.

Compound Eye: Wands presents conflict as ever-worsening odds, with no true victory possible. The battles we choose become part of the continuum of who we are; the challenge is to choose the right ones, and to retreat before our wounds are more than can be healed.

Five of Wands

Compound Eye: five young men engaged in a free-for-all skirmish with one another, all seeking to prove their merit, to one another as well as themselves [...] The worst that can come of violence has been temporarily suspended. The fight is playful, perhaps even more erotic than it is violent. Levity overcomes gravity.

Compound Eye: When this card is pulled, all passionate conflict and competition, even when mere sport, should be reexamined for what it serves, what it feeds, and what might come of it. This is worth assessing in the context of any reading where this particular card is present.

Knigt of Wands

Compound Eye: This card can represent someone who inspires others and organizes action as easily as it can be someone who brashly pursues upward mobility at a cost to all others. [...] Indeed, just as easily as the Knight of Wands could represent a freedom fighter or advocate for unpopular causes, he could also be a conquistador seeking justification for the most appalling horrors imaginable. [...] If you see only positivity, and describe only positivity when reading a card like the Knight of Wands, what are you allowing to burn?


A.K.A. Coins. Suit of the material.

Compound Eye: Coins speaks to everything solid, necessary, and pleasurable in our relationship with material existence. Though we imagine coins let us externalize value, and measure it quantitatively, this proposition has remained absurd throughout our history. Currency can still only crudely approximate the deep complexities of comparative value. Almost paradoxically, coins as a suit shows us the moments in which we cannot rely on anything outside ourselves to exercise prudence.

Three of Pentacles

Compound Eye: Threes in Tarot tend to be forms of covenant or contract, whether with others or the self. [...] Neither the mason, nor the monk, nor the architect, could build the cathedral without the other two. Their covenant produces the sacred, seen as this fourth symbol above them.

Four of Pentacles

Compound Eye: This is a card associated with greed and hoarding, though it is more appropriately thought of as assured success, the sort of game where the outcome is decided in advance.


Air. Suit of emotion, and the social.

Compound Eye: They are the suit of both internal emotions and social bonds, and invite us to imagine both of these as part of a single superstructure of interpersonal being.

Seven of Cups

Compound Eye: Dismissed as the card of illusion, it is often read as getting tricked, dealing with options that are good to be true, and so on and so forth. But the most interesting thing about the Seven of Cups is that it is not a Sword, the suit that is dedicated to humanity’s intellectual folly. It is not even the Seven of Swords, the card of being tricked due to poor intellectual foundations, and having them used against us. It is a Cup, the suit of emotions and relations to others [...] The Seven of Cups is the failure to achieve consensus reality- believing what we want to believe and doing as we please. It is desire in full disconnection from others that can rein it in, the unexamined inner life superseding the outer. It is not failure by using the wrong intellectual model, but by simply letting go of the steering wheel.

Eight of Cups

Compound Eye: The Eight of Cups is often associated with matters like defeating addiction, but it is, at its core, defeat of the complacent self. It is us whenever we refuse to let go, as children or adults. As an Eight, it rests under the auspices of Strength; while the animal aspects of the self want security and familiarity, there’s something compelling in our spirits that allows us to reject these, regardless of where we are in life. There are many good reasons to play things safe, but the heart will always long for something more.


Suit of intellect, and conceptualization

Compound Eye: When we use Tarot, the suit of Swords is inherently critical of us: what are the limits of the ways in which we intellectualize our reality? When and where are the strategies we use to deal with problems no longer effective?

Compound Eye: Swords are about strategy and problem solving, but they are not necessarily rational, even though they are often described as such. Their scope also includes our self-justifications, defense mechanisms, and coping methods; all the weapons the mind uses to shape reality around it.

Compound Eye:A bit of advice I would give is that thinking of swords as the suit of rationality, intellect, and decisions doesn’t quite suffice for actionable readings. Strategies tends to describe the material weight of the suit, and the sum of how we choose to engage with the world in spite of ourselves. It is especially how we choose to handle adverse and difficult conditions, hence its association with weaponry and suffering.

Two of Swords

Compound Eye: The Two of Swords is, like other Twos, a point of no return. It considers the weight of the querent making a decision that either defines or goes against their own nature. The mind is making this call, and is in a position to override the rest of the self if necessary. From here, the natural progression is to the Three of Swords, in which the querent steels their heart, and learns to live without whatever is lost in the process. Making these kinds of decisions, of course, is unavoidable in life, but the challenge is to not be left jaded and numb. The threat of the swords must always be considered.

Six of Swords

Compound Eye: Most depictions of this card are tragic. There is a sense of emigration with nowhere to go.

Compound Eye: Once this ship departs for the mind palace in the clouds, it leaves a great deal of the practical, societal, and spiritual behind. [...] When boarding the boat of the Six of Swords, reflect very strongly on whether or not the departure needs to happen, and what is being left behind. It might be the world.

Knight of Swords

Compound Eye: The Knight of Swords cannot win, but he also cannot be convinced that he cannot win. He embodies every single instance where man believes he can outfox reality. This is almost always not true.

King of Swords

Compound Eye: This court card tends to be seen as an intellectual authority, the Fire of Air, who has mastered his discipline and domain through the power of reason. [But] for all his wisdom, the King of Swords is incapable of knowing a world that is not recontextualized through his experience of it.