Friday, March 22, 2013

A lost and found twenty

In the category of I Couldn't Lose It If I Tried

Standing in line at the bank, I take out my cell phone, which I keep in the same pocket as some loose $20 bills, a couple of which come out, jammed under the lid of the phone. I cash a check with my favorite teller who says, "Whoops, I nearly gave you an extra twenty." 
     There's a stir in the line behind me. They've found something.
     "Something good?" I ask, turning to the people behind me.
     "A twenty dollar bill!" 
     "It's probably mine," I say to the old boy who's got it. This is probably true, given what happened when I pulled out my phone. "But it's found money, so you keep it."
     "Oh no, I'll hand it in to the teller." Honest fellow.
     "Really? I think you deserve the good luck."
     "Someone may claim it." He gives the $20 bill to the teller.
     "I guess that would be you," the man behind him says to me.
     "Maybe you should keep it," I say to the teller.
      "Oh no, we're not allowed to take money." She hands the $20 bill to me. 
      It's all but certain I am the one who lost the $20. Nice to think it touched so many people before it came back to me.

The 20th trump

I must add that before this incident, I was reflecting on one of the most powerful and original images in the Wildwood tarot. It is the depiction of the 20th trump as the Great Bear. In older decks, this is called Judgment and sometimes shows the dead rising from their graves. Aleister Crowley didn't care for the Christian eschatological reference and renamed it the Aion in his Thoth deck. My personal name for Trump XX is "Showtime!"
     I love the Wildwood image. It makes me think of something being called up from the dark places of wisdom, and of the bear rising from winter hibernation. Between two ancient yew trees, we see the mouth of a passage tomb. A fierce white bear stands guard, holding the space for the one who will rise through death and rebirth. The constellation of Ursa Major, the Great Bear, shines in the sky, suggesting that the cave initiation can carry you to the stars. There is no judgment here, in the old moralistic or theological sense - rather, the promise of rising into an expanded, superabundant life. Showtime!


Sal Ruiz said...

I see it that a judgement has been dispensed in your favor - a new opening for you has been given. Something solid - or SHOWTIME!

Justin Patrick Moore said...

It is definitely true that the journey into the Underworld itself leads to the Stars!

As you mentioned yesterday my affinity with Celtic lore, I also have an affinity with Egyptian lore. The Thoth deck has this, but is wrapped up in Crowley's religious-philosophy of Thelema. Do you suggest any other decks that have an Egyptian theme? I had a dream about Serapis the night before last so it's on my mind. And I know you have at least 20 tarot decks.


Robert Moss said...

Justin - As you know, the legend that tarot originates in ancient Egypt is chickenfeed, the fantasy of 19th century French occultists Court de Gebelin and Paul Christian. Of course there's no harm in drawing from different traditions. I've received good reviews from veteran tarot readers of two Egyptian-themed decks - Nefertari’s Tarot by Silvia Alasia (Lo Scarabeo) and Ancient Egyptian Tarot by Clive Barrett - but can't vouch for these personally. I had interesting experiences many years back with the Book of Doors, not a tarot but a 65-card oracle deck by Athon Veggi & Alison Davidson that draws from very primal levels of ancient Egyptian religion and symbolsim.

Justin Patrick Moore said...

Thanks for these leads Robert. I appreciate the time you took to round them up!