As a break from Thelema studies I decided to do a simple three card spread with the 1780 Giocomo Zoni deck, published as the Ancient Tarot of Bologna by Lo Scarabeo (again, I have removed the borders so that the cards merge more during readings). No deciphering of symbolism, no so-called traditional meanings, just seeing whether the rhythms and patterns and numbers give any insight into where I am right now. I like to do this every now and then, just see where the rhythms, lines, echoes and interaction take me. It’s a good exercise, just seeing where the eye is led and what it might mean. So I shuffled the cards and drew the following;
First thing I noticed (apart from the absence of picture cards; fear not these pip-only spreads!) was how we have here a diminishing sequence of odd (as opposed to even) numbers. Interesting sequence, and how the Ace of Coin is a kind of magnified version of the middle Coin in the 5 of Coins. As if it has passed through the prism of the crossed Batons. It looks magnified but when we look at the diminishing sequence of 5-3-1, it could equally be the stripping off of excess. In fact, that is how I see this sequence of cards, as if we strip away and come to the kernel, the essence of the Ace. Treating the Batons/Wands as the element fire, it is as if fire has alchemically distilled something to its essence. My holidays are iminent. I see this sequence as a kind of winding down, progressive reduction of energies until there is – at last – time for me. I am that Ace in all its decorative glory! Also interesting to note how the 5 of Coins arrangment echoes the 3 of batons as if it were a join-the-dots version.
Just looking at the middle strip of the cards (dividing each card into three; I am imagining the middle strip), I also like how we have “closed” foliage around the central coin of the 5 of Coins, then we have the “open” foliage and crossed blue bands of the 3 of Batons and then the richly decorated Ace. There is a definite progression of sorts. I was reminded of Enrique Enriquez’ essay on number cards;
“Chance will make sure we won´t always get our cards in order. That’s why we must look at our cards and detect a rhythm in the sequence. We look for the rhythm while disregarding which symbols we get. The progression in the cards that shows up in a given reading will either be getting more intense, or they will be getting less intense. That way we know if the rhythm is expanding, or if the rhythm is contracting. Usually we would think that expansive rhythms are good news and contractive rhythms are bad news, but in truth that would depend on the question we are asking.”
Here is a case where contractive rhythms makes sense; an aproaching holiday and stepping down of energies, a focus back on self. So often when we start reading with non-scenic decks, we worry about getting pip only sequences, but there is always so much to focus on. I have been thinking about how uncluttered this sequence is. I do not miss having a major or a Court card to give personality. The numbers and rhythms tell me everything.