And So It Begins

I hate beginnings.

I hate that moment at the start of a new project when I have to consecrate it, to name it, to finally take the beautiful, completed masterpiece I have in my head and translate it to a sloppy, material work in progress. It’s so disheartening to remember that I’m not yet at that glorious stage of completion I’ve dreamed about for so long, and that before I can ever hope to get there, I have to slog through all the hard work of actually making it happen.

That’s why I don’t paint. I never had the patience to work through the initial stages of it–sketching out the rough shapes, erasing them when I got something wrong, adding detail here and there–before I actually put a brush to paper. And then I would inevitably get frustrated that what I was making looked rudimentary and childish, not at all like the picture I had in my head. And I would abandon the project altogether.

That’s how I feel about this first post. I have so many ideas, so many beautiful plans for what this blog will look like once it’s actually alive, but I hate the messy process of bringing it to life. And no matter what I do, this first post is going to feel horribly insufficient, because it doesn’t look anything like the already-running blog I have fixed in my mind’s eye. I’m going to post this and then waste the rest of the day stewing over it, dissatisfied with what it looks like to have only one post on the entire blog.* And the same will be true of my second post, and my third, until I’m far enough along that these adolescent stages of bloggership are long-since buried in the archive, and I can just pretend that I’ve always been here. That I exist outside of time and never had to go through that most hated of processes, the beginning.

Ah, well. There’s no avoiding it, I suppose. It has to be done. But what can I possibly write about? What first post could possibly be sufficient to give a name and shape to Jack of Wands Tarot?

I sat with this for a while. I stewed. And then I decided to do for my blog what I do for vaguely Tarot-interested friends when I don’t have a deck handy. I calculated the name card and birth card for my little enterprise.

The Name Card

I don’t love doing this, because it’s so utterly dependent on our use of the Latin alphabet. Use any other alphabet (and therefore, a variety of other languages) and your name card changes completely. But hey, let’s go for it. Names have power, and I was interested to see how I had defined this blog in choosing the name that I did.

If you’re not familiar with the practice of calculating name cards, the basic idea is that you assign a card of the Major Arcana to a name, based on the letters of said name. To begin, assign a numerical value to every letter of the alphabet. The letter A is assigned to the number 1, B to 2, C to 3, and so on. You count all the way to 9, and then on the tenth letter (J), you start again at 1. J is 1, K is 2, L is 3.** Then, you take the letters of your name, convert them to their numerical values, and add them.

In the case of “Jack of Wands Tarot”, we get:
10+1+3+2+6+6+5+1+5+4+1+2+1+9+6+2=64

Now, if this sum was between 1 and 21,*** you’d stop here. If it’s not (as in our case), then you add the digits of the sum together to get a smaller number. 64 becomes 6+4, which (thanks to some handy-dandy first-grade math skills) comes out to 10.

So the name card of this blog is Key 10, the Wheel of Fortune.

(For the sake of brevity and to avoid boring any readers who have backgrounds in Tarot, I’m just going to assume you know what that card represents. If you don’t, I’ll stick a hyperlink in here to a page with a short description.)

That’s not a bad prospect, actually. Especially considering all that long-winded talk I had earlier about hating beginnings and wanting this blog to exist as if it were outside of time. No card in the deck represents that principle more for me than the Wheel. (Of course, the flipside of that is that the Wheel also carries with it the knowledge that everything we do is temporary and will pass away, but hey, I knew that when I first clicked the “sign up” button on WordPress.)

The Year Card

The principle of the year card is similar, except that it’s based on adding the numbers in your birthday. This blog’s “birthday” is the 11th of May, 2015. So we add:
11+5+2015=2031
2+0+3+1=6

There are other methods of doing it–some people will add up the individual digits of a birthday–but this is the one I prefer. And calculating it this way, this blog’s year card is Key 6, the Lovers.

Once again, I’m pleased with this card, especially in conjunction with the Wheel of Fortune. The lovers is about balance, perfect complements and finding fulfillment, and that’s certainly what I hope to get from running this blog. Looking at the astrological associations of the cards, there is a bit of an implicit warning, though: the Wheel of Fortune is Jupiter and the Lovers are Gemini. Jupiter in Gemini is the Eight of Swords, which carries with it the sense of being trapped. So, excited though I am about starting this project (or rather, about getting past the starting stage to the part where the blog is actually running), I need to remember not to let it become all-consuming. The combo of the Lovers and the Wheel is a reminder not to let the blogging turn into an obligation. The instant I stop feeling like I want to post here and start feeling like I have to, I’ve transitioned out of the balanced energy of the Lovers and into the confined, unpleasant space represented by the Eight of Swords.

And then as a final note, we can look at the sun sign of this blog based on its “birthday”. My little blog is a Taurus, and that carries with it a sense of stability and dedication that I certainly hope to bring to my work here and to any kind souls that deign to read what I’ve written.

The card that represents Taurus is Key 5, the Hierophant. And I have an extremely complicated relationship with this card, although that’s a subject for another post. Still, one of the key themes of this card is the establishment of community–breaking down the barriers of the individual psyche and reaching out to the shared knowledge of others. That’s certainly an admirable goal, and indeed, I’m hoping that this blog will be more than just me chucking my individual thoughts out into the void. I’m hoping to connect with other Tarot bloggers, to learn from them and to offer my own perspectives, and I see the Hierophant at the root of that desire.

I’m sorry if this post has been messy, unnecessarily complicated, boring, or for some other reason hard to follow. I’m new to this blogging thing. If there’s something I should change, you’re more than welcome to leave a comment down below and let me know. Otherwise, I’m just going to grit my teeth and try to keep up with this blog through the whole beginning thing. Hopefully, with this–unlike all my abortive childhood attempts at visual artistry–I’ll actually make it to the final product.


*But seriously, you understand, don’t you? It just looks wrong. So painfully empty.

**And then we start again with 1 on the 19th letter (T). You’re smart. You get the idea.

***22 by some counts. It depends on whether you want to include the Fool.

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7 thoughts on “And So It Begins

  1. I’ve really enjoyed your first post! So full of information and yet we get a sense of your personality! Looking forward for what’s next!

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  2. And yet, if you do work through those very uncomfortable initial stages of drawing and painting, you’ll find much joy.

    You know, it’s much like the confusion one finds when confronted with learning 78 cards (!!!) Holy smoke it takes a while until you are comfortable with it all. Same with art.

    Try a sketchbook? Relevant books (if not buying, remember the library, they might have one of these:

    1) An Illustrated Life by Danny Gregory

    2) Artist’s Journal Workshop by Cathy Johnson

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    1. Thanks for the recommendations. For now, I think I’ll let the artist within me die–he hasn’t had a chance to express himself since I was in kindergarten, and he’s so malnourished by this point that I doubt if he’d be able to pick up a pencil. But I appreciate the recommendations, and if inspiration ever strikes again, I’ll be sure to keep these sketchbooks in mind! Cathy Johnson’s book looks particularly interesting.

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