My Yule Opening of the Key: The Third Operation

This is the third installment in my series about the Opening of the Key reading I did for myself at Yule. You can catch up on parts 1 and 2 here and here, respectively. Here, we’re looking at the third operation of the reading. This involves dividing the deck up into twelve piles based on the twelve signs of the Zodiac. In the previous readings, we identified the locus of the problem as focused on elemental water and the First House: I’ve been struggling a lot with the emotional weight of grief over my father’s death, which colors my general perception of myself, my overall state of well-being and most other areas of my life. We’ve seen that while I do have genuine problems in my work life and elsewhere, these problems are made to seem worse than they are by the grief lingering in the background.

The Third Operation.

We divide the deck into twelve piles and then look at the top card on each pile, to get a sense of how the themes of the twelve signs are manifesting. Starting with Aries, we get:

  • Aries: Two of Wands (Dominion)
  • Taurus: Nine of Pentacles (Gain)
  • Gemini: Two of Swords (Peace)
  • Cancer: Eight of Cups (Indolence)
  • Leo: The Universe
  • Virgo: Four of Wands (Completion)
  • Libra: The Magus
  • Scorpio: Three of Pentacles (Works)
  • Sagittarius: The Chariot
  • Capricorn: Adjustment
  • Aquarius: The Tower
  • Pisces: The Hermit

The thing I notice immediately here is the reappearance of the Eight of Cups, which ruled the First House in the second operation of the reading. Because the First House contained my significator in the second operation and proved to be the focus of the reading, the reappearance of that card is particularly significant here. If I had to bet money, I’d say my significator is likely to appear in that pile again—putting it under the domain of the sign Cancer.

We have a couple of other repeat cards, but nothing as significant as the Eight of Cups: Adjustment was my card for elemental earth in the first operation, and we did see the Three of Pentacles in the first operation as well, but neither was significant to the reading.

Looking through the piles, I find confirmation that my significator was, indeed, in the Cancer pile underneath the Eight of Cups. Looks like indolence is the name of the game, and the Eight of Cups is a defining theme for the reading as a whole, not just for the second operation. In the Thoth system, this card is about stagnation, being stuck, idleness and immobility. It’s like the Four of Cups on steroids. And emotionally, that’s very much the place I’ve been.

The Cancer pile.

What’s more, it’s unsurprising to see Cancer here. First off, we saw in the first operation that the subject of the reading is elemental water; it’s about emotions. No surprise, then, that our Zodiac sign should be a water sign, and moreover that it’s the sign that’s famous for feeling deeply and closing itself off because it’s so easily wounded. Cancer builds walls to protect itself, but then feels trapped behind those walls. Where I am in my life right now, both with grief and with my ongoing work struggles, is exactly that feeling of being trapped by decisions I made for my own self-preservation. With grief, I have a lot of regret over the way things ended between my father and me; when he died, he hadn’t spoken to me in over a year. But at the same time, the decisions I made which had alienated him (mostly being openly angry at his homophobia, racism, and devout Trumpism) are decisions that I had to make; I couldn’t have done otherwise and survived. Likewise with work: I’m stuck in a dissertation project that I’m fed up with, working with an adviser who could not be more negligent—but looking back, it feels like many of the decisions that brought me here were sort of inevitable. Now, I’m faced with the emotional ramifications of those past choices, and trying to stare them down in a way that makes me feel less trapped and more free.

The cards in the Cancer pile of this reading are:

  • Ten of Swords (Ruin)
  • Ten of Pentacles (Wealth)
  • Art
  • The Fool
  • Queen of Cups
  • Ace of Wands
  • Eight of Cups (Indolence)

Aside from the Eight of Cups, we also see a repeat of Art, which was a significant card in the second operation. The Ten of Swords and Ten of Pentacles both played minor roles in the second operation, and the Queen of Cups has appeared now in all three operations. Doing our card counting to pull out the most significant cards from the reading, we get:

After card counting.

The Fool, between Art and the Queen of Cups

The Ace of Wands, between the Queen of Cups and the Eight of Cups

The story here is short and straightforward. The Fool (me) is looking to revitalize his passion and creativity (Art), and can only do so with the aid of an outsider (the Queen of Cups). Through her, his passion (Ace of Wands) is reignited and triumphs over indolence. The reappearance of art answers the question asked by the second operation: Yes, I can overcome my current challenges through creativity and passion, I just need a little help. The Queen of Cups has been present throughout our OOTK, but only now is she coming to prominence. She’s already in my vicinity, but I have to seek her out and ask for her help in order to get out of this funk.

We finish the operation, as always, by pairing off the cards together to interpret them. This gives:

  • Ten of Swords (Ruin) and Eight of Cups (Indolence)
  • Ten of Pentacles (Wealth) and Ace of Wands
  • Art and Queen of Cups
  • The Fool

There’s really nothing new here; this just reinforces what we’ve already seen in this operation. I’m currently in a place where I feel ruined and incapable of moving forward. I have to move forward, particularly in my work life, and doing so requires a spark of creative passion. That passion, in turn, is found through the assistance of the Queen of Cups, and seeking out that assistance brings me back to myself (the Fool).

Next week, we’ll look at the fourth operation of this reading. The fourth operation is always a doozy and is very heavy on the card pairings, but it’s the place where we refine a lot of the information from the first three operations and start to get some more concrete answers (although of course, the real answer won’t come until the fifth and final operation). Have a great weekend, for those who are following along with this series, and I’ll talk to all of you soon.

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