Today while at the Chicago Botanic Gardens, sitting on the terrace at Evening Island, I drew a card from the Jacques Vieville Tarot asking about my relationship with my novel.
I drew Le Pendu- The Hanged Man.
The first notable thing about the Vieville Hanged Man is that…he’s not hanging. The Vieville is a funny deck, full of little oddities like this. (At least I don’t do reversals with this deck! To reverse this Hanged Man is like a mystery inside an enigma wrapped in the plot of Inception.)
This Hanged Man makes me think of how being like the Hanged Man–one who is meditative, reflective, sacrificial–doesn’t always look as stoic and heroic as one would like. Here, his position is nonsensical and downright awkward. I mean, do hands even work that way? He’s not even upside-down, for god’s sake. This counterculture is not a counterculture we are familiar with. Ooh, sexy. Sometimes our actions cannot be understood by other people, but we still must do them.
It also makes me think of how sometimes when we make changes, we need to reverse those changes, but it doesn’t mean going back to our original form. The answer is often more complicated than that, and is there even a path back to original form? My book is about memory, and if I have learned anything about memory this past year, it is that the floor beneath us is a tempestous river, fluid but contained, as long as the dams hold.
There is a theory of memory popular these days that states that every time we recall a memory, we unconsciously alter it, changing it further and further from the truth like a childhood game of telephone. If this is true, then perhaps this Hanged Man encourages us not to dwell too much on our pasts. Find the narrative that works and stare it in the face, unblinking.
I’m reminded of a thing I said to Dan, while frustrated with his anxiety over our upcoming move. We cannot see the present as just a transition. We have a tendency to think of some times as transitional, but the reality is that we only have one life. It is not a series of starts and stops, but a continuous line that goes on until it ends. At every moment we need to be living the life we have instead of waiting for the future. That doesn’t mean to drop reflection, only to embrace meditation and purpose instead of navel-gazing.
Right now I am on hiatus from my novel. I am taking a break, to decompress and reevaluate. A very appropriate card to draw, and some interested added dimensions from this card’s presentation.