Sunday, May 7, 2017

This Week's Writerly Tarot: The King of Cups

First, a confession.

I cannot look at the King of Cups as depicted in the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot and not think of Q, the almost-omniscient troublemaker on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Something about that weird hat crown. And the whale-tail throne floating in the middle of the ocean. And the blue dress. And the necklace with the fish amulet, which is not something Q wore, but only because he hadn't thought about it yet, I am sure.

Because let's face it, the King of Cups is an odd combination of traits. He's one of the court cards, tricky devils when it comes to interpretation because they can represent the querent (the person getting the reading), a person in the querent's life, or some manifestation of the energy of their suit. So if he shows up, he could be you, or somebody else, or some kind of kingly presence.

The Cups themselves are also notoriously hard to pin down. Like the watery element they spring from, they are always ebbing and rising, flowing and switching course, in a perpetual state of constant change (ponder that paradoxical concept a moment). They transform and are transformed in continual movement, only temporarily contained. The King of Cups represents that dynamic, especially its emotional power. The Cups are the suit of the heart, after all, and this King is deeply in touch with feelings of all kinds, especially compassion and love.

This contradicts with the outwardly-focused, actively-engaged nature of Kings. Masculine cards are direct, linear, and somewhat relentless in their drive forwardinterior work is not their forte. And yet here is the King of Cups representing just that.

Also, you must understand that in the tarot, concepts like masculine and feminine have nothing to do with genderthey simple describe ways of being in the world by creating two poles on a continuum. So Kings don't always refer to men, and even when they do, they don't always reference the "manliness" of said men.

In summary, be on the lookout for the King of Cups this week. He'll beto quote Suzanne Vega's "Left of Center""in the outskirts/ in the fringes/ in the corner/off of the strip." He may be disguised, deliberately unassuming or delightfully outrageous. He may be in your own heart, or sitting next to you on the bus. He may be a she, or an it, both or neither. And he'll have a message for you.

What does this have to do with writing? you say. Excellent question. You should probably ask this King when he appears. He may answer with a riddle. But he'll always answer. Guaranteed.

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