Red Russia

By: Tanya Thompson

The Priestess

In the center of the action is Death. He appears as an oak red skeleton with a scythe. His bones are twisted in impossible directions and he is cutting a path through the waters of creation. He could best be described as running amok.

I am pleased to see him. It’s the first time I have drawn the card and his location puts him at the heart of everything that is about to happen.

Honestly, I don’t know why I do it: shuffle the cards right over left, cut the deck three times, and then think I can divine the future from the Tarot.

I call myself agnostic, but I’m more like an atheist; though admittedly, an atheist who pays respect to religion. I’m both a skeptic and an optimist, a cynic and an idealist. I rely on reason yet I am superstitious. It makes no sense, I know, but there it is nonetheless.

The Death card is welcome because Death signifies change. Here in the center it means nothing will be spared. Change is going to affect the past, which is revealed in the two cards to the right. It will influence the future, which lies in the cards to the left. There will be alterations in the subconscious mind which can be seen in the cards just below Death, and above Death is the conscious mind with its goals and aspirations.

All of it is going to end. A major event is on the horizon.

The immediate past is the Four of Coins. I have come to resent this card. It is stability. It is financial certainty. It is the starter mansion in the suburbs, 401(k), hedge funds, life insurance, and the threat of procreation which will result in school runs, crayon art, and an abrupt end to sexy Halloween.

Beside the Four of Coins is the Prince of Coins. This is the bastard responsible for all the high-walled private-gated security. God, he is boring. All the Coins are, but the Prince is particularly tedious. Not yet a king, he is always striving upward, forever seeking new wealth, greater conquests, proving his worth by adding new stones to his fortress, as though the thick walls of prosperity might make him invulnerable.

The Prince has forgotten that Death has no time to lay siege. Death doesn’t recognize walls or wealth or fancy titles like prince, president, or CEO. Death has his own agenda, and Death is going to ensure we won’t have to deal with the Prince of Coins for much longer.

The Prince is going to be surprised to learn his fortress is not as stable as he thinks. Discontent has been working at the foundation for some time. You can see it in the subconscious. There’s a dark pit of hell forming in the cellar. The Ten of Wands sits beside the Seven of Swords: every attempt to escape has been suppressed; every action is futile. The situation down below is dire.

The conscious mind wants to be free of the oppression, and the presence of the Queen of Swords indicates freedom may be gained through violence. This queen is prone to cut people’s heads off. Of all the women you don’t want to cross, it’s her. The solution to every crisis is a swift execution. Her weapon of choice is a sword, but beside her is the Two of Wands. Things are going to get messy. The wands are clubs, blunt weapons that bludgeon and crush, and it is with this primitive instrument she will act.

To the left of Death is the future. The cards are the Devil and the Moon.

The deck holds such cards as the Lovers and Lust, but no card is more sensual than the Devil. In the Crowley deck, he appears as the god Pan. Behind him is a phallus that rises majestically up until it pierces heaven. There is no sin in the Devil. He is not evil. What he signifies in the Tarot is carnal energy at its purest.

The Devil alone is nothing to fear, but each card in a spread is defined by the card beside it. If you see the Tower and the Sun together, it means someone is going to die, but pair the Sun with any ace and it’s the start of something marvelous. Find the Lovers with the Nine of Swords and you can expect a divorce, but the Nine of Swords beside the Ten of Wands is rape.

To discover the Devil and Death in the same spread is momentous. But the Devil paired with the Moon speaks of dark deeds. It foreshadows secrets, depravity, and midnight treachery.

That the two of them have been set loose by Death is nothing short of sinister.

The Empress

The Prince of Coins is coming home early from work. He doesn’t know I call him such, and honestly he’d be insulted because he thinks he’s the king.