I shuffled the cards – with time i became quite proficient at it, like a croupier with years of experience, who mixes the cards with a practiced hand, flipping them and ripping them from one hand to another. I pulled two cards and laid them down – face up…
The Pope and the Devil, what a pair! The latter is familiar to me, i see him as my own sparring partner, a personal trainer if you will, an opponent i chose to train my will power and physical endurance; but the role of the Pope in my life is not clear.I am looking at the cards, the stocky Pope in luxurious robes lounges comfortably on his throne, two priests with shaved heads are kneeling before him, the Pope’s left hand is hovering over them, the index and middle fingers extended while the others are pointing downwards – this is a sign of blessing, I guess, but it reminds me of children’s play of shadows – the fingers are placed the same way as on child’s hands when he wants to cast the devil on the wall;
the Pope’s head seems to be weighted down by the golden crown above which the Roman numeral five is impressed – number five is the number of the Pope in a tarot deck- and it looks like a naughty child has put up rabbit ears at the moment when the picture was taken, but so that the Pope doesn’t notice it.In his left hand, significantly larger than the right, the Pope is holding a crosier, a symbol of his sacred power, and on the left forearm, quite heretically, he has a tattoo of a Greek cross, while his gaze is directed to the left, at the devil.
Unlike the Pope, who is looking away, the Devil looks at me straight in the eye while standing on his throne – i reckon he is standing because he is bored of being seated – the Pope is eventually replaced by another, but Satan has been on his throne since the beginning of time, without fear of being replaced (although they say that there were pretenders to the devil’s throne), he sat long enough and had decided, for a change, to stand for some time;
two naked followers are chained to it and all three are wearing little hats decorated with plumes, the Devil has wings and is holding a sword in his left hand, while his right hand is waving in greeting – Devil’s business.
The Devil’s number is fifteen, the engraving consists of Roman ten and a slanting five – identical to the Pope’s ; the Roman ten, without five, is the number of another card – the Wheel of Fortune, which some claim represents God’s will, but it did not come out in this reading.
I think of two priests who knelt before the pope, one of them has something that looks like bishop’s hat slung over his shoulder, his arms are outstretched in surrender; i wonder how strong his faith is and what is it based on, is there anything personal in it, a personal experience and opinion, or he blindly believes the man hovering over him, the one whom he believes to be God’s representative on earth?
The manner in which the bishop, with his back to us, is hunched over the Pope’s skirts (Pope himself continues to look away) leads me to the thought that Sigmund Freud – who described human religious drive as pure sublimation of sexual libido – was perhaps not so far from the truth…
an excerpt from my novelette “Teshuva” (Katedrala, 2010);
Copyright © 2010 Lena Ruth Stefanovic
All Rights Reserved
All Rights Reserved
TAROT KOAN by genius Enrique Enriquez – the wizard of Tarot of Marseilles and professor of the language of the birds http://tarology.wordpress.com/