A “Temporal Focus” Example Reading: Roe vs Wade

I’m going to preface my interpretation by saying that on one hand I’m a small-government “Libertarian sympathizer” and a firm believer in “States’ Rights” as originally intended by the framers of the Constitution, while on the other hand (at least in the purely mystical sense of the soul’s delayed entry into the body, which doesn’t receive it until a certain level of pre-natal development is reached) I have no real problem with early-term abortion (emphasis on “early”). I’m also staunchly nonreligious and have no strong opinions about the recent Supreme Court decision on the fate of Roe vs. Wade. (I’m fortunate to dwell in the reasonably moderate, well-governed, clear-eyed and levelheaded State of New Hampshire, whose Governor has stated that abortion services will still be available up to 24 weeks – stretching it a bit, methinks – despite the ruling.) The whole thing reminds me not-at-all humorously of the Monty Python “budgie” sketch, in which they envisioned “huge, evil-smelling flocks of soiled budgies flying out of people’s lavatories, infringing their personal freedoms;” the “swamp” in Washington begins to stink of “cesspool” and the tainted “budgies” (aka politicians) are running amok. The point of fact is, whose personal freedom is being infringed, the mother’s (who arguably should have known better, but we don’t always act intelligently in our own best interests) or that of the “accidental” embryo? The debate degenerates into one of whether the latter is merely a mindless lump of protoplasm or an emerging human being, and if the second case pertains, when does the transition to “person-hood” occur? We pride ourselves on being “the highest form of life on the planet,” although that claim doesn’t always hold up when we are too enslaved by our appetites and too dismissive of the consequences. But my purpose here isn’t to moralize.

I did a reading on the subject using my new “temporal focus” spread to explore long-range consequences of the Court’s ruling from both a “direct” individual viewpoint (not mine but that of the affected demographic on both sides of the issue) and an “indirect” social perspective. For the most part I’m reading this as two concurrent developmental “arcs” in the situation with minor allusions to aspects of the timeline and the mutual attunement of cards in the spread. I will also note that I consider the suits of Wands (Fire) and Cups (Water) to be more liberally emphatic and empathetic in outlook, respectively, and those of Swords (Air) and Pentacles (Earth) to express more critically conservative and pragmatic values. I used Brian Williams’ brilliant Post-Modern (aka “PoMo”) Tarot due to the sharp sociological commentary it provides. Williams changed the suit names to Guns (Air), Bottles (Water), TVs (Fire) and Bills or Money (Earth); I part company with him in considering Guns (gunpowder and “gunfire” in general) to be more of the volatile nature of Fire and TVs (transmission over the “airwaves”) to relate more precisely to the rational, communicative qualities of Air.

I deliberately selected Trump XX, Judgement (called “The End” in this deck) as the “Situation” card since the Court’s decision should turn out to be an epochal one. The “Direct Circumstances and Events” arc includes the Five of Guns (Wands, titled “Strife” in esoteric decks); TV Boy (Knight or Prince of Swords) reversed; Ace of TVs (Swords); Ten of Bills (Pentacles); and Eight of Bills (Pentacles). The “Indirect Circumstances and Events” arc includes the Six of Bottles (Cups); Night (The Moon); Idiot (the Fool); the Four of Bills (Pentacles) reversed; and Just Desserts (Justice).

The Five of Guns in the Distant Past position of the “Direct” arc is a clear indication that there has been fierce contention over Roe vs. Wade ever since its enactment. Of all the cards in this arc, the Five of Wands agrees most closely with the “Primal Fire” correspondence of Judgement, suggesting that it was only a matter of time before something dramatic “broke” in the situation.

TV Boy reversed in the Recent Past position implies growing disaffection over the status quo among the law’s detractors and uneasiness among its proponents. It could mean ill-considered judicial insensitivity on one side and perhaps thoughts of “running for the exit” – or a more liberal State – on the other.

The Ace of TVs in the Present position reflects that the majority of Justices believe they have reached the most rational conclusion on the subject. It also denotes the application of “first principles” when invoking the Constitution.

The Ten of Bills (Near Future) and the Eight of Bills (Distant Future) convey a sense that the Court is “playing to the American heartland” in its verdict (cloaked in the guise of a point of constitutional law). Although the Grant-Wood-inspired Midwestern rustics in the Eight of Bills are poker-faced, one can almost feel their sober satisfaction that justice as they see it has been served. The Ten of Bills also highlights the practical difficulties (financial and otherwise) that could be encountered in the near term by those living in States that forbid or severely restrict abortion. (Just today I added “staying the course” to my interpretive vocabulary for this card, which – barring other intervention – the Court’s decision will force them to do.) Relating this last card of the Minor Arcana to Judgement could very well mean “the end of the world as we know it.”

Although it isn’t shown in the photo, the “quintessence” calculation for this series (using my normal practice of subtracting reversed-card values) yields the Hanged Man (5 + [-12] +1 + 10 + 8 = 12), which symbolizes the plight of women who are being pushed “out on a limb” by the Court’s action; “hung out to dry” and “twisting in the wind” are other pertinent analogies.

The Six of Bottles in the Distant Past position of the Indirect arc suggests that women had pretty much what they wanted in the era leading up to the Court’s protracted deliberations on the issue of abortion.

The Moon in the Recent Past shows that uncertainty surrounded the sustainability of the status quo, and that the outcome was shrouded in doubt. Women’s “personal freedoms” were rendered vulnerable.

The Fool in the Present is the planetary card of Pluto in some esoteric systems, auguring profound social unrest and upheaval of seismic proportions. (The “Idiot” looks like he’s jeering at the three women to the left.) It might also reflect widespread public sentiment about the Court’s ruling. Of these five cards, the Fool and Justice (two elemental Air cards) are most closely attuned to the combustible nature of Judgement, adding fuel to the fire as they usher in a new era.

The single word that comes to mind with the Four of Bills reversed in the Near Future position is “disenfranchisement;” nothing more needs to be said.

Justice in the Distant Future position can only mean that this isn’t over for the more committed members of the disenfranchised population. But it could also mean that the Court is simply saying “suck it up,” which could lead to the same kind of sociopolitical donnybrook. Outbreaks of violent protest would not surprise me since any excuse seems to be sufficient for that response these days.

The “quintessence” card for this series is the Wheel of Fortune (6 + 18 + 0 + [-4] + 8 = 28; 2 + 8 = 10), suggesting that radical dissenters will take their chances in pushing aggressively for further change. But the jury is out regarding the likelihood of success; the Wheel of transformative cause-and-effect could “steamroller” them as easily as carry them to glory.

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