Head to the Sky

I’ve resumed reading Paul Marteau’s Tarot de Marseille book after a month’s hiatus and immediately encountered another interesting idea. He mentions that the Knight of Cups is bare-headed and therefore “he is directly receiving inspiration and support from Above.” In contrast, although Marteau doesn’t elaborate further, it struck me that those members of the tarot court sporting some kind of ceremonial headgear can only absorb the salutary vibration in a filtered and perhaps distorted way due to the encroachment of this pompous affectation and artifice (“Look at me! Don’t I look important?”), and thus aren’t able to appreciate the benediction in all its native glory and potency. The attitude of the Knight of Cups, on the other hand, is completely transparent, guileless and emotionally attuned to the source; we might say he’s a “natural.” I had to pull out one of my Conver decks to see how many of the “royals” are cut off from such cosmic spontaneity due to being too engrossed in mundane posturing.

In passing, I’m reminded of the folkloric belief that, before the cranial fontanels of very young children harden over with bone, their developing brains are able to receive telepathic (aka “psychic”) impressions directly from the spiritual overworld, which may impart intimations of past-life experience. I’ve mentioned before that my wife and I were once blindsided by an electrifying episode involving this assumption. Our son, when he was well past the point of ossification and just starting to talk coherently, began a conversation with “Last time when I was a girl . . .” When we reacted with encouragement to this remark, he clammed up and refused to explain it (maybe the “Akashic Gatekeeper” admonished him). Still, it was a remarkable exchange that offered convincing evidence for the existence of reincarnation.

Back to the court cards. It turns out that only the Cavalier de Coupe and the Valet de Coupe are free from gratuitous hattery. It almost seems that the rest are flaunting their haute couture as a demonstration of temporal prowess. They embrace “inspiration and support from Above” only to the extent that they can exploit it to their own secular advantage, often in the name of false piety. Admittedly, many of the males are wearing “soft hats,” which argues for their permeability as channels for “Divine” communication. But, aside from one reinforced helmet on the militant Cavalier d’Epee, there are plenty of pointy gold crowns that resemble transmitters more than receivers. These dignitaries know exactly who they are and they want us to know too in no uncertain terms, so they promote the exaggerated self-image of their high office through imposing emblematic vestments (and some spiffy lids). Mel Brooks knew the answer to this one: “It’s good to be the King!”

As an American, I have zero sympathy for sovereign pretensions, both historical and modern, preferring to echo the line from Monty Python’s “Bruce” sketch (aka the “Philosophers Song”): “. . . we don’t like stuck-up sticky-beaks here.” In my defense, my conservative father (a thoroughly reasonable man in most ways) had a powerful aversion to anyone wearing a hat in the house (possibly he thought we were thumbing our noses at familial values, or maybe it was just a religious aberration), and especially not at the dinner table (despite the common practice at many lowbrow restaurants in these nonchalant times). So I will continue to see tarot royalty as hobbled by their inability to “loosen up;” in practical reading terms, this can manifest as burdensome psychological or sociological complexes rather than as the presence of inflexible and overbearing people in the querent’s life.

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