So people have been calling this the iChing, but it’s not. It’s iTarot. And you can play, too! All you need is iTunes (or, I guess, some other sort of digital music application).
This is what you do:
- Think of a question (for illustrative purposes, I’m thinking "Will I finish and sell my novel?").
- Find a Tarot spread that you like (I’m boring, so I stick with the Celtic Cross).
- Write down the numbers of the cards in the spread and what each signifies. For the Celtic Cross, this is how it works (stolen very blatantly from Preposterous Universe):
- The Covering: The important events, issues, attitudes or influences around the question or current situation
- The Crossing: Current obstacles, problems, conflicts and opposition that the questioner must deal with
- The Crown: The best that can be achieved or attained from current circumstances
- The Root: Past events or influences that have played an important part in bringing about the current situation
- The Past: Events or influences from the more recent past that have influenced the present but are now passing away
- The Future: Future events and fresh influences about to come into play that will operate in the near future
- The Questioner: The questioner’s attitude and how they relate to the current situation
- The House: How other people around the questioner affect and view matters in hand
- The Inside: The questioner’s hopes, fears and expectations with regard to the question or the current situation
- The Outcome: The eventual outcome of events shown by the other cards
- Put your iPod (or iTunes) on Shuffle. Make it start playing a random song. Write that song down in position #1.
- Repeat for the next nine cards in the spread.
Woo-hoo! You now have a guaran-damn-teed peek into your future… set to music! And, since it’s up to interpretation, no one can say it is or isn’t valid. Well, I say it’s valid. So it is.
Here’s my result…
WILL I FINISH AND SELL MY BOOK? (this is "a"
fantasy novel, but it’s not "the" fantasy novel, i.e., the one I went
to Silverton to "finish")
The Covering: Rufus Wainwright, "Movies of Myself"–a song about looking for a reason, a purpose, a drive to do something.
The Crossing: Gorillaz, "Fire
Coming Out of the Monkey’s Head"–a song wherein camouflaged "strange
folk" come to the island of the Happy Folk and destroy their dreams and
The Crown: Van Morrison &
the Chieftains, "Celtic Ray"–"Ireland, Scotland, Brittany, Wales, I
can hear those ancient voices calling ‘Children, children, children!’ "
The Root: The Ranch Girls,
"City Boy"–the seductive glamour of the "city boy" lures a simple girl
away from her cornfed sweetie at the big barn dance.
The Past: The White Stripes,
"Little Room"–"When you’re in your little room and you’re working on
something good/But if it’s really good, you’re gonna need a bigger
room/And when you’re in that bigger room/You might not know what to
do/You might have to think of how you got started sitting in your
little room" …this song is my favorite statement on creativity Ev.Ar.
The Future: Belle &
Sebastian, "It Could Have Been a Brilliant Career"–hmmm, that does not
sound good. I didn’t have a "stroke at the age of 24," though, so maybe
I’ve dodged the bullet.
The Questioner: Max Raabe, "Lady Marmalade." Really, tell me… voulez-vous couchez avec moi ce soir?
The House: They Might Be Giants, "Snowball in Hell."–Inspired nonsense, truly…
The Inside: Mos Def, "Got."–"Don’t get mad, don’t get mad, don’t g-g-g-g-g-get mad." ‘K, Mos, I won’t.
The Outcome: No Doubt, "Happy Now?" The hell is this supposed to mean?
‘K, so as far as I can see it: I want to finish and sell to give
myself a sense of purpose, to validate myself as a Real Writer. The
articles, special issues, etc., apparently haven’t cut it yet, and I’m
still trying to prove me to me. But the "strange folk," who in the song
represent typical capitalist/imperialist forces, are giving me
self-doubt. I shouldn’t be spending time working on something for which
I have no guarantee of getting paid; I should concentrate on the stuff
I know I can sell. ‘Cause my family has this irrational love of eating
and sleeping inside. Ultimately, were I to sell this book and get a
contract for many more, I could fulfill my lifelong dream of moving to
Wales (or Ireland, or Brittany, or heck, whatever).
At the root
of this issue is my desire to be different, to transcend what is right
and proper and expected, to make something of myself. Or to get knocked
up in the back of a Dodge Charger, I’m not sure which. In the recent
past are a series of minor successes which, though rewarding in
themselves, threaten to make me forget what it was like to be "lean ‘n’
hungry." (This is also known as "Guns’n’Roses syndrome.") And in the
immediate future will be forces that distract me from the book,
possibly leading me toward more lucrative but less ultimately
personally fulfilling thangs. (What’s funny is that I know exactly to
what this could be said to refer, but I can’t tell you. Neener neener.)
The questioner–that’s me–is a big ol’ ho. OK. Next card.
Those around me see me as lazy and easily distracted by silly trivia
(such as writing a novel, or, heck, writing this extreeeeeemely long
blog post.) Fair ’nuff.
My hopes, fears and expectations, whatever they are, could be derailed and undone by my mercurial temperament.
Conclusion seems to suggest going off on one’s own to enjoy one’s
selfish pleasures, yet ultimately abandoning all that is good and
loving and snuggly. Heck, I think I’ll stick with good and loving and
snuggly if it comes down to it…
So there we are. A half-hour exercise in time wasted and futures
nominally explored. Try this fun experiment for yourself & let me
know what you come up with…
(off to try it again with different songs… I’m hoping to get "We
are the Champions" for my Outcome, but that would involve actually
having Queen on my iPod…)
Edit: it has been brought to my attention that I need to tag
somebody. OK. I’m tagging Elizabeth, Jennifer Lynn (Moody) and Angi.
Hop to it, ladies!