wyld_dandelyon (wyld_dandelyon) wrote,

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It's not bad for things to be mysterious

I wrote a bit for patreon, released first to my patrons, but set to become public after a while. Now I'm putting it here because I'd love some conversation about the things I was musing about.

If you want to see things like this or excerpts from works in progress, you could follow (or even properly join) my patreon.


I’ve been reading Tarot cards for a very long time, but the Tarot is still mysterious to me. It seems to work—but how? I’ve done readings for so many people who say the reading was spot-on, people I know, people I don’t, people online and far away. But it’s more than that. I’ve done readings in LARPs and role-playing games too, in character, and the reading proved accurate for the character (and not the player).

A character has no physical presence in the world, except insofar as it is embodied by the player or writer. If one follows the theory that someone’s aura, their physical or mystical presence, somehow interacts with the world, that would imply that characters, even casually created characters that have only been imagined for hours or days, still have a mystical presence that is strong enough to interact with the cards’ mystical presence.

It seems even more mysterious to me when I’m drawing cards for a story, where all the characters are only in my head (or some other writer's head) until words flow through fingertips onto the screen or page. I mean, if even their creator doesn’t know what the plot is or who these imaginary people are, how can the cards possibly interact with their mystical presence?

Yet I get good readings when I use the cards as prompts for stories, or for plot points in a story that’s stuck, and I've also had other people tell me they found readings I gave them were helpful

Doing readings over the internet also means the people I’m interacting with aren’t there to physically interact with the cards. How does this mystical presence thing work when there are hundreds or thousands of miles between the cards and the querant? If it’s a mystical presence thing at all.

Another theory, of course, is that the cards are truly random, and any meaning is created by the human mind. With that theory, it’s easy to explain why the cards work for writing: I’m using the cards to get me thinking, like any other set of prompts. Which doesn’t explain why the cards work better for me than a random plot or random character generator. I suppose that could just be that I’m more inspired by pretty pictures, or that the symbolism on the cards I use works for me.

That theory might explain how I can do accurate (or at least accurate-seeming) readings in person for people I know. My mind can, in theory, create meaning because I know the querant or because I can read their reactions as I talk.

It’s not a convincing explanation for how I personally do readings in person for strangers, especially since I’m not particularly good at picking up on body language, and when I started doing readings (and having them pronounced accurate) I was pretty abysmal at it. Not the cards, I was abysmal at reading people. That theory also doesn’t explain how I can do accurate readings for strangers over the internet.

Like I said, it’s mysterious.

The scientist in me is frustrated by the lack of explanations. The mystic in me, however, finds the lack of explanation, the fundamental mystery of it, quite satisfying. It says to the rest of me that we are finite beings in an infinite world. There should be things we don’t understand.

My approach to fantasy is like that too. The scientist in me wants to understand how magic works, and why, and for it to be predictable. But still, when reading or writing, I’m more drawn to the mysterious, the unexplained, sometimes even the unexplainable. Maybe especially the unexplainable. I find magic in stories most satisfying when there’s a lot of wonder, and very little “game mechanics.” Or to put it another way, when it feels magical.

And never mind that that other side of me never stops trying to find the explanations. Or maybe that’s a part of the attraction? Here’s a thing I don’t know yet. How can I not want to get to know it better, to find it in the wild (even if just in the wilds of my own imagination) and try to tame it?

Is it a kitten or a lion cub or something totally unexpected? With time, persistence, and patience, perhaps I’ll find out.

This entry was originally posted at https://wyld-dandelyon.dreamwidth.org/454177.html. Be welcome to comment wherever you prefer, but be warned that LJ has not, under the new management, been sending me notifications of comments. I will check LJ periodically, but life being what it is, commenting on DW will likely get you a faster response.
Tags: life, tarot, writing

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