CLOUDS you will die

Placement: The Obscure Arcana

Description: As it does with Wheel of Fortune and The World cards, Clouds features the four symbols of the Evangelists, known as the Tetramorph: The winged ox, the winged lion, the winged man, and the eagle with opposable thumbs. According to legend, they took a long nap after their involvement in the Major Arcana, and when the illustrators returned to paint their portraits for the Clouds card, the Tetramorph remained in their slumber.

“Five minutes more,” groaned Matthew’s winged man, his eyes still closed.

In the middle of the card the biblical Jacob was meant to be climbing his famous ladder to heaven. After waiting patiently for far too long, he eventually slipped off to his trailer to apparently continue knitting a coat for his son.

The Evangelists themselves were eventually called to wake their symbolic creatures, but Matthew’s card was stolen and he had to sort it out at the bank, Mark was on vacation in Venice, Luke was in the middle of performing surgery* and John was in a gaming tournament,** competing against the Greek goddess Artemis.

In a final effort, the illustrators summoned Ursa Minor, the little bear of the stars, whose terrible love forces care on all who look upon it. The Tetramorphs’ eyes were closed, however, and so Ursa Minor was unsuccessful.


Right side up:

This card upright may indicate lazyness, but it may also indicate an honest inability to stay focused even with the best intentions. You might forget to set your clock, or you might perhaps sleep through the alarm. Speeding more quickly towards your work or school, before you are fully awake, may (and probably will) result in some form of grizzly death. Slow down, and yet do not slow down excessively. Your sloth today is the reason for your tardiness. As with many cards, especially when card readers and card researchers run out of ideas, it indicates a need for “balance”.


Upside down:

Insomnia. Feeling, as they say, wired. You are neither truly asleep nor ever truly awake. After only a few days you may begin to hallucinate, and worry that your friends, lovers and colleagues are only barely suffering your presence. Do not handle heavy machinery, controversial internet fora, magic rings or nuclear missile launch codes.


*A corrective procedure such as a nose job or ear job but for the hand. Perhaps he was healing stigmatics.

**Classicists disagree as to whether the game was Chess, Discus, Mancala, Backgammon, Minoan Taurokathapsia, Squash, Jacks, Limbo, Cluedo, Zingtong, Tiddlywinks, Pong, Stella Ella Ola, Snakes and Ladders, Cops and Robbers, Dreidel, Vampire: The Masquerade, Magic: The Gathering, Bigfoot: The Wreckage, Capture the Flag, End of the Universe, Kill Dr. Lucky, Cripple Mr. Onion, Hungry Hungry Hippos, What Time Is It Mr. Wolf?, Never Had I Ever, Doctor or Exploding Kittens. All agree that Scrabble was out of the question.


Classic Clouds deaths:

  • Slippery ladder
  • Air pollution
  • Smelling that which you hath dealt
  • Dung of ox, lion, eagle or man, falling from a great enough height
  • Living the dream, dying in reality