Placement: The Obscure Arcana

Description: The interior of a dark and dense forest. There are no people. There is a suspicious lack of animals. What are they hiding from? Is there a predator on the loose? What’s that shadow? AAAAAAA!


Right side up:

If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise. If you go down to the woods today, you’d better go in disguise, for every bear that ever there was will gather there together because we have been encroaching upon their natural habitat and the wilderness hungers for vengeance.

You cannot see the forest for the trees. There is nothing wrong with your vision. A forest is a collective noun describing a large enough group of trees. If one could see collective nouns, the police would arrest crows for murder and we might assume that Guy Fawkes harboured a grudge against owls.*

No matter your age or charisma stat, you are a babe in the woods. The path is unclear or (more likely) nonexistent. Expect to find gingerbread houses, wolves in flannel nightdresses, and robin redbreasts who will painfully cover you with leaves when you die. These may be literal gingerbread houses, sleepy anthropomorphic wolves and avian undertakers, or they may be among your final fever-induced hallucinations before the your world darkens forever.

The Woods are a necessary hazard that ensures the health and life of the world. Not you, of course, but the world in general. You may be the human sacrifice that the trees swallow up as part of the compact between them and us in the time of the first cities, signed in the ashes of long dead stars,** in which case congratulations! You must feel proud of your accidental and likely messy part in maintaining our survival. Good for you.


Upside down:

You are not yet out of the woods, but unless your eyes are mistaken (see above) there is a clearing in the distance, which you hope is not merely a bog or quicksand or a pit of unfathomable depth. In all likelihood, it will be one of those three common threats, though there is a tiny gleam of hope that it may in fact be (knock on wood) the outskirts of a town.

The mystery and danger of a dark forest can be a blessing. Moments in the woods stay in the woods. They are nature’s Las Vegas, and just as bountiful.*** Never lose sight of the path and remember that in one form or another, the log cabin always wins.


*Guy Fawkes did not hate owls, despite having “parliament” as their collective noun. Ring-tailed lemurs, on the other hand…

**Given that everything we see and touch are fragments of celestial corpses, it could have been Red Bull for all today’s historians know.

***If one equates wild game, plant life, fresh water and oxygen with poker chips.


This is the final Terrible Tarot post



of the year 2016.

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This year has been trying for everyone, for myself and my colleagues at the Secret Assembly Unearthing Cartomantic Eventualities (SAUCE), and for the world as a whole. We lost poets and clowns (meaning noted professional comic entertainers, as well as a few painted imposters) explorers, a rebel princess general and our faith in the American electoral system. May we learn from these losses, stand up for and protect one another throughout the coming year, or at least until after we abandon our New Year’s resolution gym memberships.