The Old Rules Don’t Apply
Unable to leave my state, my country, consulting my tarot became a new means of travel. Before, I would’ve stepped onto an airplane with minimal thought and minimal planning, given myself over to the familiar schedules of airport lounging, passport queues, visa stamping rituals. I noticed the sky very little. Now, lying under a canopy of eucalyptus leaves, tracking the moon in all her phases, and reading Mystic Medusa’s astrological guide to daily living is how I get through the days. They say that the unceded lands, waterways, and skies of Australia, in which I live, were dreamed into being. ‘The Dreaming’ or ‘The Dreamtime’ was a term devised by early Western anthropologists to refer to the spiritual-cultural worldview of First Nation Australians. More recently it has been argued that this notion of dreaming is a mistranslation and that the Indigenous concept of Everywhere is better understood as a “complex of meanings.”
The Old Rules Don’t Apply departs from and arrives into the space-time of Everywhere, bringing the past, in the form of archival film footage, together with present-making future manifestations.
In my dreams last night I was in the theater again. It was dark and the audience was sitting, waiting for the action to unfold. I felt that familiar hushed anticipation of deep theater magic; that unanimous, universal silence that descends when the black curtain sways open, the lights go down; when everyone and everything becomes very, very still. I entered the stage, in darkness, took my place, stage left — and there on the ground an intricate mandala, constructed entirely out of small brown seeds, revealed itself to me.
The Old Rules Don’t Apply is made of such small brown seeds; manifesting in the language of the ancients into a future of boundless becoming. Slippery, rhythmic, dreamlike, migratory; travel as incantation and entreaty, where there is always space for improvisation.
In my tarot deck Death is a skeleton riding a black horse, carrying a scythe usually used for reaping a harvest; and an hourglass, indicating that everything on this earth has its own time. This card’s appearance suggests that something is dying to make way for the new. This may be deeply sorrowful but also, necessary: ultimately Death is a symbol not of endings, but of transformation.
The 8 of Cups
A figure in a dark blue cloak climbs a hill toward a barren peak. She has her back to us, and eight golden cups are neatly and carefully stacked to form an arch through which she passes, indicating a move toward a more meaningful situation. Eight is the number of death and rebirth, implying that change and renewal is in the air.
Young, carefree, innocent, not looking where she’s going, positioned at the edge of a precipice, her face upturned toward the sun, smiling, carrying a small bag of her belongings; she is on the move, following not a map but a butterfly. Unaware of the nature of her quest nor where the journey will take her she makes no plans. Joyful, confident, and trusting of her own inner voice(s).
When: Dark moon when the healing vibrations are enhanced. This is also a good time to let go of things (emotionally, physically, metaphorically).
Location: Somewhere inside your house where you feel very, very comfortable, preferably wearing loose flowing clothes made from sustainable and natural fibers. Two candles lit.
Offerings to Gather and Share: Put on a favorite song (on speakers) and dance feeling into your bones. Don’t get hung up on what the word “dancing” means.
Mette Edvardsen, Not Not Nothing, Varamo Press, 2019
Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities, Harcourt Brace & Company, 1972
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Farthest Shore, Penguin, 1973
Vessantra, Guide to the Buddhas, Windhorse Press, 2008
Mystic Medusa, Australia’s best known astro-adviser
Film: from Amaara Raheem’s archive
Text and editing: Amaara Raheem
Performers: Amaara Raheem and Georgia Bettens
Music: Tobias Sturmer