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The Master and the Confessional

June 28, 2019


“She [Mary Maclane] is almost always referred to as “confessional.” She has been referred to, several times, as the first blogger. Whereas her writing does not confess much - it is much more spiritual memoir than anything, or perhaps something akin to a mystic’s courtly love, directed at the self. I am wondering what distinguishes writing as confessional…
I keep on feeling I prefer the latter-day MacLane, the diary she wrote while convalescing from scarlet fever back home in Butte, Montana, I, Mary MacLane, that Melville House is only publishing as an ebook. Mary MacLane melancholy, totally isolated. Feeling intense disquiet. Now in her early thirties, meditating on her whirlwind celebrity, in cities, feeling distanced from all that, but longing for it too. Obsessed with the Mary MacLane who stopped writing, or stopped publishing books, who was involved with the anarchist/bohemian crowd in Chicago, with the Dill Pickle, who died in poverty and obscurity on the South Side at the age of 48. I want to write about her, but I don’t know how or why yet.”

Kate Zambreno.


I have always found the counterculture to be a source of fascination.


The 50s were riding roughshod into the 60s then spinning into the 70s, gliding with big hair and shoulders into the 80s which then, like mercury, slid under the door into the 90s. The counterculture is even more vibrant these days as it has a mission the most prevalent being climate and immigration.


The real intrigue comes from art - how does art reflect the rebellious forces against the establishment?


Certainly in this current Trump era, which purportedly is not in favour of the liberal attitude of creatives (whatever that may mean) will show up a documentation of the crazy mixture of chaos and fundamentalist attitudes that are becoming the infrastructure of buccaneer business and politics which seem to have replaced the statesman and political strategist. I wonder how that will be perceived by the generations to come?


When I look back at the books and the music that were the backdrop to my formative years they appear to read like a confessional.


Each sentence, rhyme or rhetoric shaped by a desire to encourage the world to witness the pain of betrayal, death, violence, sex and all the other carnal reflexes that fling themselves across the path of destiny.


Modern counterculture has found a platform in social media.


Everyone is a politician, a model, a pundit, a business person, an artist, a journalist and somewhere in there is the individual. Our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts are meant to be a reflection of who we are as individuals and true to form we craft our dialogue around the narrative of a confessional. The wound floats to the surface coming up for air and attracts to it the witness who resonates empathically enough to hit the like button.


The wound is looking for love, an absolvement from the wrong doings and immorality of someone who believes that they are more easily loathed than loved. This is a trap, the social cosh which wants lack and need in order for it to have perfect control.


The confessional is good at bringing comfort to those who have played the game of life and somehow feel they have lost; how wonderful that feeling of not being alone.


What has that got to do with Tarot you ask?


Good question! Firstly, readings can be a bit like a confessional but it is worth noting that the querent is often a mirror of our own healing yet your own stuff is not up for discussion but instead can be a well of wisdom that can be delved into as a resource. Then there is language itself. When we find the right words we can say what we have to and it is ok.


As I thought about writing this piece I drew a card and it was the 8 of Pentacles.


This is the card of the master. This 8 is a quiet card denoting diligence and expertise. It seeks out a way to be content in the world. Yet, this card can also speak of growing tired of the same old chestnuts. Procedure fatigue means that we isolate ourselves from the tried and tested, we distance ourselves from thought and intellect. Our actions are on automatic pilot, the zeal and the inspiration has gone adrift. Basically, we become bored! It’s a bit like the diet that does us so much good but after years of following an eating regimen we rebel, chuck in the towel in the hope that we might be interested in the diet enough to get back on board!


The 8 of Pentacles asks us to review our perception of our work or our purpose in the world.


If we are unsure about this then one never truly expresses the passion or the value, the cosh has had it’s way again...we are left empty and dissatisfied.


What is needed here is a personal philosophy, a spiritual awareness that can guide others, the nous to move on even if it is a challenge to do so. Honest self-regard and humility alongside the joy of accomplishments of others can cultivate growth in all.


This 8 teaches that clinging to past achievements, to re-ascend old mountains or surviving the leap over the abyss is no longer relevant or useful to present or future needs.


The eights in Kabbalah are the sefiroth of Hod which means glory or splendour. It speaks of being grounded and solid but at the same time we tell the story of the skills and talents we were born with to make our way in the world.


It is not always the story of what we have overcome but what we are becoming.
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