Tarot, Social Media, and The “Society of The Young”

A funny thing happened on the way to self-awareness today. This morning, as is my daily routine, I brewed up some tea, meditated in silence for several minutes, then laid out a ten-card Tree of Life spread. Today I asked nothing specific of the cards, other to suggest a worthy project that I might undertake: Save the world, give the dog a bath, or something in between. Anyway, I laid out the cards, and this is what appeared:

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Even a relative newcomer to kabbalistic Tarot can discern something unique about this spread: The three Knights aligned on the middle pillar. What’s more, they are all situated in their corresponding realms of Tarot-consciousness: Wands in supernal Atziluth, Cups in archetypal Briah, and Pentacles in material Assiah. (The Knight of Swords is conspicuous in his absence, but his “father” the King (my personal Significator card) has made an appearance, and in mercurial Hod, it is strongly suggested that his (i.e., my) powers of intellect will be brought to bear today.

Now, it’s generally understood by most Tarot scholars that the preponderance of Major or Minor cards, or of a given suit, number, or “character” in a given spread, can provide added context to the layout. One of the most time-honored sources of information on the subject is Paul Foster Case, founder of Builders of The Adytum and one of the 20th Century’s most insightful Tarot scholars. In his The Tarot: A Key to The Wisdom of The Ages (which every student of esoterica should own), Case ascribes the following meaning to three Knights in a spread: “Society of the young.” This left me scratching my head for a moment, wondering how to interpret this.

On one hand, the “society of the young” is simply the world I inhabit every day. I happen to live in the Beverly-Fairfax district of Los Angeles, a neighborhood that is rapidly gentrifying and which has become a magnet for aspiring young professionals; and many are the days that I have found myself in a local restaurant or specialty shop at a moment when everyone else in the room was young enough to be my son or daughter. Then again, we should recall that we are dealing with Tarot here, which encourages us to think symbolically and metaphorically.

Then it suddenly dawned on me: The “society of the young” is one I have worked in, and yet have simultaneously overlooked, every day for the last 20 years: The Internet—more specifically, social media.

I’ve been fortunate to have worked in an industry—print and online publishing—that has afforded me the opportunity to be “plugged into” the Web and its attendant technologies from the very beginning (my first networked computer was a Mac SE30, my first default browser Netscape), which has given me a leg up over other folks of my generation in Net-fluency. One thing I haven’t made the most use of, however, is the new generation of Net technology—the kinds of apps and social media sites that the Millennial generation—the “society of the young”—has pioneered. Now, I doubt if building a Tarot app would be a practical undertaking, but in any event, it is definitely beyond my skill set. Building some social media pages, by contrast, will be a snap—they’ll just take some time.

With all this in mind, how to read the spread? Here’s one take: over the past month, I’ve begun building this site—the “journey has just begun,” in other words (The Fool). Admittedly, I can be a bit lazy at times (Four of Cups), thus I need a little motivation to undertake new projects. I’m also not a terribly gifted self-promoter because I tend to be a private person by nature (Knight of Cups), and I’ve often “held myself back” from achieving my goals out of a fear of failure or rejection (Three of Swords)—which, I have discovered later in life, is really a fear of success (Ten of Pentacles). So, should I devote some brainpower (King of Swords) to joining the “society of the young” (the Knights), all it will take is surrendering (The Hanged Man) whatever reservations I may have about “going public” (Nine of Wands). Hey, it might even be materially worth my while (King of Pentacles)! After all, as it is said, mighty oaks grow from tiny acorns—but you’ll never reap the harvest unless first you plant the seeds (Knight of Wands).

WordPress allows networking this site into Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr accounts, along with a couple of others. Now that I’ve managed to populate this site with a sufficient amount of content over the past month, and have given the first-time visitor plenty to consume, I’d say it’s probably a good time to “hang out a shingle” on the information Tarot-path, and pimp the site a bit. At least that’s what the “society of the young” suggests to me today. If posting is light over the next few days, now you know why.

Dante DiMatteo

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