Avery Shorts Live ••• Wednesday, May 6, 2020 ••• Tarot Cartography ••• Scott Hunter

Dear Unknown Comrade,

    I have been spending much of my solitude these past few weeks with Tarot cards — which, perhaps unaccountably, give me a much-needed sense of hope and consistency. I thought I might begin to share my practice of “Tarot Cartography” with you who might find it useful. 
    Tarot Cartography is neither mysticism nor party trick. It is a technique for rehearsing the making of meaning — or, rather, for accessing and surveying the psychic terrain in which meaning-making is always already being rehearsed. Rather than simply intuiting or grasping this terrain as they find it, the cartographer aims to understand their active participation in constructing what they find. Reading Tarot becomes a way of looking under the hood of apparent spontaneity of thought.
    Used in this manner — used, that is, to construct, survey, and revise the present topography of supposedly spontaneous thinking — the Tarot deck becomes an instrument for the spatial organization of intellectual capacities.
    The product of sustained Tarot Cartography is, in concrete terms, no more than the deck of cards one started with — and yet, there quickly appears a strange addition. The thoughts one has channeled into a revisionary feedback loop with the deck have become audible as the apparent voice of another.
    The appearance of another here is a useful fiction. Believe it (but don’t), and you’ll be afforded the ability to hear, by chance and/or at will, your thoughts (they must be yours) rehearsing in the void of thought for some indeterminate future thought occasion. The deck has become all kinds of a map — a roadmap of thought, a directory of memory, a hazard map of ideological features. Herein, I think, lies the potential for a liberatory use of Tarot — a Tarot for the commune.
    I hope to further elaborate my theory of Tarot Cartography, if you are interested. In the meantime — in the spirit of the meantime — I offer you a spread of cards and three of the many fictions it might be understood to tell.

6 of Pentacles • The Chariot • The Hanged Man (upside down)

  1. Justice has no sense of scale. It is an import-export game. Unfortunately, there’s nothing to be done about that.
  2. When a gift is given, we can be sure, I think, another will be given soon. We can be sure, I think, that what follows the receipt is the rush to give another gift. The rush becomes the gift when, the destination lost, it remains a rush. What gift?
  3. It’s not a huge deal if, when reaching out, nothing falls in your hand. The reason nothing comes is because something in your pocket soon will ornament the prow of a ship that’s really going places. Around the same time, you’ll be caught with your pants on and nowhere to go. This, I think, is how movement grows legs.

in solitude,
in solidarity,
in the mask of Dr. Tippy DeTourmand,


• This piece is an adaptation of a March 20, 2020 blog post from LETTERS TO WILDCATS


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