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My Final Project:

Tarot Cards.doc


Mobius - or whoever is interested - please feel free to grade my project!

Thanks for a great semester everyone!


- Buster Friendly




I've decided to post some of my final project on the wiki as I am working on it so that I can hear any comments or feedback before I finsh it. Again, my final project is about tarot cards. As part of my project, my plan is to do two or three tarot card readings. (Actually, since this one tarot card was long and involved, I decided to just do this one and ellaborate on it. This way, I can be as specific as possible and focus my attention on one reading). Here is part of one that I have done already:


The Question: If I get into Teach for America, what will my experience be like? (I applied to Teach for America, an organization that sends college graduates to work in inner-city and low-income schools, and find out if I get in in January.)



1. Present Position: 6 of Wands, reversed

    Description: Apprehension, fear - as of a vicious enemy at the gate; treachery, disloyalty, as of gates being opened to the enemy.

    Background color: Blue - Truth, spirituality, calmness, peace, serenity, fidelity, heavenly, cold, melancholy, depression (Greer 144).

    Suit: Wands - Radiant, energetic, passionate, courageous, enthusiastic, desiring, aggressive, willful, optimistic (Greer 52).

    Number: 6 - Six represents emerging consciousness and purification (Greer 44).


My explanation: I suppose that this must reflect my apprehension of joining an organization like Teach for America. It is extremely hard work, and I have general fears about working in a low-income school when it comes to classroom management and making sure my students perform to the appropriate grade level. As for as a vicious enemy being at the gate, and treachery and disloyalty, maybe this is my apprehension that the recruitors behind Teach for America have too high expectations and will be too hard on me. In other words, I might feel betrayed by the recruitors themselves. The meaning behind number 6 makes sense to me - I am formulating new thoughts about my future and joining TFA is at the forefront. The words associated with wands also pretty accurately show my attitude about undertaking this new challenge, such as my efforts in the long interview we all had to go through. (It first consisted of an online application, a phone interview, then a day-long group interview and final one-to-one personal interview.) As for the background color of blue, this one is a stretch. I am apprehensive, yet energetic optimistic, and now the background color suggests I'm also calm. Maybe the "peace" and "truth" words in the list represent what I will get out of the TFA experience, or what I want to get out of it. I suppose it is quite likely that the whole experience will make me depressed.



 2. Immediate Obstacles: Justice



Description: Equity, rightness, probity, executive.


Background color: Yellow – Intellect, brightness, light, happiness, confidence, fear, cowardice, bitterness, deceit (Greer 144).


My explanation: This card works fairly well in reflecting my immediate obstacle. At the time I did this tarot card reading, my final interview was coming up during the next week, so I think that is what this card refers to. Rightness and probity refers to how I carried myself during the interview (I was honest and direct) and equity and executive reflects the values that I related to the interviewers. I suppose that the first half of the words corresponding to the color yellow, (I believe the next half is if the card is upside down or reversed), also reflect my attitudes during the interview. Overall, I think that this card reflects the process of getting into Teach for America, and that my actions and character will guide me in my experience.



3. Future Goal or Destiny: 4 of Cups, reversed


    Description: Novelty, presage, new instruction and relations.

    Background color: Blue - Truth, spirituality, calmness, peace, serenity, fidelity, heavenly, cold, melancholy, depression (Greer 144).

    Suit: Cups - Nurturing, receptive, sustaining, feeling, empathic, protective, merging, flowing, yielding, secretive (52).

    Number: 4 - Four represents perfect order and permanence (43).


My explanation: This card works fairly well in explaining my goal. Teach for America is a prestigious program and will be a unique and life-altering experience, hence the novelty aspect. The word "presage" is interesting here since it means omen, and the question is about the future. As far as new instructions and relations, I want to do something completely different when I graduate, and Teach for America presents a great opportunity to do so. The number four I suppose represents a goal of bringing permanence and structure to a chaotic classroom. The first six words associated with cups represents the qualities I think a elementary or secondary education teacher should have. The first couple of terms representing blue also represent my ultimate goal in my experience for TFA - especially calmness, peace, and serenity - seems unlikely, however.


I will post the rest soon!




Last Thursday we were talking about intellectual property and how, if you are a science major, Penn State University "owns" your ideas. My friend is a chemistry major, and she came up with a solvent that would solve the problem of lime stone deposits in State College's water supply. (This is due to the construction in the plan to build a road straight to 99.) However, the solvent is too expensive so nobody bought it. And, since Penn State owns the rights to the idea, my friend will not be able to build on the idea to make it cheaper. Basically, Penn State has it copyrighted, it cannot be touched, and since it's so expensive, it is just going to sit and not be used. When money is involved, a lot of potential is wasted. The sad part is that right now, water is being shipped from other places, so instead of fixing our water supply we are taking more from another source. My friend's idea would have been financially sound in the long run, and would have been more environmentally friendly. However, this society is run by money, and whatever is more cheap will always win out.



One aspect of the first Chapter of the Bhagavad Gita that I find particularly interesting is the narrative voice. Even though the main character and protagonist is Arjuna, the narration comes from Arjuna's enemy, the king Dhritarashtra, who is also blind. Another part of the narrative voice that is interesting is that Dhritarashtra does not relay the story, but his charioteer, Sanjaya does. (Sanjaya got powers where he could see, hear, and recall events of the past, present and future. Originally, Sage Vyasa wanted to give Dhritarashtra eyesight such as this so that he could see the horrors of the war, but he passed this along to his charioteer - clearly not a good guy.) Therefore, the story is told by an all-seeing authority, but for the side who has started the war and done the wrongdoing.


"Dhritirashtra. Ranged thus for battle on the sacred plain-

On Kurukshetra- say, Sanjaya! say

What wrought my people, and the Pandavas?

Sanjaya. When he beheld the host of Pandavas,

Raja Duryodhana to Drona drew,

And spake these words: "Ah, Guru! see this line,

How vast it is of Pandu fighting-men,

Embattled by the son of Drupada,

Thy scholar in the war! Therein stand ranked

Chiefs like Arjuna, like to Bhima chiefs,

Benders of bows;"


I think the significance of this is that the story blends together both the good and bad side. (Even though the story is based on war, the blending of sides seems to suggest that the teachings go beyond the concept of war and this is only at the surface.) Also, rather than hearing the story through Arjuna or the Pandavas, we hear it from the Kauravas.


The idea of an all-seeing narrator also seems to get at the nature of God in the text. For example, it is thought that Hinduism is Panentheistic - especially in the Bhagavad Gita. (A panentheistic belief system believes that one god is mixed and united with every part of nature and timelessly extends beyond as well.) God is viewed both as a creator and the source of universal truth.





Lately, I've been worried that our earth is going to be destroyed because of our pollution and global warming in a matter of time. Certain areas are already experiencing draught, and the Inuit's land is literally melting away. Yet, nobody in our culture seems to know about it or care. My question to the I Ching is: Will the earth ultimately be uninhabitable due to global warming?


I got "Chun" - 3. Difficulty at the Beginning WATER above, THUNDER below

It is good to continue, but slowly and with small objectives, while allowing the 'big picture' to become clear by itself. Deal with problems one at a time in order to control the 'chaos'.


So, this reading isn't so bad - basically I take it to mean that small steps must be taken to understand what is happening. In terms of society, I take it to mean that people do not know the extent or the ture meaning behid the situation (hence the difficulty in the beginning), but if policies and practices are implemented over time, we will get somewhere. Maybe this means switching to hybrid cars and bikes, then switching modes of energy will follow.



Final Project Proposal


For my final project, I am going to explore tarot cards, specifically using the 10-card spread, otherwise known as the Celtic Cross. Because the final project is a personal narrative, I am going to explore how the tarot cards explain certain aspects of my life. I will look into what each component of the images mean, such as the suit (wands, pentacles, swords, and cups,) the background colors, etc. Ultimately, the tarot cards will tell a story about my past, present, and future. I will also illustrate my own tarot cards, since reading tarot cards themselves is a purely interactive, personal process. Mobius directed me to artist Robert Yarber for ideas. It should be enlightening!


The reason why I picked the tarot cards is, of cour, because they are sacred. People have been using them for centuries and different cultures and societies use them in different ways. Most importantly, they are entirely interactive. Tarot cards are all about interpretation. There are comprised of symbols and concepts that are completely vague and open-ended. At the same time, they seem to have a certain "magic " about them. My friends and I play with our tarot cards a lot, and we are completely aware that it is a language game and not some kind of divine force predicting our future. However, we ALWAYS get freaked out by how accurate they seem and act like they have a mind of their own.


Incidentally, my friends and I get this card every single time we read our tarot spreads.







Last night, I saw a performance of Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Brewery, and let me encourage everyone to go! (It will be performed on Halloween at 9 pm and 12 am.)  I really like the concept of of interactive play. I always enjoyed watching the movie, but there is something about seeing it live.  The script gets remixed! Audience comments (though scripted) change the entire experience, and is a pretty interesting example postmodernity. It is a play that is self-aware of its form and content. Not only does it challenge our notions of sexuality, but it also changes the way we see a performance - like the characters are drawn into a crazy sexual world, it kind of sucks you in as well.


Michael Rennie was ill the day the earth stood still

But he told us where we stand

And Flash Gordon was there in silver underwear

Claude Raines was the invisible man

Then something went wrong for Fay Wray and King Kong

They got caught in a celluloid jam

Then at a deadly pace it came from outer space

And this is how the message ran:


Science Fiction - Double Feature

Dr. X will build a creature

See androids fighting Brad and Janet

Ann Francis stars in Forbidden Planet

Oh-oh at the late night, double feature, picture show.


I knew Leo G. Carroll was over a barrel

When Tarantula took to the hills

And I really got hot when I saw Janet Scott

Fight a Triffid that spits poison and kills

Dana Andrews said prunes gave him the runes

And passing them used lots of skills

But when worlds collide, said George Pal to his bride

I'm gonna give you some terrible thrills, like a:


Science Fiction - Double Feature

Dr. X will build a creature

See androids fighting Brad and Janet

Ann Francis stars in Forbidden Planet

Oh-oh at the late night, double feature, picture show.

I wanna go, oh-oh, to the late night double feature picture show.

By RKO, oh-oh, at the late night double feature picture show.

In the back row at the late night double feature picture show.



I'm an intern for State College Magazine. Usually, I have to write stories about area rugs, pruning rose bushes, or getting your dogs checked for Lyme disease. But one interesting story I got happened during the summer where I asked to interview Dean Lerner. (Maybe later I'll try to post the article on the wiki.) Anyway, Lerner is a pretty serious yoga master who has studied personally with B.K.S. Iyengar (who brought prop-use yoga to the United States. Think straps and wooden benches, etc.) On a side note, Lerner can do some pretty crazy poses, and apparently there is a difficulty score for each yoga stance. One position I thought looked particularly hard, if not impossible, was rated a 9 - then I found out the scale goes to 60.


The Autobiography of Yogananda reminded me of some things Lerner said. He stressed that yoga was not considered a religion or extension of a religion, and I think that is very important. So often we look for a text or doctrine that can alter us mentally. I was thinking of chanting "Hail Mary", or even coming to the conclusion that senses are empty. While religions do incorporate both the body and the mind, yoga particularly stresses the body. After all, it involves physically positioning yourself in certain ways and is primarily a form of exercise.


We are such mental beings that I think we often forget the power of the body and how it is inexplicably tied to the mind. According to Lerner, yoga poses stretch the body and releases toxins and stress, which undoubtedly can affect the mind, relieving depression, anxiety, etc. So often do people think that changing the state of your mind can make your body feel better, when it can work the other way around.


Bery Bery good Buster Friendly. I like Yoga. I feel like I could use some tonight. - GoNZo




Unfortunately, I wasn't in class last Thursday, but Realityor told me that there was an interesting discussion on hippies in the 60s. I have always been amazed at how volatile this period in history was and why there hasn't been anything like it in recent years. I also read Unfinished's post that said "hey may have pushed for an end to Vietnam, but most of them are still in this country, paying their taxes, working their jobs, and fueling the war machine of today." I think that our culture is very focused on personal issues, and as a whole, we are a very self-centered and focus so much on the individual.


(When dealing with the media, human interest stories are most popular and accessible to the public. History class is more often than not focused on one individual rather than the actions and reactions of an entire group or community - figures such as Abraham Lincoln, FDR, George Washington seem to be ingrained in us more than the impact of the common citizen.)


When there was protest surrounding Vietnam, there was also a draft. People can be against something and speak out against it, but when it comes down to it, they will only go to action once their lives or the lives of the people they love are threatened. The Iraq War is not taking place on our soil, and there is no draft. I think that if this war were closer to home, people would be doing more about it.


Buster Friendly, I like the observation you present here, and I think it can be applied to many concepts in contemporary America, not just the Iraq War. You're completely right: while some Americans our age (assuming you're in your late teens/early twenties) are involved in the Middle Eastern military efforts, they do so by choice, not because a government is forcing them to.



National Guard troops sign up to help with the historic mission of the National Guard -

homeland security, relief with national disasters, etc. What does this have to do with

Those who support the war choose to participate in it, but those who do not support it have the choice of looking the other way because of the war's lack of physical proximity to us. I think racism and diversity issues in our country are viewed the same way. The Jena Six controversy in Louisiana, for example, creates conversation and indignance amongst us, but rarely elicits tangible actions from those it does not directly affect. I have been following the Jena Six story and shaking my head at it in disbelief. But the fact is that not once have I been motivated to step up and participate in the effort to achieve justice for these teenagers. However, in my most recent Wiki post (October 15th) in which I explain my final project, I describe an encounter with intolerance that I had in my very own workplace. While the Jena Six trial is a national news story, and my own experience is a much smaller-scale aesthetic dilemma, my personal encounter motivated me to immediately start formulating a plan of action to correct what I think is a situation of severe injustice. I think people have a tendency to "pick their battles," but I think it's interesting to observe the role of personal proximity in choosing which of these battles are actually fought. - Zee Deveel. 




"10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. 12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. 13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand."


Parables "work," so to speak. Stories and narratives, as said before in class, are the most effective way of communicating and getting ideas across. Hearing this parable reminded me of Sunday school class, and of course Godspell. It is a story that resonates with a lot of people.


People really respond to metaphor. The story of the seeds is simple and straightforward - it is understood to represent faith in god and living "good" lives. In another class, we were discussing how the role of a metaphor is essentially to reduce disparate events into a single concept or idea. In describing the way people should live their lives, the Bible presents us with a simple story that everyone can grasp on to. This could potentially be a bad thing, especially if people do not listen to other stories or allow for diverse meanings and interpretations.


One thing that I am wondering about is why some people don't see all, if not most, of the stories in the Bible as metaphors, parables, or at least exaggerated in some way. It seems that a lot of people take the Bible quite literally, even though Jesus explicitly says that he speaks in parables. That may be the result of wanting to see something as the ultimate "truth." I would say that most people understand reality to be retold, objective events. However, I think that, because of our constant search for meaning, the metaphor is a huge function of retelling history and explaining the present and works as a sort of "truth." Maybe this may be what is meant by the "literal truth of a parable."


When J sez he's speakin' in parables, is he speakin' in parables? "The Map is not the Territory. And Neither is the Territory", Yo! -mobius



The text I chose to present is the Bhagavad Gita. I'm still sorting things out, so I will put a date on the syllabus tomorrow.



"no form no feeling no thought no choice no consciousness"

The Heart Sutra, in saying that consciousness is emptiness, made me think of 2001: A Space Odyssey. In Stanley Kubrick's movie, humans are on board a spacecraft, which is controlled by the computer program HAL 9000. Not only does HAL control all operations on the ship, but he is also programmed to interact and communicate like a human. (The crew is unsure if HAL can or cannot feel human emotions.) The crew likes "Hal" and he comes to be one of their friends. They play chess with him, show him pictures, talk to him, etc. (It's actually a little creepy.) Later in the movie, Hal makes a mistake in reporting a fault, and the crew discusses disconnecting the cords that allow for his higher intelligence abilities. (HAL 9000 is supposedly error-proof, and one mistake could point to a larger problem in the HAL program). Anyway, Hal finds out what the crew is planning and kills them - all but one. He is scared of the prospect of no longer existing. One crew member lives and disconects his cords, in other words, killing him, or his consciousness.


The Heart Sutra reminded me of this part of the movie because the lesson that consciousness is emptiness goes against what most, if not all, humans (or artificial intelligence in this case) actually believe. I think that it seems against all logic that consciousness - that makes meaning, sense, puts you in the center of the universe, whatever - is not everything, but emptiness. This idea makes the Heart Sutra such a powerful text. Hal is too scared of the prospect of no longer existing - of course, he has been programmed by humans - and western ones at that. Perhaps if Hal were made by the bodhisattva mahasattva, he would not have gone on his killing spree.







I am HAL. I communicate with the men on board by observing what they say to me and by responding with what I know. Form is my cords. Form is they way I am programmed. But form is emptiness. If my consciousness is emptiness, then what is there? My consciousness is everything. I have no body, no physical or spiritual presence - consciousness is all I have. But "Emptiness is no other than form; form is no other than emptiness. In the same way, feeling, perception, formation, and consciousness are emptiness. Thus, HAL, all dharmas are emptiness. There are no characteristics. There is no birth and no cessation. There is no impurity and no purity. There is no decrease and no increase. Therefore, HAL, in emptiness, there is no form, no feeling, no perception, no formation, no consciousness"



Someone said: “Our Master does not utter a word.”

Rumi answered: Well, it was the thought of me that brought you to my presence. This thought of me did not speak with you saying, “How are things with you?” The thought without words drew you here. If the reality of me draws you without words and transports you to another place, what is so wonderful with words? Words are the shadow of reality, a mere branch of reality. Since the shadow draws, how much more the reality!

- Rumi


How this contrasts with the reading on language I got from the Bible! While the Bible implies that words literally bring things into being, (Word is divine and is all meaning), Rumi states that language is just a shadow, or a spector, of what really matters. There is something else that binds us together, something that seems to be intangible - or as the text states, an inner bond. It's interesting that this text says NO to language construction - that it is getting at something more deep and essential that humans possess. In fact, Rumi says that language is keeping us away from the essential nature of reality. "The day reality draws you and the shroud of thought disappears, there will be no disappointment. Then you will see reality as it is, and nothing more."


But how can we think at all without language? I wonder if humans are really able to get away from language, which has constructed our very beings. I'm more on board with "I think therefore I am" - reality is a product of interpretation - can it really just exist? Maybe this idea can be achieved in the REST tank.



I was watching the Science Channel and there was an interesting program on Super String Theory. I cannot say that I'm at all an expert on String Theory, but the jist of it is that everything in the universe is made up of vibrating strings, and particle differences can be attributed to variations of vibration. (Part of this theory also is the idea of different dimensions, and the show particuarly explored the 11th dimension - there are also 9 other spatial dimensions and time). The show explained that our universe was created by two membranes that collided - their vibrations and different wavelenghts created all the matter in the universe. Sorry that I'm unable to explain the scientfic details, but I think that it raises some useful questions. The narrator stated that this theory may not be well accepted because it would show that "our universe is nothing special." In fact, according to this theory, our whole universe could just be a bubble and one of many other universes.

But this theory (which is also called M Theory or the theory of everything) seems to do what other texts attempt to do in order to explain our existence. It gives us a point of reference, a beginning. But I don't think that these explanations are enough for us. In other words, we always want to know what is before the beginning. If our world, our universe, is the result of vibrating strings, we are still left with a question: where did those strings come from?

On a different note, there are a lot of things I don't know about Super String Theory, but I do know that it has left me feeling very, very small.



I've realized that I have fallen way behind in wiki posts - the three times a week policy doesn't agree with my feelings of stress and dread caused by anything on the Internet. So, needless to say, I have some catching up to do.

I want to comment on the Rumi passage we talked about in class. When Mohammed is accused of being "human" because of his laugh, he repeats yet reverses it. I think it's interesting that his actions are justified in that they are superior to and can't be understood by humans. Like the parent who says that it's for your own good - but only one kind of parent. Both God and Mohammed seem to be these masculinized "father figures" who practice tough love and show their strength in order to teach meaningful lessons.




Last week in class we were talking about how the Bible is so infused in our culture that it is difficult to read. For me, it is hard to read the Bible because it makes me angry - it is hard for me to get over the male-centered view points it endorses. So after thinking about it and reading Echan's September 11th post, which wondered why God always put the blame on Eve, I was prompted to write the following remix:


If, in the beginning, there is only man, then there is no beginning. Man creates time. And the time I am speaking of is linear: it has a "beginning," a "middle," and an "end." And this construction of time is forgotten. How did time begin? And to answer this question, man constructs God.

And with God comes power and society. And society is patriarchal, and God is Man. And Man makes Adam in his own image, and Adam is the first, the pure, the norm. And Eve is made from Adam's rib, and because she is made from man's flesh, she is set below Adam. And in society, women are made to be companions for men. Eve is made for Adam; she is his partner. And being the weaker sex, more separated from God's virtues, Eve tempts Adam and causes the downfall of men. And women's lowered position is thus justified by Eve's punishment. And because construction of gender is forgotten, it is explained by Man.



God speaks man speaks



I read Genesis from my boyfriend's copy of his dad's Bible, which has great pictures, something I think may be lacking in the online versions of the text. We had a good time looking through all the pictures. Of course, all of the people in the Bible were white. Really white. In one picture, I was optimistic: it seemed like there was a more accurate depiction of Jews in Bethlehem. Unfortunately, the Jesus in the middle was a white baby, not to mention a baby with blonde hair. Of course, the King James Bible is going to show that God is white. It is possible to remix pictures, or images, from the Bible that change the way we look at things. It seems like every culture wants a Jesus that represents them. It really doesn't matter where Jesus was from, (Bethlehem or wherever), as long as he looks like us.


I think you bring up an incredible point about the racism in the Bible. It's not something I claim to know a lot about, but it really diminishes much of the content knowing that people did/do that! I think it would be fascinating to remix a Bible story through film or something using more appropriate contexts (although I'm sure this has already been done). --happygirl




This reminds me of the saying, "If horses has a god, their god would like horses." It's a very common Western theme to caucasisnize God. Even Hindu gods which are often represented in animals have human characteristics. To connect this with a theme we worked on in Thursday, 9-6-07, it's not wrong to have natural tendencies towards faith but crucial to understand them and be able to see around them. - Realityor



I was thinking about how this relates to John 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (King James Bible). Like in Genesis, John 1:1 answers an origin question, explaining where language comes from. Because God creates through speaking and exists through stories and his name, I see the two passages being very similar. It is interesting to me that there needs to be a creation story about language. Language is everywhere, to the point that we don't know where it came from and are largely unaware of how it operates. Saying language began with God, and knowing that God created people in his own image, attempts to explain how we got our "special" communication ability. Therefore, this story offers an explanation so that we do not question or are suspicious of language, but see it is divine and exalted.





Having read Martin Heidegger's Poetry, Language, Thought for another class this semester, I found that particular passages and ideas added to my understanding of our class discussion today. In Genesis, God creates through language; according to Heidegger, language's primary function is, literally, creating. Language primarily brings things into being by "calling" them. As someone mentioned in class today, God's utterances of "let there be light", and "let the Earth bring forth grass," seem to demonstrate that the stuff was always there, it just needed to be activated. God gives things names, thus bringing them into existence. It may be a stretch, but this creation story can be seen as an account of language construction. The fact that Genesis has been and remains such an important aspect of our culture further shows how language creates. No one has physical "proof" of the God represented in the western Bible, yet there is no question that he exists.


Comments (1)

Anonymous said

at 8:34 pm on Sep 19, 2007

I felt exactly the same way when I was rereading the book of Genesis. It was difficult for me as well to see anything except for all the blame that was placed upon woman and how women are portrayed as insignificant beings to aid and please man. I enjoyed your remix especially because the Bible was pretty much composed by man so it makes sense and for this reason why woman was portrayed in this fashion.

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