WEDNESDAY 11/7/18 UPDATE: Results are still out in a few spots, but the overall picture conforms to my predictions! Democrats take House, Republicans retain Senate with a solid majority. Sharp change of direction without guarantee of lasting change. Full prediction at the end of this post.
It’s Tuesday, November 6th, 2018, and I am every bit as antsy as you are.
A lot of us have been waiting for this day ever since around 11pm on Tuesday, November 8th, 2016. It has been a loooong 728 days. I’ve just checked my records, and on that day I drew the 9 of Disks (reversed) and the 8 of Disks. I drew them from the Tabula Mundi Colores Arcus deck, so they looked sort of like this. These are cards I have something of a personal affection for, so I was happy to see them.
I also thought they probably presaged a Hillary Clinton win. That’s because the 9 of Disks is associated with “Venus in Virgo” (the second 10 days of Virgo, which happen to be ruled by Venus). The 9 of Disks is a card I associate with powerful women; indeed, the Rider Waite Smith image shows a woman in a carefully tended garden, holding on her hand a small bird of prey, a symbol of control.
We all know what happened next. Most of the pollsters - not to mention the astrologers and many other diviners - also got it wrong. In the long two years since that day, I’ve wondered what I missed. Perhaps I should have paid more attention to the fact Venus is “in fall” in Virgo, or that the card came out reversed, or that the imagery is one of a walled garden, isolating its heroine from the rest of the world. The thing about divination - and it is probably also true about the “science” of polling - is that you cannot ever know for certain. But the cards and the data cannot be wrong, only the interpreter.
So this year, I decided to try something different.
I took out every divination tool I have: tarot, oracle cards, Lenormand cards, yarrow stalks for I Ching, some coins for geomancy . . . I even made myself a quick set of runes. (I’ve done this once before, but I have no idea where they got to.)
Let’s read them ALL! I thought. And I promised myself that no matter how clear or unclear the outcome, no matter whether it is what I would call a resounding victory or what I would call a crushing defeat (and I have very strong opinions on what each of those would look like), I would suspend judgement. Any prediction I make today, I will revisit in the cold clear light of tomorrow, and I will evaluate it accordingly.
This is, above all else, a learning experiment. Although I know for certain that divination works wonders one-on-one, when you’re working to help another human being, I’m not at all convinced “mundane” divination works: whether it is possible in the first place, or whether, like the Sybilline oracle, the results are too cryptic to read except in hindsight, or whether the strong feelings of the interpreter vastly skew the results (as famously occurs in pretty much everyone’s love readings). One thing I do know, though, is that as a diviner, I can never refine my craft enough.
So, here’s the blow by blow. In an effort to reduce my bias as much as possible and eliminate interpretive swing, I drew two results for each method. The left-hand one represents the outcome for Democrats. The right-hand one represents the outcome for Republicans.
Technique #1. Tarot
Tarot is my own main bag, so I decided I’d start there. I used my favorite Rider Waite Smith deck, the Pamela Colman Smith commemorative edition, which has the advantage of being extremely clear, most of the time. I rarely experience “fuzzy tarot syndrome” with this deck.
Democrats: The Fool
Republicans: Page of Wands (reversed)
One interesting thing to note here is that due to the reversal, both main figures are looking off to the left. Also, both are figures associated with beginnings.
Technique #2. Symbolon oracle deck
I almost never use this deck, mostly because the aesthetics just don’t do it for me. (Although, as we all know, aesthetics don’t necessarily have any bearing on the efficacy of the tool.) Essentially, these cards offer a visualization of what each zodiacal sign and its ruler look like, as well as each zodiacal sign/its ruler in combination with every other zodiacal sign/its ruler. I drew both of them reversed, but I’ve shown them here upright for clarity.
Democrats: Mercury/Gemini Saturn/Capricorn "Affliction" (reversed)
Republicans: Mercury/Gemini Uranus/Aquarius "Dreaming Johnny" (reversed)
Interesting that they're both cards of Mercury - specifically, cards of Mercury-ruled Gemini. Some consider Gemini to be the rising sign of the United States. Regardless of what theory you subscribe to, this country is undoubtedly a mercurial one - double-natured, talkative, commercial, unpredictable. That’s what we love about it, and also what drives us nuts about it.
Technique #3. Runes
These are runes of the Elder Futhark, the proto-Germanic runic alphabet that has proved so popular in divination circles. They are not the least bit numinous. I made them last night with a metallic Sharpie and some of those decorative glass filler beads you put in the bottom of vases. The colors aren’t arbitrary, but they might as well be. It’s a loose interpretation of someone’s fuzzy idea of what colors correspond to what rune.
Democrats: Sowelo (Sun)
Republicans: Dagaz (Day)
Since the pebbles were a bit variable in size and I was afraid I’d involuntarily bias myself in picking them, I shook the bag a little to let the runes spill towards the opening, and then picked the first one my hand encountered. (Yes, it is in fact fabulous sushi-print fabric, given to me by my friend Jaymi. I made it into a zip pouch.) I don’t know much about runes, but these two struck me as remarkably similar. The only other yellow one (out of 24 in the set) is Kenaz, which has something to do with knowledge.
Technique #4. Lenormand cards.
People tend to like Lenormand for its directness. You’re dealing with fairly straightforward concepts that have a limited scope of interpretation. There are some distinctly negative cards (Mice, Cross) and some distinctly positive ones (Heart, Fish) as well as cards with some ambiguity. The edition here is the Piatnik Lenormand, a classic European deck.
Both were drawn reversed, but I show them upright for clarity.
This was a bit confusing for a tarot reader, since the Tower has a particularly baleful connotation in tarot, but not in Lenormand. The Man/Gentleman (like his counterpart, the Woman/Lady) is often just a significator for the querent, which is sort of funny since I do identify as a Democrat. I quite like my friend Nya’s interpretation, though - Democrats have been on their feet and in the streets for 24 months, while Republicans have enjoyed the security of office.
Technique #5. PsyCards oracle cards
PsyCards, by Maggie Kneen, are among my favorite cards to look at. Personally, I mostly use them to find lost objects. They’ve been in the figurative doghouse since September, though, when I lost my keys and the PsyCards could not find them. (In fairness, neither could tarot, a pendulum, about 20 psychics, and a dozen exhaustive searches of the house.)
Republicans: The Moon (reversed)
Without it being too much of a stretch, you could look at this as a solar vs. lunar image. If we go with traditional significations, that could also be represented as being recognized for your work vs. staying home, reason vs. emotion.
Technique #6. I Ching with yarrow stalks
I use the I Ching maybe 2 or 3 times a year, so I can’t say I have any real fluency with it. This beautiful set was made for me out of local yarrow stalks by my friend Mel Meleen. I decided to go for only one result, which would represent the outcome for the state of the polity rather than any one party.. It took me a solid half hour to go through the conventional dividing and counting procedures.
Hexagram 22: Bì, "Adorning," "Grace," "Elegance"
This is what I would consider a weakly favorable sign. It points to progress or the ability to move forward; perhaps a moment of easing. I would consider this a great relief should it prove to be true. We’re all wicked exhausted here.
At the end, I took all of my divination results and divided them up by party. Like the bear going over the mountain, the idea was to see what I could see.
Democrats: The Fool, "Affliction" rx, the Father, Man/Gentleman rx, Sowelo
Republicans: Page of Wands rx, Dreaming Johnny" rx, The Moon rx, The Tower rx, Dagaz
Just as I finished, I remembered that I hadn’t included a geomantic reading! Although geomancy is not something I use at all often (well, none of these are, except tarot), it’s got a fairly low bar to entry. I have John Michael Greer’s excellent geomancy book, Earth Divination, Earth Magic (from which I copied the shield chart). And I was able to scrounge up 4 pennies real quick.
The Judge: Fortuna Minor
The Witnesses: Fortuna Minor and Populus
I used the 4 pennies to generate the “4 Mothers”. Heads = odd, tails = even. Aside from anything else, I was taken aback by the strong showing made by Populus. A vote is, after all, a measure of the will of the people!
As a weakly auspicious figure, I thought it seemed well in line with the I Ching reading.
So, where does that leave us?
My view is definitely colored by my political leanings - I don’t think I can help that, and besides that it is part and parcel of the way I extract meaning from the cards. (If you drew these cards, in other words, they would mean something different.) So apply as much seasoning and spin as you wish when considering my interpretation.
Democrats: The Fool, "Affliction" rx, the Father, Man/Gentleman, Sowelo
Republicans: Page of Wands rx, Dreaming Johnny," rx, The Moon rx, The Tower rx, Dagaz
Solar vs. lunar theme. The figures on the Democratic side are strongly solar and “gendered” masculine (by gender, I don’t mean male/female so much as the constellation of traditional Western polarities that go with sun and moon, male and female) in a number of different ways. . This suggests that the path for Democrats has been extremely clear. There’s an emphasis on concerns about societal damage (“Affliction,” which I also read as structural disadvantages due to redistricting) generational concern (“Father”), and the need for a reset (“Fool”). Also, Sowelo - literally, the Sun - falls on the Democratic side. On the Republican side, there is a highly defensive posture (“The Tower” = wall! as well as a seat of power, “The Moon” shows an armored crab) as well as, perhaps, being surprised by what’s about to happen (Page of Wands rx, “Dreaming Johnny” rx). Dagaz, like the Sun, is a powerfully positive rune. It could have to do with a restoration of equilibrium (which in the case of the election would favor Democrats) or with a pure ascent, as in daybreak (which would favor Republicans)
Reversals. I didn’t do a very good job of preserving the reversals in this overall picture, but the Democratic side had two upright (the Fool, Father) cards, while the cards on the Republican side were entirely reversed. Given what I learned in 2016 about reversals, this could be a pretty foreboding sign. I would like to read this as: Democrats take the House. I am not happy to add, but will nevertheless: As expected, they lose the Senate, not by the narrowest of margins as hoped but maybe by 3 seats or more.
Overall prognoses. (I Ching and geomancy) I think both hexagram 22 and Fortuna Minor point to a swift and startling but not lasting change. That is in line with a switch in House majority, which would provide a needed corrective and a check on executive power at this point while not immediately addressing the systemic societal issues which caused this whole mess in the first place.
I’ll have a better sense how close I was in, oh, 6 hours or so. Or not. I really hope I do, not just because I don’t want to stay up all night, but because decisive early trends would probably favor the left.