A method of reading the Tarot de Marseille deck has been developed by Enrique Enriquez, an artist originally from Caracas, Venezuela, but living in New York City for many years. Rather than a wizard with a thick occult tome and arcane explications of common medieval themes, he presents instead as a proper Greenwich dandy, always dressed in the same clothes and hat, sitting at the same cafe everyday, practicing bird calls. With these, he summons the confused, the corrupted, the curious.
“Gaming has taught us that the cards we are dealt define our fortune / Take cartomancy out of the cards!” This paradox lies at the centre of his readings. The client draws three cards and puts them on the table. The hoary poetic practice of Imagism revivifies momentarily, and its condensing power is harnessed. We create metaphors and analogies based only on the images we see – our only rule is total visual verification. Horses turn into slaves that turn into vessels. A skull becomes a coin that becomes a crystal ball. We notice the characters bodies, how they move, what they are doing exactly with their hands, the positions of their feet, the directions of their gaze; and using anamnesis we remember when we ourselves occupied these same positions. How did that feel? What was the situation? A radical rejection of pre-assigned meanings for each card and its position in the spread means that we are therefore responsible, in that very moment, for making the card NEW, each time, over and over and over again. You know a card’s meaning by the company it keeps, in other words, which cards are its physical neighbors. We re-imagine the world by looking at a chance sequence of icons we can recognize from our own lives.
This is a contemporary hierophany. It is sacred because it is one of the few places where the non-rational operates freely, like poetry.