Quantum Tarot: the Nine Cups


Three tiers of clear Cups recede into the distance, against a backdrop of stars, nebulae, gas clouds and even, yes, a rainbow effect on the left side of the card, which would be impossible in an environment without water to refract the light, yes? So we're not talking total vacuum, but an area of space with at least vapourised water if not other gases. The Nebulae spread and grow, and become the shoulder, neck and cheek of a man with a moustache. A star goes supernova in his right ear: his left ear and much of the left side of his face are hidden by the shadows of Mystery. He is photographed from an angle allowing me to look up his nostrils almost to his brain - accustomed to such views from my daughter this doesn't faze me, but the pouted lower lip and the contemptuous expression does. I immediately don't like him, which is fair enough as this card expresses something I find challenging in others and confronting in myself.

The Ten Cups is a card of having ample emotional resources and enjoying them, living in the moment. The nine is not quite there yet: he has the resources, but he remembers not having had them once before, and feels as if he is superior, the card of the emotionally nouveau riche, if you like. He is lording it over us: he is smug, he things he is superior when he is just one of us. I want to be around when the deck is well-shuffled and he had to deal with the energies of the Wheel of Fortune: I'd love to see the look in his face!


I'm always ambivalent about the 9 of Cups. In many decks, the guy looks smug and self-satisfied to me. Funnily enough in the Quantum's case, although the original photo of the man's face is not smug in the slightest, once he went onto the card he did seem to start looking a bit pleased with himself.. :bugeyed:


  • QuantumCards-45.jpg
    11.1 KB · Views: 157


Perhaps we could deviate here, and discuss why this could be? Is it that, over the centuries, the energies or egregores of Tarot as a whole and the individual cards, have become so strong that anything coming too close gets sucked into their event-horizon and becomes a part of Tarot tradition? You commented on how the sitter's expression changed once he was incorporated into the larger image. As a magician, that fascinates me, because as far as I know from the little evidence available to me, it's an ideas-based deck, and something of a departure from tradition, as well as not necessarily having been created as part of a specific magical act (that we users know about).

Yet there is enough smugness hanging around the idea of a Nine Cups card, for a non-smug photograph to wholly change when incorporated into the image. Do you have any ideas on visual transformation through the power of an existing idea?


nisaba said:
the energies or egregores of Tarot as a whole and the individual cards, have become so strong that anything coming too close gets sucked into their event-horizon
I *love* this notion! The tarot archetypes have so much energy that they just swallow up all our creative attempts to mess with them :D

nisaba said:
it's an ideas-based deck, and something of a departure from tradition, as well as not necessarily having been created as part of a specific magical act
Well, in my book *any* creative act is by definition a magical act.


Leo62 said:
Well, in my book *any* creative act is by definition a magical act.
This is an interesting idea, and one I'd like to pursue further.

At the moment I'm living in a cr*ppy little house with a cr*ppier littler kitchen. Prior to moving here, I used to like making my own bread, and I'm really missing having the bench-space to knead bread. Because I didn't use a breadmaker - I did it all myself, by hand, the old-fashioned way.

A friend of mine tried very hard to give me an electric breadmaker and I resisted and resisted and eventually had to be almost rude to reject it. All the good ideas were thrown at me: save time, don't get the leavening time wrong, don't be chained to the house, less physical, fewer problems with ensuring hygiene, etc etc. And I still said no - louder and louder.

Why? For a number of reasons, really, all of them related to both creation and to magic, and some of them to the larger universe.

Flour is inedible. Yeast, while alive, is inedible. Water, while delicious, is not really a food. Turning those three things into bread is a miracle - it's as magical as turning an act of sex into an individual child with their own destiny in life.

When I make bread, the first thing I do is activate the yeast, as I tend to use dried yeast granules. This involves blood-warm water and a source of food for the yeast - they like carbohydrates, so I feed them sugart, simple, rapidly-accessible carbohydrates. You can give them a little flour, but it slows the whole process up. It takes time, but if you watch, first the water becomes cloudy with yeast organisms, then they cluster on teh surface, tehn they foam up, and hte foam gets higheer, and large bubbles develop. Wehn there are a few very large bubbles indeed and the sweetened water no longer tastes sweet (I dip in a very clean finger and lick it), then the yeast has used up all teh sugar, nad if it is left too long wil l;start to die back.

Then I add the wholemeal flour, and anything else dry that I might like to add, like cumin powder, almond meal or whatever. I carefully turn the water and flour into each other. I stir it until it turns into a cohesive lump of dough, adding more warm water or more flour until it is wet enough to be malleable but not so wet as to be sticky. Then I'll turn it out onto the floured bench that I simply don't have in this house, and knead it for a considerable time, flouring my hands and sometimes the bench to prevent it sticking.

Then the interesting, magical bit happens.

Yeast is not a thing. Yeast is a very, very small living thing, an organism. In a spoonful of dry yeast granules, there will be hundreds of thousands of individuals. At the beginning when you activate them, they feel hydrated, waking them up out of hibernation, and they get hungry, and look for food. This is where the sugar comes in - they eat it. then they are well-fed, warm and alive, so the next thing on the agenda is sex. So they reproduce like mad, and the foam on the water is the growth of the colony, the increase in population.

When you are kneading, the reason why you use such force and steady pressure is to bruise the yeast organisms. Then they release all the gases in their bodies. The first rest period where the dough rises, is them breeding up a bit more and releasing more gas into the dough, while respiriing and creatingroe and more gas. Then you come along and thump it down and knead all over again. then it rises again, and you throw it into the oven.

Now, when *I* knead the dough the first time, I go into a kind of moving-trance. I become aware of the life beneath my hands, its reproduction, its very city-like feel. When I knead the dough the second time, I feel the expansion of the whole universe in the expansion of the dough. I feel the lives and (very tiny) life-forces of each and every yeast organism, and whole family-trees of them in the largeer colony and hteir relatedness. Between kneadings when it is rising, I tend to check on it several times, not because I am impatient, but because its growth and expansion is nothing short of miraculous. then I throw it into the oven.

You've got to wonder how it feels from the yeast's perspective. Suddenly there's warm, comfortable water and plenty of food. And plenty of nubile, willing yeasts. Then the first kneading happens, and it must be like an environmental catastrophe, a global calamity of repeated earthquakes in which everyone is severely injured. Then recovery happens, and the colony builds up big and strong, and it all happens again - more earthquakes, more devastation. Then the colony rebuilds even bigger and better before, and promptly gets shoved in the oven. What is that - a catastrophic global warming from which none will survive. Because all yeast organisms are killed in the first ten minutes or so of baking.

Yeasts do not have very complicated thought-processes (probably due to having no brain), but whole colonies of them do have some sort of dim, almost-unconscious consciousness that I tend to experience directly both through my hands and through my spirit when I'm, particularly, kneading dough. Being able to be so intimate with my food is an enormous honour, and I'm just never going to cheapen it by using a breadmaker. Until I have a roomier kitchen again, I'm going to buy bread.

Kneading is magical, and the final bake is alchemical.