Friday, October 11, 2013

it's more in the wrist than the finger

On the latest episode of New Girl, "a Groundhog Day situation" was used to describe something I'm not sure Phil had a problem with... erectile dysfunction. More a reference to the holiday then the movie--Zooey Deschanel's Jess made a joke about there being six more weeks of winter--it still seemed worth mentioning.

Even though it has nothing to do with the following.

I mentioned before about the cards we see when Phil and Rita are hanging out at the end of "god" day.

I claimed it "probably means nothing" that day, but I wasn't "in the mood for meaning" that day and today I am. So, I must point out that out of all the playing cards we see when Rita's attempting to learn to throw them into a hat, there are only four cards face up.

In the hat, there's the Queen and the Seven of Hearts (the Queen on top). The corresponding cards in the Tarot would be the Queen and Seven of Cups. And, outside the hat: on the left, half visible is the Eight of Spades, on the right and less visible is the Jack of Diamonds. The corresponding cards in the Tarot would be the Eight of Swords and the Page of Coins/Pentacles.

As I pointed out before, the Seven of Cups is

...about wishful thinking, creating fantasies, having options, and possibly overindulging. The Rider-Waite deck—which is what I’ve got—has a silhouetted guy facing seven cups, each with something coming out of it, not all good necessarily, but all different. There’s the face of, presumably, a beautiful woman; a shrouded figure, glowing, with arms outstretched; a snake; a castle; jewels; a wreath; and a dragon. Like this:

Biddy Tarot's take on the cups is interesting:

The various prizes appearing from the cups are a mixture of positive and negative visions. These cups each have a single item rising from them – a snake, representing wisdom and knowledge; a shrouded figure, representing the need for illumination; a human head, representing a companion for the conjurer; a tower, representing stability and power; treasure, representing abundance and wealth; a laurel wreath, representing victory or honour, and status; and a dragon, representing supernatural forces. The character faced with these spectres is taken aback by their confusing nature. Although the seven cups appear as gifts or prizes, there is always danger hidden within one or two of them to sting anyone who ventures near. What this suggests is that sometimes you have to choose between many options, all of which may be tempting but only one of which is the best choice.

At this point, I think this definitely fits Phil, and the Queen of Cups, loving and tenderhearted, unable to turn away someone in need... while that might not fit my more cynical view of Rita a lot of the time, it definitely fits Phil's idealized version of her. The Rider-Waite deck version of the Queen of Cups sits on a throne at the edge of the sea. She holds a lidded gold cup with wing-shaped handles. Her throne is decorated with what seem to be baby merpeople, nymphs I suppose. Biddy Tarot says the water motif represents the unconscious mind. The key in the imagery, I think, is how the Queen holds the cup, carefully with both hands; she is nurturing after all. Interestingly, given the link between Groundhog Day and immortality, My Qabalah makes a connection I had considered, that the Queen's cup is, in fact, the Holy Grail. Here's the card:

I mentioned those two cards before. But, what about the Eight of Swords?

Keep in mind some of the gender-related issues in the film, because this card has at its center a woman, but I would suggest it represents Phil Connors quite readily. The Ryder-Waite Eight of Swords has a woman, bound and blindfolded, surrounded by the eight swords, like a cage. There's a town far off in the distance, but she's isolated from it. There's water around again, but she's not really in the water. Biddy Tarot suggests this means the restriction represented by the card "is based on an intellectual assessment of the situation and not an emotional one. There is a path cleared before her, so there is actually a way out of this situation but the blindfolds prevent the woman from seeing her way out."

Here's the card:

The woman's situation is like Phil Connor's situation, trapped and, at least at first, blinded to the genuine possibilities of his situation. What's missing here in the visual would be some alternate path full of those possibilities showing on the Seven of Cups. But, then again, in a Tarot reading, you don't often just draw a single card. It's the play of card on card that matters.

And, what about the Page of Pentacles?

The Ryder-Waite version of the Page of Pentacles is simple: a young man standing out in a country scene. Instead of noticing the natural world around him, he's enamored by the big shiny coin he holds in his hands. I figure this is Phil earlier in the time loop, stuck on doing what feels good, not yet noticing the "better" things surrounding him. Here's the card:

The Page of Pentacles represents new beginnings, and Phil has a lot of those. Biddy Tarot points out, "Pentacles correspond to the alchemical element of earth, and in this sense the coin that the Page holds may symbolise the beginnings of sensual awareness not only in terms of money and its value but also in terms of a growing awareness of the importance of health and other material needs." As Phil might say, he's "really close on this one... really really close."

Do I think the set decorator or whoever put those cards there on purpose? Maybe. Or maybe meaning is wherever we find it, once again. Either way, these cards work.

Today's reason to repeat a day forever: to finally learn all the tarot meanings by heart so I don't have to look them up for stuff like this.

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