Monday, May 12, 2008

The Oracle of Billy Joel

Since I was a kid the music of Billy Joel has always spoken to my soul. I just love a good poet and story teller. For my money, none do it better than Billy Joel. So when I picked up the Book Of Ordinary Oracles a few years ago, I was immediately intrigued by the concept of working out a system like the one that Lon did in his book for Mark Twain.

As a Pisces on an Aries cusp, I get a lot of bright ideas. Actually bright and shiny is better, but still it takes me a while to get from here to there. In fact I have a whole craft room full of bright and shiny ideas, but least I digress. So from the time that I got the idea to actually doing anything about it was 2 years. We were throwing a Yule(ish) party and so we were going to do a prize give away with a spinning wheel. Here is where the Pisces nature just got traction.

I researched those carnival prize wheels and found them to be a few hundred bucks. So I used some of that creativity and came up with a lazy Susan option with an image taped to the front. It was reusable and would become part of the patio furniture when not in use as an oracle. This suited my budding Druidry sensibilities just peachy. Best of all, it set me back $24 bucks with shipping. So then it was off to the local copy place to blow up the images on the Wheel of Fortune card.

This was a serious magickal act. I took in the largest Thoth deck that I own and unabashedly walked up to the color poster copier. After a few muttered invocations of Thoth, I bravely pressed the button while chanting "Be thou without fear..." Despite my Luddite ways, it worked just perfectly. So much so that the teenagers running the place offered me a job since none of them could get this particular copier to work. I was rewarded for my efforts with several large prints for a whooping $3. I thanked Tahuti and several others as I quickly gathered up my manna.

Once home I started the amusing but arduous task of cutting and gluing the images on to my black posterboard template. I was fascinated because while I have owned, studied and worked with the deck for many years the images were so much more detailed poster size. I was quite pleased with the final image and you can just feel the Ape of Thoth spinning the wheel. On the
outer edge I glued copies of the Universal Waite (miniature version). My random card generator was now complete, except that I needed a pointer! I found an ankh image and glued it to a piece of cardboard, the effect was superb and amusing. I taped my Wheel on to the lazy Susan and gave it a spin. And then in a panicky moment of channeling my inner accountant, I gave it a series of spins just to make sure that it was random. Whew, it was!

I took another large piece of black posterboard and glued copies of the medium Thoth deck around a unicursal hexagram. Here is where a thorough knowledge of the cards really helped. I forgot that I used two different decks and Crowley changed the positions and names of the cards. Knowing that the Strength card became Lust is useful information BEFORE you start searching the board for a card title that doesn't exist. I settled on using the Thoth from there on out.

Then all that was left was to take every song lyric Billy Joel has ever written and match them up to the spirit of the Major Arcana Thoth cards. Needless to say that this was a lengthy, my Qabalah is not your Qabalah, process. Here are a few of my favorites and probably more of glimpse into the workings of my mind than most folks want!

The Priestess: She's naked but that's just a tease.
The Emperor: A good Captain can't fall asleep.
Adjustment: You may love them forever but you won't like them all of the time ( can you tell that I have trouble with Libras???)
Lust: It all depends on your appetite
Art: A bottle of red, a bottle of white
The Devil: I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints

So after I agonized over them for a few days more, I printed them out on gold card stock with black lettering. The effect was unintentionally like gold talismans, like little solar sigils. They glistened on the board and I was so very pleased.

A few days later I took it to a local pagan gathering and gave it a test spin. The responses were very interesting. The ceremonial magickians there that I knew were amused and gave it a go with insightful responses. The folks who were there because they thought that magick was a good way to scare mommy and daddy, got very pointed and direct responses. It was however a great way to get people to move outside their boxes and look at the process a little closer.

So as the card for the Hanged Man says: "All the words are spoken and the prophecies fulfilled."

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