“The perfect scientist is the one that can reconcile reason and the spiritual.”
This is the type of catchy phrase that makes me glance over and consider what I’ve just heard. I’ve been working with other scientists (even if, these days, the most “correct” term is “researcher”) for about 20 years now and I must confess that even though some of them are indeed spiritual and a few others are curiously peeking from across the drapes, most of them don’t seem that happy in seeing man and the world as manifested creations of a higher power. Still, if we were to apply a modern definition of spirituality, like say, “deep values and feelings that arose from personally meaningful experiences” will probably include quite a lot of them because, basically, being spiritual doesn’t mean that you have to believe in the existence of hoards of strange beings with all kinds of appearances / powers / characteristics / functions that just happen to exist outside of our visual field.
Watching a sunset can be a powerful and beautiful experience, but the same could also be said of the mathematical formulas which describe the way light travels through space.
In that sense, sure! There should be reason and spirituality in what a scientist does. Scientists work to discover new worlds, after all. And that should be something very meaningful indeed.
What do the cards have to say?
All of this came afterwards, as I’m righting this post. At the time, though, my first thought was “Oh really? I wonder what the cards have to say about that!” This time, I ended up going with the Marseille. Although I am a Thothite by heart, the Marseille did manage to grow a spot in my heart. There’s something to be said about drawings with simple and clear lines. It’s as if everything becomes clearer, sharper. And the whole reading would immediately pop on your face.
THE WORLD / DEATH / JUSTICE
The sentence I came up with was “A perfect scientist is the one that chops the whole world so that he (or she) can have hir measurements”. ‘Oh nice!’, I thought, my feelings as a chemist being slightly offended. ‘To the cards, he’s just a bloody chopper; a creature who devotes hirself to dissect the mysteries around him! But… where’s the curiosity, the sense of discovery; the artful way with which he can combine matter in new and exciting ways?’ It would seem that the cards will have none of that. At least not if you want to become a perfect scientist.
This reading is all about function and, in this case, a perfect scientist is the one that excels at cutting the world down into appropriate pieces and takes those to be exposed to the light of Reason. Period. And if you want to insert something else… Well then, I guess you’re just not ready to become that ‘perfect’ scientist.
This reading left me curious and I wanted more:
So what about magicians?
JUSTICE / THE MOON / THE WORLD
Ah! It would seem that we go back to where we came from. Justice and the World have their positions reversed and now, instead of having the Death card, the Moon makes its appearance. “The perfect magician analyzes what is wrong with the world, and brings it home”. Which would make him a shaman, I suppose. His task, to reconnect what has come apart; and bring some order and structure to a chaotic world.
Shamans would do that by traveling to the outer realms, to learn what they could from the spirits and bring that knowledge back with them to the physical world. It’s easy to see the crossing back from the underworld in the Moon card, as the lobster rises from the depths and prepares to meet two fighting dogs and a dark grey sky. This process could be described as “healing” in many places and, in a certain way, it is. What Science has taken apart, only Magic can place back together. Solve et coagula.
I get reminded of the myth of Seth and Osiris here. Seth, god of disorder and war kills Osiris so that he can have Osiris’ throne. But not content with that, he goes and chops Osiris into fourteen pieces, which are scattered all over Egypt. It is up to Isis, goddess of Magic to gather up the pieces and bring him back to life. Unfortunately, Isis fails to find the last piece of Osiris, his phallus, and decides to magically create one. The rest, as they say, is history: Osiris is brought back to life and impregnates Isis, who will give birth to Horus, the “one who is above”.
Science (and Reason) work by making things smaller and easily manageable. It does this, with the belief that a smaller portion will be easy to study and figure out than a larger piece of the world. But in doing this, it often looses knowledge. Science will learn of the mechanics of things, but of little more. Magic, on the other hand, attempts to create a world. It attempts to put things in their proper places and instill them with new life. It might not have the mechanics straighten out, but the knowledge is there.
2 OF COINS / LA JUSTICE / 2 OF CUPS
Justice here comes in the middle, in a reading dominated by pairs (2 coins, 2 cups, 2 dishes on the Justice scale). It’s function isn’t so much to analyze, but to balance. To find that point of equilibrium where two different coins can co-exist with one another.
It is also interesting to note how the 2 of Cups can be seen as a sideway view of the 2 of Coins. We can see the ribbon from the 2 of Coins below, its branches growing to surround and go beyond the two cups. At its most basic reading, Alchemy is about the coherent meeting of opposites; which, from what we’ve seen above, could be applied to Science and Magic. If Science and Magic are the two sides of the same coin, then ‘Alchemy is what binds them together and keeps them balanced and fruitful.’
It is both the relationship that is established between Science and Magic and what allows both to successfully interact with each other.
So what about tarotists?
JUSTICE / THE MOON / THE WORLD
I like this spread quite a lot. I see the faces of the two minions in the dogs barking under the Moon And I see the Lobster withdrawing after the parting of the water. Justice makes yet another appearance, again in the middle. I see this spread as being about the breaking of bonds; or at the very least, the cutting of illusions: it’s like the cards were saying ‘Look! those schackles are are not real! You’re actually free! Free to play and bark at the Moon or whatever else you’d like.’ Justice here is not analyzing, but rather deliberating. It is using that sword of hers to cut down perceptions and throw those Minions out into the world with a new understanding.
Justice then is the Devil that comes to taunt these Minions with the knowledge that things might not be as it should. Never mind that these creatures look perfectly content with the limitations that they have. In the end, they will be set loose upon the world to do as they please, with the bringer of truth, silently receeding after completing its job. The perfect tarotist, then ‘is the one that shows up to bring awareness, fearlessly cutting through the bondings / attachments people develop in their lives.’
Which, going on full circle is why a perfect scientist is just an indiscriminate chopper according to the cards:
To weight, to comprehend, to mediate, to become aware.
It does look like a pyramide of skills. In that sense, science would be at the bottom, concerned only with the properties of the world. Then would come magic and alchemy, adding comprehension and mediation / interaction. At the end, awareness. And the tarot. Justice remains silent. But it will still bring you the truth about things.