Recycled Material

Since I have nothing new to say today (not yet, anyway, although the day is still young), I thought I would reflect on the course of this blog since its start-up last July. Although I make a dedicated effort to avoid it without good reason, with over 400 posts now you may notice that I sometimes repeat myself. My quirky way of titling them doesn’t help much in detecting when a topic has already been covered. In truth, though, I often have fresh insights or a new perspective on a previously discussed subject that justifies revisiting it, frequently in a different context than the first time around.

This may simply be residual “spill-over” from the storyteller’s practice of honing particular tropes like metaphor and analogy through repeated experience with them in reading situations. I have favorites that I like to trot out to embroider the bare bones of a story-line, and you will most likely see them resurfacing here when I post a narrative from one of my readings. They have proven reliable, so I reuse them. Another source of durable quotes is the writing of my mainstay tarot authors, notably Aleister Crowley’s Book of Thoth, Paul Foster Case’s The Tarot and Joseph Maxwell’s The Tarot (is there an echo in here?) Still others come from my skeptical view of what has become of the “New Age” since I first became involved in it back near the beginning. Because the cynicism of years can be deadly to the fresh-faced enthusiasm of those just starting out, I try to keep that to a minimum. Besides, Gerald Suster once said it much better – and more viciously – than I ever could (or would).

I strive mightily to avoid redundancy within any given piece of writing. How many ways are there to say “often” before you start repeating yourself? I cycle through “typically, frequently, usually, regularly, customarily” and similar adverbs before running out of imagination and returning to “often” (ideally several paragraphs later when the reader has forgotten). Effective writing of any kind benefits from a large store of synonyms and a good memory, and the narrow “keyword” bias of much tarot interpretation can wrap a stifling straitjacket around a writer’s creative inspiration. (See above re. “metaphor and analogy,” the best remedies for mindless recitation.) Writing blog posts can be a stimulating literary exercise because, to be successful, one must quickly become something of a minor master of the three-paragraph essay, with all the economy of style that demands, and that while still trying to say something interesting and engaging. There is probably much truth in the observation that running a blog is a great way to say whatever you want, secure in the knowledge that nobody will ever read it. But I’d wager that even fewer will read it if it isn’t consistently informative and well-written.


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