The Butterfly and the Money Spider

a short story about tarot reading

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Photograph by Martyn Goodacre, taken from WHOS FUCKIN PLANET, COLD LIPS, 2020


I wanna know what the future holds - I thought, carefully steering a butterfly the same colour as this chrome orange typewriter out of the kitchen.  Pouring hot water over dried chrysanthemums, swilling them around the teapot. I didn’t tell my tarot reader friend, sitting in my small London garden what I was thinking.

'Quite a general question,' he instructed.

Are all questions between one another moral judgements, of sorts?  Was that part of this guidance of sage and student? He is older than me, so naturally slips into a guru role. We’re learning more about each other, in a careful, and respectful friendship.

'Do you think this is about channelling energy?'  We discuss Alice A. Bailey’s Treatise on White Magic.  Lou Reed swore by it, and although it’s taking me many years to read, dropping in, lesson by lesson, page by overwritten page, the lessons are inline with my own psychic development. It’s the best self-help book I’ve ever read.

He tells me about how he’s been getting into a pendulum of late, OCD on whether it dresses to the left or the right of how to get from one side of the room he’s found himself in, to the other.   I am not an advance occultist, but intuitive, I’ve been burnt at the stake several hundred times enough to show that in my eyes. 

Where does he think my energies lie?

I tell him a story about a wife of rock, who focussed on the laws of attraction driving a Range Rover to her door. It worked. Same with the Margate buddhists who'd chanted for prosperity, and ended up with huge homes. He looks at me with his 15 years advancement on my own and I find my gut puking out pain in this confessional situation, that my mistake has always been to focus on the effect, more than the cause.  I have been media:  effluent, rather than star, but have walked a thousand stages, every plank a pirate, wearing so many costumes, I never thought anyone could see.

I pass him the Jodorowsky pack, based on the Marseille series. It’s strangely drawn, and as he mistook swords for wands, I realised I'd done a dud reading the other day, with the bottle of Jack, to the band, getting discs and cups confused.  Laying out the answers in a Celtic Cross on the garden table, the autumn sun sombre and sedate, burnt out after a crazed summer - I revealed more about myself, telling of the Celtic Crosses I drew visiting an island as a child and teen - it was like he was preparing me, from a very deep and loving place putting together all the pieces of information I’d offered of my true self, into what he thought I needed to hear.  It’s lucky to have people care.

Written as a monologue - my general question received a general answer.  

Success read the first card. Established. Solid amount of work.

Doesn’t ever feel like it.  Comparison. Competition.  A need to make this privilege of being alive exist for eternity.

Artists are allowed to be selfish, but to dumb down oneself to the audience as a communicator in the social media quagmire.  What a shit way to not create.  To communicate for all.  

Unsure where the conversation began and the reading ended, the result of this tarot is to write a flow.  A beatnik flow.  On my typewriter.  To see what comes out, through these tarot.  I come from success, from London.  Why do I feel the disappointment of the cards of the pack.  Why do I get forecast with ruin?  Is it because the cards are weighed with those options, or that I’m seeking out, or being found by such drama?

A period of spirit wondering is predicted in my tarot - a Joseph Campbell break.  

The ending is not good - he tells me he must read my tarot again when I return from a trip to distant seas.  I’m in a stasis I just can’t shift - it’s coming from external forces. 

The butterfly the same colour as this typewriter is now in the garden.

We move inside, a Money Spider swirls in front of me - the superstitious symbol spinning around my head three times by the kitchen door - I wish for something I cannot share, because if you share your dreams, how do they stay as dreams?  

Kirsty Allison