I am interested to know where this goes! Marijn1 has a talent for making something dusty and premodern lively and contemporary. Therefore their take on cartomancy will no doubt be interesting as well.

I wonder whether they’ll go with a traditional system or a novel one. I’ve always had a certain suspicion of oracle decks invented whole-cloth simply because I don’t know if their encoded worldview is valuable enough. The relevant bit of an old blog post of mine:

The thing that’s really beautiful about astrology, about Tarot, about palm-reading: they have crystallized a way of looking at the world. Divide up all your concerns in life into weighted categories, please. How will you do it? What is the Huffman encoding of your life? If it were me, an embarrassing thing to admit is that I could probably devote one whole twelfth to The Explaining of Systems, as with whiteboarded box and line graphs, or awkwardly non-linear emails. In a sense, divination is a way of reminding me to not weight these concerns too heavily: family, travel, partnership, romance, money, friends… each of these has its slice of the medieval sky. Intellectual concerns, work success, they have lines on the palm, stars and houses-but their part of the distribution is limited. The transient metrics that can define my day at work are nowhere to be found: Latency is not given a Tarot card, nor CPU utilization a planet in the sky.

Now, it’s fair to point out that the worldview found in Tarot is also not precisely my own. For instance, it’s got all the gender essentialism you’d expect And More. However, as a system of archetypes, Tarot is a lot easier to evolve interpretations of than actual doctrines about “masculine and feminine energy” or whatever2. Death of the author, and they’re all quite, quite dead.

On some level, taking something old and inherited and teasing out the parts of it that are adaptive and the parts that are really problematic and the parts that are just path dependent – that seems like important work, at least for me. But because divination is part of a worldview, and of course Marijn has a different worldview, they’re going to have their own whole approach – so, like I said, I’m looking forward to hearing more.

  1. Their website doesn’t get webmentions so I will say “they” instead of “you” since they have only a certain probability of reading this) 

  2. I will die still cross about the gendering of the elements and I’m sure it’s That Fuck Aristotle’s fault somehow