Tonight my friend J came down to see me. She’s been through a lot lately, and we usually catch up with one another once or twice a year. She’s interested in my creative projects, and I in hers, and we usually share for a while before we go back to our lives. Together we wandered down to the river and back, and then had coffee in my favorite coffee place. There, we found one of those posters: “take what you need”, it said, and then it had a bunch of those cut-apart and tear-off tabs along the top and bottom. The choices were things like peace, love, stability, happiness, integrity, honesty, dignity, kindness, mercy, friends, and so on.
J chose magic. And, in the course of our discussion over coffee, an opening to do a divination arose, using geomancy. So I did. I did the shield chart and the house chart, and in general it was a very positive reading. I think she was pretty pleased with the results, and so was I.
But she asked me a question that threw me for a loop. “I like divinations to tell a story,” she said. “When i work with Tarot cards, or oracle cards, i try to tell a story with the meanings of the cards. But i can’t tell… What’s the story here?””
My initial response to this perfectly straightforward question was, isn’t that your job? I have no idea— it’s your story, and your process. I don’t know what the story is.
I realize this is going to sound crazy.
But the Kavad — which was quite a long ways away, in another building on another block, lying on my desk and totally incomplete, with lots of missing illustrations still — the Kavad answered her question. My brain went to the geomancy panel on the side of the box, processed her question using the existing planning sketches, and got the answers. Not in words. That would be absurd. The Kavad doesn’t have any words of its own. It’s all pictures, after all. That’s all it has to work with.
But that’s just it. Stories are made up of scenes, just as divinations are made up of discrete symbols, semi-randomly arranged. And the Kavad provided me with the images and narrative of the story I needed to tell — and it provided me with the memorable glyph or sigil that I needed to make the story true.
Sounds ridiculous, I know. I mean, I am an eccentric but sane adult. I don’t believe boxes made of foamcore can help me solve problems. Except, of course, that the process of illustrating the Kavad has helped fix these images in mind, and helped me read and randomize the information in the images to draw meaning from them on the fly.
None of this took more than a few seconds. It was nearly instantaneous, in fact. About as fast as a Google search usually takes. I guess that’s sort of the point: the Kavad is becoming a hermetic computer.