Le Roi Est XIII

Estimated Reading Time: 7 minutes

Welcome to the Tarot Blog Hop!

Le Roi Est XIII

Our wrangler for this hop was Jay Cassels of Metaphysical Angels, who offered us the topic, “Le Roi Est Mort, Vive Le Roi!” or, “The King is Dead, Long Live the King!” To capture the experience of death and rebirth, he provided us a three-card spread to cast and share: Where have you been? Where are you going? What has changed? Because my blog has been quiescent, other than Tarot Blog Hops, for the last three months, I chose to focus the spread on it. The process led me to ask a fourth question–What is Le Roi–The King–the eternal essence that cannot be killed? Spoiler alert: I drew XIII Death for that position.


Where Has My Blog Been?

“XX Judgement” from Tarot of the Curious East by Lynyrd-Jym Narciso. Self Published 2010.

XX Judgement

Bare trees line the ridge in the background, while above them birds rise and fall. In the middle ground a tree is budding, or possibly losing its leaves. In the foreground a tree is in full leaf. A striding winged figure blows a papyrus shaped horn. He seems to be calling the trees into bloom.

This image reminds me of the Japanese poem called the waka. Many waka take as their topic the change of seasons. By trying to pinpoint the exact moment of change, the poet illustrates its ephemerality.

Deep within the mountains
That Spring has come remains unknown;
On my pinewood door,
Slowly strike
Droplets of snowmelt.

–Princess Shokushi, from the Waka Poetry Website

Is my blog the barren trees because I haven’t been writing? Is it on the verge of budding with new growth and new directions? Or is it the full blown tree? Since I started the blog in 2009, I’ve written over 200 posts, over 250,000 words. Maybe it’s old and the dried up leaves are blowing away.

It’s interesting that the horn is made of a papyrus reed, since papyrus is the precursor to paper, and paper the precursor to the word processing software I now use. I used to compose on paper and then type it, then I began composing in Word, then eventually started just writing in the blogging software itself. One time, I used the voice dictation feature on one of my e-devices to write a post.

At first I thought this card might be about the topics of my posts, but now I wonder if it’s an invitation to revert to hand-writing on paper.

Where Is My Blog Going?

“V The Hierophant” from Tarot of the Curious East by Lynyrd-Jym Narciso. Self Published 2010.

V Hierophant

This deck didn’t come with a LWB (Little White Book) and I’m afraid my scant knowledge of Asian culture leaves me high and dry trying to interpret the iconography. What kind of hat is that? I’m guessing it’s not a Stetson. What’s he holding in his hand? Weird looking. Why is his robe spread out around him like a carpet? I’m sure there’s a reason. That’s the Hierophant for you. He has all the answers but you’re not advanced enough to hear them. You stand there digging the side of your shoe into the dirt knowing you’ll never learn everything you need to know and wondering why you aren’t anywhere else right now. Is that a lavalier microphone on his face or odd facial hair or…???

I think I recognize one symbol here—the straw rope hung along the edge of the roof of the temple. It marks the border of a sacred place. In the story of the sun goddess Amaterasu, she hides in a cave after becoming upset at a horrific prank her brother pulls. In order to lure the Sun out of hiding, everyone conspires to trick her into thinking there’s a party and a new goddess better than her. Uzume dances and everyone laughs and cheers. Amaterasu wonders what’s going on and sticks her head out, then comes out of the cave. They put a straw rope across the entrance of the cave and say, “Thou must not go back further than this!”

The Hierophant is the external knowledge. I’ve shared tons of that on my blog. I want to go into the temple, to discover ways of sharing outwardly the inner secrets, the wisdom the cards have revealed to me. This Hierophant seems to be blocking me from that. If anything, I’m more curious about the young acolytes. Behind each boy is a large urn. These vessels are the most intriguing symbol in this image. Like the temple, they offer a suggestion of darkness, emptiness, the earthly vessel to be filled with spirit.

Where is my blog going? It seems that I will continue to sit at the entrance to the temple. If only I could completely empty myself like those urns.

What Has Changed?

“X The Wheel of Fortune” from Tarot of the Curious East by Lynyrd-Jym Narciso. Self Published 2010.

X Wheel of Fortune

Why are Wheel of Fortune cards so annoying? This one seems especially disappointing.

“Ugh,” I said. “It’s just a ship’s wheel.”

Hal looked at the card. “That’s the dharma wheel.”

“Oh, yeah, right. Ugh,” I said. “Right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood. Right?”

“Yeah, that sounds right,” he said.

“I can’t remember the others,” I mused.

I learned about the Eightfold Path in the Religions of India class I took in college. I skipped a lot of classes, sadly, or I would know more. Right Livelihood struck a chord with me and I chanted that like a mantra for decades. Now I feel like I have that one down. Being a tarot reader is an amazing job! But there are plenty of other branches of the path for me to work on, and if each one takes twenty years or more to get the hang of, I’ll need more time.

But what does it mean in terms of my reading? What has changed? Change has changed. Ugh. Smart-ass tarot cards.

Hehehe. There’s a lotus on the card. My blog logo is a lotus. Maybe it’s time to re-brand.

Well, if I did a Buddhist interpretation it would be about rising above the cycle of samsara, the repeated circle of birth and death. Like our blog topic.

If I changed change, that would result in changelessness. Joseph Campbell’s definition of Comedy as rising above the vicissitude of life and seeing eternal essence–the “inexhaustible joy of life invincible.”

That’s it. Comedy. I’ve become funnier.

What is Le Roi, the Eternal Essence?

“XIII Death” from Tarot of the Curious East by Lynyrd-Jym Narciso. Self Published 2010.

XIII Death

When I Google “Tibetan three eyed demon” I find information about a red-haired, blue-skinned, protective goddess. The destruction shown in this image could very well be part of her duty.

“The undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns.” A common theme here is boundaries. Attempting to discern the edge, marking the limit, transcending the attachment to the bounds of form, and, in this final card,  crossing the ultimate border. It seems that the eternal essence of my blog is a continual essay to push beyond.

What must I destroy to protect the essence of my blog? I must destroy all sense of completion or achievement. Reconnect with the wonder and curiosity of images.

From the first post I wrote in 2009: “Two children on a balcony. One leans over the edge, peering down to the city street below. One looks up wondrously and tugs the jacket of her friend. Each has a story to share.”

Reconnect with story.


Joy Vernon
Joy Vernon

Joy Vernon is widely recognized as an expert tarot teacher and respected community leader. With over twenty-five years’ experience teaching energetic and esoteric modalities, Joy brings expertise and practiced familiarity to her specialty of esoteric tarot, which layers astrological and qabalistic symbolism onto the traditional tarot structure. Under her leadership, the Denver Tarot Meetup grew into one of the largest and most active tarot-specific meetups in the world. Now Joy runs the Greater Seattle Tarot Meetup. Joy works as a tarot reader, astrologer, and teacher in Burien, Washington. To learn more, please visit JoyVernon.com.

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  1. “Ugh. Smart-ass tarot cards.”

    Best line ever! Love your take on this topic. I have rebranded a few times this year and I think this latest one might stick 🙂

  2. “That’s the Hierophant for you. He has all the answers but you’re not advanced enough to hear them.” I LOVE this. I have a special relationship with him – a few years ago I drew him 30+ times for my daily draws and after about the 10th pull, I was like “ENOUGH ALREADY. I get that I do not fit into this culture/social structure. Walk away from the dead horse, please.”

  3. I started writing by hand again this year… amazing what has come out of that! Reconnecting with story – what a great idea. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Omigosh I am loving this tarot deck you’ve featured! Now I have to go hunt it down.

    I love your poetic, lyrical writing style. Puts me in this calm, dream-like state after reading your writings! <3

  5. I’m a fan of Narcisco…he did the Vanessa Tarot. He’s got so many styles! USGames is publishing another soon.

    Your thoughts on your blog hit home with me. Mine has been lying fallow other than these posts. I am going to sit with that for a while.

  6. I sometimes hand-write in a personal journal just to reconnect with that act. It feels so much more personal… and I found my handwriting improved tremendously! 😀

  7. Love the way you read the cards and how you express yourself so clearly, Joy. I especially appreciated your insights regarding the imagery in the Hierophant. And what a gorgeous deck!

    I’m going back to hand writing, too. I remembered that the experience and process of composing with pen and ink seemed very different than composing on a word processor. (Back then, I joked that ink spots on my skin seemed to have some chemical affect on my mind and inspire new ideas.) I just discovered that after not writing for years, my motor skills are shot to heck, so now I’m focusing more on recovering my penmanship than on putting my thoughts on paper! 🙂

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