Addiction, materialism, playfulness
The woman slowly rolls the hundred dollar bill in her fingers. She can feel the man’s gaze on her as she does so, and she looks up only long enough to give him a teasing smile. She knows exactly what it is that he wants, and she’s willing to give it to him as long as he does the same for her. Using the tips of her index finger and thumb, she slowly spreads the cocaine across the plate.
“Go on, then,” she tells the man. “Sign the contract. What’s a soul compared to what I’m offering?”
The Hanged Man
Sacrifice, release, martyrdom
The soldier walks out towards the middle of the battlefield, his arms extended outward towards the sides. He moves slowly as he crosses the distance between the two armies. For the first time, the battlefield is silent.
The opposing archers don’t release their arrows. The soldier knows that the sight of an unarmed person walking through No Man’s Land must be confusing. He also knows that soon an officer will order them to fire, and he will die when that happens.
It will also release the dark spirits inside of him. He smiles to himself. Everyone will die with him.
Cause and effect, clarity, truth
The man grabs at his head, the pain that fills it so intense that he nearly collapses back onto the ground. Slowly, the agony begins to fade. He leans up against a tree and waits for the last of it to pass. That was the worst migraine he had ever experienced.
He doesn’t know where he is. Looking around, he finds that he’s standing in a small graveyard in the middle of a forest clearing. Confusion fills him as he sees his name written on the nearest tombstone, and the hole he had crawled out of in front of it.
The Wheel of Fortune
Change, cycles, inevitable fate
The man holds the red container over his head and pours the gasoline onto his body. He makes sure that every inch of himself is soaked with the fluid before dropping the container. Reaching into his pocket, he retrieves a small lighter from his pocket. The moment the fire touches his clothing he bursts into flames.
Death is fleeting. It takes him for just a moment before releasing him. He climbs out of the ashes of his old body and goes back out into the world, once again seeking a way to finally find the end.
Contemplation, search for truth, inner guidance
The monk sits on the hard stone floor, feeling the cool mountain air flow across his skin as he slowly inhales and exhales. For years he has sought personal enlightenment, to be at one with himself, and here in this moment he is closer than he has ever been. His emotions have often been at war within him. To find his true self, to know who he truly was, would be a blessing beyond any other that he had been granted.
He opens his eyes. He knows. He is the darkness, and all shall be consumed.
The High Priestess
Intuitive, unconscious, inner voice
The words whisper through the woman’s head as she gets out of bed. She’s been hearing the voice for weeks, but it’s never been this clear before. It beckons to her, leading her out of her room and down the stairs.
She opens the front door. The yard is bathed in soft blue light. She knows that she should be scared, but the voice tells her that everything is fine and as it should be. She smiles calmly, and that smile stays on her face even as the giant tentacle reaches down from the sky and wraps around her body.
Authority, structure, control, fatherhood
The line moves slowly. Each person steps forward at the same time in lockstep, calm and expressionless as they take part in the procession. They come from all walks of life, each with a different background and personal story to tell. Some are among the wealthiest in the world, while others live in poverty. All races, sexes, and creeds are represented. At this moment, in this line, all are equal.
The great beast’s maw is open, and it consumes each person as they step inside. All humans are equal, and all taste the same.
End of cycle, beginnings, change, metamorphosis
The man stands in the middle of the forest clearing, his face turned up towards the silent cold moon. It shines down on him with its white light, full and large amongst the stars. That light fills him, and he feels it burning away the shadows inside of him. The release is incredible. He falls to his knees in joy, tears of gratitude streaming down his face. He barely notices the pain as his back begins to split open.
A man, frail and sickly, had entered the clearing. A wolf, powerful and healthy, leaves it.
Tradition, conformity, morality, ethics
The grandfather pulls the needle through the cloth as he finishes the stitch. With a smile of encouragement, he hands the material over to his grandson. The boy is clearly nervous, but he squares his shoulders and slowly pushes the sharp point into the cloth. His first stitch is a bit uneven. Each one he makes is better than the last, though, and soon he has successfully completed the first section of the robe.
The grandfather sits back and watches with pride. Tonight, when they go door-to-door to perform their parts in the culling, the boy will look perfect.
Willpower, desire, creation, manifestation
The last of the blood drains from the corpse’s throat into the small wooden bowl. The man picks it up and retrieves a brush from the table. Being careful not to spill any of the ichor, he slowly paints a complicated symbol on the cold stone floor. When he finishes, he places an intricately-carved puppet into the circle and proceeds to draw the same symbol on the puppet’s head.
The man lights a candle and chants slowly, speaking words both ancient and forbidden. There is a cracking noise, and the puppet begins to scream.