Now, I know this is officially a tarot blog, and one might not necessarily make the connection between lingerie and the Major Arcana immediately, but I am here to champion the cause of stockings and suspenders as a worthy topic – and I will endeavour to somehow weave this into a justifiable ramble on the merits of both. I have absolutely no idea how I am going to do this, and I am sure there are many more pressing issues our world is dealing with right now that need attention, but I’m in need of a little diversion – so let’s indulge, shall we…
Firstly, as a tarot reader, one is presumed to have a certain image. Maybe it’s the crone, the wise old lady with a little table and a lamp, cats crawling around her skirts as she sits in the semi-darkness to read your fortune. Or perhaps it’s the gypsy woman in the back of a caravan, welcoming you in behind the tassled curtain, scarves and silver hoop earrings. Whatever it is, the image of the tarot reader is not generally equated with that of sex goddess. Wisdom and sexiness for females have usually been portrayed as almost pole opposites, as far as most media is concerned. It’s the total cliche of the sex kitten to be fluffy, pretty, and as vacuous as a blow-up doll. To be wise, perhaps, is to be dangerous in a different way – to see too much or know too much is often perceived as serious- asexual in the way the High Priestess looks in the Rider Waite deck – very like a nun, you’ll agree. I always remember playing a game with my ex, where we listed the five professions we found most sexy – and was somewhat devastated to hear that ‘tarot reader’ wasn’t on his list! He had the typical nurse, librarian, rock chick, bar girl… but no tarot reader. Hello! At least he could have just added it in (at number one!) to make me happy…
I guess what he didn’t realize is that Reading for someone can be just like a strip tease – you reveal just a little at a time, slowly peeling back the layers of perception, offering tantalizing insights and potentialities as yet unrealized!! An energy exchange takes place between the reader and client which can go as deep or remain as shallow as you like. All the senses are involved in a reading (oh, okay, maybe not taste.. ), including of course, the most exciting sixth sense, which gives you, the reader, the overall ‘feel’ of a person’s energy. The wonderful thing about this kind of work is that it cuts right through the mundane into the magical, and plays with the essence of spirit. How you connect to your client, how open they are to ‘being read’ plays a huge part in how enjoyable and successful any reading will be. While I can read for almost anyone, there is a world of difference between the readings depending on these factors. Some people say they want to know the truth, but are actually far from ready to hear it – for these, a glove peel is enough. You as the reader must be selective and insightful as to how much information to give, and shape how the reading accordingly. Occasionally, you get the client who is on your wavelength, who wants you to go deep and is able to travel with you into the other realms: and this is bliss. To be able to sink into a reading fully, to be able to speak your own language and be understood. It is like listening and singing at the same time, seeing and being seen, harmonizing, it’s a beautiful thing.
The word Arcana actually means secret- as in secret knowledge. To find the treasure, you must first seek it out. I don’t know about you, but I find that most things worth pursuing require a bit of effort, a bit of seeking. Secrets are treasures, delectable and enticing, whetting the appetite for more, promising satisfaction but delaying it, building a sense of anticipation. When you delve into the world of the Tarot, you are on a quest for knowledge, you become the adventuring Fool, exploring life’s mysteries and uncovering deeper meaning in your own life. You are the agent, the investigator, the navigator of wild terrain. In the Magician, you begin to create from what you have found, to use your tools. Power is born from a sense of self, of one’s own magic. And then as High Priestess, the secret behind the veil is akin to the body beneath the cloak. There is great magic in adorning one’s body, whether it be with paint, jewellery, a crown, or stockings and suspenders. It is a reflection of the desires and beliefs of the self, the manifestation of one’s belonging. For me, the High Priestess is not a nun, she is a powerful woman whose sexuality and spirituality are the twin serpents of the Caduceus, the alchemical blend of order and chaos. She reveals and conceals according to the pristine perception of her Third Eye. She is not to be contained in artificial structures of cultural convention which condone what is proper and what is profane. To be worthy of her you must first be able to find her. Then, as the Angels sing, She keeps no secrets from you.
I have to blame this whole indecent article on my recent obsession with watching ‘Mad Men’. It’s that damn Don Draper and all his secrets beneath that ultra-composed exterior. Totally King of Swords, with an undercurrent of King of Cups that culminates in insatiable desire. And those sex scenes in which every woman is inevitably wearing stockings and suspenders. It’s just ridiculously good! I found myself tipping out my drawers and untangling my many pairs of stockings, unhooking them from various suspender belts, and sorting them into a state where I was actually able to conceive of wearing them. Systematically separating them from the sock pile and the unmentionable tights, (which are comfortable and sensible enough to guarantee you not feel sexy ever again in your godforsaken existence) I found a pretty hat box to keep them in, and decided that every day for the next month I would wear them, no matter what. Melbourne’s winter may be mean and cold, but wearing these flimsy, silky little stockings gives me my own private mission, and it feels damn fine. I highly recommend it.
It’s amazing how wearing s&s can transform every day tasks into, well, not-so-everyday tasks. My favorite so far has been wheeling the rubbish bin out last night, having totally forgotten how short my black skirt was or how wild my hair was, or how my stocking choice of the day was red fishnets, and as I’d been busy doing housework I hadn’t realized they’d slipped down revealing the suspenders, – until I saw the look on my (very nice, very conservative) neighbour’s face as she was taking her baby and toddler to their car. Music was blasting from the house, my black cat was appropriately guarding the gate, and my stuffed raven fulfilled the picture nicely, hanging on with one wired foot to the gloss black letterbox. The little three year old just stared at me as though I had stepped out of some forbidden fairytale as her mother hurried her by. No big deal, right. I mean, I would have loved to have a witch living on my street when I was a kid. And I smiled. With a missing tooth. Nah, only joking. With fangs.
It’s funny, such a little thing as stockings and suspenders can shift your consciousness (and your wardrobe! Try working white lace stockings into an outfit without looking like Alice) in so many ways. If nothing else, it definitely shifts you out of a rut. You simply cannot resist the urge to sashay rather than slump. (Think Joan in Mad Men.) S&S are the tools of the Magician, the Secret Weapon of the High Priestess. A friend told me recently he sees the High Priestess as the sexiest, most potent Witch of all – the snake dancer, entrancer, bewitcher of mere mortal men and keeper of the Key to enlightenment . Guess I made his top five….