Posts Tagged ‘Tower’

Don’t Be Afraid of Virginia Woolf: Tarot Imagery in “The Searchlight”

August 8, 2015

 

Getting ready for BATS next weekend, I’m working on a close reading of Woolf’s “The Searchlight.” Here are my lecture notes for the introduction.   Can’t wait to explore the story during our session. I’ll post the close reading itself after I get the benefit of our discussion next Saturday.  I always learn so much from our seminars!

Virginia Woolf was born in 1882 and developed an acute awareness of the rigidity and smugness of prevailing 19th century attitudes that assumed she would take her place in society accordingly. Unwilling to be bound by societal norms of class and gender that relegated her to a codified domestic life, she wrote both fiction and essays that challenged the status quo.  She named the new century of her adulthood the Modern Age, and used a fresh and dynamic approach to write about everyday life in the midst of the 20th century explosion of urbanization, technology, global war, and cultural change.  Like her fellow Modernist writers, she mined themes, symbols, and works of the past for nuggets of meaning to enrich her own works.  But she applied a modern psychological consciousness to her writing, and delved deeply into the human mind’s capacity to observe and make meaning from sensory details and associations  from ordinary life as well as from large events to explore the macro and micro elements of the changing world she lived in.

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Bay Area Tarot Symposium Coming Up!

July 25, 2015

On August 15th and 16th the fabulous Bay Area Tarot Symposium will take place at the Doubletree Hotel in San Jose.  It promises to be the biggest one yet, with an eclectic mix of leading lights of tarot, as well as some very exciting  presenters who are new to the symposium.  On Saturday the 15th I will present another of my tarot/literature crossovers, this time on a Virginia Woolf short story. My friend Sophia Mao introduced me to this story through her erudite and fascinating Honors Thesis for the English Department at UC Berkeley.  Her writing on the images of “The Tower and the Telescope” inspired me to see the story with a tarot agenda, which yielded a very rich reading. Here’s the description of my presentation that the BATS program will use as an introduction.

Don’t Be Afraid of Virginia Woolf:

                                                                                                                           Tarot Connections in Woolf’s “The Searchlight”                                                                                        

While many readers see Virginia Woolf’s work as daunting because of her use of stream of consciousness, her fragmentation of time, and her haunting but difficult mysticism, her work can be accessible and enjoyable when read with the tarot as a key to her symbology and themes.  In our time together, we will do a close reading of her very short story, “The Searchlight,” using the images of the Tower card to unlock the door of understanding to the story’s message.  Like her Modernist contemporaries, Yeats and Eliot, Woolf taps into archetypes that offer wisdom and guidance for our modern era, archetypes that are reflected in the tarot deck in usage during their era, the RWS deck.