5. La Maison Diev

Drifting through the halls with the sunrise
(Holding on for your call)
Climbing up the walls for that flashing light
(I can never let go)
Coz I’m gonna be free and I’m gonna fine
(Holding on for your call)
Coz I’m gonna be free and I’m gonna fine
(Maybe not tonight)
And the sun is up and I’m goin’ blind
(Holding on for your call)
Another drink to pass the time
(I can never say no)
Coz I’m gonna be free free and I’m gonna be fine
(Holding on for your call)
Coz I’m gonna be free free and I’m gonna be fine
(Maybe not tonight)
It’s a different kind of danger
And the bells are ringing out
And I’m calling for my mother
As I burn the pillars down
It’s a different kind of danger
And my feet are spinning ‘round
Never knew I was a dancer
‘til Delilah showed me how.

—Florence + The Machine , “Delilah,” How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful


As you pursue my work, you will discover my reverence for Tarot. Setting aside your criticisms of this strange science, whose efficacy outperforms not only antidepressants, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers, but also the placeboes and nocebos that outperform them in paper after peer-reviewed paper in the medical research community for more than two decades, and in fact delivers the goods 100% of the time, look merely to these 76 cards as inventories of archetype, which Jung and Campell persuasively and plainly state are applicable to us individually, and which I have in section 3 demonstrated apply also the civilizations our organized behaviors succeed. In that, no card-archetype is more indicative of the archetype applicable to this darkest of hours than Arcanum XVI, traditionally referred to as The Tower.

This card typically depicts of the cataclysm of Babel— the tower erected by man as sepulchre of his own godliness before the world is struck down decisively and too easily by a hand vastly mightier than his own. In most readers’ hands, the advent of The Tower in any reading is cause for consolation, apology, warning: Dark, foreboding, it is commonly held that nothing good can come of this card.

While I dispute this in any modern deck’s countenance, in each modern deck there is call-back to predecessor decks. Ultimately, Tarot exists in three distinct phases: The modern phase, or British phase, begins with Susan Smith and Arthur Waite’s classic motifs and finds astonishing but ultimately obtuse and arrogant elaboration in Lady Fried Harris and Aliester Crowley’s Thoth deck. 

The first era of this sage tool was the Italian period, in which gypsy artists and cons were working out in successive revisions these playing cards as schemes of ridding nobles of undeserved coin while selling some secrets those cards coaxed them to reveal of themselves to their enemies, gifting others as rumor and gossip to their subjects, and keeping the choicest secrets and lessons for themselves before the snuck off to so beguile the villages in the Lordship. Sheerly through mutuation of experimentation did they arrive at their designs. 

But it was in the decks printed during the reign of the Sun King of Marseilles, Luis XIIII, the French period, that we find not merely the first codification of the the official Tarot archetypal language, but a more subversive text and technology— the latter a workbook equal to Machiavelli and Sun Tsu in their diagnoses of power and its movements, and superior to both in every way in mapping how any man or woman can become wise to the games of the powerful, and, with practice, come to beat them.

The Marseilles takes what we have contemporarily and traditionally viewed as the most unsettling and dangerous cards— XV the Devil and XVI the Tower— and renders them comical and stupid, for it is precisely this value its authors place on these ideas themselves. 

In the Devil card, the devil and his twin supplicants are cast in cheap, idiot costumes— embarrassingly bad drag that should never be mistaken for real, let alone titillate, frighten, and otherwise alarm us giddily beguile and orgasmically terrify us as these do. The Devil, the Marseilles correctly opines, is a childhood boogeyman, a cheaply constructed con easily seen as such, and nothing more threatening than that. Even worse, it is a ploy of distraction. The Tower, meanwhile, is given a very different spin, whose insight is urgently needed today.

In these decks’ Arcanum XVI, we are not given the name The Tower in any dialect nor period of French. Instead, the title is plainly, “La Maison | Diev.” The first two words before the title-dividing bar are old French: The mansion, or the house. The third word after the bar, Diev, is old Bulgarian, and means, “wild” and “unruly” or “mad.” The card depicts a depressingly comical Tower of Babel, like the Devil a clumsily rendered simulacra, as both a solid turd-like phallus and a goofy party favor, both exploding and casting colored coin or ball into the air. Two fools in jesters’ clothes, prancing on their hands, dutifully act to collect these token awards, bestowed by their ‘generous masters’ who hide in their flappy-roofed tower. Neither is happy; also, neither seems concerned that he is unhappy; and: neither seems to notice that the tower, the mansion, the castle they dance around and in on their hands, is itself more of a cheap joke than the unnatural behaviors they contort and comport themselves to in order to remain in its stead and enjoy the benefit of its protections.

The message of this card is simple: You are an animal, trapped in a mansion made for another species that is not plant nor animal, nor planet. In this mansion, you must suppose at all costs that you are not the thing you most obviously are: an animal, a mammal, the greatest of great apes. No, you must anything else. You are human. And you have trapped yourselves in a madhouse and have become obsessed with playing a violent game of pretend that seems to have no end and no way out. This, friends, is the so-called, maddening human condition. The human condition is not resolvable in apes— because there is no such thing as human that an ape can ever be. Yet we dwell as apes pretending to be human, playing a very dangerous game of human being, and have trapped ourselves in an ever-maddening mansion, a wild madhouse for which we suppose there is no mistake in our being in and from which even Plato could see no escape. This renders us the most unruly and wild animal in Nature. See also: climate change.

We can translate La Maison Diev as “the wild house” and get the subject matter. Truth told, in the Marseilles, Arcanum XVI points its finger squarely at the edifice of man, the sepulchre of culture built from his ancestors’ traditions and sustained within the walls of civilization, and calls the Civilization for  precisely what it is: A fucking madhouse. This is not a madhouse to store and conceal the mad; rather, this house maddens its occupants, whom suppose despite mounting evidence they are anything but.

Not incidentally: Mojo Jojo POTUS Trump has sworn to you wall you in.

Civilization after surpluses generated one level of La Maison | Diev for the culture man brewed successive generations of himself in. (Culture, after all, is nothing more than a rich medium fermenting a grand reproductive strategy.) Following the Enlightenment, the madhouse became feverishly radioactive.

The message is simple: You, friends, have been ever trapped in a delusion that has kept you from the obvious truth. That you are of Nature. That you are animal, mammal, ape, and all one family with nature. That you have lost yourselves a game of coin and illusion— in the Marseilles, the suit is ‘deneer,’ meaning denomination, rather than coins or disks or pentacles. More consequential, however, is the misspelling of deneer for the King of that suite— the Roy de Denier, whom is the god-king of denial, of lies, and of counting the spoils of his profits from his wins from those vices. In Marseilles, the Roy de Denier is the supreme enemy. His game: Follow the leader, follow the bouncing ball, the shell game: ignore what you do with your bodies as accident of hidden signalling while you chase after myths of award only infrequently sustained by exceptions of wins proving the overwhelming rule of loss. See also: trickle down economics. He commands your attention; so follows your attention. In training your gaze to follow wherever he leads, you miss entirely both Nature and the lessons of your behavior, both handsomely evidenced in the swelling periphery all around you that your ignore in pursuit of this gold never to be delivered.

You are prisoner in the very dangerous game of human being. This game, in which you pretend that you are anything but that you are, is the subtext and engine of our species’ behaviors that mark this earth. Amplified by fiat currency, GAAP accounting, and and manied manias of markets mistaken as economies before which we stand ever agape, this very dangerous game is the template upon which the engine of catalysis is archetype, fueled, and parabolically accelerated and sustained. It is also the mechanism that will deliver your catalysis’s failure unto you and your planet, and it is doing so in this moment.

Thank god you’ve got those peekaboo baby book black mirrors to help you apply yourselves to the dutiful business of faithfully, stubbornly playing that human being game— at all costs, including:

Denying your grandchildren and every other plant and animals’ successors’ inheritances of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in the Father’s Kingdom in the Mother’s Eden. All this so we can dwell gloriously basking in the promise of the swollen riches horded by the scantest few of our billions-bloated numbers, whom themselves do not enjoy them.

All of us live in La Maison Diev. We are maddened, one and all, day in and out, by life in this awful madhouse, by this terrible game of human being. The human condition, then, is never anything but what it has always been: a prison.