The Current State of the Occupy Movement
Those of you who have been following this blog know that my mind has been, in almost all of the previous readings I have posted here, been preoccupied with the Occupy Movement across the globe, and reading its widespread effects in the spreads. I was reflecting on the current state of the Movement – it seems to have lost a lot of momentum and has certainly dropped from the media radar and much public knowledge – and contrasting that with what I had predicted. I seem to have been rather off-kilter in my predictions (though I did think that it was maybe possible for the Movement to go into a “dormant” phase; this could very well be it), only to re-emerge more brightly in the future. However, I am anything but infallible, and may very well have misread the cards based on my situation in a place where I could not see the full picture.
If we look at Marx’s theories of Revolution, the Revolution to overthrow the governing classes must be composed of the workers united in one consciousness. As a Teaching Assistant in my Social Theories class insightfully pointed out, the Occupy Movement was made up of middle-class college students primarily, and when the working class did get involved, segregation in the Occupy camp occurred. Nothing was really solved, and the working class was still excluded and left out. This might account for why it has appeared to flop so badly.
Or perhaps there is another explanation; Marx was far from infallible. If he had been completely correct, the Great Depression would have resulted probably in a Communist Revolution in the United States. As far as we know, that did not happen. So, I decided to ask the cards for clarification, and went with a deck I use very little: The Dark Grimoire Deck.
I used the standard Celtic Cross Spread, and got this:
Card 1 – Central Factor: Ace of Wands
The Ace of Wands is a fiery card, filled with the pure spirit and will of Fire. In the Dark Grimoire Deck, the Ace of Wands is the cover of the Book of Light, representing creativity and sexuality. The central factor in determining the current state of the occupy Movement appears to be the pure sexual/fiery energy of creativity. But on whose part – the Occupiers or the Occupied? Is the current state of the Occupy Movement a result of the fiery ideological counterattack by the media and the right? Or is it perhaps a result of the fire of the movement starting strong and burning with a passion and then burning out? Or, perhaps it is a combination of the two; as rhetoric against the Occupy Movement grew (both sides began to criticize it, though for different reasons), the Movement itself began to splinter under pressure, and as the media shifted its attention away from it, like a fire the Occupy Movement began to gutter out, until like a flame its strength and power had ebbed away.
This card also represents the cover of a book. It tells us that the Occupy Movement has this fiery energy and creativity, but also that the book hasn’t completely opened yet. This seems to support my earlier conclusions about the Movement entering a “dormant” phase; the real story has not even begun yet.
Card 2 – Supporting Factor: The Lovers
This card indicates two personalities coming together and bonding, in some form or another. In this case, this bond, I think could be between two distinct personalities of the Occupy Movement: its middle-class personality and its revolutionary personality, coming together to create a revolution of the middle class. This revolution would look very different from a working class revolution, and would not have the same intensity as a working class revolution would. Perhaps this mismatched relationship is part of the cause for the movement’s recent downturn. Another interesting aspect of this card in the Dark Grimoire deck is that a third figure appears on the art, looking on the two lovers, creating a sense of impending doom. Who is this third figure? In this case, it could very well be the working class, which has been excluded from this revolutionary relationship through segregation in the camps and middle-class dominance of the Movement. In this situation, this card seems to have a more ominous and less positive connotation, and becomes a card of exclusion rather than bonding.
There are other relationships that this card could indicate. The Occupy Movement’s bond with the left and its strong association with it in a country with conservative leanings could also account for their current situation. The third figure in this case would be the right-wing in the United States, who have been left out of the Occupy Movement even though many conservatives would benefit from its success. This exclusion allows the media to delegitimize the Movement by associating it with politics rather than economic justice. It could also indicate the alliance of conservatives and liberals in striking down the Movement, making the third figure the Movement itself.
Card 3 – Past Influence: Two of Wands [Reversed]
So what laid in the Occupy Movement’s past? The Two of Wands – reversed. The Two of Wands is associated with domination and power, and this card in this position could indicate that the Movement in the past had power and the potential to change things, but perhaps no longer; this power is receding, either permanently or temporarily. Interestingly, both the Ace and Deuce of Wands appear in this spread; the Ace is in the present, and the Deuce in the past. This indicates a retrograde storyline; the book was opened and the story was read (the Two), but then the reader (in this case, social consciousness) rejected the storyline and shut the book, bringing it back to its cover.
This raises the question: why was the storyline rejected? Maybe, as Marx would likely theorize, the conditions weren’t right yet. Perhaps Marx is completely wrong, and the Occupy Movement’s aims will never be accomplished. Maybe the story will open again, and maybe not.
The Two of Wands is in this case Reversed, which is important to keep in mind. Perhaps that is why the storyline was rejected; perhaps the power that the Occupy Movement displayed earlier was false, and it appeared to be larger than it actually was (I believe I myself fell into this trap). This would account, I believe, for why the book closed; the Movement did not have the power it claimed as a result of leaving out important factors (as indicated by the Lovers), and so was destined to fail – for the moment. The book still exists, as indicated by the presence of the Ace of Wands. The art of the Two of Wands in this deck shows two men plotting something around a table, which hints that perhaps the movement was less spontaneous than it has been presented as – and perhaps reinforcing that the lack of inclusion of working-class individuals hurt the Movement (the figures in the image are distinctly scholarly).
Card 4 – Future Influence: The Magician
In the future we have the card that serves as the cover image of this deck: the Magician. The Magician is a card of manipulation, a master of esoteric secrets, and a channel of the divine or supernatural. He serves as a bridge between the realms of illusory reality and true reality. In the Dark Grimoire Deck, he is portrayed as writing a book. The Magician is, therefore, the person writing the story.
But what story, do you ask? He is writing the story that we all read and experience. Everyone has their own magician, writing their life story, but in this case, the energy of the Magician is powerful enough to manifest itself in a spread, in the position of the Future. The influence of the Magician is rising, and will eventually become a dominant force in the occupy Movement. We can hope. This, to me, indicates that in the future the Occupy Movement will resurge and will begin to write the story of the world, indicating its success.
However, I am biased. I want the Occupy Movement to succeed. What if, instead, the Magician is indicating that the opponents of the Movement will be writing the story? Nothing is specified. In the present moment, the opponents of the Movement are writing the story; politicians, the media, and conservatives dominate the discussion, and even liberals discredit the movement, writing the Movement’s history for it. Perhaps the Magician indicates that this trend will continue into the future.
So, then, who in this situation is the Magician?
Turning to the cards themselves, I noticed that the Major Arcana from I to IV are all present, and in very close proximity to each other. This, to me, seems to indicate that the prevailing story of the Occupy Movement is that of the Major Arcana, and is a coming of age story for the Movement. The Magician serves as a teacher for the Movement, which to me indicates that the Magician refers to those others writing the history’s Movement: the media and politicians. The Movement will hopefully learn from this experience, and move onward and forward, for the Magician is a teacher. Adversity and the active manipulation of your Movement by others can serve as a fine teacher.
Card 5 – Unconscious Influence: The Hanged Man
This card has darker connotations than normal in the Dark Grimoire Deck. It actually depicts a Hanged Man. This, to me, says that the hidden, underlying causes of the Movement’s current state is despair of some kind; the artwork on the card evokes ideas of suicide (quite obviously, really) and depression. Perhaps the Movement has ceased in most of its efforts because it could see how badly the odds were stacked against them, and support began to ebb as it became clear that nothing would change as a result of their actions. This supports my early theory of classifying the Movement as a flame: burning hot and bright, then simmering down quickly and burning out.
This card could also indicate that the Movement is merely biding its time and waiting; after all, the Hanged Man is card of going with the flow. Perhaps the Movement is waiting to gain more legitimacy, waiting to see what happens, and then resurge again when the time is right. This card seems to indicate that the current state of affairs is temporary, and that beneath the surface, the spirit of the Movement remains alive, but in an unrecognizable state. The time was not right for the Movement (again reinforcing what has already been said), and so the Hanged man came to have unconscious influence.
Card 6 – Conscious Influence: The High Priestess
The High Priestess, in the Dark Grimoire Deck, stands with the book the Magician wrote in her hand, reading it first and holding its secrets in her heart and mind. The High Priestess here is the first to interpret and fully comprehend the Magician’s words – perhaps even better than the Magician himself. She is an initiator of mysteries, and another channel of the divine. As a conscious influence, this card to me seems to indicate that the Occupy Movement is inspired by higher morals and ideals from a higher plane (economic justice), and that its current state relates to these ideals. Perhaps the segregation of the Movement between middle and working class Americans violated this ideals, and in order to maintain its legitimacy, the Movement had to lie low until it once again came in tune with this divine inspiration.
Perhaps this card could also indicate that the Movement is acting as a reader of the world, and is carefully watching everything said about it, and has realized that perhaps a better time for the Movement will come later. Perhaps they have subdued themselves because of signs they have seen; violent crackdowns, negative media coverage, and abundant criticisms of the Movement. They are taking a more passive stance, and reading the world again to determine when the time will again be right. This reinforces the themes of waiting and passivity found in the Hanged Man.
Card 7 – The Movement’s Own Perspective: Ace of Swords
Another Ace makes itself known, indicating that perhaps the Movement has a lot of unrealized potential; the Movement’s story has not yet even really begun. The Ace of Swords is the Ace of Demons, corresponding to the realms of thought and control. The Movement perhaps believes that it is in control of its own fate, and believes that it will fail or succeed based purely upon its own merits, actions, and mental attitudes. The reason for the present situation of the Movement is not because its opponents are doing better, but rather it is because the members of the Movement itself are failing in some way. As this card represents how the Movement itself feels about the situation, I find the above unlikely. Rather, I think that this card indicates that the Movement is aware of the control that the media, corporations, and the privatized political systems have in this country, and so are choosing to wait until they are weaker before rising up to strike again. Or, at the very least, the Movement believes this to be true. This card I am unable to shed much light on, as I am not an Occupier myself.
Card 8 – Society’s Perspective: Two of Swords [Reversed]
Interesting that the Two of Swords immediately follows the Ace. Perhaps the book of Swords – the Book of Control – has been opened by someone other than the Occupy Movement. Perhaps Society has opened the book and is reading and interpreting it in its own way, and thereby seizing control of the Movement’s future. The artwork shows Erich Zann (from H. P. Lovecraft’s “The Music of Erich Zann”) playing his violin while blindfolded, indicating a blind devotion and a search for inner tranquility that may be shattered at any moment by the Demons standing below him. Peace is fragile, this card reminds us, and society is getting this message as well. This card, to me, indicates that society realizes that there is a serious problem, and that the Occupy Movement has helped to raise awareness of this problem, even if it did not accomplish what it set out to do. This card is also reversed, indicating that perhaps the influence of the Occupy Movement on society’s perspective is hidden and not obvious, manifesting itself in a greater awareness of social issues in the country.
Interestingly, both Twos that appear in this spread are reversed. This seems to indicate that the story of the Movement has begun, at least in part, but that we are having trouble progressing past the beginning – perhaps due to flaws within the Movement itself, or because it has such powerful opponents. The fact that Erich Zann is blindfolded also has significance. The card is reversed, which could indicate that the blindfold will soon be coming off, and that society perceives the Occupy Movement as inherently flawed and silly, but at the same time as bringing something in dire need of attention to light: social inequalities in the United States and the world. Now that the Occupy Movement has done that, it is receding, as that goal has been accomplished, which might explain the Movement’s current state.
Card 9 – Advice/Hopes/Fears: The Emperor
The Emperor is a bringer of justice and order, as well as a symbol of power and authority. It reinforces the theme of fire we have seen throughout the spread as well. In this case, the Occupy Movement probably fears the order imposed upon them by the police, politicians, and the media, and the laws of society as a whole. What it hopes for is the justice that the Emperor brings to everyone. What it could do better is bring this justice to their own movement, end segregation within its camps, and come up with more ideas than just throwing out a lot of the old system. Perhaps if smaller concrete goals could be imagined (as difficult as this would be, given the broad goals of the Movement now), more might be accomplished, changing the order and sense of justice incrementally.
Card 10 – Summation: The Empress
The Empress is companion to the Emperor. She welcomes the Emperor’s subjects and nurtures them, preparing them for the indoctrination of the Hierophant and for her husband’s acceptance. This card in this position tells us that if things continue as they are, the Empress is the result. This seems at odds with the rest of the reading; the nurturing mother figure of the Empress?
Keep in mind that this reading is not examining the trajectory of the Movement as its primary focus. Rather, I am examining the factors behind its current situation. In this case, this summary card to me indicates that the Occupy Movement is in its current state in order to better care for its members and society as a whole. Its tactics have proved largely ineffective, and its members are fleeing the Movement. Many members of the Movement need to obtain jobs and money, and so leave the Movement, weakening it in order to nurture themselves – maybe so that later they can give back to the Movement. The Movement is also drawing a lot of fire, and a lot of arrests have been made, so perhaps the Movement is lying low to give its members time to recover and nurse themselves back to health, so that the movement can continue fighting.
Three things drew my attention immediately about this spread. The first was the presence of a large number of Major Arcana, indicating that large forces are behind the Movement’s current situation, perhaps many beyond its control. The second was that there were no Court Cards, indicating that strong personalities or individuals were not involved; this is a reminder that the Movement has no real “leader.” The third thing I noticed was that there were no Minor Arcana cards above the Two, which seems to suggest that the Occupy Movement is only the first stage in a much longer process, as its story has only just been opened.
So, in summary, the Occupy Movement is in its current state because it has burned itself out and faces poor publicity as a result of others writing its story, and is now sitting back and biding its time, waiting for the proper moment to rise again and allowing itself to lick its wounds and heal from the assaults on it. In the end, the Occupy Movement is only the first chaper – the opening lines and cover – of the book telling the history of the world, one forged in Fire and Air, the only two appearing elements in the spread. Emotions and Practicality are not the true essence of the Movement, but rather fiery willpower combined with lofty ideals. These things are necessary before the full revolution will occur, but we have a long way to go before we reach our final destination…