Tsadde is Not the Star in the Thoth Tarot Deck

Victoria Nordlund


In my spread
you and the Emperor are now side by side.
I imagine that you would not be happy
with this present arrangement.

Aleister Crowley, in contact
with an extra dimensional entity, Aiwaz,
discovered that you were not
in your proper place, that
all these old letters were not aright
and decided, just like that,
to switch the Emperor card with you.

Great Mother bare
before me.
Resolver of the Tower
Gifter of the Spirit
Woman structualizing energy
in dual flow.
Woman putting the fish hook
deep within herself
to reveal the unseen hiding
place where real knowledge lies.
Woman who has Venus
and seven Chakras shining for you,
who has Ibis as your audience
as all the water you pour forth
circles back to the source—

should really know your fucking place.
You were never meant to represent Strength.

See, the Emperor was always better suited:
sitting on a ram-skulled stone throne
in red and orange.
Clutching his orb and Ankh,
barren mountain behind him.
He thinks he is the shit.

Crowley was convinced
he held the world,
thought you looked fine
balancing those pitchers.
Changed your role,
gave you Justice instead.

This is bullshit, I say,
Stand up from the pools
that flow at your feet
Put your hook through eyes
that will not meet yours
and tell him he has never lead you.

But there you are—
still together
in my present and future
unable to alter your position.

And I listen dutifully to the interpretation
of my final outcome—
giving the reader way too much power,
waiting to hear a revelation,
waiting for someone to change me too.




Victoria Nordlund received her MALS from Wesleyan University. She teaches creative writing at Rockville High School in Vernon, CT. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut. A 2018 Best of the Net Nominee, her work is published in Coffin Bell, Pank Magazine, Gone Lawn, Ghost Proposal, Philosophical Idiot, and other journals. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, three children, and poodle.