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Barbie Tarot - The Mad Schemes of Dr. Tectonic [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Beemer

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Barbie Tarot [Aug. 9th, 2006|10:45 pm]
Beemer
In lieu of anything interesting going on at home or work (both good but boring), and because dcseain asked:

So I have "barbie tarot" listed as one of my interests. What's up with that?

Back in college, my friend Xris (that's short for Christina, but she goes by Chris, and it's more fun to spell with an X) showed up one day and handed me a large stack of Barbie collector cards in bright pink plastic holders, which she had picked up in the dollar store, "because I HAD to give them to you! They cried out to me, saying 'GIVE ME TO BEEMER!' and I didn't want to argue with them." Because she is the best flavor of wacky like that. (She's not really crazy, but she is Ukranian, and how can you pass up the opportunity to say "Ukranian madwomen"? I certainly can't.)

Not too much later, various folks were hanging out in the front room at TEP, and Quinzee and I started talking about the 'secret esoteric mysteries of Barbie'. And, well, it kind of took off from there.

The cards have pictures of different Barbie outfits from various years. On the back, they have a little blurb about the outfit or the version of Barbie pictured, and a fact about something that happened that year, and a random "fun fact" to fill it out.

There are a few cards from 1959; these are the Major Barbii, and represent (we decided) the primal Barbie archetypes. The rest of the cards (the Minor Barbii) are divided into suits by decade. Cards from the suits of 60s represent social order and roles, while the suit of 80s is mostly about materialism, business, and money. The suit of 70s is about sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll. (And bad fashion.)

To do a reading for someone, you deal an ensemble: start with a card for the hat, then deal blouse and jacket, belt, skirt, and both shoes. The hat represents matters pertaining to the head, while blouse and jacket are central matters (outward and inward). The skirt is the personal, and the shoes represent the future. The right shoe is the immediate and obvious future (because you step forward with your right foot), while the left is the undercurrent (the left foot moves back so that you can move forward). The belt is what ties the whole thing together.

If you need clarification, you can deal accessories (scarf, purse, and gloves) or jewelry (earrings, necklace, and bracelet). If you just want a quick reading, deal the underthings: bra (matters close to the heart and things that provide support), panties (intimate matters), and hose (what you present to the outside world).

Anyway, it turns out that they're actually really good for divination, because you can draw not only on the imagery of the picture, but on the text on the back. If you can't dig something out of the fact that the outfit has a reversible jacket with faux gold-lame trim, Barbie sales topped 20 million dollars that year, and the pet rock was a popular fad, you're just not trying. For the big picture, you take note of how many cards from each suit show up and where, whether they're dignified or reversed, how colors feature prominently in the different outfits... just start slinging patterns around, and it all comes together pretty quickly.

It's my party trick. I've been told that I'm quite good at it. (Though I'm out of practice, and it's hard to give a good reading when you know a lot about someone's current situation because of LJ...)

Just watch out for Big Hair Barbie. She's a very evil omen.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: melted_snowball
2006-08-10 12:31 pm (UTC)
I don't think I remember ever seeing you do this.
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[User Picture]From: dcseain
2006-08-10 12:38 pm (UTC)
:D Oh, cool! I look forward to meeting this deck. You've totally made my day; i'm all bouncy now.
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[User Picture]From: zalena
2006-08-10 01:08 pm (UTC)
I got a Barbie reading several months ago. I can't say how accurate it is because lots of cheap plastic accessories were predicted before true fabulousness arrived.

I'm going to point out your description to a friend of mine who loved the idea and wanted to know more about it.
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[User Picture]From: dpolicar
2006-08-10 02:59 pm (UTC)
I'm surprised I never saw you do this.

My favorite divination technique remains having people ask me questions, opening my mouth, and seeing what answer comes out.

But a close second, when I want to answer questions of my own, is to ask the question, open the nearest book to a random page, close my eyes and point. (I later open my eyes and read the text I pointed to, and apply it to the question at hand, in case that isn't obvious.)
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[User Picture]From: zalena
2006-08-10 03:09 pm (UTC)
This is called "bibliomancy."
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[User Picture]From: arcticturtle
2006-08-10 04:16 pm (UTC)
Too good to be true...
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[User Picture]From: dr_tectonic
2006-08-10 05:46 pm (UTC)
Absolutely true, I swear! Next time we're in the same place, remind me and I'll do a reading for you.
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[User Picture]From: k8cre8
2006-08-10 05:56 pm (UTC)
I can corroborate all of this, and, will say that Barbie readings have, in my experience, been *more* accurate than typical Tarot readings. That's even as an observer, and not even as the person whose ensemble was being analyzed...
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[User Picture]From: dr_tectonic
2006-08-11 09:38 pm (UTC)
Or rather: pickles!
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[User Picture]From: ocschwar
2006-08-10 04:26 pm (UTC)
dr_tectonic speaks the truth. I was there for that.
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[User Picture]From: k8cre8
2006-08-10 04:55 pm (UTC)
It has been far too long since the "secret esoteric mysteries of Barbie" have been explored through the power of her Tarot. The last reading I witnessesed was at the old Ranch, and, that's been at least 3 years. Wow. I often really miss that place.
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From: anteejean
2006-08-10 06:45 pm (UTC)
hey! i want a reading. bring them back to boston!
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[User Picture]From: dr_tectonic
2006-08-10 07:04 pm (UTC)
I was thinkin' that Barbie is kind of Princess-y, and would be apropos.
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[User Picture]From: madbodger
2006-08-11 04:22 am (UTC)
That's completely wonderful! I still do throws with a homemade deck assembled of
photographs I'd taken (an idea I originally nicked from maugorn).
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