The Magician


Mistress before Gods or man. You do not doubt her mastery or her power. The Suits obey her and her Will is total and complete. Her war rig awaits, the Wheel in her hand. The World is laid at her feet.

Now. Pick up what you can carry. And run.

No. I wouldn't fuck with her either.

Serendipity. When it hits, it hits, and you pray to be in the right place, at the right time, with a working camera. This counts as the Arrested Moment. This is what I was waiting for.

This card kicked my ass. I had so much resistance to working on the Magician.

My initial approach, which was very mechanical and technical and rooted entirely in the so-called Real World, just didn't come together. Which is the problem with production of anything, still or moving-image wise. I stalled out for five fucking months and chafed at all the delays and failed connections and broken promises.*

And then it came to me. Of course I wasn’t going forward with the Apocalyptica and the Magician, if I just treated it like it was a regular art project. It was and is meant to be sacred ritual.

Now before you freak out, realize that what I mean by magick or ritual, by and large isn't particularly dramatic. It’s bath oils, and soaps, and shampoo. Meddling with people’s love lives. Reading the lines in their hand. It’s quiet and deep and certain and does not need enormous fanfare. It is the depth of the endless ocean and the endlessness of the sky.

It is not a riot.

It is a requiem.

So I had to plow through ALL OF THAT to get to...

Shoot day.

I woke up excited on the day of and full of ideas for how to make the card shine. I took half a Klonopin because I knew the day was going to be particularly challenging and I didn’t want to freak the fuck out. I got prepared and put some ornamentation on the Cup. Necessity would have to be the mother of invention.

But the card was more solid in my head. Finally.

I felt in and out of my body all day. Disassociated in a way that wasn't bad, but was instead a complete connection to whatever this thing is that I’m channeling. And the other cards started talking in my head too. Like the clouds for the aces and setting up the studio to be fire safe.

There’s a lot to be done.

In the meantime, I moved slow and saved my spoons. Ran on the batteries before starting up the reactor.

And here's where the wheels came off.

I lost the light and had to go full on camera flash, but whatever. I got usable shit. The stuff that I shot without the flash had a lot of noise, but fucking whatever. I love noise. If you’re not gonna give me film grain, at least give me noise.

But the card got done. It was done, finally done, and I felt like I could actually move on and forward with a little more alacrity.

So yeah. I did everything in my power to sabotage myself. Flash problems. Daylight, lost. No buttonholes on the corset like I thought I had done. No belt holes on any of the belts but one. And I knew I had done that, but clearly, ha! No.

I had no purse. No ID. No vape pen and no rescue meds. I mean, the only thing that didn’t fail was my camera and praise Apollo and Hecate that it didn’t. But it did show me I need a backup camera body and lens so much sooner than later. Because that was the only thing that didn’t break or go wrong.

Granted, Mrs. Peel would never let me down like that.

So it was done. It was in the can.

The take away from all of this for me is that I may have tried to cut my own throat, but I’m good at this. I am really good at photography. I’m really proud of myself. I’ve worked so hard and so long to get this level of skill. Of course, there’s more to learn and levels of excellence that I haven’t reached yet, but for sheer ability to just get the shot?

Yeah. I can do that.

So that's the whole sordid saga of How Anji Found Every Way to Sabotage Herself and Still Got the Job Done.

There are worse things.

And that, as they say, is that.

* That being said, maybe I’ll revisit the image some day. Nowhere does it say I have to do these only once.


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