“A particularly beautiful woman is a source of terror. As a rule, a beautiful woman is a terrible disappointment.”

–       Carl Jung


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     Lambert:     You admire it.

     Ash:             I admire its purity. A survivor… unclouded by conscience, remorse,

                         or delusions of morality.


                                                  – Alien, 1979, directed by Ridley Scott



  1. The woman in white by the side of the road will eat your blushing heart and throw your alien, illegible, edible laws in the fire.


  1. The woman in white has a face like a weapon. Sharpen it. If you could get inside her body you could ride in it like a vast and war-ready ship. Slaves at the oars disposable as time. Sections of time thrown overboard to lighten the load, for you will get heavier and heavier as time goes on.


  1. The woman in white places her palms against your face like twin curses and leaves black marks all over your flesh, as if you were a herd animal being chosen for the next truck that arrives tomorrow.


  1. You invent the internal tattoo and gently remove each organ for scarification, branding, and the gentle and vivid watercolor of the sewing needle.


  1. You would like to devour permanence and dissolve it in your many stomachs. You would like to replace your skin when you grow weary of its memories, everything that seeps in it  and never passes through, never evaporates.


  1. This woman is a disappointment. Can she be exchanged, can she be returned, can she be reborn. Douse it again.


  1. The palm reader does not hesitate to read the palm of any creature. Every creature has a future, every other creature speaks its own language that we cannot understand. It does not care about our future but it should.


  1. Every woman is a source of terror. She is sublime, she gives chase like the white whale and she will destroy your ship and bring you down with her, tethered to her by a sewing needle. You break the surface of the water and become something else. A foreign object with no memory of your gills. You burn in the icy water. Your last image is of a beautiful woman you saw on a street once, she left a wake of terror which you reared back from as if it was fire.


  1. In the 19th century, men were obsessed with the sublime, the distant, the unknowable, that which causes awe and terror. Alien, unknowable. Now men have forgotten the gods but not women, an ever renewable source and object of this enduring passion. On her hands, clever spiders, might wear a band of metal to mark her as yours. A miniature heart of coal compressed by time into something white and shining, a star while it still gives light.


  1. This woman in white is a ghost. She is a machine. She will be a god. Her spirit is a sacrifice to cleanse the land of its sins. Blameless monarch. She is bathing inside you. Find her. A labyrinth, a fork in the path, your future.


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“On The Magician:


Some frequent keywords include:


          Action — Consciousness — Concentration — Personal power

          Practicality — Energy — Creativity — Movement

          Precision — Conviction — Manipulation — Self confidence

          Being objective — Focusing — Determination — Initiative


          In the Magician’s right hand is a wand raised toward heaven, the sky or the element
          æther, while his left hand is pointing to the earth. This iconographic gesture has
          multiple meanings, but is endemic to the Mysteries, symbolizing divine immanence,
          the ability of the magician to bridge the gap between heaven and earth. On the table
          in front of the Magician the symbols of the four Tarot suits signify the Classical elements
          of earth, air, fire and water. Beneath are roses and lilies, the flos campi and lilium
          convallium, changed into garden flowers, to show the culture of aspiration.


Mythopoetic approach:


          Some schools associate him with Hermes, especially Hermes Trismegistus, a syncretic
          Egyptian/Greek figure who is a combination of Hermes and of Thoth, a god of the moon,
          knowledge, and writing. In this aspect, The Magician guides The Fool through the first step out of
          the cave of childhood into the sunlight of consciousness, just as Hermes guides Persephone out of the
          Underworld every year.


          He represents the potential of a new adventure, chosen or thrust upon one. A journey undertaken in
          daylight, in the Enlightenment tradition. He brings things out of the darkness into the light. He
          explores the world in order to master it. He is solar consciousness.


          He is associated through the cross sums (the sum of the digits) with Key 10, The Wheel of Fortune,
          picking up on Hermes as a Trickster figure and a god of chance, and Key 19, The Sun, bringing us
          back to Apollo and to enlightenment.


          He embodies the lesson of “as above, so below,” the lesson that
          mastery in one realm may bring mastery in another. He also warns of the danger of applying lessons
          from one realm to another.


          The Magician transcends duality. He has learned the fundamental elements of the universe,
          represented by emblems of the four suits of the tarot already broken apart and lying on the table
          before him. Similarly, in the Book of Thoth deck, he is crowned by snakes, another symbol of both
          infinity and dualism, as snakes have learned from Gilgamesh how to shed their skins and be reborn,
          thus achieving a type of immortality; the blind prophet Tiresias split apart coupling snakes and as a
          result became a woman, transcending the dualism of gender.”[1]




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                         First Sphere (The Moon: The Inconstant)


When I was a child I had a rocking horse, a horse on thick springs, its mane ever tousled in the exact same way, day after year.  I would ride it into a hole in the ground that opened just for me, just for my horse and me. The passage of time below was inconstant while time above rocked back and forth on its unseen springs.



                         Second Sphere (Mercury: The Ambitious)


My dream was to reach Paradise, wherever it was. Through the tunnel, along the swinging bridge, down the shaft, through cave after cave. What came through but trains and babies with their nurses and businessmen dressed all alike. Each time I was tempted to plant mines behind me that flower into fire, preventing my being followed.



                         Third Sphere (Venus: The Lovers)


In my saddle bag I carried hearts that I found, amongst crowds above ground. I carved my name on their surprisingly tough surfaces as though they were picnic tables, a pastoral banquet waiting for me.



                         Fourth Sphere (The Sun: The Wise)


It is dangerous to be wise, you might be called upon to separate mating snakes, eat their skin, be cursed to live as a woman for seven years, to marry and bear children, and turn back again, burdened by knowledge, by this metamorphosis.



                         Fifth Sphere (Mars: The Warriors of the Faith)


So many ways to kill the faithless. Every body can be broken, burned, a bane, a bond. To destroy my enemies I need only join them, transforming them into my brothers, my family, my people.



                         Sixth Sphere (Jupiter: The Just Rulers)


We are guests above the ground. While alive, we are uncanny, always falling back into wilderness. Our vegetable love outlasts the centuries, outlasts the protean nature of justice of the day. Addicted to authority, the ground littered with needles, our blood mingled and tainted. Impure. You cannot escape me now because I am inside you.



                         Seventh Sphere (Saturn: The Contemplatives)


No more hangings, no more gas chambers. No one allowed to remain in the center of the labyrinth, guarding their DNA from the world, from the future. No more contemplation, no more waste. Everyone leaning toward paradise. Shields down and the word enemy will pass from memory. You are my kind.



                         Eighth Sphere (The Fixed Stars: Faith, Hope, and Love)


At the end of the world we will move through this wild, infinite palace. Gardens with the softest of flowers. Folded, mellow light. All unruly every room filled with animals risen from extinction, the taste of sacrifice still on our lips. All atoms equal. Every snake biting its own tail and every child tearing down the tent.



                         Ninth Sphere (The Primum Mobile: The Angels)


At the end of the world everything will be wingèd. My neck is a door, walk through it to the rough and savage woods inside me. Take your torch and burn any monsters to hot ash and dust. I can cough everything out and back into this blazing world. Axe to the frozen sea, hexes and incantations, yesterday’s reverie, usher in every little last thing you have.



                         The Empyrean

At last. Light all around us, my body a room of lamps, every wick lit as though it was the world’s last birthday. Time is now inside me, transfer and possession, never holding anything back, indifferent to my illegitimacy, disinterested in my grief, pierced with all of my joy. Inside me, a second, better person, furnished with perfect recall, my convict, my warden, my guest, my host.


Sun Yung Shin is a Korean American poet, writer and educator living in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is the author of Rough, and Savage (Coffee House Press, 2012), Skirt Full of Black (Coffee House Press, 2007), the bilingual (English/Korean) illustrated children's book Cooper's Lesson (Children's Book Press, an imprint of Lee & Low Books) and she was an editor with Jane Jeong Trenka and Julia Chinyere Oparah for Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption (South End Press, 2006), the first international anthology on the politics of transracial adoption edited by transracial adoptees.