As the calendar year changes many people like to speculate about what the future holds. We were wondering about the fate of the City of London council, and thought it would be useful to do a simple Tarot reading for the Corporation. We did a three card past/present/future spread. What we turned up shows the long term outlook for the City to be very bleak. The first card we drew represents the past and this is far sunnier than the Corporation’s destiny.
The eight of coins in the traditional Tarot de Marseille became in later occult packs, like the Rider-Waite-Smith deck that we’re deploying here, the eight of pentacles. The sculptor is carving out this figure on huge gold disks. He’s represented as a young man, an apprentice who is learning his craft. This takes us back to the Gresham family, known as the Hammer of the Hansa. Thomas Gresham is the most important figure here, and we’ll just note his father was a Lord Mayor of London. The family had been cloth merchants and pressed for an anti-Hanseatic League trade policy. Thomas stressed the importance of stable coinage and is famous for his association with the dictum ‘bad money drives out good’ (Gresham’s law). Thomas also founded the Royal Exchange, modelled on the Antwerp bourse. This is the City’s past, it’s history as a sorcerer’s apprentice to emergent global capitalism.
The Devil is the Corporation’s present. The card can represent materialism in its scientific guises but in this instance it indicates greed enslaving humanity. The City is on a circular path of evil that can only end in its own destruction. The Corporation so identifies with financialisation that it can’t be differentiated from Moloch; but those it demands sacrifice their lives for the god of profit will turn and overthrow this oppressor.
“And I looked, and behold, a pale horse! And its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him. And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth.” Revelation 6.8. Or in the case the City of London and the global system of tax havens of which it is a capstone, it has spread famine and poverty over the entire globe. In the Tarot this card represents transformation much more than literal death, but these changes as they occur will reveal that the City was already well on its way to hell in a handcart.