This story is part of Image issue 12, “Commitment (The Woo Woo Issue),” where we explore why Los Angeles is the land of true believers. Read the whole issue here.)
In the summer of 2022, artist Edgar Fabián Frías did a three-card tarot reading for the city. Below is an edited transcript of their reading.
The first card represents where we are coming from, where we have been — you can also think of it as the past. Our first card is the World card. This is the last card in the Major Arcana. It’s the end of a cycle. A cycle of learning, of growth, of pain, of suffering, of trauma, of revelation, of transformation. Of reclamation, of liberation. We’re coming from a place of lots of change, lots of grief and sadness. We have reorganized, we have recentered. The World is about the cycles of the universe, the ways we are spiraling upwards — we are flowing, we are becoming. We are blooming. This card is about feeling empowered. Feeling ready. Feeling celebratory. About taking the time to relish what we have gone through. It is time to take stock and really think about who we are right now. We have come to a new place; we’ve been given another opportunity to step into the void, to dance with wild abandon. This is a really beautiful card — it’s one of my favorite cards.
We are moving into the present moment with Instructor No. 5 or the Hierophant. Five is an incredibly sacred number for my people, the Wixárika people of Mexico. It is the fifth element, it is the void, it is nothingness — it is what is at the heart, what is at the core. It represents tradition; it represents ritual, ceremony. We are now in a place where we are able to create our own customs, reclaim what tradition means to us. As we move from the World card, we are now in a new cycle. We are able to reimagine, reinvigorate. We are expansive, we are infinite. Five allows us to reimagine structure, the scaffolding that creates our lives. Are we being held up? Are we being nurtured? Are we being guided? This card reminds us that there is a lineage that we are connected to. That we are a part of. And if you feel disconnected, it is an invitation back into the circle of ceremony, back into ritual, back into that scaffolding that holds us. You are loved. There are angels that are watching over you.
From here, we move to the third card, which is our potentiality card: What is emerging? Where are we headed? What is in the future? And I am so happy to share that we have received a blessing by receiving the Ace of Bottles or Ace of Cups. Bottles represent the element of water. Water is life, water connects us through memory, through consciousness, through a sense of awareness; it connects us to all life on Earth. Water moves through us. It brings emotional depth. It brings an ability to tap into our subconscious. The Ace of Bottles is a promise, it’s a gift; it’s the universe letting you know that, yes, our hearts have been broken, there has been a lot of grief, there has been a lot of change, a lot of reorganizing, reorienting and, of course, there can be a lot of confusion, misunderstanding and misdirection that can happen in those moments. And yet the Ace of Bottles wants us to know that there is an overflowing abundance of love, of care, of flow that we are moving towards. Our hearts are resilient. Trust that you will be able to receive the gifts, the abundances that are waiting for you.
The Ace of Bottles is about feeling expectant — having that moment where you’re feeling like you’re waiting for a big surprise. Something that will shatter and shake everything you have known. This cis, hetero, patriarchal, colonialist system will want us to believe that we are alone in our journey and need to figure things out by ourselves. The Ace of Bottles is here to remind us that there is an overwhelming abundance of collaborative, creative energy that surrounds us, that wants to reach out and touch us. That wants to douse us in its waters of life and love. A big message of this card: Work on opening your heart more. Let love in. Let care in. Let connection in.
Los Angeles, you are in for some exciting and transformative experiences in the next few years. There are ancestors here that are working through our bodies. They are moving us in many directions. They are guiding us. And we are being held as we transform ourselves, as we transform individually, collectively and as a city.
Edgar Fabián Frías works in installation, photography, video art, sound, sculpture, printed textiles, GIFs, performance, social practice and community organizing, among other forms. Their art addresses historical legacies and acts of resistance, resiliency and radical imagination within the context of Indigenous Futurism, spirituality, play, pedagogy, animism and queer aesthetics. Born in East Los Angeles in 1983, Frías received dual bachelor of arts degrees in psychology and studio art from UC Riverside. In 2013, they received a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling at Portland State University in Portland, Ore., with an emphasis on interpersonal neurobiology and somatic psychotherapy. Frías received their master of fine arts in art practice from UC Berkeley in 2022. Their work has been exhibited internationally, including at the Vincent Price Art Museum, Institute of Contemporary Art San Francisco, Oregon Contemporary, MOCA Jacksonville, Performance Is Alive, Project Space Festival Juárez and ArtBo.
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This story originally appeared on LATimes