PART 4: READING WITH THE DICE
Included in each copy of Anthromancer are three unique dice. These are the Zodiac die (light blue, with twelve sides and roman numerals), the Fool die (white with six sides and indigo pips), and the Fox die (violet with six sides and white pips), and they are tied to the themes and elements expressed by the hymns of their name. These hymns and dice embody the central themes of Anthromancer; Mastery of the self, the meaning of suffering, and enlightenment.
Within Dragonfruit these dice can be used to add depth to readings. Each generates symbols with the numbers they roll, and once you’ve got a notion of their character and purpose, you can incorporate them any time. At the end of this section is a final sample spread called ‘The Cosmic Cross’, in which all the components – the cards, the board, and the dice – are combined. Once you’ve mastered the dice, you’ll be able to perform truly dynamic readings with Dragonfruit Alchemy.
THE ZODIAC DIE – ‘THE STAR’
The Zodiac hymn and die are associated with the classical element of Aether, the color Blue, and the 12-sided platonic solid known as the dodecahedron, as well as the core meaning of ‘Wisdom’. Zodiac is the 13th hymn – the ‘King’ of the hymns – and its 12-sided die has been labeled with the numerals of the 12 hymns below it. This governs its function in the Mercenarium Arcade; the Zodiac hymn and die allow a player to randomly generate any of the other hymns, even ones that have already been used or discarded. In Dragonfruit, this capacity can be used to generate what we call ‘The Star’.
At the beginning of a reading, you may choose to roll the Zodiac die and place it in the House of Aether (center position) to establish the theme or conflict that defines the querent’s situation. Whatever hymn is generated in this way becomes the Star; a prophetic symbol that tells the querent what the rest of the reading will be ‘about’: an obstacle to be conquered, a behavior to be encouraged, or something to look out for. It represents some facet of the situation that the querent must identify, integrate, or overcome. Furthermore, it sets the tone for the rest of the reading; a skilled reader will keep the Star in mind while translating the symbols of the rest of the cards in the spread.
The Star is not necessarily antagonistic; often the difficulties we face lie in learning to accept things, to take responsibility for ourselves, or to surrender to something greater than us. The core meanings of the hymns were chosen to express archetypical experiences or ideals, both positive and negative. Seen in the light of the Star, each takes on a different character, as a conflict intended to help us grow.
Here are a couple of other ways you may choose to incorporate the Zodiac die into readings:
When the Zodiac Hymn Appears
During the course of a simple reading (one that is not already making use of the Zodiac die as the Star), there’s always the chance that the card for hymn XIII. Zodiac will appear organically. The Zodiac hymn has non-standard alchemy, and you may wish to roll the Zodiac die to generate a hymn with standard alchemy. If you do this, substitute Zodiac’s core meaning with that of whatever hymn is rolled and continue as you normally would.
As a Catalyst
The Zodiac die may be rolled as a catalyst, for clarity; if you find yourself stumped by a card, try rolling the Zodiac die and placing it on top of the card. Whatever hymn value is generated, and the element associated with that hymn, may ‘catalyze’ context that will make it easier to understand a strange or unexpected card. In situations where the alchemy of the hymn rolled on the Zodiac die causes alteration, the rolled hymn (expressed by the Zodiac die) assumes its altered meaning.
THE FOOL AND THE FOX DICE – ‘THE SIGNIFIER’
The Fool die is associated with emptiness and masks, the color Indigo, and the geometric shape of the Sphere. The Fox die is associated with the cosmos, consciousness, the color Violet, and the icon of the Seed of Life. Together, they can be rolled to generate a character archetype called ‘The Signifier’, a figure representative of the querent’s own personality.
The concept of ‘The Signifier’ is borrowed from Tarot Divination, where some Tarot readers will instruct their querents to choose a character from the courts that they feel a personal connection to. This card will then be used to represent the querent during a reading. The Fool and the Fox dice apply randomness to this concept; By generating a signifier at random, we are often brought to see ourselves in a different light than we may have chosen on our own. This changes our perspective during readings, which influences the insights we discover.
At the beginning of a reading you may choose to roll the Fool and the Fox dice together and place them in the House of Aether, to establish a signifier archetype. The Fool die generates a ‘mask’, or a court value, and the Fox die generates an element, a suit, and a house of experience. Together, they can generate 36 different archetypes, as each mask takes on a different tone when placed in a different house. Once you’ve established this signifier, you can use it to inform creative decisions during the reading: How would this character archetype interpret the Star? How would they embody or resist the qualities expressed by the other cards in the spread? How does the querent relate to the signifier, and what in their life does the signifier make them contemplate?
The Fool die is the mask generator; the numbers on each of its faces represent different court values:
1 represents the Leader (Ace, Authority)
2 represents the Rebel (10, Catalysis)
3 represents the Beginner (Jack, Courage)
4 represents the Soldier (Queen, Devotion)
5 represents the Teacher (King, Wisdom)
(0) represents the Fool (Lord, Lessons)
The Fox die is the suit generator; the numbers on each of its faces correspond with different spheres of experience:
1 represents Earth (Claws, Source)
2 represents Water (Souls, Pulse)
3 represents Fire (Gears, Path)
4 represents Air (Blades, Vibe)
5 represents Aether (Stars*, Voice)
(Seed of Life) represents Flow (Flowers*, Truth)
*The Stars is the suit of the hymns, and is representative of mastery over the concepts expressed by the correlated Fool die value. The Stars are associated with power, consequence, reflection, compassion, humility, and artistic expression. The archetypes that appear in this suit are actively shaping the world around them through their creative voice.
*The Flowers is the suit of The Fox, and only appears if the Fox die lands on the Seed of Life. This suit is representative of transcendent truth, pure awareness, where words cease to have any value. The Flowers are associated with luck, comedy, games, absurdity, serendipity, and mystery. The archetypes that appear in this suit are unlocking inner peace and awareness, and are living in harmony with their truth.
The masks generated by the Fool die provide a personality archetype, and the elements generated by the Fox die give that archetype a tangible focus. For example, if you roll a 4 on the Fool die (Soldier / Queen) and a 3 on the Fox die (Fire / Gears), you generate the Queen of Gears – a Soldier in the sphere of Fire – a devoted or faithful figure taking action on a Path. Likewise, if you roll a (0) on The Fool die and a (Seed of Life) on The Fox die, you generate the Lord of Flowers – a lesson in the sphere of Truth – a powerful moment in which the signifier draws our attention to the most transformative awareness available to us: the nature of infinity.
Some of these concepts are highly esoteric, and may take some getting used to. But if you really want to push your Dragonfruit readings to their most fulfilling, meditate on these concepts. There’s a lot of room for improvisation with the Fool and Fox dice, particularly where the Stars and Flowers are concerned. These dice offer an opportunity to inject creativity into Dragonfruit in yet another way.
Sample Spread 4: The Cosmic Cross
This spread incorporates all the concepts we’ve learned thus far; individual interpretation, alchemy and alterations, the houses, and the Fool, Fox, and Zodiac dice. If you haven’t read about these components or don’t feel you understand them, you may wish to return to a previous section to review. If you find yourself confused, refer to the earlier examples, or check out our how-to videos.
The Cosmic Cross is based on the popular Tarot Divination spread known as the Celtic Cross. For best results, the querent should have a query in mind. This spread will explore the querent’s inner and outer worlds, their past and future, as well as offering suggestions on what may be done to help them with their situation. This spread offers the gifted reader the opportunity to let their creativity shine.
Shuffle the deck several times.
If this reading is being performed for a querent, instruct them to hold their query, if any, in their mind.
Have the querent cut the deck.
Have the querent roll the Fool and Fox dice (1, 2), and place the result in the House of Aether (center position). This roll generates the querent’s Signifier, which represents an aspect of the querent in the present moment.
Have the querent roll the Zodiac die (3), and place it in the House of Aether below the Fool and Fox dice. The numeral rolled generates a hymn from I to XII, which represents the Star; the theme or conflict that the querent must identify, integrate, or conquer, to resolve the situation.
Turn over the first card (4) and place it in the House of Earth (east position). This card represents the past, or the foundation of the situation; the energies that have already transpired and that have led up to the present moment.
Turn over the second card (5) and place it in the House of Water (south position). This card represents the querent’s subconscious energies related to the situation, as well as its effects on romantic affairs, fears, habits, and instincts. This card indicates the driving, primal impulse that lies beneath the situation, and indicates the deeper, unconscious quality of the querent’s actions.
Turn over the third card (6) and place it in the House of Fire (west position). This card represents the future of the situation; the querent’s goals related to it, or how it may be affecting their other goals, and how the situation may impede, affirm, or change these.
Turn over the fourth card (7) and place it in the House of Air (north position). This card represents the querent’s conscious awareness in the situation, their attitude towards it, and how it affects their relation to their tribe or community.
Turn over the fifth card (8) and place it in the first corner (southeast corner position, between the Earth and Water houses). This card, nestled between the houses of Earth and Water, represents the confluence of both Past, and the Subconscious. As a result, it represents the impulses the querent experienced in the past. This position is concerned with habit energy, karma, and emotional baggage; what they are subconsciously carrying into the present moment.
Turn over the sixth card (9) and place it in the second corner (southwest corner position, between the Water and Fire houses). This card, nestled between the houses of Water and Fire, represents the confluence of both the Subconscious, and the Future. As a result, it represents the direction that the querent’s present impulse energy is leading them in. This position is concerned with the querent’s hopes and fears related to the situation, as well as fate, and the trials to come.
Turn over the seventh card (10) and place it in the third corner (northeast corner position). This card, nestled between the houses of Air and Earth, represents the confluence of both the Conscious Mind, and the Past. As a result, it represents the querent’s tribe, or the community of people they can depend on that have been drawn to the querent based upon the vibration they projected in the past. This position is concerned with counsel, and offers a reflection on how the querent’s friends and family play a part in the situation.
Turn over the eighth card (11) and place it in the fourth corner (northwest corner position, between the Fire and Air houses). This card, nestled between the houses of Fire and Air, represents the confluence of both the Future, and the Conscious Mind. As a result, it represents the querent’s ideal outcome in the situation, or the effect that their attitude will have on the world going forward. This position is concerned with the querent’s agency and reflects a possible outcome of the situation, if the querent is mindful.
Contemplate the full spread and search for insights. Pay special attention to the subtle influence of alchemy, and the myriad of ways in which ‘energy pathways’ may be opened or manipulated between cards. Consider the dice in the House of Aether, and how their symbols might be seen to interact with all the cards around them. Consider the themes of the Zodiac die. Do these themes appear anywhere else in the spread? What element is tied to this hymn, and does that element elicit additional meaning? Consider the signifier generated by the Fool and Fox dice, and what their role is amidst all these symbols. Consider the corner spaces. How much potential for alteration exists here, and how will you interpret it? What can you decipher from this cryptic tableau?
When you feel satisfied, return the cards to the deck, and remove the dice from the board.