Friday, March 29, 2013

An Exercise In Reading- Ash Williams

Original movie poster for Army Of Darkness

Seeing as Ash Wednesday is coming up, as well as the imminent release of an Evil Dead remake in theaters (where today's subject comes from) I figured I'd tackle this character and give him a reading. For those not familiar with the name, Ashley J. "Ash" Williams is the protagonist of the Evil Dead movies and comics. Portrayed by Bruce Campbell in all three movies, Ash is kind of a blue-collar everyman, driving around in a battered Oldsmobile and working at a department store. As the movies progress, Ash first finds himself doing battle with a bunch of demons who seem intent on nothing more than messing with his mind, losing his right hand (literally) to these same demons, and finally getting sucked back in time to the year 1300 to continue doing battle with the demons. Finally, he manages to defeat an army of reanimated corpses and, in an alternate ending to the film, winds up in the future, where these same demons have pretty much razed the whole of human civilization, so it's pretty much back to square one for our reluctant hero. However, in the version of this film that was released to theaters, Ash manages to return successfully to his own time and his department store job, where he continues to likewise battle demons. So, whichever way you slice it, it seems Ash is destined to take on the demons that are seemingly knocking around in every era.
So what would the future hold for our hero? I decided to do a Celtic Cross reading for him, and the results were interesting.
The first card, representing the present, is the Queen of Wands. This pretty much sums up our subject, keeping in mind that gender is often very mutable in the Tarot courts. The Queen is a figure of authority and charisma, a natural leader. Ash does demonstrate leadership abilities, as well as a creative and practical streak, also characteristics of the Queen. He also tends to be egocentric and self-centered, more concerned with his own ends than with others, which often makes for a complex figure.
Covering this, indicating present influences, was the 6 of Pentacles, an indication of balance and exchange. The card indicates a give and take of resources, and here we find that Ash indeed often finds himself in situations where an exchange needs to be made. Ash frequently finds himself where he must help others to help himself; and work for a common good. This, in this hypothetical situation, shows that the key to survival and success is cooperation.
This theme of cooperation and working together continues in the Past position. Here was the Justice card, telling us that the things that have come about for Ash are the results of his own actions and decisions. Granted, we can't always know the consequences of our actions, but we can see that Ash's actions always have consequences- this can be both a positive and a negative, as we see in this instance. Sure, Ash is able to fend off attacks from the demons time and time again, but at the same time, it's often his own errors that produce the situations in the first place! But nonetheless, from these I would say that his leadership and practicality, as well as his self-interest, will ensure a future for him, though not necessarily an easy one.
In the Foundation position was the High Priestess reversed- an indication of forces beyond his control. These forces beyond his control are, to a large extent, simply because he does not or cannot grasp the larger picture. Developing farther sight and a more objective viewpoint would definitely help him. Ash tends to operate from a perspective of self-interest, and in so doing can miss a larger network of cause and effect.
Moving on to the Near Future position, we find the reversed Sun card. Again, a Major Arcana card, and again reversed. The Sun is a card of positive energy, and its reversal indicates something blocking or preventing this energy from manifesting. Judging from the cards that have come before, it would seem that the main issue remains a somewhat stubborn nature- Ash may well be capable of putting ego and self-interest aside, but will not do so without a major change in perspective and a major shake-up. This likewise can point to the stubborn nature of ego- we often go to great lengths to prevent a bruised ego.
Finishing out the 'cross' section of this reading, we find the card in the Aspirations position to be the Chariot. The Chariot represents force of will, and also provides some insight to Ash's situation. I found it interesting that the influences around a strong-willed court card were almost all Major Arcana cards. The Chariot represents driving forwards, subjugating conflicting or opposed aspects to the force of will. Again, we find stubbornness; Ash will persist to his last step on the path he's on, which is both admirable in some ways and an indication of a lack of any viewpoint other than his own.
The next position in this reading indicates the future- here the card was the reversed 3 of Pentacles. The 3 is an indication of being recognized for one's abilities and skills, as well as hard work. Granted, a lot of hard work has gone on over the course of these movies, but at the same time, it would seem that a great deal of it is running just to stay in the same place, as these demons are constantly on the lookout for people to attack. So from what we see here, Ash's situation seems to be one without a ready win- the best he can generally hope for is holding the fort down.
The next position in this reading is the reversed Knight of Wands. This indicates hopes and fears of the subject. In this case, it seems to go back to that maintaining the status quo; Ash is able to defend against attacks, and this consumes most of his time. There seems to be little more that he can do. The Knight is a figure of boundless energy, and the reversal indicates that this boundless energy is not, or cannot, flow into productive channels, when all of Ash's energy and resources are put towards simple survival.
Next up we have the Hidden Influences position, and here was the reversed Hanged Man. This seems to combine two factors in this reading- one, Ash's lack of long view, and second, the fact that his situation is somewhat unique. In a constant fight for his life, he simply lacks the time and mental energy to look beyond the immediate situation. Looking back to the High Priestess, it seems unlikely anything will change soon for Ash. But at the same time, there's hope for him in that he has a strong will, and an unstoppable desire to survive.
Finally, the Outcome here is the 7 of Cups- a card of choice. As time goes on, we can reasonably assume that Ash will continue fighting, and continue his survival. The time may come when there's a break in the battle, and Ash is faced with choices as time goes on. No doubt his continued survival will provide new learning opportunities, and the discovery of his enemy's strengths and weaknesses. This indicates to me a chance to change and advance- the situation will change for Ash, and it will fall to him to make the right decision.
In doing this reading, I did pick a rather extreme situation. It's unlikely that we'll find anything like this in everyday life. Nonetheless, the moral of this story, so to speak, is that the choices we make have repercussions- not always negative ones.

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