The Cards of U'ut

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The Cards of U’ut

Ellis Nadler

The Cards of

U’ut by

Ellis Nadler

Triboulet Books London

Published by Triboulet Books P.O.Box 4DY London W1A 4DY, United Kingdom Copyright Š Ellis Nadler 2011 All Rights Reserved ISBN 978-0-9571113-0-1

Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

Contents Preface . . . . . . 7 I. Axe . . . . . . . 10 II. Molar Beetle . . . . . 11 III. Orison of Mutes . . . . 12 IV. Amnissos . . . . . 13 V. Three Nails . . . . . 14 VI. The Sloping Stair . . . . 15 VII. Okortion . . . . . 16 VIII. Angel Stomachs . . . . 17 IX. The Cloud Doctor . . . . 18 X. Hidden Mountain . . . . 19 XI. The Tower . . . . . 20 XII. The Twins . . . . . 21 XIII. The Harbour . . . . . 22 XIV. The Chariot . . . . . 23 XV. The Wazir . . . . . 24 XVI. The Palace . . . . . 25 XVII. The Wave . . . . . 26 XVIII. Znakir of Thrax . . . . 27 XIX. Tohu Bohu . . . . . 28 XX. Nephelococcygiarist . . . . 29 XXI. The Golden Nose . . . . 30 XXII. Uut . . . . . . 31 XXIII. Cock . . . . . 32


XXIV. Triboulet . . . . . 33 XXV. The Purblind . . . . . 34 XXVI. Stylitic Baboon . . . . 35 XXVII. Eftsoons . . . . . 36 XXVIII. Psychomachia . . . . 37 XXIX. The Beard . . . . . 38 XXX. The Needle Maker . . . . 39 XXXI. The Ambassador . . . . 40 XLIV. Annunciation . . . . 41 XLVI. Seventh Poeticule . . . . 42 XLVII. Fallen moon . . . . 43 XLIX. The Flask . . . . . 44 LI. Boot . . . . . . 45 LXI. Three Knots . . . . . 46


Preface “After a sleep lasting aeons, the tiny god U’ut* awoke to find the world much changed. Humanity was plummeting into the dark pit of nihilism, and with time running out U’ut desired to be known once more. Accordingly he despatched his faithful hound Okortion† to seek me out. As the Elect of U’ut I was charged with the task of spreading his Word. Under the supervision of Okortion I laboured for two years engraving 37 wooden tablets encapsulating His Laws, the socalled Way of U’ut....” So begins the narrative that was running in my mind as I worked on the 37 woodblock prints reproduced here as The Cards of U’ut. Originally conceived as part of a performance art piece, the project has transmogrified in unforeseen directions including the publication of this unique deck of tarot cards. These cards can be seen as a work of art, a piece of autobiography, an elaborate prank, a method of divination, or all four things at once. The imagery is darkly humorous with several recurring symbols and themes, however it is for each reader to interpret the cards in the light of his or her own experience. When used in cartomancy the cards should be thoroughly shuffled, then cut at random and set out in any of the traditional tarot patterns e.g. three in a row (denoting past, pre* rhymes with “who hoot”

† See Card VII


sent and future), three pairs in a row, as a wheel etc. The cards are designed to be combined in endless permutations, consistently giving rise to fresh metaphors and meanings. For a shorter reading, it is sufficient to select a single card; this can be just as effective because in a sense each card contains all the rest. On a technical note, the cards in this deck are roughly two thirds of the size of the original images (traditional monchrome woodcuts printed off Japanese magnolia wood blocks measuing approximately 30cm x 20cm). For this edition the woodcuts were scanned and digitally coloured. The second arcana of 41 cards is currently in production. London 2011 E.N.


The Cards

Defender of silence Cleave to this cleaver U’ut’s widow maker Reveals birth in death Rejoice in your weakness Far stronger than anger The hypocrites tremble With each baby’s breath


He raised up a tower On foundations of dung Ignoring the sages He misread the runes Expelled from his castle And banished from power The furious beetle Denounces the moon


The world before naming Before protennoia Haphazard collisions In measureless night Not waking or dreaming Mind floating, chaotic Awaiting the Poet To set things to rights


Suspended and weightless Infused with unknowing Awaiting the flatus Of ego’s sour breath Take rest and refreshment In timeless gestation The waters are breaking This birth is your death


U’ut grew impatient His people were callow Their progress was sluggish Timid and shallow He hammered a warning The tree split asunder Disclosing this secret Numinous tarot


Taking one step forward Then sliding two steps back We ceaselessly struggle To fulfil the pledge Eternity passes A few reach the summit Faint echoes of laughter As they drop off the ledge


Slender hound of U’ut Was outstripped by her legs With her nose left behind She could not find meat Curb the dog of desire Constrain your ambition Know the thoughts of the wise Keep pace with their feet


The angels were causing U’ut’s indigestion Their unerring goodness Had quickened his ire He gave us their stomachs To cause us temptation But we’re above angels We master desire


Fair cumulonimbus Passing over your head These clouds teach a lesson That you misconstrue O ungrateful scoundrel! The bailiffs are knocking The Cloud Doctor’s payment Is long overdue


Adjacent yet hidden The earth holds a secret A treasure house lying Right under the floor So take up the carpets The searching is over More travel is pointless Now claim what is yours


Two spotters were sent to The Valley of Shadows They came home triumphant Flaunting a tower U’ut was a cuckold They left him a gelding Bagging this trophy to Cut off his power


At a fork in the Path Stand the twins of U’ut One brother is crippled His double is blind Two uprooted signposts Haphazard directions An uncharted road to The place of no mind


The entrance is narrow A fathomless haven U’ut lays unsleeping He counts drowning sheep Become a harpoonist Make U’ut your quarry With pinpoint attention Take aim and thrust deep


U’ut’s eggs of wisdom Gestate in the crow’s nest Kept warm by a lookout Whose watch never ends A three legged gallop For one legless runner Let those without members Make U’ut their friend


The ferocious Wazir Was right hand to U’ut He massacred millions For one grain of sand Ensconced in a crevice Till hell freezes over An inner voice pecks at His pineal gland


Much toing and froing Frenetically busy The hive hyperactive Holds only One Bee Thin coilings of smoke Are spiralling upwards Our egos cremated No “you” and no “me”


For in the beginning He shipwrecked our people And just one survivor Was washed up ashore She carried our bloodline Atop a tsunami To harness the force of U’ut’s tidal bore


The oceans are rising Submerging a tower Its bells tolling faintly From under the waves The Znakir is drifting He feeds from a nosebag Devouring the livers And lungs of his slaves


“Khoombloth Tohu Bohu Fin meeneh a Khokhu Azem schtumbalatta Loontong garam-gaath� The world is a minefield This lesson is bitter To merit silk ribbons Uncover the Path


Surrender your waters Embrace evanescence The clouds pay obeisance To those who let go Seven fingers of fate Slowly tighten their grip Become like a vapour Let go “letting go�


A wandering pedlar A seller of noses Oppressed by the burghers Who cavil and sneer His glimmering candle Of feeble awareness Will banish all darkness To make The Way clear


U’ut’s mighty antlers Are bearing the faithful On life’s random voyage Towards their demise Infallible master Supreme navigator We pilot our ship by The light of your eyes!


Cocky cock of the walk Now due for comeuppance Hubristic and haughty Not crowing at dawn The farmer is falling His well has been poisoned The bank is foreclosing Your luck’s overdrawn


Bestriding a grunter The fool barks out orders: “Pull the un-safety pin! Let chaos unfold!” As the clock strikes thirteen His japes become jolly U’ut’s holy halfwit Turns urine to gold


From serpent to gallows Death’s dragnet is closing Make haste to the lifeboats Departure is nigh The hidden made patent Four pillars so blatant An elephant blazing Within your own eye


Perched proud on his pillar All puffed up with bluster A priapic angel A piper deranged The mirror reflecting How others will judge you You may hold the key but The locks have been changed


A crier proclaiming The seed that was planted Before your conception Has sprouted at last Your heart is a channel Eternal, recurrent Fulfilling the edicts Laid down in the past


Abandon the compass Choose any direction The going’s unsteady So chop off your head U’ut is your pilot His waters have broken The flood is beginning Half white and half red


Bent double with knowledge Ensnared by their whiskers The sages are helpless Left standing by hares Pound the ground seven times With an artichoke staff U’ut’s axis mundi Will answer your prayers


The Source of all Stillness Empyrean’s empress A feathered pleroma Humility’s cloak Her silence is awesome And quite overwhelming The faithful die laughing At life’s killing joke


A window on nothing A message from nowhere U’ut sends an envoy With each living breath Each bearing a Hepworth Unblemished and flawless So perfectly balanced Between life and death


From one tiny globule U’ut’s secret tincture Will settle the waters And subdue your beast How much will you offer The mother superior To plead that your penance Should not be increased?


A bull is held captive Enraptured by birdsong A blackbird’s admission The cage is unreal A rich man imprisoned Bedazzled by mammon To regain his freedom He need only kneel


A crescent moon looming Above the sham castle Third son of a cuckold With swollen right hand The odds stacked against him This libertine hellrake Is gambling his birthright U’ut’s promised land


Four babies are drowning In mother’s self-slaughter She makes this oblation To nourish her kin Her dugs dried and shrivelled The father’s gone missing They sing of no future And what might have been


In the fullness of time The leg will recover To kick out heretics And regain control U’ut’s iron jackboot Will crush the freethinkers And exile dissenters Into a black hole


Three knots to untangle For an upside down boy His wet nurse has vanished She’ll never return Three knots for remembrance Of things long forgotten Ignite your rondavel And watch the world burn