Muzoracle: The Tarot of Music

Layout: Interpreting the Musician's Die

Interpreting the Musician’s Die. There are several layers of metaphor at play in a Muzoracle casting; the Musician’s Die alone accesses three. First, the direction the Musician’s Die is pointing when it lands determines whether the casting that ensues will be “ascending” or “descending”.

Ascending castings reference ascending scales, which in turn reference ascending processes. These are the processes guided by intent: they speak of the things we make happen, or try to. Descending castings reference descending scales and descending processes; they speak of “what’s coming down,” of the things that happen to us and around us. As any casting can contain both ascending and descending scalepoints, its direction simply marks a viewpoint from which things are seen: ascending castings generally look at things relative to what we’re trying to make happen, while descending castings generally look at things relative to what’s going on around us. An ascending casting with a lot of chromatic points might indicate an effort meeting with resistance; a descending casting with a lot of chromatic points might indicate a going against the grain.

The second layer of metaphor determined by the Musician’s Die is a casting’s keycenter, determined by the pitch that lands face up when the die is rolled. In addition to defining the tonal center of the casting—its do—a casting’s keycenter also references a chakra, or movement between chakras. Chakras are energy vortices within the body associated with various aspects of being. The keycenter/chakra associations are rich in metaphor, and provide a connection between castings and the physical body. They mark a casting's gravitational center: the casting as a whole lives within or around them. You can sound the pitch and find the hermeneutics of all the keycenters in the Musician's Die Index. Feel your keycenter's resonance; sing along. You'll find detailed explorations of each keycenter on the pages under In Depth: The Musician's Die, in the Table of Contents at left.

A third layer of metaphor available from the Musician’s Die regards whether it is pointing generally left or generally right. The further to the left it points, the more it looks to the past; the further to the right it points, the more it looks to the future; the more vertical it is, the more it observes the present. This “time reference” interfaces interestingly with ascent and descent: a Die pointing at 3 o’clock, for example, might indicate an intentional process with a sharp eye to the future; a Die pointing at 7 o’clock might look at what’s coming down around us, with a nod to the past.

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