transgression – subconscious – temptation – beyond morality and hypocrisy
Alien is the card that opens the door to the hidden, obscure forces within ourselves. Often associated with material greed and brute sexual drives, Alien is also the card of great creativity and imagination. In the image we see a crowd of people, most of them naked, celebrating the apparition of a skull in the sky. This skull is definitely not human, and this fact points out the blurring of boundaries between human and animal, between the ‘cultured’ persona and the ‘animal’ drives that push us forward.
Alien is a card of transgressive power. Bare stripped us down to the soul, leaving us greatly exposed and vulnerable, and Alien proposes both a positive and a negative path to proceed. In its most basal reading Alien is the card of alienation, of building a wall of pleasure and oblivion through engaging in material and often addictive practices. In this sense Alien represents the power and seduction of money, of glitz, of being able to step outside of yourself into a dream world of constant satisfaction and well-being. But this is a step that renders the petitioner increasingly dependent on the goods needed to fulfill their needs. The bounds, voluntarily taken up in first instance, can become choking and the alienation so absolute that life loses all sense.
In a more positive reading Alien is the card of physical and spiritual transgression. The promise of the unknown drives us to unforeseen experiences, with the body and all its fine-tuned sensuality as a guide on the way. Then Alien becomes the card of a spiritual rave, an embrace of the self-effacing power of a communal ritual, the unearthing of the occult power that lies hidden deep inside everyone of us.
Alien, in other words, is a card that brings the base physical passions together with the highest spiritual powers. The baseness of bodily needs saves the spiritual practice from becoming hypocritical, from severing itself from the world as we live it. The alien seduction of the skull guides us into a deeper felt connection to that world, by dancing to it or through any other kind of intoxication that reveals the alien hidden in the pit of our sexes and stomachs. But possibly also through the embrace of one’s inner creativity, the one that knows no moral obligations or boundaries, and that speaks its own mind without being regulated.
Alien is the mirror card of Drive, and comes with similar difficulties: its energy can be obsessive and geared to individual satisfaction. But in Alien this drive receives a more profound support from the deepest crevices of the unconscious. The recognition of our vulnerable, bared bodies reveils the Alien experience in a shared and possibly deeply felt transgressive experience of our hidden potential and creative passions. In this sense Alien is quite closely related to Touch, where mutual recognition of our human vulnerability opened the door to a shared sense of humanity. Alien recognizes the hidden treasure in each of us, one that separates us from our polite, everyday sense of self. It recognizes our base needs, but also opens up our most earthy and strong spiritual powers. Alien also teaches us not to be afraid of our strong physical drives, not to bury them under layers and layers of varnish. Only through the acceptance of the banality of our body’s physical functions can we rid ourselves of our fears of its decay and ultimate demise. Alien reminds us that it is precisely through the pushing away of our unappetizing bodily (mal)functions or subversive unadaptedness to the ideal fictions of life, that death becomes a frightening and threatening alien presence, rendering life insipid and ominous.