“Haunted by the Queen of Wands” by Rita Bullwinkel

queen of wands

The city in which I now live is overflowing with men wearing big hats and big belt buckles and tight Wrangler jeans that make their asses look more muscular than they might actually be. And, many of these, strutting, peacocking, feeling-spilling men can also play guitar and sing. Sometimes, downtown, I feel I am swimming in them, surrounded on all sides by men dressed up as men making man music, which is one of the reasons why I was so immediately drawn to the music of Caitlin Rose, which exudes such powerful feminine energy and heart breakability that it threatens to cleave open your chest. Gorgeous and stately, often spotted in a blazer and cigarette-in-hand around town, Rose is a rare bird in many ways. In addition to being a stunning singer-songwriter, she is also an intuitive astrological interpreter. A disciple of the Marseille deck of tarot, Rose takes pleasure in counseling the cards for advice for herself and her friends. During a recent weekend afternoon, Rose came over to my home and very generously gave me the insight of a reading. As you’ll see below, we first consulted the famed Visconti deck set to the text of The Castle of Crossed Destinies by Italo Calvino, and then Rose’s own Marseille deck, which revealed innumerable invaluable things to me—most namely that Rose and I might both be haunted by the Queen of Wands.

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Caitlin Rose is a singer-songwriter from Nashville, Tennessee. Her first album, Own Side Now, was a Time Magazine Top Ten Album of 2011. Her second album, The Stand-In, was called “One of the first truly great Americana albums of 2013,” by UNCUT. The Sunday Times lauds that, “Rose’s voice is one of the finest instruments to grace country music in decades.” Read more about her at thecaitlinrose.com.

Rita Bullwinkel lives in Nashville, Tennessee where she is a fiction MFA candidate at Vanderbilt University. Her writing has appeared in several publications including VICE, NOON, Spork and Hayden’s Ferry Review. She is a graduate of Brown University, a Vanderbilt Commons Writer in Residence, a Sewanee Writers’ Conference Tennessee Williams Scholarship Award winner, and a Helene Wurlitzer Foundation grantee. Her story “Passing” was a finalist for The Conium Review‘s Innovative Short Fiction Prize judged by Amelia Gray. Her story “In the South the Sand Winds are Our Greatest Enemy” was selected by Joyland Magazine as one of their top five favorite stories published in 2015. Read more about her at ritabullwinkel.com.