Catching up on tarot perspectives

For those of you new to my blog and writing, several years ago, I wrote a short story based on the tarot, at that time I was making a casual inspection of the cards for the use of storytelling…mainly. I’d had tarot readings at renaissance fairs in the past and some missed key incidents in my life that made me pooh-pooh their use but I got the idea for this story and started investigating meanings and so forth for the characters’ use. I also had a deck I used occasionally and other than occasional use, I didn’t use it very much. Meanwhile I had a specific deck I wanted, that I’d seen the cover of once, a billion years ago at Borders (I want to say it was about 2008 or 2009), and that picture stuck in my head and I was trying to find it–unsuccessfully, thanks to the fact that I don’t know…. What I’d seen wasn’t what I remembered or the company changed the cover or something. But I never found it again. One year, for my birthday, I had a tarot reading and discussed it with the reader. At that time, the reader suggested the search for said-deck might be part of my journey. I knew the deck was based on a Celtic mythological system somehow and that was all. Not a lot to go on when you’re trying to find a specific image, especially when there are so many decks out there.

Well, this past Christmas I finally found the one I was after and since then, I’ve been making a more detailed investigation of the use and history and all such things about the cards. If you follow me on Instagram you’ve seen some of my posts about it, as I participated in Ethony‘s Witchytarotchallenge in June.

Cut to August and the #tarotperspectives challenge. I get involved with these challenges once in a while, but always fall behind. #tarotperspectives is no different. (A couple days ago (last week?) I drew the Queen of Pentacles which I’ll post here.) Now here we are 10 days in and when I made my draw today its accompanying text turned out so long, I figured I’d just save the trouble and post it on my blog. 🙂 For the challenge, I’m using the Smith-wait commemorative deck, the Druid Craft tarot deck, and the Llewellyn Deck–that’s the deck I damned near went crazy looking for! Due to copyright stuff, I’m just going to post my one picture. For close ups of the decks you can search through Google. For yesterday’s #tarotperspectives (and I say yesterday because I’m always seeming to be a day off in posting these…) I drew the 10 of wands.

10 of wands, tarot cards, Photo by Juli D. Revezzo
Tarot decks used: Druid craft copyright Phillip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm, The Smith-Waite Centennial tarot deck, copyright US Games, The Llewellyn Tarot, copyright Anne-Marie Ferguson and Llewellyn.

Now, the traditional image on the Smith-Waite/Rider-Waite (the center card in the pic above) decks always confuses. Sometimes, I think some of Pixie’s imagery doesn’t make logical sense even though I get what Waite wantedher to depict: Your daily burdens obstructing your view of things and/or extra burdens weighing you down. I get that, I do. Maybe just the first glance of the picture triggers my intuition or something because then the logical part of my brain looks at the SWR picture and goes, “Well, dingbat, why would you carry a bundle of sticks in front of your face like that? Of course you’re going to trip!” It doesn’t make logical sense. (You’d carry your groceries that way [and too bad that couldn’t somehow make its way into the Housewives Tarot or I’d be sold on that one! If you’re at all into kitsch that certainly qualifies.]I digress. Anything else, I can see, but a bundle of sticks? Me, I wouldn’t carry them that way. But then, I trip over unseen cracks in the floor.) The way Pixie’s cards and some of its copies are painted, you’d likely be tripping over the sticks at your feet rather than anything you didn’t see in front of you. Anyway, I don’t know, it’s just another example of how the traditional imagery (irony on irony) trips me up sometimes. There are just so many logical ways to accomplish what the fool in the picture is trying to accomplish that I wouldn’t even try that way. So the picture itself trips me up (like the lobster/crawfish problem in the moon, no logical sense–even though I get the provenance of the imagery). And yes, I get the meanings, that’s not where I’m complaining. I’m thinking logically; why would these interpretations even be in the artist’s mind in the first place. *sigh* So set hers aside for the moment.***

Now, the 10 of wands in the Druid Craft and Llewellyn decks make more sense to me. In those two decks, the overburdened man has at least had the sense in his head to carry his bundle more comfortably. Sure, it might still be too much for him, but, at least he doesn’t make himself look like an idiot. So, don’t overburden yourself. What can you drop? (Herm…..I’ll need to think about that one). However, it’s good advice, in this day and age where we’re “on” nearly 24/7. (And don’t be a fool! ;)) To the perspectives part, the Llewellyn Deck and the Druid Craft deck both show the carrier as old (or older) in age vs. the character on the SW deck that seems…well, his hair’s not gray so younger. So that puts forth the idea in the former two decks “with age comes reason”? Maybe.

(Yes, there are a lot of things about the traditional decks that, were I the artist, I probably would’ve argued against including, but I digress… I’m betting you’re not supposed to be distracted from the meaning of the card by the imagery itself, but even the art historian in me has yet to let a few things go in these artistic representations. Patrick from @inthe78cards,  who dreamed this challenge up, is right about narrowing perspectives of the cards, at least as far as this one goes for me! I hope, in time, as I learn more, I won’t be so distracted by the art. )


***I stand corrected but it still doesn’t mean it makes sense to me. To each his own.

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Juli D. Revezzo is the author of the Antique Magic paranormal series and the Celtic Stewards Chronicles fantasy romance series, as well as the Steampunk romance Watchmaker’s Heart. Her books are available at Amazon and elsewhere.