Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"I guess we all take turns on the water wheel."
—Blondie, "Strike Me Pink"

Wheel of Fortune (second version)
from Urban Tarot by Daisy Rose Anderson
(via Reclaiming Quarterly)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

This 15th century engraving of St Sebastian by E. S. Meister reminds me of the Hanged Man. Like his Tarot counterpart, Sebastian is tied to a tree, helpless. In this respect, he also recalls Odin's ordeal on the Tree of Life. The martyrdom of the Saint contains the elements of surrender and sacrifice that are present in the Tarot card.

The similarities between the themes present in the Major Arcana and the saints are explored more fully in Robert M. Place's Tarot of the Saints.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

"She looked like a Tarot card, wonderful and old and mystical."
—Nancy Holder, Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chosen

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Medieval Garden Enclosed recently had an interesting post on the history of the pomegranate. Given its presence in myth and religion, it isn't surprising to find it in the Tarot as well. Perhaps the best known representation of the pomegranate is the RWS Tarot; notably the Empress and High Priestess cards.

The association of the pomegranate with the Empress is a natural one, since the fruit has long been a symbol of fertility. The pomegranate's appearance in the High Priestess card is connected to the two pillars, Jachin and Boaz, that stood in front of the Temple in Jerusalem and which also appear in the card. The tops of the actual pillars were decorated with pomegranates, symbols of righteousness (the fruit is said to contain 613 seeds, the number of the mitzvot, or commandments, the Jewish people must follow). Pomegranates also decorated the hem of the robe worn by the High Priest of the Temple.

This "immortal fruit" is given a place of prominence in artist An-Magrith Erlandsen's beautiful and mysterious Tarot of the Pomegranate.

"The accuracy of polygraph tests depends heavily on the examiner, who must be skilled in the art of interpretation — like a tarot card reader."
—Timothy Dumas, Greentown

Friday, September 11, 2009

The reflection of "a Renaissance statue of Marie de Medicis, dressed by a modern artist in a black cape sewn with tarot cards as a symbol of fate." —Djuliet

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The 4th century monk Paul of Thebes is regarded as the first Christian hermit. He is, in a sense, the prototype for the image of the Hermit found in the Tarot. It isn't surprising therefore that this painting of Paul of Thebes by a 16th century German artist looks like it could be a Tarot card. The classic elements of the Hermit are all present: the solitary figure setting out at dark, prayer beads in hand (symbolizing his reliance on his faith), and a lantern at his side (enduring symbol of literal and figurative illumination).

Historical figures such as Paul of Thebes are a reminder that certain ideas and images such as the hermit were well established in the collective imagination of Western Europeans by the time the Tarot cards were created.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

"A conceptual map is a visual representation of a series of ideas, rather like a Tarot card spread."
—Robert G. Benson, I Ching for a New Age: The Book of Answers for Changing Times

Sunday, September 6, 2009

This illustration of Hildegard von Bingen would make an interesting variation of the Priestess card.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

"Love," Val said. "It's a big word. And Death too. They can mean lots of things. Sometimes Death isn't death."
—John Crowley, Daemonomania

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Magician and Death, united in a single card. (Image source.)