Friday, 20 March 2015

Spring Fling Blog Hop: Out With The Old?

Radiant Rider Waite
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Our wrangler for this hop, Ania, creatrix of many, many beautiful things (if you don't believe me, go check out her site - I especially love her tarot bags!), challenged us with the following question: which tarot cards do you think need to be updated, removed or added to reflect our modern society?

I really struggled with this.  Basically, I feel like the archetypes are broad enough to allow modern  understandings, without having to go chucking any out or making new ones up.  This may just be because I am happy to have very different takes on cards.

Let's take a look at the Temperance card, as an example.  If we look at traditional images - in this case from the Radiant Rider Waite (US Games, 2005) we have an angel standing with one foot in water, the other on the ground, wings rising up behind him.  He pours liquid from one cup into another, and has the alchemical symbol for fire on his chest.  A crown shines above the path behind him, indicating this is the path to greatness.  We have here a divine balancing of different elements to try to get the exact right mix to achieve something wonderful, something healing.

Gay Tarot
Now, looking to more modern depictions, at first glance, they are completely different - a reimagining that seems equivalent to chucking the old out.  For instance, one of my all-time favourite versions of Temperance is from the Gay Tarot  (Lo Scarabeo, 2004).  This totally modern take shows a chef in his kitchen, cooking up some delicious meal.  Yet, it gets right to the heart of what I see in the Temperance card: the need to get the right balance and mix of ingredients, in a way that might seem divinely guided.  And healing through the food we eat is another good message.

Vanessa Tarot
The Vanessa Tarot (US Games, 2007) version is slyly deviant, using a barmaid with little wings in a card titled Temperance.  A stark juxtaposition between the connotations of abstemiousness implied by the word and the sexy, cheeky image.  Yet, that perfect cocktail takes a delicate balancing act.  And staying balanced, not going to excess, is certainly harder but also necessary if you are to act professionally when working in a bar.  This card could also be seen as hinting at the need for moderation in matters of sex, and how this is an aspect of life that can also feel divine...

Spirit Within The Shadows
A similar balancing act on the middle path can be seen in the Spirit Within The Shadows version (Steven Bright, as yet unpublished).  I absolutely adore this DJ mixing from two different coloured record decks, with a yin-yang-type balance to the background colours.  It is both old-school (in terms of modern mixing from mp3's) and modern.  DJ's also have to find that middle ground, in amongst all the excess of drugs and alcohol, and the high of being on stage.  On top of that, the card makes me think of the Alanis Morissette song: So Pure.  Dancing can be such a powerful force for healing, as well as self-expression!  Here, the balance is felt and heard, a physical force rather than an intellectual understanding.

Tarot de St Croix
And moving into the New Age, we have the Tarot de St Croix (self-published, 2014) which returns to the symbolism of an angel.  Here, though, there is a human woman pouring liquid into a fire.  She is naked, and behind rises up a handsome angel.  This brings the human, the everyday, and vulnerability into the card, for it can feel exposed when we try to achieve a balance in our lives, neither excess nor moderation, a fine line to toe.  Yet, the image also speaks to a sense of being diviniely supported, to a belief in spirit, if not in religion, and to that feeling of connectedness when we flow with what we are doing.

With all this, what need for a new card to express any of this, Temperance holds within itself such a variety of possibilities...

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22 comments:

  1. I think the thing that many people miss is the difficulty involved in trying to find the perfect balance, the perfect blend :)

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    1. Certainly not easy to achieve, as anyone who has tried baking and had it sink knows :D

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  2. I love your comparative tarot! So very nice. Great blog!

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    1. Thanks, Giuliana. I love so many decks, and feel that they add to my understanding, so it's great to be able to share that :)

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  3. Temperance has a great energy, and it's cool to see this selection from various decks. Spirit Within the Shadows is a wonderful, contemporary take on it that still works in conveying the message of equilibrium and...mixing!

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    1. Yes, I didn't realise how much I like Temperance's energy til I wrote this post. And I love Steve's deck, really hope he'll find a way to publish it soon :D

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  4. Oh, I think I just added two more Tarot decks to my buy list.

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    1. Tee hee, this wasn't intended as an enabling post, but I just don't seem to be able to help it :D

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  5. Temperance is my favorite card. I love your treatment of it here. Brava!

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    1. Thanks, Christiana. If you'd asked me, I would have said I like the Star better, but now I'm not so sure...

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  6. Gosh, I'm like you - I think the archetypes are broad enough to allow for a modern interpretation too. But by keeping the "old," we can use it as a foundation for the new. Like having the same recipe for the cake, but using different frostings. :)

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    1. Perfect metaphor, Bev! Or keeping the recipe the same, but swapping out honey for sugar and corn oil for butter...

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  7. I agree... One of the things I love most about tarot is that the cards never get old, they stay constantly relevant provided we can keep reinterpreting them. I love the DJ idea for Temperance - perfect!

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    1. Isn't it just, Beth! Steve's deck will definitely be a keeper :D

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  8. I love your comparison of different artists' interpretations of this card. You picked some great decks!

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    1. Thanks, Joy. Other than the Vanessa, they are all "go-to" decks for me :)

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  9. Interesting choice of card since balance is never achieved by remaining static, there is always movement involved. Think of the tightrope walker or a set of scales. If any card indicates a need for movement, this is it LOL :D

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    1. Interesting point, Ania, given the Thoth has Justice on the tip of a blade/tipping point. You're right, though, that this kind of balance is ever changing :)

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  10. These are great cards! Temperance used to be a card that I struggled with to interpret I think the idea of using different cards in order to compare and contrast and (hopefully!) emerge with a multilayered definition is fablas!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Alison. I do love my "comparative tarot" - always have :D

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  11. Love your choice of cards - a perfect blend for an interesting cocktail :)

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  12. Awesome cards you have chosen. I feel like they make Temperance more relatable :)

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