10 of Chalices (Da Vinci Tarot)

February 18, 2010 at 2:29 pm (10 of Cups, Da Vinci Tarot, Tarot)

10 of Chalices (Da Vinci Tarot)

The Da Vinci Tarot uses artwork reminiscent of Leonard Da Vinci’s sketches, with soft muted colors to illustrate the themes of each card.  Here in the 10 of Chalices, we see a Mother and Child portrait, with the mother gazing contentedly at her son as he grasps a small flower she holds out to him.  He peacefully grasps her hand and reaches out for the flower with chubby little fingers.  The woman holds one of the chalices suspended behind her with her left hand just behind her son’s head.  The ten chalices are arrange with five across the top, then two, and then the three, including the one she holds.

I like to look at the arrangement of pips (suit symbols) as well as the overall image, so see what patterns suggest themselves to me, and here is what I am seeing with this – the five chalices that cover the Mother and Child speak of the numerological number five – the number of humanity, of individuality and freedom, and in Tarot five also indicates conflict and a bit of chaos (which is another way of saying humanity, now isn’t it?). Below that is the two chalices… a pair, mirrored by the pairing of mother and child – the one on one connectedness of one human with another, the blending of contrasts, yn and yang, dark and light, mother and child, young and old.   Finally, the three – with the woman holding one of them brings in community, the collective – in Tarot, threes are the suit’s element coming into manifestation.

The 10 of Cups most often indicates themes of Joy, Happiness, “Happily Ever After” and in this card, most certainly a sense of serene contentment and very much sensing the joy of fully experiencing happiness in the here and now.  Both mother and child are at peace in their own individuality – each one unique.  Together they create a family, within which this happiness can be experienced.  But they are also a part of the whole community of humanity and a part of their family of ancestors and descendents – each a link in the chain of parent to child to the next generations parent and child.

I think we often forget that there is joy in simply being – that it isn’t about having what you want when you want it and how you want it.  It is in noticing and fully experiencing the small things.. .the flower examined, the hand held, the linking of one loving spirit with another and realizing that you are an indispensable part of creation.


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6 of Wands (Original Rider Waite)

February 11, 2010 at 11:45 am (6 of Wands, Original RWS Tarot, Tarot)

6 of Wands - Original Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot

The Rider Waite deck, illustrated by Deco artist Pamela Coleman Smith, is truly one of the iconic decks of the Tarot world.  Nearly all modern decks draw in some elements of Ms. Smith’s artistry and interpretations, even if they model themselves after the Thoth system or older historic decks such as the Marseilles style decks.

It is the deck I first learned with, and the one I mentally go back to when I’m finding a card dense and difficult to interpret.  Interestingly, Ms. Smith approached it as an artist, regarding each illustration as a stage set in a performance piece.  She followed notes given to her by A.E. Waite, but he was admittedly not particularly interested in the minor arcana or Tarot’s use for divination, and he pretty much left her to her own devices on them, offering merely short commentary about what each card means.

As a marketable and usable deck, the RWS deck is undoubtedly a triumph for both its creators and those who use it – and those who use decks that are influenced by them.  The images have themselves entered into the symbolic subconscious of many people who wouldn’t know Tarot from Texas Hold ‘Em – used on album covers, in movies, etc, etc, etc.

Which brings me to the 6 of Wands which shows a triumphal procession with a gentleman seated on a horse that is covered by a gold blanket.  The man wears a laurel wreath symbolizing victory, and another wreath is held high on a staff (wand). Surrounding him is a crowd, also holding wands aloft – each one alive and bearing leaves.

Did the crowd follow this man into battle and share in this victory directly, or are they the welcoming crowd shouting Hooray and sharing in the triumph as those who have benefited from the win?  Depends on the situation in a reading, of course – but what comes to mind for me everytime is that this is about acknowledgement of one’s successes, and knowing that others have your back.  Frequently, it comes up for me in situations where the only thing lacking in an otherwise good relationship is that acknowledgement of the good – of noticing one another’s triumphs and battles waged and won on behalf of one another.  When this comes up in a relationship reading, I want to make sure that the need to be appreciative and to be appreciated is highlighted.  In a career reading, this is not only about success, but about due attention and rewards for that success.

We all need to be noticed and to acknowledge what others have done for us.  Just as the RWS has had a successful part in so many decks and readers through the decades, we all have a history of positive ripple effects left in our wake that deserve attention now and then.

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1 Green – Receiving (Bright Ideas Deck)

February 1, 2010 at 10:36 am (Ace of Coins, Bright Ideas Deck, Tarot)

1 Green - Receiving (Bright Ideas Tarot)

aka: Ace of Coins.

The Bright Ideas Deck uses modern imagery and transforms the elemental suits into colors, the courts into actions, and the Majors have keyword style names.  In spite of all these changes – which make it possible to use the deck with people who might not be particularly Tarot-friendly – the images hold up as Tarot metaphors and even include astrological symbols tucked away somewhere in the picture.

Today’s draw is the Ace of Coins, er… 1 Green: Receiving.  It shows a woman in a red dress that was probably festive when it was new, but now looks a bit raggedy, with matching red pumps.  She’s seated on a large boulder in the desert – we can see some cactii in the distance – and she’s opening a green giftwrapped box.  Next to her, separating her from the cactii, a fault line has broken open and a new plant is growing out of the parched ground.

What a perfect card to receive for Imbolc!  For me this image shows that times have been tough, but a new day is starting – new life is on its way.  In terms of weather, most of us have experienced cold and snow while life goes dormant, rather than the dessert depicted here…but the message is the same – things only look barren, but life is already struggling to the surface.  Hang in there when its hard, store up what you need like those cactuses, because more is coming.

I do like that it is portrayed as a gift – it isn’t saying struggle harder, or go find what you need… it is saying new beginnings are coming…are in fact HERE now, a freely offered gift we have only to notice and accept.

In a neat bit of serendipity, I literally got a gift this morning from my daughter, who budgeted out a bit of her own money to take me shopping today (I’ve put off buying new jeans for a long, long time), as a thank you for the support I’ve given her and her fiance over the last year.  I wasn’t expecting it.. but I can’t stop smiling.

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