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As promised, here is the information on the IndiGoGo fundraising campaign for the Waite-Trinick Tarot Book. You can help publish A.E. Waite’s Second Tarot images as quickly as possible—so we can all get them in our hands! Be part of this historic presentation.
Tali Goodwin has started a series on her discovery of the images and the continuing saga involving her research into John Trinick. Read all about it at The Tarot Speakeasy.
A short animation by Trepaned Productions in Flash featuring music from the Portland band Polly High. Just another example of what can be done.
Music Video with RWS deck. Anyone care to explain how the reading relates to the storyline? (Thanks to John McBride.)
I thought I had this posted, but it seems not. All the “Tarot Music Videos” now have their own category—view them all by clicking on the category above or to the left.
Few things are more exciting to me than stumbling across a text or image that perfectly reflects a tarot card, especially when it makes me reconsider my ideas about that card.
Today I read the following in the mystery novel A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, head of homicide for the Sûreté du Québec, says to a family at their annual reunion:
“We believe Madame Martin was murdered.”
There was a stunned silence. He’d seen that transition almost every day of his working life. He often felt like a ferryman, taking men and women from one shore to another. From the rugged, though familiar, terrain of grief and shock into a netherworld visited by a blessed few. To a shore where men killed each other on purpose.
They’d all seen it from a safe distance, on television, in the papers. They’d all known it existed, this other world. Now they were in it. . . .
No place was safe.
Ah, a perfect rendition of the Six of Swords! I was first struck by it being from the viewpoint of the ferryman, not the passengers. A ferryman who is compassionately aware of the deep emotional shifts of those he is transporting—but not partaking directly in those shifts. For a moment I thought, ‘But, of course, the Six of Swords is about the ferryman, not necessarily the passengers! A ferryman who again and again observes this shift taking place in those he ferries. A ferryman who is both separate and yet momentarily involved.’
There is no indication that the author, Louise Penny, had the tarot card in mind. Rather this is a common classical metaphor linking Charon and the river Styx to the family of a murdered person being ferried out of the world-as-they-had-known-it to a shore previously viewed only as a distant abstraction.
I often ask a querent, “Where are you in the card?” With the Six of Swords, the querent is always one of the figures, but it could equally be the ferryman or the hunched-over adult or the child. By contrast, with other cards, the querent occasionally sees him or herself standing just beyond the borders, behind a column, or, in the case of the Tower, still inside the structure—divorced from the action.
With the Six of Swords there is usually an eventual recognition that the querent is all three persons in the boat. As ferryman, the querent tends to feel he or she is in charge or at least doing something active that will lead to a better end. As passengers, anxiety or grief tends to trump hope, yet there is still a belief that the destination will be better than the “familiar terrain of grief and shock” that they’ve just left.
Interestingly, in the novel, the seven main suspects had, just the day before, gone out together in the lake on a boat—a passage fraught with animosity and repressed danger. The Chief Inspector/ferryman recognizes that the new world they are now facing will be more terrifying than the passengers ever could have imagined. Furthermore, they aren’t just visitors—blessed because they can leave—they will soon be inhabitants. There’s no going back. Grief and shock may exist in the land of the innocent. But, in the land of the experienced, as William Blake well knew, wrath and fear dominate, and the ferryman can’t stop it from happening.
How different the card looks to me now. It is full of foreboding, and yet there is calm in knowing that this is an inevitable journey from the false safety of innocence into the land of Blake’s experience where realities will finally be faced. As in all murder mysteries the truth will be revealed. But, in an actual reading, is the client always ready to hear such truths?
Doesn’t the admonition, “to know thyself,” mean that we have to come to know and take responsibility for the part within ourselves who “kills another”? Both the querent and the reader want the other shore to be better than the one from which they’ve come, but there are times when we have to go through much worse. What is the reader to tell the client? And, here there are no easy answers.
I hope this makes me stop and think before I blurt out cheerfully, “Oh, you are going through a transition from the rough waters of the past to smooth waters ahead.” Sometimes I, the reader, am the ferryman/chief inspector, who must recognize with compassion that real detection can strip the soul bare and set one in the dread grasp of Blake’s tyger and not in the rejoicing vales of the lamb (see poems here). The rest of the Sword suit (7–10) warns what may come from a detection of the wrongs, or what comes to light when one really wants to “know thyself.” Does the querent really want to go there, or is the querent trusting the reader to ferry them to a safe harbor?
Still, I think it helps the reader—the ferryman who steers the way through the cards in a spread from one’s familiar anxieties to a different shore—to consider what may be truly implied from such a scene in the suit of Swords. This new perspective reminds me that in a reading I am attempting to steer the course when I don’t always know what is lying in wait for my passenger on the other side or how prepared my passenger might be to meet that. It is a grave responsibility.
I’m so excited. My Pamela Colman Smith Commemorative Tarot Set has arrived from U.S. Games. The book of Pixie’s art is delightful—full of colorful images and showing a full range of her work, including a couple of pieces from late in her life. Waite’s Pictorial Key to the Tarot (included) is the same-old book in a new cover but with no pictures (huh?). The postcards are great to have—a very nice bonus. Read the rest of this entry »
Exciting News! U.S. Games has announced a new tarot deck set celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Rider-Waite Deck, and honoring the artistry of Pamela Colman Smith. Read my review here.
The deluxe set will include the Smith-Waite Centennial Tarot Deck (reproduced from the original 1909 deck – hey, it’s about time, thank you very much!) and two books:
- The Artwork and Times of Pamela Colman Smith, by Stuart R. Kaplan, with over one hundred examples of her non-tarot art.
- The Pictorial Key to the Tarot by Arthur Edward Waite, in a new format.
The set also includes two prints of Pamela Colman Smith, one photo and one self-portrait, both 5” X 7” suitable for framing; six color postcards of artwork by Pamela Colman Smith; and Spread Sheet Guide. Everything is attractively packaged in a deluxe keepsake case. Price: $35.00
I believe it is expected for May 2009 unless there are delays. See the U.S. Games promotional information here.
Pixie’s initials can be seen in the lower left corner and the similarity to several of her cards is apparent.
The poster is from 1915. Pixie was a friend of the Honorary Secretary of this Fund, Miss Laurence Alma Tadema (daughter of the artist).
The reproduction is 10.5″ x 16.5″ and printed on 100 lb. glossy stock—suitable for framing.
Thanks to Holly Voley for telling me about this at BATS.