Tuesday, November 14, 2006

No Brainer (or kitten work)

I've done another tarot card this week. It's one that I kind of think of as a "no brainer" because it's meaning is pretty well 'set' and so there's not a lot of variation in the imagery that works. This is part of the tarot system. It's very iconic and representational. Of course, these qualities aren't highly valued in the art world of today. All the hip art is vague and abstract and non-representational in nature. The artists claim that they don't want to impose their vision on anyone else, and so on and blah, blah, blah. Fine. Freedom is cool. But so is some guidance.

I like to think of tarot cards and early tarot readers as the counselors of their day. Oh, I'm not going into the history of tarot other than that it's pretty old, probably from around the fifteenth century or thereabouts. I'm being lazy today and not looking things up and linking. If you don't believe me then look it up yourself and then come back and tell me how wrong I am.

The cards in a tarot deck generally represent milestones, problems, stages of development, etc. that we all face throughout life. Imagine that a person in the sixteenth century was having some emotional concerns and needed some guidance. She probably went to the local 'healer' or 'witch' or 'shaman' or whoever for a 'counseling session' with the cards. Back before mass literacy and paperback self-help books people had to rely on other ways. Of course, they could go to their minister or the church for guidance, but sometimes we need something different from that.

The traditional imagery for the 8 of Wands is of 8 wands (sometimes staves, spears, or arrows) speeding through the air en route to whatever destination. We are only seeing the motion and have no idea where they came from or where they are going. We don't know if they are friendly or antagonistic or in what spirit they went flying. We don't know if they'll hit their target or fall very short or long. All we know is that they are going. They represent urgency. They can indicate important messages or other signals. They might indicate sudden travel. Sometimes they can imply the arrows of love, depending on the context in which the card is chosen. In the broader sense the 8 of Wands means that some issue is at its peak of movement. Nothing can stay in the air forever. Sometimes we just have to take some comfort in knowing that something is moving. And we have to accept that we don't have control over their flight or landing. We just have to let gravity do its work.

And actually, this card can pretty well describe the current environment and issues in Washington, DC, as well as some closer to home. Let the arrows fall where they may. I just hope they don't end up in my, or anyone else's, back.


DHammett said...

I just finished reading a trilogy of books (historical fiction) by Bernard Cornwell about the 100 Years War. It followed the adventures of a fictional archer and the impact the advent of archers had in wars. They completely changed the way battles were fought, much like guns and cannons did in later years.

I can't help thinking that the arrows on your card look like missiles. There's no doubting the message of urgency that the image conveys. I agree that the card can describe the current political environment. I only hope our new "leaders" appreciate the urgency and act accordingly.

Nicely done, Rae Ann.

Rae Ann said...

dh, thanks! And I hadn't thought specifically about the missiles, but you're right. Kind of scary, actually. I'm so disgusted with the news that I've stopped watching. Last thing I heard yesterday was the the democrats are now in-fighting over which of them is going to be in control. Like the Who sang, "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss." (I borrowed that from one of mr. g's comments on another blog.)

DHammett said...

The Who rocks! They're touring the US this year and my daughter actually tried to get me a pair of tickets, but the shows within driving distance of home were sold out. :-(

As conservative as you know I am, there are some pretty good dems who got elected this year (read that, dems with conservative social agendas). Aside from the shrill noises emanating from Pelosi et al, I haven't quite given up on politics yet. So long as they don't cut and run.