30 Days of Tarot — Day 7: What is your favorite card (both in terms of the deck’s artwork and divinatory meaning)?
You mean I have to choose?
From the Fey Tarot, I would have to say the Sun card. I would not mind having a print of that card hung on the wall. It is warm. It is inviting. There is an overwhelming sense of peace and contentment.
The Bosch Tarot is a visually uncomfortable deck for some. There’s nudity, various depictions of questionable behavior, body horror, and a general sense that someone ate the wrong mushrooms with their dinner and it might be you. But I can’t help but laugh when the 3 of Chalices turns up. Yes, that spike is coming from where you think it is. That’s going to make for one hell of a hangover.
The Sweeney Tarot is the work of Lee Bradford. While the deck’s meanings are a derivative of the Rider-Waite-Smith, the imagery is based on key characters in Lee Bradford’s works. Once again the Sun warms me. Look at him! He’s so happy and jolly! Everything will be alright. Just wait and see.
This is the card that brought me to a halt in the middle of a store. I had been searching for a “dark deck” and after rejecting all the usual suspects, the clerk handed me an open box of the Legacy of the Divine for me to thumb though. He apologized for the lack of “darkness” in most of the cards, but perhaps the emotional depth would make up for it? The single tear on the 3 of Swords stabbed me. It more than made up for it.
I’m told the Thoth’s Princess of Discs is everyone’s sweetheart. To me she looks like she is about ready to impale anyone that dares intrude into the forest behind her. I appreciate the Wheel of Fortune for the layers, and the 8 of Swords for the jarring brilliance of the colors, but my favorite is the 6 of Swords, “Science”. The balance of the composition makes this card visually peaceful and empowering to study.
I have a confession to make. The Rider-Waite-Smith deck (and clones) is quite banal to me. Part of the reason why I had such difficulty connecting to the deck was getting past the hurdle of seemingly outdated artwork. Pamela Coleman Smith’s images are well done, but they are from another era. One I do not belong to. When I think of the cards I linger over, none are from the RWS. But if I must choose one to hold dear for art’s sake, it would be the 10 of Swords. It’s sometimes hard for me to hold a straight face when this card is turned face up. For while the figure in the card is face down, his degradation is not yet complete until you notice of the ten swords piercing him, three are in his butt. It’s not enough for his offenders to cause fatal injuries, but to do so in a way that throws an insult on his name as well. If you’re going to do something, go big.
As far as my favorite divinatory meaning, I had to sit down and think about it. My usual answer to “What’s your favorite $Thing?”, is usually, “It depends.”. But this question is wrenching my arm and I must choose, so after sorting through the entire deck card by card, I settled down to two cards. Absolute optimism or absolute pessimism? Yes.
The 10 of Swords is my new favorite card with regards to divinatory meaning. The querent is doomed. The issue is dead. The project will never succeed and the product will never launch. There’s more than enough knives in place to tell you this turkey is done. Too bad there’s nothing worth taking from the carcass. Or is there?
I’ve been in many 10 of Swords moments in my life. I’ve been spiked and forced through the bottom of the barrel into the sewer underneath. It’s a bad place to be. But I remain there only if I allow it.
The secret to the 10 of Swords being an optimistic card is that the worst is over. The storm is done. The betrayal is complete. There is nothing left to break.
So start rebuilding.
How do you rebuild? By becoming the runner-up to my favorite divinatory meaning. The Magician. Shit outta luck? Make new luck.