#ComparativeTarot The Star (#DeviantMoon, #Transformational, #GoldenTarot, #RWS)



The Star is often interpreted as a card of hope, of darkness waning and returning light, of healing and positivity. When we consider how stars can light the darkest sky and bring a sense of wonder and curiosity, we can see those traits reflected in this card.

It’s interesting that three of the four cards I chose have an image of a female pouring fluid from a pitcher into a body of water. The fourth Star card offers a completely different image of a spider in a web dappled with stars. The images offer a sense of healing waters pouring into the pool; blessed fluid that can offer healing to all those who choose to drink. The spider in the web on the Transformational Tarot Star suggests that we should be tenacious and keep weaving our destiny even when things seem dark because hope is woven into the warp and weft of our lives. Even when it’s web has been destroyed, a spider will often rebuild it creating a beautiful work of art. There is strength and beauty in these images. They remind me of a mother sacrificing it all to continue nourishing and healing her children.

Despite the positive messages I can see in these Star cards, I can also see the negative. How long should someone pour their heart and soul into caring for others? How many times can we rebuild what has been destroyed by careless, thoughtless actions? When is enough enough? Of course, that is the beauty of Tarot cards, they can comfortable embody both these meanings as well as others and force us to face these issues head-on.

The rather bizarre image on the Deviant Moon Star card reminds me that even the most oddball, unfamiliar and even frightening creatures have the capacity to nurture and care for loved ones. It shows me that sometimes what is a monster to one person is another’s maternal figure. The spider on the Transformational Star card brings to mind Charlotte, the spider in Charlotte’s Web. She went out of her way to help and protect Wilbur the pig and in the end sacrifices her own life so that her children will thrive. She reminds us that this is the cycle of life and no matter how much we might wish it otherwise, everything needs to, and should, die. Perhaps the very transitory, fragile nature of a spider’s web and life is what makes them so beautiful.

The RWS and Golden Star cards show a nude woman pouring out healing waters. To me, they speak of needing to strip away all our illusions and delusions, rid ourselves of the trappings of “success”, the distractions with which we surround ourselves in order to avoid facing some truths. If we truly wish to heal, the Star shows us that we need to bare our souls and face the reality of who we are. It reminds me of Inanna’s journey into the underworld. She emerges stronger and with a deeper understanding of things but the process was humiliating and painful. The Star reminds me that this process will be beneficial and healing but no walk in the park.

Even though they use different imagery and I see different messages in them, these Star cards complement each other and add a layer to the overall meaning of this card. Just as nothing in life is all good or bad, all light or dark, no Tarot card is all positive or all negative. The Star offers a hopeful message of healing and light but getting to that place might lead us to the darkest recesses of our souls.

#ComparativeTarot – The Devil (Bohemian Gothic, RWS, Transformational & Whimsical)

The Devil – quite a scary concept isn’t it. How often over the years have humans blamed their aggressive, inappropriate, unhealthy behaviors on some external construct? “The Devil made me do it” is often claimed in a joking manner but perhaps there is some truth to our belief that the evil, wicked things we do are because of the influence of some otherworldly entity but is this true? Does human belief in such an evil figure give it power and strengthen its hold on our psyches? Did we create “The Devil” so we could fob off the blame on something or someone else; a scapegoat? Are we so unwilling to face the darkness in our own souls that we would prefer to allow “The Devil” to claim it instead? These are probably much deeper questions than I can answer right now. Who knows, over the course of my Tarot After Dark blog posts I’ll probably express my opinion on some of these issues but that’s all it will be – my opinion. I have no expertise or additional insight and knowledge that grants me the power to find the answers for anyone but myself. I’m curious to learn where it will lead me.

So, I’ve been missing my Comparative Tarot essays and decided that I’d commit to writing one each week to share with any and all interested readers. Each week I will randomly select a card and then pull matching ones from three other decks. My goal is to include one RWS clone, one deck with a darker sensibility, one lighter more approachable deck and one collage or less traditional deck. This week I’ve decided to use the Bohemian Gothic, classic RWS, Transformational and Whimsical Tarot decks. Let’s explore what insights these diverse decks can offer into one of everyone’s favorite “bad” card.

The first thing that struck me looking at these cards is that one figure appears to be dominating or controlling the other(s). The black-winged figure in the Bohemian Gothic Devil is administering something in a syringe to the other. The recipient is resting against the “devil” and even hugging her close. The “victim” fully embraces her victimization or is she even a victim? The reality is that we can easily blame drug dealers for a loved one’s addiction but what caused them to take that first step? Very few are forcibly addicted to drugs or alcohol. In my experience, they seek them out in an effort to escape the reality of their lives. So is the drug use a cause or an effect? Self-medicating is quite a common extra-curricular activity in the US.

The RWS and Whimsical Devils both show figures that are physically chained or manipulated. They appear to be at the beck and call of whoever is at the other end of their chains.  However, a closer look reveals that those restraints can be easily removed. How fascinating because it implies that, once again, the “victim” is complicity in their enslavement. They could easily take control and free themselves from the restraints but chose not to do so. It makes me wonder about the allure of giving up control to another; to be void of responsibility for one’s actions. We see the reverse quite often when followers seek out rigid and strict religious movements. There is no need to consider what behaviors are acceptable or unacceptable – the church leaders will clearly define that for you. The bound people on the Devil cards show us the flip side of that scenario.  They can indulge in whatever depravity or “debased” behavior they desire because their master told them to do it. Quite a bit of psychological research has been done in this area and the results reveal that in most cases people are willing to do cruel, inhumane things as long as an authority figure told them to do it. Clearly being truly independent and free thinking is a rarity.

The Transformation Devil is quite a bit different in imagery but similar in message.  It shows a woman in a black dress standing behind a web, framed in red-orange flames.  Outside the frame are black & white figures, some being restrained by horned demons. Is the woman a prisoner of the web or the ruler of it?  Is she trapped or the entrapper? Perhaps she’s both.  Let’s face it, nothing in life is as black and white as we would like.  Perhaps she was trapped by her own addictions and indulgences and now seeks to trap others because misery loves company.  Or is she the only truly free figure in the card?  She may be framed by the web and flames but does not appear to be part of them or imprisoned by them. Could she be like a Crossroads Demon in the TV show Supernatural – not necessarily seeking out victims but coming when called and promising to fulfill one’s desires at the cost of one’s soul?  Sometimes I get the sense we do not value our souls as much as we should and as a result are willing to lightly trade it away for the promise of materials possessions.

Although the images on these four cards are very different their messages are similar. They remind us that in most instances our enslavement is the result of our continued choices. We have the ability to break free and move forward but that requires a strength of will and willingness to take responsibility for one’s life that many do not truly want. We may prefer the blame self-destructive, addictive and violent behaviors on some external devil but the truth is that human’s need so external influence to engage in atrocious behavior. What The Devil in the Tarot reminds us is that we do not have to remain enslaved. We have the ability to free ourselves if we also possess the desire and will to do so. It may not be easy. Let’s face it, regardless of how or why we became enslaved or addicted once we become so it can be almost impossible to free ourselves without some assistance. Even if you can’t cut those strings or pull away from that addictive devil by yourself, you can seek help once you realize that you want to free yourself. The Devil is frightening and seductive but it’s also a wake-up call. If you want to take those chains from around your neck you need to do whatever it takes to be truly free. That message is clear throughout these four very different takes on this intimidating card.

The World – Blue Rose Tarot

 

Blue Rose Tarot
Created by Paula Gibby
Published by Soul Guidance

The Book says: The hero went forth seeking the Pearl of Great Price; sought it and found it. And in finding it also found . . . illumination . . . transformation . . . and finally . . . completion. And in finding completion what he really found was . . . himself. And now the cycle has come full circle. For the quest is over and the prize has been won.

Tarot Hunter’s Theories: The World is our prize at the end of our quest. It is the completion of our journey; the goal of our lives. What I love about the image on this card is the sense that we do indeed hold the whole world in our hands; we hold the answers to all of our questions but first we must learn to access this knowledge and unleash our potential. We must solve the puzzle which will open our gift and free the prize – the Pearl of Great Price.

The World – Transformational Tarot

 

Transformational Tarot
Created by Arnell Ando
Published by US Games (2006)
ISBN:1572815396

The Book says: The seeker has gained much insight and wisdom and has now completed one stage or cycle in her or his life; a time of harmony, liberation, success; a state of universal consciousness. In the reverse, this card could stand for natural disasters or abuse of the laws of nature. It can also mean the fear of change.

Tarot Hunter’s Theories: The World is full of wonder and amazement. It is the beginning and the end of everything; the source of all and the goal of our quest. The swan brings to mind the story of Leda and the swan – she who births the world egg. The river brings to mind the Tigris and Euphrates rivers – often seen as the cradle of civilization. The woman is the Great Mother, the primordial ancestress, she who brought forth all life from her own body. All serve to remind us that we all come from the Goddess and to her we shall return or as Christians view it “ashes to ashes, dust to dust”

No matter how much we might prefer to deny the fact, we are all connected, all part of the circle of life,  If we can learn to incorporate this concept into our daily lives and accept its ramifications, we might just have learned the purpose of our lives and gained the secret wisdom of the Divine. It might be a simple concept to learn but quite a challenging one to actually live.

The World – Mansions of the Moon Tarot

Mansions of the Moon Tarot
ZADOK (dahogue@nctc.net)
Self-Published

Traditional meaning: The principle of totality, individuation, and wholeness; having everything available to you and being at center stage in your life; the principle of universal love; success, achievement & satisfaction; understanding your reason for being.

Tarot Hunter’s Theories This card brings to mind the idea of a string of worlds all connected, like something in a science fiction novel. And yet they share a common center, a common source. All the elements are present and necessary, no one better than the other. The World is a reminder that we are all part of each other.

I also see the rosary of globes as a string of possibilities – each representing a possibility, a path that may or may not be taken. They represent the unlimited potential that surrounds us all. The World is all that we are and all that we can be. At the core of this potential and these possibilities rests the guiding force behind it all. The One, God, the Great Spirit – whatever you chose to call it, it is the source from which the Universe began. In our own lives, we are the center, the source from which all else proceeds. We are the creators of our own reality. Our decisions, our choices, our successes and our failures create the world in which we live.

But we, like the globes surrounding the woman, are not islands unto ourselves. We are all connected so the decisions made by others impact on our lives too. So whether our impact on our world and on others is positive or negative is ultimately up to us. So in some respects, I guess we are our brothers’ keepers.

The Perfecter – Celtic Wisdom Tarot

Celtic Wisdom Tarot
Text by Caitlin Matthews, art by Olivia Raynor
Destiny Books, 1999
ISBN 0-89281-720-8

The Book says – Completion, perfect or satisfying resolution; the end or finalization of a cycle; successful achievement; triumph; self-respect; synthesis; a sense of communion with all life; clear self-expression and realization.
Reversed: Lack of momentum impedes endings; failure to achieve; inability to accept oneself; to allow changes or perfect closure, or to release potential; inability to see the wood for the trees; fixed of received views obscure self-essence.

Tarot Hunter’s Theories: This card speaks of balance and a sense of completeness. Nothing is missing; all the parts are present. There is a quiet feeling of self-worth and achievement. This can happen when we have worked hard to achieve something – a deep sense of personal satisfaction and inner peace. There is something about this card that suggests being centered; focused on our inner world and our inner needs. We no longer need to search the wide world over for excitement and adventure because at this particular moment in time we have found what we were looking for. The sense of well-being and joy just radiates from the center of this being. And it also suggests that if we

There is something about this card that suggests being centered; focused on our inner world and our inner needs. We no longer need to search the wide world over for excitement and adventure because at this particular moment in time we have found what we were looking for. The sense of well-being and joy just radiates from the center of this being. And it also suggests that if we blend our different parts and elements, allow ourselves to be at one with the world, we too can feel this blessed state. 

What I really love about this card is that it portrays this sense of well-being, peace, and blessedness as intrinsic to the being in the card. We are the source of this, not any external stimuli. All the external world can do is help us realize this fact. All the drugs, alcohol, sex or possessions in the world will not give us this feeling. They might create an illusory substitute which tides us over for a brief time, but ultimately its falseness rings through and we are left as empty and bereft as when we started. If we look within ourselves and realize the gifts we have and the fulfillment we can find; the sense of achievement and personal satisfaction that is ours for the taking, then we too can be radiant, blessed, perfected beings.

Wheel of Change Tarot – The World

Wheel of Change Tarot
created by Alexandra Gennetti
Published by Destiny Books, 1997
ISBN #0-89281-609-0

The Book says: When the World is a part of your reading, it is a symbol of spiritual unity and attainment, a recognition of the unlimited potential of life and the ability to make use of it. Often, she tells you that you have all you need to move forward and to make a complete assessment of the present situation. She symbolizes the ability to give form to the nebulous and to free the potential you feel within. The World card symbolizes the return to a deep understanding of unity after a great and laborious assessment of the fragmentary nature of creation, as represented by the other twenty trump cards. The World is the embodiment of wisdom and knowledge; perfection, completion, and fulfillment.

Tarot Hunter’s Theories: The first thing that popped into my head upon looking at this card was the song We Are the World. That is what this card brings to mind, that we are all a piece of the same universe. We are all composed of the same elements and we are all interconnected in the web of life. We are everything and everything is us. It is like the end of the Men in Black movie where the aliens are playing marbles with the Earth and other planets. And the concept that we are really nothing more than a nail on a fingernail of the One; which may mean that our nail is the home of a universe. It is mind-boggling and amazing when one considers all the possibilities.

It also reminds me of the Butterfly Effect – the idea that a butterfly flapping its wings in one part of the world can create a tidal wave in another part of the world. This card forces us to realize that everything we do – whether positive or negative, intentional or accidental, impacts on the rest of our world. So we can choose to affect our world positively or negatively, but either way, we must accept that we do have some type of impact.