Welcome to the Tarot Blog Hop!
An international group of tarotists are all writing on the same topic and then linking to each other so that the reader can hop from one blog to the next, seeing all the permutations and facets that the topic inspired in different writers.
Our assignment for this Hop was provided by Maureen Aisling Duffy-Boose of Tarot Witchery, who asked us to design a tarot card in the style of a Maninni deck, a deck created collectively with contributions from a variety of artists. I flailed with this topic for awhile, but eventually found a direction.
The Tarot Blog Hop Maninni Deck
This topic was especially hard for me for some reason. Our wrangler gave us plenty of heads-up time, but it took me so long to find a focus, and so many that I thought of I rejected, that here it is the morning of the hop and I’m just now getting started with an idea I had this morning.
I consider myself to be pretty creative, but not necessarily very artistic. I don’t draw or paint or anything like that. I do fiber arts, in particular applique, but for whatever reason, when we were asked to create a tarot card, my own blocks limited my thoughts around the topic and instead of using the techniques I’m skilled at, I convinced myself I was only allowed to create something a certain way. I would have had time to create an applique card and photograph it (and I certainly wouldn’t be the first to do that — Amy Zerner and Monte Farber have produced both The Enchanted Tarot and The Zerner/Farber Tarot Deck, with designs made from antique and contemporary textiles, laces, trimmings, ribbons and found objects). But I didn’t think of that until last night (as I was tossing and turning in bed), at which point I no longer had enough time.
Instead, I’m going to share something with you that I’ve shared before on the Blog Hop. In February last year, we were given the topic of “Tarot, Healing and Creativity.” I talked about some of my creative projects then. And as part of that post, I shared a photo of my Fool Box, a decoupage project I did a number of years ago.
I was inspired by a presentation called “The Splended Fool” that Cheryl Pershey did for the Denver Tarot Meetup January 4, 2007, in which she provided collage and art materials and let us create a card while she talked about the history and philosophy of the Fool card. I wasn’t able to complete my card during the meetup, but inspired by what we did I went home and ended up making this box.
The main image on the box is from a production of Steve Martin’s WASP that I was in, probably in 1999. When I showed the box to people at the Meetup, one said, why is the photo all grainy like a newspaper photo? Well, because it’s a newspaper photo. In this scene, the woman behind me is my spirit guide and she is encouraging my character to take a leap of faith. She is helping the character to visualize the future she wants and has her hands on her shoulders pushing her forward into that future. I think that connects with and perhaps develops many of the Fool qualities–being moved by spirit to jump into something unseen. The hearts over my heart were cut from some stationery that my mother used. I carefully cut around the spirit guide’s fingers so I could insert the strip of hearts under her hand, to indicate that Spirit is pushing up forward with love.
Below the main image are the words “We move ON” with four upward pointing arrows. This was simply a transition my sister used in a letter to me. But it captures both the theme and movement I was trying to express for my Fool box. In the corner below the arrows is a broken pillar. That image was from a dream I had in which a martini glass had a broken stem, but was instead held up by three pillars–I had just started studying qabalah and eventually made the connection that the three stems on the glass were the three pillars of the Tree of Life. Perhaps an interpretation might be that as we Fools move forward, the foundation that supported us might fall away, but new foundations will take their place.
The dream itself referred back to a real life incident, in which a boyfriend gave me two martini glasses as a director’s gift when I directed Dial “M” for Murder. The glasses had Greek doric columns for stems. I was hurt (but never told anyone) because he gave the assistant director a coffee table book on Alfred Hitchcock. I would have loved such a gift, but ended up with martini glasses. I taught myself how to make martinis and used the glasses, until one broke. I felt so bad when it broke, because I knew the boyfriend had been trying to do something really nice for me and I hadn’t appreciated it. On the top left corner of the box, you can see an image of a moon and two constellations holding hands, stepping over some words. The words have faded, but they were from a poem I wrote: “Sweep up the broken pieces/ there is no restoration/only transformation into light” (the image on the right is an older photo that hasn’t faded so much). The poem told the story of Orpheus and Eurydice and utilized the symbolism of a broken glass. In terms of my interpretation of the Fool, perhaps this suggests that the beginning of his journey necessitates a loss of what has gone before; a kind of “things will never be the same again.” Likewise, the butterflies also support the idea of transformation.
The Egyptian cat takes the place of the dog as the animal companion. Unlike the friendly pup, the cat is aloof and out of the frame of the main image; the blue around her looks like a starry night sky, although it’s actually just my attempt at marbled paper–I just used one color of paint and didn’t have the right tools, but it actually looks pretty cool anyway. To me it looks like the cat is coming out of a spiral galaxy, she is looking at my character in the center, watching over me.
The roses and butterflies were stickers that I got at the craft store. They didn’t have white roses, but I used a red rose in the lower left, placed as if it’s being dropped from my hand, or maybe being lifted by the butterfly into my hand. Roses have a five-fold symmetry and so represent life, passion, change, conflict, transformation and time (contrast this to the sixfold symmetry of the lily which represents perfection, completion, stasis, and death). If we consider the character in the center to be moving around this box, she starts with the words “We move on” and follows the arrow past her crumbled foundations, through her butterfly transformation watched over by the cosmic cat, reaches the apotheosis of the astral constellations and the words “there is no restoration only transformation into light” and then at last reaches out toward the red rose, at first pushed into and now accepting the pull of the loss and permutations of life.
Around the edge of the lid is some sheet music that I Xeroxed from a score my father sent me, “Songs of Joy” that he composed when I was born. This setting is from a medieval ballad and the words are “When I see the lark moving its joyous wings, in a ray of sunlight, then forgetting itself and falling because of the joy pervading its heart.”
Those words most clearly summarize my idea of the Fool. All of these components reflect that image, but there is something quintessential about that phrase that encompasses the Fool. Not taking a leap of faith or really taking any step at all. Overwhelmed by joy, we no longer remember our goals and intentions, but forget ourselves and fall.
Joy Vernon has been studying and teaching energetic and esoteric modalities for more than twenty years. She is the organizer of the Denver Tarot Geeks, Denver Tarot Meetup and Denver Traditional Reiki Meetup, and she served on the faculty of Avalon Center for Druidic Studies. She is one of the psychics at Isis Books and is a Certified Professional Tarot Reader and a member of the American Tarot Association and Tarosophy Tarot Association. Joy also teaches Traditional Japanese Reiki. For information on upcoming classes or to schedule an appointment, please visit JoyVernon.com.
© 2015 by Joy Vernon. All rights reserved.
Joy Vernon is widely recognized by tarot professionals as an expert tarot teacher and respected community leader. With over twenty years’ experience teaching energetic and esoteric modalities, Joy brings expertise and practiced familiarity to her specialty of esoteric tarot, which layers astrological and qabalistic symbolism onto the traditional tarot structure. Under her leadership, the Denver Tarot Meetup has grown into one of the largest and most active tarot-specific meetups in the world. Joy works as a tarot reader, astrologer, and teacher at Isis Books. To learn more, please visit JoyVernon.com.