Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Monkey Bottle Trap

Monkey Tarot--Devil card--Monkey Bottle Trap.
Welcome to this edition of the Tarot Blog Hop--Samhain (Halloween) edition. Those of you who are reading the blog hop, you probably arrived here from Amethyst Mahoney's blog. My regular readers have just wandered in from the dark alley that they learn occult lessons in...because no one from a legimate esoteric tradition ever reads my blog--I have that on the best of authorities.

As some of you know, one of the projects that I am doing is creating the rough sketches for a monkey-themed Tarot deck...because one of my friends really likes monkeys. (She likes monkeys so much that she is writing a series of children books starring monkeys, which I will be illustrating in December.)

Now when the idea of a monkey-themed Tarot deck came up, I originally said, "No, you cannot create a Tarot deck that has a monkey in every card." The reason that I said this was the simple fact that there were some cards that I had no clue how you would draw them to be able to make the central figure a monkey.

One of the cards that I could not imagine doing with a monkey was the Major Arcana card of the Devil. Then one morning, I woke up and knew exactly how to draw it.

And the idea behind the artwork made perfect sense to me.

The artwork for the Devil card of the Monkey Tarot shows a monkey with its paw caught in a Bottle Trap. One of the ways that people capture monkeys is to put tasty food in the bottom of a bottle or jar whose neck is just enourgh for a monkey to stick their empty paw down, but not large enourgh for it to be able to remove once it has a fistful of food inside it.

The monkey is trapped simply because it refuses to let go of the food. If it just opened its paw, and let go of the food--it could escape.

Ironically, when it comes to human beings, we are often held back by things that we refuse to let go of. For some, it is money; for others, the need to be loved; for some, it is food.

In my case, it is a bad set of childhood programing commands. I was raised in a very poor household--the oldest of eight kids. At an early age, I started to be told that it was my duty to sacrifice for the sake of my brothers and sisters. By the age of eight, I knew the bitter truth about Santa Claus. Often I would go hungry, so that siblings could have more food. I got into the habit of taking the blame for joint-mischief.

By itself, this would not be bad. But I have allowed this programming to carry forward into my adulthood. I have remained at jobs that I hated...because I was needed. I have sacrificed my goals...because someone else needed the resources more than I did.

I spend a lot of my time trying to guess what other people need me to do, making sacrifices for others, while completely ignoring what is best for my own life. And I have grown to resent the fact that I am expected to sacrifice on the behalf of others without any benefit to myself. Occasionally, this resentment is enourgh to prevent me from doing something stupid, but not often. Odds are that I will trash my own life on the behalf of someone else.

And at the moment, this particular habit is causing me a world of hurt. It is amazing how much difficulty one has starting their own business when they get into the habit of handing over their operating budget to someone else, instead of spending the money that they need to on their own business needs.

It is something that I need to let go of--and I know it. But the monkey part of my brain generally refuses to let go of the habit on most days.

As a Tarot reader, I have noticed that a lot of personal demons show up during readings, and often these demons are simply things, habits and ideas that people are unwilling to let go of. Therefore, the idea of illustrating the Devil as a Bottle Trap makes perfect sense to me.

And at the moment, I am definitely struggling with my own version of the Devil--a Morgan-shaped bottle trap.

Anyways, enourgh about my personal demons. Those of you who are continuing with the Samhain Tarot Blog Hop will now proceed to the blog of Aisling the TarotWitch. My regular readers will do whatever it is that they do...I presume that they worship cats and monkeys--I could be wrong about that one.

[Update: July 2013: Due to differences in sales expectations and business philosophy, in early July 2013, I ceased to be involved in the Turtle Monkey project.]


Tarot By Arwen said...

Profound blog, sir. I love and loathe the idea that all I have to do is let go of what I think I need to escape the trap. :| Ouch.

Hooray for more monkeys though.

John Marani said...

Great blog! I completely agree...I think we all have our own "bottle trap" to deal with. I know I have one of my own. :)

Jordan said...

"no one from a legimate esoteric tradition reads your blog." Seems a masterful command of the obvious that now more than ever they should be able to see that most of the dead white men they are lying prostrate to are zombified cookies in their hand in a bottle.

Though, like the Straw Man, the zombies pass them right by 'cause . . . if they only had a brain. . . not stuck in one side or the other.

Well-rocked idea and execution with your Monkey Bottle Trap as tool and metaphor of/for Shadow. I think if I focus just a little more on being creative, I can get my hand out of here . . . ;-)

Great alley you have. Really like what you've done with the place.

Alison Cross said...

I love your idea for the Devil card - the monkey bottle trap is such a clever idea.

And I totally get it - let the food go and you are free. But sometimes it's just too damn hard.

Great blog to kick off the Hop with!

lots of love

A monkey with her hand in the bottle

Christiane said...

Great contribution to the Samhain Blog Hop! What you said needed to be said: it can be so damn hard to reprogram your thoughts, even after you have figured out what you should do...it's often easier said than done, and even some fluffy New Age affirmations cannot make a big difference. Thank you for sharing.

thecrazyangmoandhisangrywife said...

There's so many things in life I can't release my pawn...lol! Love your blog...and definitely love monkeys!

Unknown said...

Morgan, this is a wonderful post, and what a brilliant image for The Devil!

Inner Whispers said...

I am loving your Monkey Tarot! Though one of the things I probably need to let go of is my belief that I have to have any more tarot decks... ;)

This post was really moving and insightful, many thanks, Morgan.