Friday, March 20, 2015

Updating the Tarot

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Wekcome to the Spring Fling edition of the Tarot Blog Hop. Our organizer for this hop, Ania Marczyk, posed a question to our merry little group of Tarot bloggers--Given that the Tarot is a product of its time period, created five hundred years ago, is the Tarot elastic enough that it does not need updating? or does the Tarot need to be modified to bring it into the modern world?

As always, my answer is one that just proves that I am of two minds about everything.

No, the Tarot does not need updating. The type of events and people that are present in the Tarot five hundred years ago are still with us today. There is absolutely no need to update the Tarot.

Well, except one. It is damn good fun to update the Tarot. So while the underlying structure of the Tarot makes it timeless, I am still going to be interested in, and willing to create modern versions of the Tarot.

(It should not be a big surprise that this is my position---after all, I updated the Fives in a previous Tarot Blog Hop. ex. The Five of Swords was a pro-wrestler.)

One of my favorite "updated" cards is the Magician card is from an (live-action) role playing game, Magic the Ascension. While the Magic the Ascension Tarot deck was created as a prop for the game, and used as a themed set of illustrations, and very much keyed to the worldview of the game, a few of the cards are worthy of consideration if one wanted to update the symbolism of the Tarot.

The Mage from the Magic the Ascension Tarot deck. 
While there is a lot of imagery specific to the game in this version of the card, there is something that I would be tempted to use if I ever did a modern deck of my own, and that is the elemental "tools" on the altar (table). The four elemental items are all modern (well, maybe not the key...but bear with me): a gun (aka firearm) is used to represent the element of Fire; a soda can is used to represent the element of Water; a key is used to represent the element of Air; and a set of credit cards is used to represent the element of Earth.

(I apologize for the following cards being only in black and white---a family issue chewed into my art time.)

One of the cards that I think needs updating is the High Priest or Pope. The reason for this is that for many people, the Catholic Church is not the Church that they know. In the modern world, at least in the United States, the evangelists are the keepers of the faith. Interestingly enough, the corruption that was associated with the Catholic Church in the times that the Tarot was first created can now be found in the ranks of the tele-evangelists--I assume there is some deep spiritual significance and lesson to be learned from this, though I am too tired to think of it at this particualr moment.

The modern High Priest or Pope is the Evangelist. 
A few years ago, I spent some time reading for teenagers. One of the things that I learned is while they understand the ranks behind the Court cards, many of them could not easily translate the older imagery into modern terms. Therefore, I highly tempted to update the Court cards.

This first example is from the suit of Pentacles. In this card, I show the Page of Pentacles as a youth working in some minimum wage job. This may seem to be an odd association, but I am standing by it because a lot of people who consult fortune tellers are the poor, whose associations with money tends to be poverty and minimum wage jobs, and not the wealth of the traditional version of this suit's Court cards. Or maybe it was just me that ended up having those associations, and those types of experiences...and almost everyone I have ever worked with.

Modern Page of Pentacles is the minimum wage worker. 
The second example of my attempt to update the Court cards is my version of the Page of Wands. Here we have an youthful artist, who is passionate both about their art and their politics. And yes, I accept the idea that artists smoke dope; that includes about half the pottery students that I know. I am quite sure if the Tarot was invented today that there would be a card representing the evil that this type of person can lead to....though in the original decks, it was a game for the worthy, therefore, this type of person (as well as my previous example) would not have gotten a Court card (probably both would have been dumped into the Fool card).

Modern Page of Fire is a pothead, sometimes in both senses of the term. 
Anyways, that is all the updating of the Tarot that I had time to finish (I have a whole list of cards that I have not even penciled yet). Thanks for taking time out of your busy day to visit my little corner of the blogosphere. And please consider checking out some of the other blog entries that my fellow and lady Tarot bloggers wrote.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

If you say I am guilty

Yesterday, on Facebook, I realized that I need to remind people occasionally about one of my ugly habits.

As some of my readers know, my family background is...well, my family had a few problems, and I still suffer from some of the built-in programming. In the case of the current ugly habit, one of my relatives liked to accuse people of doing evil stuff, and then punish them for the crime whether they were actually guilty or not. And after awhile, I came to the conclusion that if I was going to be accused of something, then by the gods, I was going to have the pleasure of actually doing the crime.

This moral position is such a fixture in my life that one of my Order mottos is based on that idea.

So for instance, if someone on Facebook decided to accuse me of trying to create a flamewar, there is a part of me that will be inclined to actually do such a deed. This is especially true if I was merely stating facts about how I got involved in a previous mess, and not actually trying to start trouble. If I am actually guilty, I tend to admit to my involvement. But if I am innocent and presumed guilty....I am likely to do exactly what you accused me just to balance out the scales---after all, if I am going to be punished for something, I just as well do the crime.

Yes, I know that it is an ugly habit, and that I should evolve out of it...but I absolutely refuse to accept guilt for things I haven't done. Yes, I am a small petty man---I admit to it---and you might want to remember that if you accuse me of doing something that I haven't actually done yet.