The Power of Tarot
Just when I think I’ve seen all the magnificent Tarot decks in the world I run across something like the Art of Life Tarot by Charlene Livingstone. With her strong background in Art History she has gathered together a treasure trove of world art pieces and brilliantly applied them to the Tarot in a way that brings out a fresh and original viewpoint while keeping the traditional core meanings. She has selected a relevant quotation for each card and I have used them below to illustrate each card in our reading this week. Her quotations are drawn from both Western and Eastern spiritual traditions, and I just love the universal perspective she brings!
Charlene turned to the Tarot for insight when her husband was diagnosed with a serious illness. She found that it provided her with insight into deep psychological issues. She began to have vivid dreams which highlighted specific cards pointing to answers she was seeking about her life. She wanted to help others in a similar way by creating a deck that would be empowering. With her deck, she imparts encouragement and strength! She believes the Tarot to be a journey that takes the reader back to themselves.
August 4 – Sunday
Nine of Swords
I admit I have always found this card a little scary. I’ve thought of it as the quintessential insomnia card. The traditional depictions of the Nine of Swords shows a person in intense distress, bent over, weeping in a darkened room. We’ve all been there a few times, haven’t we?
This deck spins a different, more life-affirming interpretation. The artwork is Head of a Young Woman, by Leonardo da Vinci. In this card, Leda is looking pensive and is remembering, but her expression is tender and bittersweet. Her hair is still a mess but her face is luminous and composed. It is a moment of truth that she is having with herself in the privacy of the night. The quotation speaks her momentary realization:
The Longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater their power to harm us. -Voltaire
This is the card’s message for us today.
August 5 – Monday
Nine of Cups
This card traditionally represents a person having way too much fun, if there is such a thing! I’ve always loved it as an omen of a great party coming up. In the picture, Riding on the Strand, by Stonelake, a young woman is charging down a beach at top speed while her little dog scurries to keep up with her. Despite her Victorian clothing, she is free-wheeling and totally absorbed in the moment. In her own way, she’s having a ball! Our message today is:
A happy life is one in accordance with its own nature. -Marcus Seneca
August 6 – Tuesday
Knight of Cups
A love opportunity is on its way today. It would be wise to pay attention. The Knight of Cups signifies a sincere and romantic person who potentially could bring us much happiness. They are available and single, and emotionally able to enter a relationship. The picture is The Lovers, by Merse and it shows a private picnic in the countryside with two young lovers transfixed by each other while the hours fly by. Our message today is:
There’s nothing so sweet in life as love’s young dream. -Thomas Moore
Today is a day to be open to true love!
August 7 – Wednesday
Hmmm. Oh, goodness; vaping existed in nineteenth century Thailand! Lovers Smoking, by Nat Phumin Nan pictures two lovers in exotic clothes gazing through their smoke clouds into each other’s eyes. It is a witty picture that I love because their formal, elegant clothing makes it all look so glamorous. They are obviously enjoying their pastime. Today’s message: Some things that are bad for us are really fun for a while, but when they start being more trouble than fun, we can decide to do something else.
A man should never be ashamed to own that he has been in the wrong, which is but saying…that he is wiser today than yesterday. –Jonathan Swift
(Okay, I’ll keep that in mind.)
August 8 – Thursday
Seven of Swords
So much confusion and distrust in the stormy sky depicted in this card. The sun looks eclipsed, and there appears to be a tornado looming toward us. The house, (our foundation) looks threatened and shaky with foliage bent wildly. It is Road with Cypresses, by Vincent Van Gogh.
Today, lets reflect on how to maintain our center in the middle of a swirl of opinions, inner and outer pressures, and maybe, outright deceit. We can think of these as tests to our objectivity and integrity, and see the jewel of wisdom that could result, if we respond authentically.
One must have chaos in oneself, to be able to give birth to a dancing star. -Friedrich Nietzsche
August 9 – Friday
The Hermit is alone but far from lonely. This card tells us about the creative uses of solitude. While he gazes from his lonely vantage point, his face is ecstatic with peace and serenity. His animal companion gazes with him in the same direction and we can almost feel the telepathy between them. His world is whole and he is in a timeless moment. Today, unhook and go off radar to experience what can come out of quiet.
Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul. -Marcus Aurelius
August 10 – Saturday
Six of Wands
This is a victory card! The traditional decks depict a returning “warrior” sporting a victory wreath, his wand held high. Today, this could mean a literal score, having to do with a long-term objective. Upon reflection, we can see that there are different types of victories of course. Sometimes it relates to winning a war with ourselves, our addictions, our fears, or our inertia. Victory is seldom a victory over others but one over limitations and delusion. Karma will always pull us up short if there is something we need to overcome. The Football Players, by Henri Rousseau, shows four cavorting fin de siècle players in striped suits that look like pajamas! It’s hard to stop laughing as we look closer at the painting. They’re running through the fall landscape in nothing close to present day athletic gear. I guess those were football uniforms in 1908.
Nothing great was every achieved without enthusiasm. -Samuel Coleridge
A fun spread to try: the Creativity Spread
This is a five card spread that is great for looking at the emotional elements in long existing situations, and for creative projects. The layout is as follows: Three vertical cards, with a single card on the left and right of the middle card, equaling five cards total. They are read clockwise from the left, with the middle card as the final outcome.
Card 1: Inspiration
Card 2: Influences
Card 3: Challenges
Card 4: Process
Card 5: Final Outcome
Thanks for joining me for the Art of Life reading this week. Hope to see you later!
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