(The Star – Rider Waite Tarot Deck )
Some of you may be wondering about the use of Tarot cards as illustrations in previous blog posts. No – I am not a 5th generation fortune teller, but I do believe in the power of pictures to tell a story.
In my opinion, the best poetry hits you in the gut. It makes you feel something beyond the scope of words, and resonates on a powerful emotional level. I believe Tarot and Oracle cards have the power to do the same.
(No Place Like Home – Wisdom of The Oracle Deck by Colette Baron Reid)
Despite the association with divination, Tarot cards were not created for the purpose of telling the future.
Thought to originate from the mid 15th century in Europe, Tarot cards were initially designed to play card games, in much the same way as standard playing-card decks.
(Although there are many who believe the cards have origins in Ancient Egypt and the Kabbalah)
The Rider Waite Tarot deck originally published in 1910, is one of the most popular decks in the Western world, and was designed with divination in mind. The Deck was illustrated by a lady called Pamela Colman Smith.
(Image from Flavorwire – Pinterest )
An Anglo American lady who spent many years living in Jamaica, Pamela illustrated several books on Jamaican Folklore, including Annancy Stories (1902). She also worked on projects for poet W.B Yeats as well as author Bram Stoker. She was an avid supporter of the Suffragette movement, providing illustrations to further the cause.
It is her illustrations for these cards that speak to me on a poetic level.
(Nine of swords – Rider Waite Tarot Deck)
Above is the 9 of swords card. It speaks of despair. Those nights when you can’t sleep for the worries and angst in your mind. The swords are the suit associated with thoughts,so even though it may appear quite a ‘violent’ image, the message really is one of thoughts rather than a physical threat.
Looking at the picture can stimulate many intuitive responses. Why is the person upset? Have they been too hard on themselves? Have they experienced grief? Is there something in the morning that they do not want to face?
Similarly the cards below can be used in the same way.
(Two of Swords and Five of cups – Rider Waite Tarot Deck)
The Two of Swords card depicts decisions. What are the two things she needs to decide? Why is she blindfolded and why does she still look relatively content?
The Five of cups is about turning one’s back on something. Seeing the glass half empty instead of half full. What of those two cups behind him?
Using Tarot cards in this way can really stimulate the imagination.
I have written whole poems from looking at just one card.
(Exchanging Gifts – Wisdom of the Oracle Deck by
Colette Baron Reid )
The oracle cards above can also be used in the same way. Connected to Tarot, these modern oracle decks, are created with intuition and positive thinking in mind. The above deck is beautifully illustrated by Jena DellaGrottaglia – www.autumnsgoddess.com
Many poets and writers use visual stimuli to prompt the imagination. Next time you feel stumped for ideas – why not pick up/google a tarot card image?
Much love Txx