Saturday, September 1, 2007


This was a devilishly (sorry, but the pun is apt :-D) difficult card to design. Both the drawing and tanka went through not only many minor revisions, but each had a couple major total do-overs, in which I took an entirely different tack. Maybe XV is too "close to home." It's astrology sign is usually Capricorn, which is mine, too. :-)

As with all but two of the previous designs, The Devil card was dream-influenced. I'd just finished a lengthy dream journaling session which had ultimately explored issues of psychological projection. How many of the demons and even sometimes angels we see in others, are our own inner qualities projected on them, masking who they really are and also masking ourselves in that process. I then thought "The Devil card!" Here's the design that thought finally brought me to:

And here's The Devil in the Rider/Waite/Smith deck for comparison:

The Devil's hebrew letter is often "ayin," which means "eye" in noun form. That has always puzzled me a little. No matter the various esoteric explanations of it I'd read, they were not satisfying. But on associating XV to issues around psychological projection I finally find a more satisfactory take on ayin. We need to really, fully open our eyes, to ourselves and others, and not just accept the disowned aspects of ourselves we paste on to each other. No matter The Devil's hand gesture says "All you see is all there is," we need to see this is not true.

One of the positions The Devil can hold in our lives is as a tough spiritual teacher, a Guardian at The Gate, who will not let us go further in our development until we are ready. And, in this capacity, I see XV confronting us with our projections. Those demons and angels we attribute to others that are really our own. Those projections that chain us in fear and stunt our growth. In the RWS version above the chains around the necks of the two figures can be seen to be very loose. Just as with projections, the figures' own willingness to fully open their eyes and see, can free them.

As a simple letter in the hebraic alphabet ayin refers to mirth, and that I have always gotten from the first time I read it. I.e, a healthy sense of humor about the misperceptions and incongruities in life are necessary to our well-being and growth. We also especially need to be able to laugh at ourselves, a lot and heartily; not to take ourselves so seriously.

BRIEF BACKGROUND ON THE TAIGA TAROT (Click here for additional background on the Taiga Tarot.):

Please note: This deck is not necessarily being designed for use in divination, but rather to share taiga based on each of 78 Tarot cards.

When I decided the name of the deck would be The Taiga Tarot, I liked not only the alliteration but the resemblance of the word “taiga” to “tiger.” One of my power animals is the Siberian Tiger (and by extension, all tigers), which first appeared as three tiger kittens in a dream. What I had completely forgotten at the time was that the area of Siberia in which the tiger ranges is called “The Taiga”!

A “taiga” (briefly put) is an illustrated tanka. A “tanka” is a mood poem written in five lines, that usually references natural images and human emotions. Also, there is often a contrast or conclusion or response in the last two lines to the first three. I recognize that the tanka/taiga I’m developing for The Taiga Tarot are non-traditional. As with the dreamku I write (haiku-like poems about dreams), I am not only attempting to bridge two things – Tarot and taiga – but also bringing my own experimental slant to it all.

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‘til next time, keep enjoying The Tarot,


[aka: Patricia Kelly]

****If you wish to copy or use any of my writing, please email me for permission (under “View my complete profile”)**** SEE ALSO: Roswila’s Tarot Gallery & Journal and Roswila’s Dream & Poetry Realm.****