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.****


VCW said...

I love the words here, but not so much the image. I am not sure why. It just does not move me as so many of the other ones do. I can't think of anything to suggest that would make a more dramatic statement. That is what I am looking for I suppose. The tanka is fantastic though. Maybe that is it. The words are so potent and the image is more childlike. I like the star, but it reminds me of a leaning Christmas tree. I would rather see the star in an eye or on a tongue inside a mouth with pointed teeth. Sorry. I'm sure a lot of work went into this card. I guess I have just been doing to much critiquing lately. I feel like I have to give some information that I think will improve it.

Roswila said...

Hi vcw!

I agree with you. I have not been completely happy with the image on this card, either. It is one of those I will most probably revise. (All are subject to revision. Although I try to put up as complete a card design as I can, many times just a few days latter I can see it still needs work.) BTW, the "star" is meant to represent an upside down pentagram which is often used to respresent that "devilish" stuff is afoot! LOL!

I'm very happy to have respectful critiquing of these designs and tankas. Please, never fear to give yours. (I'll keep my old devil ego well leashed. :-D)

VCW said...

I did know that the 'star' represented an upside down pentagram, but I am just lazy in my descriptions sometimes, and often I use unfitting names of things. I just can't think quickly enough, and so I just blurt out (or jot down) a reasonable facsimile. This is a fairly recent development with me. An oldish thingy. The word pentagram just fell out of my mind yesterday and I didn't want to take the time to look it up. I just spend so much time researching to get words and facts straight for my book, that I fall lax in my daily conversations and contacts. Sorry to take so much space on your blog to describe my mental malfunctions. Brain farts--I have been told.

Roswila said...

Oh, my friend, vcw, I love having discussions (brain fart flavored or otherwise) in these comments! Please, say what you think and even have trouble finding the words for. The older I get, the more I have to reach and/or wait for that word I just know I know but can't get off the tip of my tongue. And please forgive my tendency to "teach" even where it may not be needed. :-D

Roswila said...

Hi vcw, again!

I just visited your new blog. That first phoenix greeting card design is spectacular. And the poem on it is so wise.

VCW said...

Glad that you liked my first attempt at blogging. You are so humble to ask for forgiveness when there is nothing to forgive. Sometime things sound harsher than intended when typed instead of spoken, but then I can be rather brash when speaking also. I am too blunt sometimes and I should ask for forgiveness, but I never think of it. I always appreciate any lesson I might get, and you have shown me quite a few. I appreciate your tolerance. Thanks.

Roswila said...

I find it extremely interesting that the discussion we are having here was precipitated by The Devil card! Not sure exactly why I find it so, but it is. :-D

BTW, the more I look at my drawing for XV, the more it does look like a tipsy Christmas tree. So glad you pointed that out. Though a slightly drunk Christmas tree would be rather devilish, wouldn't it? Sorry. I just did my taxes and I'm a bit tipsy myself ... all those numbers and pages and instructions ... OY!

Roswila said...

Another thought on this XV looking like a tipsy Christmas tree, which (at least to me) is a humorous image: the tanka's last line is about laughter, and one of The Devil's esoteric meanings is "mirth." (In both instances I hear that one way to free ouselves is not to take ourselves so seriously, to lighten up.) So, here's a thought, maybe that laughter the tipsy Christmas tree can precipiate is appropriate to the card? Or if I want to go with that, maybe I need to make the resemblance quite clear? Hm....