View Full Version : The Aces - or lack thereof ...
In most RWS decks the suit symbol is held in a hand emerging from a cloud. In the Gay Tarot they are emerging from the smoke/mist of a magician's tophat. Care to comment on these, Lee? Are there seasonal/elemental notations that go along with these illustrations? The Ace of Cups retains it's RWS lily pond, but the other three only have a foreground without landscapes.
Hope you don't mind but, I"m gonna butt in with a comment :)
I've been compiling a list of the characteristics of card groups in my journal this week (i.e. all the aces are about...etc.) and I came out with a much better appreciation of how the minor pips relate to the same number Major card.
So I'm now thinking of the 4 emblems on the magician card, as representatives of the 4 aces, and not just the four suits (which is really the same thing, but you know what I mean).
The ace's show the beginning or gifts of the suit, the magician shows us the beginning or gift of the 4 elements combined.
I think the idea of the emblem coming out of the magican's hat is an really excellent one in that context, and has really stuck the idea in my head.
Pictures of the magician, and an example of an ace found here:
Hi similia, of course we don't mind, in fact the more the merrier! :)
Yes tarotbear, there are four Aces in the deck, at least last time I checked. :) As similia says, the top hats were an effort to tie the four Aces to the Magician. The Magician shows the suit symbols as the four tools he uses to create his life and himself as he would like. In the Aces, we focus in on each of the suit symbols. So, the Magician shows us that he has the capability to use all of the four suit energies; while each of the Aces shows us that particular suit's energy in use.
In this deck I did not concentrate so much on esoteric correspondences like Qabala or astrology or even elements. I really wanted this to be a deck whose cards meant something on a personal, emotional and experiential level. Now, the deck may or may not acheive this goal, depending on the reader (in other words, Your Mileage May Vary). But if someone is looking for lots of seasonal or elemental correspondences in the Gay Tarot, then they may be barking up the wrong deck. The project I'm working on currently (the text to the Tarot of Dreams), on the other hand, contains esoteric references out the wazoo. :)
The project I'm working on currently (the text to the Tarot of Dreams), on the other hand, contains esoteric references out the wazoo. :)
That answers my other questions also. I asked Ciro what the significance of the extra numbers of the Tarot of Dreams were, and he cryptically told me they were your work on the qabalah.
I had been wondering if anything similar was used in the Gay Tarot.
I've given this some more thought.
Tarotbear raises a valid question. I think a lot of it depends on what one's personal opinion is regarding what is required for a deck to be considered a tarot deck -- discussions and arguments about which have gone on ad infinitum on the forum.
The question with any "theme" tarot deck is, is it a Marseilles-based or RWS-based deck with a few changes made to fit the theme (an example would be the Robin Wood, which starts with the RWS as a basis and makes a few changes here and there to make it a pagan deck), or is it a deck of cards based on the theme, which is put in the form of a tarot deck? My deck is definitely the latter. That means that one should expect that many cards will be very different in my deck than they were in the RWS. Now, there are certain cards where I comment directly on or take a twist on the corresponding RWS cards (like the 10 of Cups, and the 3, 9 and 10 of Swords). But there are other cards where you just won't see anything like the RWS.
Yet another answer is that personally I tend to prefer simple, strong, iconic images rather than a card filled with hundreds of symbols. So, if I were an artist and designing a deck, I would be more likely to draw something like the Marseilles than Voyager (although I like Voyager too). So that's another reason my Aces are rather simple.
Sorry you asked? ;)
The question with any "theme" tarot deck is, is it a Marseilles-based or RWS-based deck with a few changes made to fit the theme
That had given me the idea, that a "theme" deck really would allow a creator to use less-nill symbolism in the esoteric sense and still offer a broad scope of meanings/inspiration in a card. The depth of cards like RWS or Thoth come from the "occult" symbolism, and it is really these ideas that the deck is depicting visually.
The Gay deck in contrast draws its symbolism from the culture, so a modern image such as you might see daily, has a greater depth because of the associations that go with it.
The Marseille has more limited symbolism (in the minors at least) which allows a reader to bring more of there own stuff to the party, and greater flexibility when reading.
So maybe a RWS clone with the occult symbolism removed has a lot less to say, than a deck created based around its own symbolism.
mm, thanks for something to think about.
The Gay deck in contrast draws its symbolism from the culture, so a modern image such as you might see daily, has a greater depth because of the associations that go with it.Yup, this is precisely what I was going for.
Forgive the slow of mind, but I have a further question.
When you are designing the cards, are the features then decided by the real world, or symbolism, or both (a bit chicken and the egg, but I'm still curious).
e.g. I'm looking at the hanged man, and in addition to the diver are a few birds, and two flags. When your designing the card, do you debate which bird is the most appropriate or what type of flag. Or are these sorts of features common to the environment depicted, and not decided by the intent of the card.
Most of those kind of details were determined by the artist, Antonella Platano. In some cases she decided to add details and then the specific kind of detail. In other cases, for example in your example of the Hanged Man, I specified birds and flags, but the kind of bird or the type of flag was decided by Antonella. A significant example of this is the Eight of Wands, on which, as discussed in the thread on that card, I simply specified birds, and Antonella made them geese, which significantly adds to the symbolism.
Just to comment on the cards themselves...
That each suit's "tool" appears out of the magician's hat is a great connection to the Magician and his mastery of them. In terms of the meanings, I always see the aces as the beginning, of an idea (swords), project (wands), material venture (coins) or relationship (cups). The aces in a way are the seed of what is to grow through the remaining cards of the minor arcana.
To comment on the thread...
What I can appreciate about this deck is that it is less heavily loaded with "esoteric' correspondences and so changes the feel of the deck for me. It's not quite so weighted down and helps for me to bring the deck into more of a modern context. Also, the cards come across to me as less mystical and more pragmatic and grounded. It's a great way to bring across spiritual lessons in a relateable way.