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Sophie-David  Sophie-David is offline
Join Date: 11 Dec 2004
Location: Ucluelet, BC, Canada
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Legend: Ten of Spears, The Green Knight

The Legend Ten of Spears is an accurate, imposing and original interpretation of the card of weighty burdens, based on the story of Gawain and the Green Knight.

In this story, the intimidating Green Knight shows up at Camelot and issues a challenge which requires one of the knights to behead him. Gawain is the only one with the courage - or foolhardiness - to do so. The card shows the image of this first encounter of Gawain with the Green Knight. The Green Knight and his horse radiate an otherworldly green magic, the magic of the fay. The aura of woodland magic is enhanced by the flowering plant that adorns the horse, the knight's long cape adorned with the green butterflies of transformation, and a green wreath and planter in the background. Arthur's court watches from a safe distance as the brave Gawain is dwarfed by this impressively horsed knight.

Gawain strikes off the Green Knight's head, but then the Knight gets up and reunites his head with his body. The terms of the contract are that since he has survived, Gawain will be required to submit himself to the Green Knight's axe a year later. Shortly before the fulfilling the challenge a year later, Gawain is almost seduced by the Green Knight's fay wife, and for his slight indiscretion his head is not severed, but only slightly nicked.

Contrained by lack of space, Anna-Marie leaves out some of the most intriguing details in this story. In The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell with Bill Moyers, Campbell retells the story with great wit. The temptations of the Green Knight's wife are set up by the hunter, the Green Knight in disguise, in this way:
"Now early tomorrow I'm going off hunting, but I'll be back in the evening, when we shall exchange our winnings of the day. I'll give you everything I get on the hunt, and you give me whatever will come to you."
On the first day, the wife manages to extract a kiss out of Gawain. When the hunter returns with his catch of game, Gawain gives him one large kiss. On the second day Gawain similarly has to give the hunter two kisses. But on the third day the lady persuades Gawain to accept not only three kisses but her green garter too. Gawain gives the hunter the three kisses, but omits the garter. The Green Knight then gives Gawain one little scratch with the great axe saying, "That's for the garter."

Campbell suggests that the heroism of Gawain was tested by desire or lust, and by the fear of death. He interprets the story in this way:
...the first requirements for a heroic career are the knightly virtues of loyalty, temperance, and courage. The loyalty in this case is of two degrees or commitments: first to the chosen adventure, but then, also, to the ideals of the order of knighthood.
Gawain acquits himself well under the immense pressures of this well chosen Ten of Spears. The hero's journey is never easy!
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