Let´s talk about nudity...


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Interesting points and thank you for the inights. I learnt a lot from this post! O and by the way...

Quote:
Originally Posted by RiccardoLS
In a way I'm taking the role of the counterbell (is this an English word?)
Do you mean "counterbalance"? I guess so since that is what it seems you are doing here
Top   #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shade
With market research - can you tell I work in advertising? :-)
I deleted that suggestion from my earlier post because I thought that it was obvious. Can you tell that I worked in market research?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shade
The Empress card in the LS Celtic tarot. People HATED this card. Largely I think this is because the Morrigan is a favorite for many fans of all things Celtic and they tend to prefer a more dark beauty-amazon type for her.

The Empress in the Robin Wood was often criticized by people who didn't like seeing the Empress as an older woman.
You know what? I hate the LS Celtic Empress, too. I don't hate her body, though, I hate her face and pose. It's exactly what I talked about before: she doesn't look as if she's happy, at ease, and comfortable in her body. Instead, she looks like a caricature of a fat woman who is out of breath and possibly about to have a stroke from jumping around too much and losing the ground below her feet. In short: She's just not empress-y. I believe that's why she is disliked by others, too.

The Robin Wood Empress lacks sensuality for me. Again, I mostly dislike her head. The headdress makes her look like a repressed housewife of former times, like someone's granny, not like an Empress/Goddess/earth mother/whatever your favorite shorthand term for her is. She's just a bit too "good," too "virtuous." (I'm aware of the idea of the threefold goddess, and that this includes the crone part, but the Empress really screams "mother" to me, not maiden or crone. After all, she's all about fertility/creativity/overflowing richness of "nature"...)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shade
The Lovers in the Contemplative - people have usually described the card as disturbing - owing to a degree that the woman in the card looks too small compared to the man. Now we know that since this is a Lovers card we are seeing two adults but she just wasn't doing it for a lot of folks.
I agree with the criticism here. She really seems awfully small compared to him. I'd be interested in hearing more about the reasons why the artist/producer decided this was the best illustration for this card. Maybe I'd understand it better then.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shade
Conversely I know a lot of people liked the World in the World Spirit deck and she is certainly a chunky girl. I think the card is well-loved enough
Exactly my point. And, to repeat it again, I think she's so well-loved (not by everyone, but by "enough" people) because she isn't embarrassed, she's not made to look slightly ridiculous, but she's completely unselfconscious, and totally comfortable and happy to dance exactly how she is. It's much more about the face/pose than about anything else. I also believe that her blue skin color makes it easier to view her as some kind of idea(l), an allegory, a symbol, instead as a portrait of a "real" woman. She makes me wish I was her, whereas the examples given above only make me feel pity for her to be caught in such an embarrassing moment for all the world to see (you know how it is with these oh-so-unflattering snap-shots...).

And, to tie this back to market research, the above-mentioned examples aren't market research. The images I'm talking about (and others might agree with me about) simply don't exist, yet. Useful market research would mean creating several equally "sensual and powerful" (to overly reduce the matterfor brevity's sake) images of, say, Empresses, by the same artist, in the same context of a whole deck and its accompanying worldview/philosophy/approach, and then let people pick their favorite version. Put up previews here on AT and let people comment. But most of all, find the right artist. There must be people out there who are able to draw/paint a big woman who looks sensual, powerful, and attractive to many. Heck, run a contest to find them. I'm sure there are possibilities that are within the scope of the publishing business...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RiccardoLS
Classical male nudity
I would have to talk with my girlfriend about classical art. The Greek (if I recall correctly) embraced the nude, while the Romans, for instance, did not.
Again, however, I think we should take into account that nude breasts and a nude chest are totally different worlds, even if the amount of clothing is the same.
I'll leave the art history part of the discussion to the people who have studied it in more depth than I did.

Ric, nobody has claimed that a topless female is the same as a topless male - BUT I still claim that a topless woman CAN be depicted in a way that makes us read her nudity as something else than sexual/erotic FIRST.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RiccardoLS
Balance
Before we can call it "balance", we must see how different are the male and female visual expressions in our culture. The female beuty is much better "codified". I don't know your experience, but I know many women able to judge (correctly) the beauty (let's maybe call it attractivness) of other women, while I don't know many men able to do the same with men. Western culture, at least has an autrageous maschilistic tradition to see women as decorative. That's why women fashion has much more volume than man. Again, think of any elegant dinner you attendend to. You will see that man have been basically clothed, and dressed basically the same. While women were less clothed and much more diverse.
What I want to say is that the world we live in is NOT balanced. Should be?
Or maybe should the woman attract/Lure, and the man hunt/pursue? The man fight and the woman choose? I really don't know, but equity is not necessarely balance and balance is not necessarely equity.
Maybe balance is the expression of complementariety.
That said, I would not really know how to begin when building a deck. Sorry.
I think it would be useful to differentiate between "women" and "female/feminine energies" here (the same goes for "men" and "male/masculine energies"). The energies aren't tied to the bodies. Women can be hunters and fighters, too. Men can be luring and choosing. That doesn't make any of them less of a women/man, by the way.

If an all-men tarot can express "the Empress" by a male figure, if an all-women tarot can express "the Emperor" by a female figure, if a whole deck can swap the genders of the people (Manga Tarot), then why can't these ideas influence "regular" decks, too? (I'm not saying the Emperor should always be a woman, but I'm saying there could be more women doing "masculine" things in the Minors and more men doing "feminine" things. Or the Minors can be interpreted differently, so that there's more gender variety. (Plus body shape variety.)

--- I have to break off here because I need to go to work, but I'm already looking forward to respond to the rest of what you wrote...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat*
then why can't these ideas influence "regular" decks, too? (I'm not saying the Emperor should always be a woman, but I'm saying there could be more women doing "masculine" things in the Minors and more men doing "feminine" things. Or the Minors can be interpreted differently, so that there's more gender variety.
Because so often we look for the easy answer. And a card whose meaning arrives through a layered journey does not catch.
Have you seen Strength in the Etruscan Tarot? That card was the only one ever noticed of the whole deck, and was heavily criticized.
Do You really think the Morrigan of the Celtic deck is embarassed by her own apparence? I look at the card and I don't see her running, but rather dancing. And I see a primal force in her clutching hand. (and have anyone noticed that both the Hermit and Justice feature a a naked man in that deck?). Yet, believe me, when the box of the deck was changed to feature the Star card, sales went better. ^_^ Because it was emerald green.

I was surprised, actually, when I first read that the Manga Tarot was not suitable for beginners because of gender switching. I did the Manga Tarot to be a beginner deck. Then I said: "silly me", "how naive of me".

ric
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This thread remains interesting A few more ramblings from me:

Quote:
Originally Posted by RiccardoLS
Again, think of any elegant dinner you attendend to. You will see that man have been basically clothed, and dressed basically the same. While women were less clothed and much more diverse.
I think Dutch culture may be a bit different from Italian culture here. If I had to buy clothes for a classy dinner party, I would buy something stylish that would definitely not show a lot of cleavage, lol. Especially if it was somehow related with family or work. But yes there is more choice in clothes for women than for men.

I used the word balance – as opposed to a one-sided deck like the Manara. But it is just a feeling I get when I look at a deck, there is no calculation or a list I tick off

I think it is probably because I am pagan myself, but I love the Druidcraft: it is not a sexless deck, the men are men and the women are women but I see much more equality in this one. It is not an erotic deck, but it reads often lusty and it does have cards that are risky for a mainstream deck, like the naked hanged man an the passionate lovers. And it is a popular deck – so I am not a minority here (although of course not everyone loves the DC nor would I expect them to).
I had high hopes for the Sensual Wicca as well, but somehow it does not attract me much. Maybe this is more to do with the artwork that does not portray well the idea behind the deck, I don’t know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RiccardoLS
Idealized women
I think most Tarot decks depict an idealized world. The grass is green. There is no garbage in the street. People don't scratch their ass in public, and they have all their theeth (even in medieval themes decks).
Yes, it's not realistic. It's idealized: symbolic.
Yup, and my idealized world has strong sexy men that will still treat me as their equal (well most of the time anyway) and women who are strong too
Top   #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raeanne
One of my favorite decks is the Cosmic Tribe. It is an equal opportunity nudity deck! And yes, I think the Knight of Swords has a very nice sword. ;-}
The Cosmic Tribe has one of my favorite decks since I first got it when it came out, and mind you I did not think I would care much for the deck just got it for collector purposes as it was the first deck to have 3 lovers cards, but I digress here. The Cosmic Tribe actaully uses nudity as a design element which is not eroticism. It is about what Le Fenu described as the spiritual nakedness, openness, etc. The nudity in this deck has been offensive to many here on AT, specially the male nudity - I am sure there are plenty of threads on this. Many found it to be too "in your face." But I always found it to be "innocent" nudity for a lack of a better term. To me its as if clothes did not exist at all and that was the natural way for us to be, exposed and with nothing to hide. I find this deck to be balanced in the sense in regards to the nudity.

I honestly think the only reason we do not see more disrobed men is purely cultural. Our patriarchal societies have had a very heavy influence in that and I do not foresee that changing much in the near future.

EDITED AFTER READING WHOLE THREAD: Le Fenu, I agree with you in terms of balance of the nudity, hence my love of the Cosmic Tribe. Then again, I also find the male form as beautiful as the female. I can sure say I would not like to see a penis portrayed like a rocket ready to fly to the moon (like the huge pointy breasts referred to in other posts), but the human body of either sex can be exquisitly represented in art and has been. It is in the way it is portrayed.

Ric, back to the Dove commercial, no matter how great a commercial of anything if you don't like the smell of the soap no matter how much I like the commercial I would not buy it. That does not mean the commercial is a failure, it means the product might have hit a plateu or was surpassed by competition.

What really struck me about this entire thread, and I think it was La Fenu that made the same observation I am about to make, is that I was really surprised to see how few of us thought the male body is as beautiful as that of a woman. The bodies are definetly different, but both beautiful to me.
Top   #76
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Back from work with more replies...

Quote:
Originally Posted by RiccardoLS
Idealized women
I think most Tarot decks depict an idealized world. [...] Yes, it's not realistic. It's idealized: symbolic.
When we talk about majors, don't we talk about Archetypes?
I absolutely agree with you! Of course we are talking about archetypes, at least with the majors, and archetypes are by definition idealized, or even clichéd. That's how we are able to read them in the first place: we recognize something familar. What that familiar thing is, however, is culturally specific. Beauty ideals are culturally and historically specific. And culture and history change - which is why tarot images also change over time. If that change is too radical, too much at once, people won't be able to read very well with the deck (unless they read entirely intuitively and don't care if their reading material is tarot or an oracle or picture postcards) and probably won't buy it. So of course recognizability of the archetypes is an issue for a publisher who wants to sell decks.

My point is that an archetypal mother-woman (to stick with the Empress for now) looks more like the Venus of Willendorf than the Venus of Milo (or maybe mostly like a cross between the two). She needs to be mature (as a mother as well as a lover), and she needs to be convincing as someone in power, even more so than any of the Queens. Barbie will never be taken seriously as a mother or a business woman or any other person with real power, no matter what costumes are produced for her. Again, it's more about the face and posture than it is about the body/clothes.

And aside from the Majors: the Minors are supposed to portray everyday life, symbolically or not, and I believe there's a LOT of room for variety in them. There are many many cards where gendered/sexualized energy is totally irrelevant (in the Sensual Wicca are several cards that are without people even!)...

Quote:
Originally Posted by RiccardoLS
When I see the script of a deck, I usually assume that the artist will make all characthers "appropriate" to their role. The young man will be dashing and handsome. The young woman innocent and alluring. The old king wise and strong, etc... (you see the sexual energyes of the young man are not blatant, but they are definitely present. The knight is in a shining armor, indeed). And when the script goes in a different direction, it does usually for a reason. It is meant to challenge and surprise.
I understand what you're saying. It's like genre fiction. Or a James Bond movie. You have a hero, an adversary, a sidekick, a love interest, etc. Basically, we're talking clichés here. Those figures are instantly recognizable, and they populate our imaginations. More of the same very obviously sells very well, in books, in films, and in tarot decks.

But IMO genre fiction and other "formula" products are most effective (including financially) and interesting when they deviate from the standard "just enough." Too much, and it's not recognizable as a James Bond movie or a romance novel anymore. Too little, and it's utterly boring (and not just to people who actively seek being challenged). Two-dimensional cardboard figures talking to each other. Yawn. You gotta find the right balance between old an new. You gotta change the script, subtly, but noticably. There's no need for crash-boom-bang (unless it's a James Bond movie ) to make people "get it." A tarot deck doesn't need a "feminist" or "equality" political agenda (in fact, such a deck would probably just annoying) to incorporate more physical variety - and make it look good. For me, this still is most of all an artistic and philosophical issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RiccardoLS
I maybe think that - as Firemaiden maybe pointed out - we live in a world that is afraid of sex. The "innocence" of the Star is seen (not just for Sapienza, for me as well) means that the Star should not exude any powerful sexuality. Well... if we see the RWS, do we see a totally asexual deck?
I don't think the RWS is asexual, but it is very stiff. All those rigid postures don't look very sensual to me, and therefore I have a hard time imagining all those people having fun in their bedrooms (or wherever) once the camera is off.

As oversexed as the Western world currently is, I don't think it's actually very sensual and/or pleasure-focused. Sexiness seems to be about surface appearance only, not about desire from deep within yourself, not about pleasure that's not related to buying anything. There are so many taboos against exploring one's sensuality and sexuality (especially in the majority of the USA, if I may say so as an outside observer), people are scared off of sex, and especially for women sex always seems to be tied to potential danger of violence and/or unwanted consequences.

I actually like the Star in the DruidCraft. She's naked, alone, outside, and totally fearless. And that's why she's not an "object", no matter if we like looking at her or not. She neither invites nor refuses, she just is. And that's quite sensual/erotic and very un-sexual at the same time (if that makes any sense - I'm running out of adequate language to describe my impressions here).

Quote:
Originally Posted by RiccardoLS
subtle sex energies
This is what I'm most concerded about.
[...]
However, in many decks (and maybe because of the comic book background of many artists), we have a sublte sexuality that cames as an underground current. That is what mostly interest me, as I think it really influence the overall feeling of the deck, much more than any single card, or graphic, etc...
Well, as I said, it's like genre fiction. And just in case I haven't mentioned it before: I don't think genre fiction is "unworthy" literature, just as I don't think that comic style, "sexy" decks are "unworthy" tarot. I just like variety, on my bookshelves, in my tarot collection, and in my bedroom, too.

I can't help being slightly bored by all that conformity in "subtle sex energies." I've seen it done in the same way a million times before, in advertising, in Hollywood films, in novels, in comic books, in fashion magazines, etc. It looks all the same to me, and it neither makes me want to spend money, nor does it titillate me in any way. Challenge me and my idea of tarot. Give me something to think about. Make me want to look twice. Stretch the boundaries of tarot concepts and of tarot aesthetics. This doesn't have to hurt, you just need to do it right (you being all tarot publishers, not just you personally, Ric).

Quote:
Originally Posted by RiccardoLS
marketing
[...] And you quote the Decameron and the Gay Tarot as examples of the presence of a market willing to buy over some concept. I know sales figures for those decks, and ... when I see most people asking for something A, I see a contracdiction. I could say - figures in hand - you are a minority. But I'm not convinced the answer is that.
I was not presuming to know your tastes better than you, believe me. Yet, I have sales figures and they are a definite "people like perfect breasts" kind of opinion I cannot ignore.
Obviously, I can't say anything about any sales numbers here. But maybe I haven't expressed myself clearly enough. I didn't mean to say that the Gay Tarot or the Decameron are huge bestsellers, on the contrary. I assume they are niche decks, which probably have a market that's large enough to keep the decks in print, but which might not stay in print if there weren't other decks out there to refinance them (please forgive me if I lack understanding of the publishing world, I'm always eager to learn more than I know so far).

My point was that I think we're comparing existing "perfect breasts" decks (which you have sales figures for) with nonexisting "more variety of perfection" decks (which no one has sales figures for because they simply haven't been produced in a comparable setting (in terms of publishing company, art style, marketing, etc.)). We'd have to compare maybe the DruidCraft with the Sensual Wicca, or something like that, and even then I'm not sure that sales figures alone will be proof of anyone's point here. I mean, as much as publishers want and need to earn money with what they produce, they still must have some limits as to what they will not put out, no matter how much it would bring financially. Maybe just because it's at odds with the company's philosophy or overall image or whatever.

I'm also not suggesting to give up the "standard sexy" decks, I'm suggesting to add to that range.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RiccardoLS
court cards
How do we accept that the Tarditional structure of Court Cards is TOTALLY unbalanced in direction of males?
Should't that be changed (we have some decks that do)?
Yes, it should, and I like it a lot that LoS does often change the Courts system. At the very least, pages should be readable as either male or female. I'm not sure, however, that we should generally be aiming at having exactly as many males and females in one deck, in exactly equal roles and occupations. It's about a balanced feel, not about a checklist/statistic, as WolfSpirit has already said before.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RiccardoLS
Because so often we look for the easy answer. And a card whose meaning arrives through a layered journey does not catch.
Of course the meaning of a card needs to be understandable. That's what I tried to say above with the comparison to genre fiction and James Bond movies. I don't agree, however, that the easiest answer is always the best. Not even in advertising or genre fiction or James Bond movies.

Going with your image of layers here: I'm not talking about "thick, heavy, scratchy wool coat" around the true meaning here, I'm talking about the sort of slightly-obscured that would be the equivalent of a "semi-transparent negligée thrown over the meaning. Seduce people into looking twice, into trying to look beyond that gauzy layer. You can do it with women, now do it with meanings, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RiccardoLS
Have you seen Strength in the Etruscan Tarot? That card was the only one ever noticed of the whole deck, and was heavily criticized.
I looked it up just now because I hadn't seen it before. It's an interesting take on Strength. On first sight, I didn't like it because it just looked like "stupid bully strength", which is almost the opposite of how I understand that card. This is not "taming the animal inside of you so its energy doesn't destroy you". But on second sight, I can see several fascinating interpretations in that image (e.g. how much "in control" is that guy anyway? is this Strength gone bad, a man trying to kill off his softer, more vulnerable side? etc.). It's a card that's worth discussing for sure.

Why are you bringing up this example? What was the creator's idea behind that image? Now I'm curious... (See? The marketing already works. I've never even noticed that deck before, and now I'm already studying one of its cards...)

Quote:
Originally Posted by RiccardoLS
Do You really think the Morrigan of the Celtic deck is embarassed by her own apparence? I look at the card and I don't see her running, but rather dancing. And I see a primal force in her clutching hand. (and have anyone noticed that both the Hermit and Justice feature a a naked man in that deck?). Yet, believe me, when the box of the deck was changed to feature the Star card, sales went better. ^_^ Because it was emerald green.
I'm not sure she's embarrassed but she looks like someone who'd hate that picture of herself if she ever saw it. It's the difference between sex that looks good and sex that feels good. In visual art (or visual porn, for that matter), you have to pick positions that look good, or people will just go "huh? that's not believable!" when they see the pictures of the mindblowing, orgasmically earth-shattering, deeply loving, but very un-photogenic sex from the outside. Know what I mean? It's more important what the viewer thinks of the image than what the person in the image might feel or think. I tend to identify with tarot characters (that's how I read, I empathize with them), so I arrive at making up stories about the poor embarrassed Empress who'd have picked a pose that would have made her look better and more believable as an Empress if she'd had any choice... It's just my way of saying that the art doesn't work as it was intended. Plus, we might just have different takes on this image. But that would just go to prove that it probably works the other way round, too: what you find sexy, I might find boring (and not enticing me to buy anything)...


But yes, I see that she's meant to look as if she's dancing (not "just" jumping around as I said - not sure where you got that running idea?).

Quote:
Originally Posted by RiccardoLS
I was surprised, actually, when I first read that the Manga Tarot was not suitable for beginners because of gender switching. I did the Manga Tarot to be a beginner deck. Then I said: "silly me", "how naive of me".
Again, genre fiction and James Bond movies. I agree, the Manga Tarot deviates quite a lot from the standard deck (which is why it might not be the ideal beginner's deck, at least not if the beginner expected other decks to be similar in gender). It's on my list of decks that I keep coming back to, precisely because of the gender switch, and I'm sure I'll buy it eventually. Even though I don't particularly care for the art style.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WolfSpirit
I think it is probably because I am pagan myself, but I love the Druidcraft: it is not a sexless deck, the men are men and the women are women but I see much more equality in this one. It is not an erotic deck, but it reads often lusty and it does have cards that are risky for a mainstream deck, like the naked hanged man an the passionate lovers. And it is a popular deck – so I am not a minority here (although of course not everyone loves the DC nor would I expect them to).
Can I just sign that?
Top   #77
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat*
On first sight, I didn't like it because it just looked like "stupid bully strength", which is almost the opposite of how I understand that card. This is not "taming the animal inside of you so its energy doesn't destroy you". But on second sight, I can see several fascinating interpretations in that image (e.g. how much "in control" is that guy anyway? is this Strength gone bad, a man trying to kill off his softer, more vulnerable side? etc.). It's a card that's worth discussing for sure.
Look carefully at the card one more time. Look lower. ^_^
As it would be OT, we maybe can talk about it on PM or another thread.
I would be curious about discussing that card!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat*
I'm not sure she's embarrassed but she looks like someone who'd hate that picture of herself if she ever saw it.
To tell the truth I have very conflicting opinions on the Celtic deck. First, I love Gaudenzi's Art. He has some skill you rarely find elsewhere. Not technical, but to convey some presence to what he does. But (even considering the Majors only) the deck does not convince me totally for many reasons.
Maybe it's because I can look in the kitchen, and so I sort of know when something is worth looking I kind of learned how to "trust" deck.
How many times you see a comment like "That doesn't seem like an Empress. The Empress, in order to be herself, should be so and so". We all think this way to one extent and another.
But... if I "trust" a deck, and I look at the Empress card, I see the Empress. I slowly build the connection between what I see and what I know. What it is in the deck, and the way it shouldbe in my mind. It's not that I use intuition to excape from the boundaries of the deck, but I study/learn a new twist to the Empress.
When I look at the Morrigan/Empress of the Celtic deck, I seek out this connection. I see the warrior queen. So ugly, and she couldn't care less. She's dancing over my grave (am I a warrior?). The circle of stone is delimited by the sword and the spear. Is she death, mine or my enemy?
And beneath these layers, I see the Empress, mine Empress, through the Morrigan mask. She is not the mother, she is not the lover, but she is the life companion. The Morrigan is to be feared, if you are wise.
It's late and I'm not really sure of what I'm writing. But I know that - sometimes - trusting decks means looking for the hard answer in a leap of faith kind of thing.
So I ask myself "Why is this the Empress?" and only after I have found the answer, I can tell if she is or if she is not a good Empress card.
And, yes, if you look at the Morrigan without a caption you would bet she is the Fool. ^^
I went OT, definitely. But it's a complex topic... and I think this fit from a certain point of view.

So what you say is that ever card should hang in the balance between your expectations and a little challange. Give enough, but not too much.
Or, as someone said in another thread has to be "refreshingly familiar".
Is this all?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat*
which is why it might not be the ideal beginner's deck, at least not if the beginner expected other decks to be similar in gender
But... if he were a beginner how could he have any expectations? He would discover that his first deck is the other way round, only when he would have been a beginner anymore. And he would address his second deck with eyes wide open. (a bit OT).
Top   #78
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Just a very short answer, because it's so late and I'm tired (but couldn't resist checking for new replies once again )...

Quote:
Originally Posted by RiccardoLS
Look carefully at the card one more time. Look lower. ^_^
As it would be OT, we maybe can talk about it on PM or another thread.
I would be curious about discussing that card!
*grin* I saw the beak of the bird. Don't know why I didn't mention it in particular.
And yes to further discussion, preferably in another thread so others can chime in as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RiccardoLS
How many times you see a comment like "That doesn't seem like an Empress. The Empress, in order to be herself, should be so and so". We all think this way to one extent and another.
True. I'm aware I can only speak my own opinion - others see things differently, and hopefully speak up so I can learn something!

Besides, it's maybe a bit unfair to pick one single card out of the context of a whole deck anyway, now that I think about it. (I still hope the examples worked to illustrate some of my earlier points.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by RiccardoLS
But... if I "trust" a deck, and I look at the Empress card, I see the Empress. I slowly build the connection between what I see and what I know. What it is in the deck, and the way it shouldbe in my mind. It's not that I use intuition to excape from the boundaries of the deck, but I study/learn a new twist to the Empress.
When I look at the Morrigan/Empress of the Celtic deck, I seek out this connection. I see the warrior queen. So ugly, and she couldn't care less. She's dancing over my grave (am I a warrior?). The circle of stone is delimited by the sword and the spear. Is she death, mine or my enemy?
And beneath these layers, I see the Empress, mine Empress, through the Morrigan mask. She is not the mother, she is not the lover, but she is the life companion. The Morrigan is to be feared, if you are wise.
It's late and I'm not really sure of what I'm writing. But I know that - sometimes - trusting decks means looking for the hard answer in a leap of faith kind of thing.
So I ask myself "Why is this the Empress?" and only after I have found the answer, I can tell if she is or if she is not a good Empress card.
Wonderfully put, and thank you so much for broadening my mind with that explanation! I absolutely understand what you're saying.

The funny thing is that I could have used the exact same argument - and would have done so, had I been able to express it as clearly as you did - to explain why so much of the Manara works so wonderfully for me whereas it does nothing for others. The process you described is exactly what I'm doing when I say that I connect the Manara imagery with "standard" RWS meanings and that this enriches my readings.

(Now I wanna apologize to the mighty Empress for misunderstanding her so horribly... )

Quote:
Originally Posted by RiccardoLS
So what you say is that ever card should hang in the balance between your expectations and a little challange. Give enough, but not too much.
Or, as someone said in another thread has to be "refreshingly familiar".
Is this all?
This is one of my points, in response to what you said about buyers not wanting something too different.

Actually, I've been so all over the place in this thread, that I have lost track of all my points. I mean, we went from different variations of nudity, to different body shapes/ages/etc., to men vs. women in tarot decks (particularly nude ones), to nudes in art history, to the beauty of the male and female body, to eroticism and sexuality in tarot decks - and back (to name just what I can think of off the top of my tired head)... I certainly had other points, too.

At any rate, it's been a thoroughly enjoyable discussion so far, and many clever things have been said (sometimes they even contradicted each other but still were all true). On top of that, I have learned to look at any card like I have looked at the Manara and think twice before I judge it the next time... What else could I ask for?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by RiccardoLS
But... if he were a beginner how could he have any expectations? He would discover that his first deck is the other way round, only when he would have been a beginner anymore. And he would address his second deck with eyes wide open. (a bit OT).
You're right. That bit with the beginner's expectations was confused. I blame it on less-than-perfectionist editing (and maybe some tiredness) on my part.

I'll take that as a signal to log off for now and get some sleep. Good night, everyone (or good day, depending on your time zone)!
Top   #79
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RiccardoLS
Idealized women
I think most Tarot decks depict an idealized world. The grass is green. There is no garbage in the street. People don't scratch their ass in public, and they have all their theeth (even in medieval themes decks).
Yes, it's not realistic. It's idealized: symbolic.
This is an interesting point. I guess the thing is that everyone's idea of a idealized world is different. In my ideal world all the women don't walk around bursting out of their clothes or semi-naked in often very inappropriate situations. But I guess for some (and perhaps many) that would be an ideal world . In my ideal world there would be no poverty. So I guess if I designed a deck to reflect that I would I'd need to alter the symbolism of certain cards. If we use the RWS imagery as an example, perhaps the Five and Six of Pentacles would need to be altered. What would start to happen then is that the deck would become unbalanced. For me, if you have a reading deck then it needs to provide a mirror of the real world, not an idealised world, because if you are reading for someone you need to reflect the world they live in, the reality, not the fantasy. Using an idealised deck as a reading deck, I personally couldn't see how that would work so well.


Quote:
Originally Posted by RiccardoLS
However, in many decks (and maybe because of the comic book background of many artists), we have a sublte sexuality that cames as an underground current. That is what mostly interest me, as I think it really influence the overall feeling of the deck, much more than any single card, or graphic, etc...
I guess it's this 'underground current' that I can't work with. To me, it doesn't seem all that underground. But it's interesting to note in your posts that this seems to be a factor that contributes to the popularity of your decks. I guess the important thing here is that we all have different expectations and needs generally, and so of course we all have different expectations and needs when it comes to tarot. For me, I can't work with a deck that protrays women as sex objects primarily and then everything else comes second to that. Decks designed specifically as erotic tarot is of course very different, and perfectly ok as it's clear about it's intention. But when a deck has a theme like say the initiatory golden dawn then that should really be the prime focus of the symbolism, in my opinion of course .

Quote:
Originally Posted by RiccardoLS
Yet, I have sales figures and they are a definite "people like perfect breasts" kind of opinion I cannot ignore.
So, I accept that I'm a minority and feel pleased we have a lot of different decks available to choose from Thanks ric, for sharing your thoughts.
Top   #80
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