Individual card depictions


I know there's times the traditional picture is so strong that it blocks some of the ways you think of it.

Temperance, for instance, always has an angel on it. What does this mean to someone who doesn't follow a Christian based religion? Nothing probably. How do you show Temperance, then so it's understandable across the board?

Can you show the Tower in another way? I was reading 78 Degrees of Wisdom the other night (again) and for some reason I got the impression of 'house of cards' coming down. Would showing someone trying to do the old magician trick of pulling the tablecloth out from under something without disturbing it--but the tower of playing cards is jolted so strongly that they fly off everywhere--would that indicate a good Tower card?

How do you depict a Heirophant outside the classic Pope/Greek Oracle choice we have on so many decks?

Approaching an archtype or cliche and giving it a new feel is pretty hard but I think it could open new doors for people who fall into the old trap of narrow thinking.


for my deck i am creating i am trying to go with a more 'modern' meaning, as i follow no religeon.

perhaps the hierophant is some kind of 'guru' or practical expert in his field. i do not see whay temperance has to be an angel to be understood. more important in the temperance is the 'blending, balancing, harmonising etc' which can be shown in many ways.

just as in 'lovers' - the meaning stays the same - true love - but we now have same sex couples, a marriage, a dance .... on the cards which all evoke a similar meaning.

but what images evoke is individual to all of us.

i have thought of the magician - a musician
the chariot - a traveller......... there are many possibilities, i do not buy tarot decks that are repetative - there is no point - unless it is just to admire the art.


ah for an hierophant

i would have a sciencist with a science book and the steroeptypical glasses and a goatee beard with white hair.
and saying "it can't be proven there it can't exist " reversed,
and the old saying "once you elimnate the impossible whatever exist however improbable must be possible" which i learn from watching star trek lol.

or to take it a step further
have it be freud or jung writing a book as the modern day hierophant. and possibly a message what we write now may one be day be as revered as the bible.

edited to add or have the scienceist writing a book.

or have a brunch of theologians from all walk of life arguing and saying we can't agree (that would make a good five of wands )


LittleWing said:
i do not buy tarot decks that are repetative

I also only look for decks that have a fresh way of presenting the cards. I think a house of cards Tower would be very effective; so carefully, probably time consumingly constructed, so utterly laid to waste when it's foundation is disturbed.
I have decks with Hierophants who are a Rabbi, an Asian holy man (floating above the ground, no less), a blacksmith, a golden idol, and an Aztec priest, to name a few. I find all of them to be thought provoking.
I just ordered the Fradella Adventure, mostly because he chose to use masks for the suit of cups. That sort of playing with the usual symbols is what attracts me to a deck.
As for Temperance, even though I'm a Christian I am not as "into" images of angels as some people who aren't (actual angels are a different story- I don't want to get started on my opinion of the difference!). In any case, I like the alchemical "dynamic blending of opposites", as depicted in the Haindl, Wheel of Change, Cosmic Tribe, Victoria Regina, Fey, and Blue Rose decks, as much as any angel ones.


You picked three of the cards I ended up having to come up with very different images for when I did my deck. (Mostly because I didn't have 3D files that I could manipulate as well as I wanted, but partly because, well, I wanted something different.)

I have Temperance as a fisherman sitting calmly on the edge of a pier with the morning fog not burned off yet, watching a fish jump just beyond where his line hits the water. Sort of a "waiting is" card.

I've shown the Tower as the mossy ruins of a tower surrounded by a peaceful landscape, but with the transparent image of a tower in place over it. It seems to me it speaks both of past and future in this way, and of possibilities for more than catastrope in either the building or the wrecking of the tower.

I can't quite describe what I did with the Hierophant, except that the phrase "Light-bringer" came to mind, and that's how it ended up. He is composed of light, against a sort of stained glass background, accepting a beam of light with one hand and offering light with the other. I left it at that because every time I look at it I get a different interp, and that's what I wanted.