Seven Swords /Messenger vs. Youth Swords /Hacker


IMHO - If there is anything I would argue about in this deck as something I feel missed the point entirely or is incorrect, it is these two cards. I strongly feel that they should have been reversed - that the Seven Swords should be the Hacker, and the Youth Swords the messenger. This is based on my personal understanding/explanation of the cards, and based on what I wrote in my books about them. Bear with me a moment ~

In the world of TB's Tarot Mindset, the Pages deal in messages; different types and from different sources. The Pages (Youths) also have distinct personalities. The Page of Swords is fast and swift and moves about with news that might bring sudden unhappiness because it is possibly unhappy, the wrong news,or comes to late to be of any good.
The Seven of Swords - in RWS a man stealing swords from a military camp and stealing away, unseen - the concept of 'Gain coming from unexpected sources' is right there: The man stole the swords right out from under their noses and has gotten away with it. People have not yet discovered that something prized has been taken or lost.

In my mindset, the man stealing the swords equates exactly to the hacker- someone who sneaks in and destroys or removes things from your files, hard drive, or off your desktop. He comes in and leaves undetected. The only way you know he was there is because something of importance is missing. And he is impossible to trace once he has your files, credit card info, or identity.

Likewise, the Page of Swords zipping about as a man on the skateboard also translates well; in those messenger pouches could be rags or riches, good news or bad. He could lose an envelope, or deliver one to the wrong address. To me, he is the embodiment of the Page of Swords.

I feel that the images are placed on the wrong cards and if it was my deck I'd have them changed with the next printing, reversing their LWB commentaries, too. However, I am not the creator of this deck. So, what I will probably do is merely read the cards as each other when they come up in a spread. The querent would probably never know.


tarotbear said:
I feel that the images are placed on the wrong cards and if it was my deck I'd have them changed with the next printing, reversing their LWB commentaries, too. However, I am not the creator of this deck. So, what I will probably do is merely read the cards as each other when they come up in a spread. The querent would probably never know.
Tarotbear, you are certainly free to do that! I remember thinking the same thing about the Sacred Circle Magician v. Hierophant cards (I forget their titles in the deck).

A few thoughts... first, when I give the divinatory meanings in the LWB, and they list several short phrases separated by periods, it was my intention that each phrase be considered a separate possibility. In other words, when I say "Curiosity. Research. Computers, e-mail. Immature communications. Spying (or "hacking").", that means that each of those can be considered a separate possibility, not that they all need to be considered as one big meaning encompassing all of them at once. So, the Youth of Swords doesn't need to be considered a hacker first and foremost. That's only one suggestion at the end of a long line of suggestions.

Further, although I endeavored to follow the general direction of RWS meanings in many of the cards, that doesn't mean that every one of my phrases for every card is meant to echo RWS, or some particular author or authors' take on the RWS. For the Youth of Swords, for example, I sat and thought about what I wanted to put on the card. I took my particular view of the RWS card, then thought about what kind of modern setting and character would illustrate my view of that card. Then, when I wrote the LWB, I started out with "Curiosity," since that's one of my primary views of the RWS card. Then, I departed from RWS and went on to meanings suggested by the image itself: "Research. Computers, e-mail." Next I have "Immature communications," suggested by my view of pages in general, combined with the meaning of the suit. Finally, I have "Spying ("hacking")", suggested by both the image and by traditional meanings given to the RWS Page of Swords, many of which speak of spying or snooping.

Now, I'd like to say something about adherence to RWS in general. First, as seen in my previous paragraph, authors differ about divinatory meanings in the RWS tradition. Some speak of spying for the Page of Swords, some don't. I think it's only natural that a deck which is created to follow RWS will differ in some respects from any particular reader's views of RWS, since any particular reader's views of RWS will of necessity be personal and will differ to a greater or lesser extent from the deck creator's views.

But the main thing I need to point out here is that the Gay Tarot is not a deck which follows RWS directly for each card. It's true that I tried to follow the general direction of RWS in many cards, and that certain cards comment directly on RWS. But this is not an RWS clone. The fact of the modern setting, the "theme" of gay male sexuality and how it relates to modern life, together with the fact that I drew connections between the numbered minors and their correspondingly-numbered majors, all mix together to create a deck which has some connections to RWS but should not be regarded as a RWS clone. Thus, it may be more trouble than it's worth to take each card and try to relate it to its RWS counterpart.

I admit that it might have been better if I had either (a) stuck more closely to RWS, or (b) abandoned RWS altogether. In other words, if I had done one or the other whole hog, so to speak, rather than create what some may see as an ungainly mixture. I had hoped to do something somewhere in the middle; that is, something which would go in some new and interesting directions in terms of divinatory meanings, but which at the same time would retain some connections with RWS so that a reader wouldn't have to feel like they have to learn an entirely new system, just maybe a few cards that would be different and an emphasis on a different set of connections (the major-minor numbering connections). Maybe such a mixture would never work, or maybe I just didn't do it well.

Personally, I don't believe that RWS is the only set of minor meanings that could exist for a deck. RWS works, and it's certainly a tradition among a majority of readers, but I think there can be other systems as well. Whether or not readers want to go to the trouble to deal with other systems is another question, of course.

It might help the situation if we put this deck in the context of other Lo Scarabeo decks, whose minors often have no or very little connection with RWS. Instead, many LS decks' minors relate to European or Continental traditions of meanings for the minors, or are related to no tradition, just the creator's whim.

I hope I don't appear argumentative here. Tarotbear knows it's in the spirit of dialogue. I'm so appreciative of Tarotbear's and everyone's posts, it allows me to address and to think about lots of different aspects of the deck.

-- Lee


dialogue ...

Oh, good - because I hope that people don't think I'm bitching at Lee for the sake of being The Bitchy Bear!

To continue the thought about RWS-related decks - and I have been criticised elsewhere for this - when you are given a new deck the first thing you do is open it and see what you can figure out about it, based on what you already know. Do not forget, I teach tarot classes and beginners have to start somewhere; they can't make the transition from seeing a deck with a strawberry ice cream sundae on it and read it as the Four of Swords. There are some who feel that the Marseilles is the Only Tarot Deck; that's nice, maybe it is, but a beginner can't read with this deck without some kind of explanation. Once again, they will compare it to what they already are familiar with, or whatever their current reading literature is trying to explain.

As I said in another thread, describing a card - that my immediate reaction was that it was the Knight of Swords and -- it wasn't- according to the deck designer. With my experience reading, I can just make the leap to what it's supposed to be - in my mind. With these two cards, I will just read them as I see them, regardless of what the card says they are.

I really do like this deck!


The whole process certainly would be easier if there were an accompanying book. Unfortunately, that's not my decision. :)

-- Lee