Straight Shootin’

September 4, 2007 § 4 Comments

As someone who rates the Haindl Tarot very highly, I’m clearly contradicting myself when I say that I prefer decks that don’t beat around the bush. We see images everyday – in roadsigns, adverts, photographs, films – which can convey a message, idea, or emotion in the blink of an eye. So why is it that so many tarot decks (which by necessity must communicate their messages through images alone) insist on being ambiguous?

The reason for this post is that I’ve just finished doing a little housekeeping at the store (yes, more housekeeping….what next, baking??) and for the first time in ages, I stumbled across the images for the Phantasmagoric Theater Tarot. Although I’ve always found the idea of this deck intriguing, I haven’t really paid it that much attention (dismissing it as the ‘Rugrats’ tarot). Yet, tonight, the 2 of Cups card caught my eye:

2 of Cups

Now, I suppose if you wanted to, you could try and read all sorts of things into the strange mouth apparatus, the ‘noughts and crosses’ eyes, the nudity, the separate shapes of the cups. But, really, there’s no need to do all that. When I saw this image, the thought that popped into my head was ‘two peas in a pod’. There. Simple as that. That’s the 2 of Cups in a nutshell. Does it really need explaining further?

Then there are cards like this:

2 of Cups

That card is from the Tarot of the Spirit. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a perfectly fine card. It’s quite attractive, very watery, and – given a few moments contemplation – probably quite meaningful. But it just doesn’t get the message across like the previous card. Reading tarot doesn’t have to be difficult (I say this a lot; I’m thinking about getting a t-shirt printed). Remember: a picture is worth a thousand words.

Anyway, that’s my little rant of the day. Guess who’s seriously thinking about getting the Phantasmagoric Theater now? 🙂

§ 4 Responses to Straight Shootin’

  • willow says:

    Well if you do decide to make those t-shirts, let me know. I’ve been trying to get that message out for a couple of years now.

    Cafe Press anyone? 😉

  • willow says:

    The Fifth Edition of the Carnival of the Tarot is now up for review. Thank you for your participation in this week’s Carnival.

  • what a smart post! and what’s interesting is that this 2 of cups can really be seen on BOTH levels – the straighforward one, and if you feel like it, also a more involved one. something for everyone.

  • Fugdale says:

    Great post. I own the Phantasmagorical Deck and the Handl Deck. I agree with you on the image having an instant “in a nutshell” meaning and that’s the quality I look for in new decks. But I have to say some of the images from the same deck have less specific imagery which doesn’t lend itself to an easy sum up.

    This is still a good technique to use with any card from any deck. Try to sum it up quickly based on your initial reaction and then delve in to find more meaning in the imagery.

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