Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tarot: The Tarot of Jane Austen (2)

My preferred deck for Tarot use is “The Tarot of Jane Austen” by Diane Wilkes (2006).  Based on the novels of Jane Austen, this deck depicts her understanding of human society.  Each card gives her advice for that human situation.

The deck includes scenes from her lesser known works –“Lady Susan”, “Mansfield Park”, and “Northanger Abby”, as well as popular ones such as “Pride and Prejudice”.  The minors are divided into Candlesticks (Fire), Coins (Pentacles), Quills (Swords), and Teacups (Water).  The Aces set the theme for each suit.  Unlike the other cards, the Aces are the novels themselves – “Pride and Prejudice” for Candlesticks, “Sense and Sensibility” for Coins, “Persuasion” for Quills, and “Emma” for Teacups.  Each of these novels conveys the elements of each suit.

Moreover, certain card combinations take on additional meanings in a spread.  The Lord of Quills (King of Swords) depicts Fitzwilliam Darcy of “Pride and Prejudice”.  Meanwhile, the Lady of Candlesticks (Queen of Wands) is Elizabeth Bennett (Lizzy) from the same novel.  When these two appear in a spread together, it takes on additional meaning because these characters eventually become husband and wife.

I use this deck most since it mines the richness of Austen’s books for the Tarot. The writings of Jane Austen add to the basic meanings of the Tarot cards. While pondering a particular situation depicted with the cards or in a spread, I often ask myself, “What would Jane do?” 

The rick literary lode that is “The Tarot of Jane Austen” counteracts the deck’s lack of color and roundness.  The muted colors do enhance the images from the novels.  Shades of meanings can be derived from which characters appear in spreads.

The Fool (0) shows Lizzy walking alone to a manor house.  In Regency England, a young woman going off unaccompanied opened herself up to scandal.  However, Lizzy by asserting her independence finds her sense of self and heroic destiny.

The Tower (XVI) depicts Louisa Musgrove of “Persuasion” lying injured on a cement walkway.  She was trying to leap into the arms of Captain Wentworth.  Heedless of his warnings, she rashly jumps from a tall seawall.  Her foolish action sets into motion changes for the other characters.  Her leap shattered an intolerable situation, and offered relief to everyone.

The 10 of Quills has an enraged Darcy leaving Lizzy.  She has informed him of her sister’s elopement with the devious George Wickham.  He has decided that her family is not worth knowing.  At this point, their budding relationship has reached an impasse.  However, this disaster frees both of them to begin a new relationship, and eventually become married.

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