Thursday, January 28, 2016

Tarot: The Tarot of the Animal Lords: focus on Death

The focus of my character sketch for “The Tarot of the Animals Lords” is XIII. Death. The card depicts a foggy day, shrouding the landscape in mist. A raven stands at the entrance of a cave. In one hand, he holds a scythe, and with the other pats the crown of a skeleton lying beside him. In front of the raven is a chameleon resting near his feet.

 In the outline of the story that I created from my character sketch, I focused on Raven and his deeds. The other four cards I used complete the story (in order) were XV. The Devil, XVI. The Tower, VII. The Chariot, and VIII. Justice, respectively. In my opinion, each of these cards reflected many of the facts of the Death card. 

 Raven gloats that he is now the Ruler of the Land. Through stealth, he has vanquished all of his rivals. As he talks to his spy, Chameleon, Raven muses on how he united with Goat to do more mischief. He ponders his next move to keep his power intact.

 The scene shifts to The Devil. In a cavern with their backs to the rising moon is a goat and a toad. The standing goat is patting the toad, which squats behind him. The rocky cavern is empty except for these two figures.

 Goat is waiting for Raven to arrive for more plotting of mischief. He muses how they pulled the key log from Beaver’s dam, and sent him to his death. As Goat wonders what Raven will do next, Toad agrees to meet with Chameleon. Since Chameleon is a double agent, he will find out if Raven is plotting against them. 
 As Major Arcana cards, Death and The Devil fit together, since we are all in bondage to death. The Devil shows people their limitations, fears, and beliefs that hold them back. Moreover, Death is the biggest fear and limitation of all. For me, Death reflects the positive aspects of The Devil, as a final release from our fears.
The next card, The Tower features a beaver being flung over the falls as his dam breaks. Flying over him is a raven. The rush of water and flying logs reflects the beaver’s doom.  In this scene of the story, Beaver screams, “Help! Raven did this! Help!”

Both The Devil and Death are reflected in The Tower card. Death in the form of the raven flying overhead is the cause of the dam breaking. (Ravens are traditional symbols of death.) In the Tarot, The Tower comes after The Devil to break The Devil’s hold on us. The dam in The Tower reflects the holding power of certain beliefs. Once Death comes, the dam breaks and everything floods out. The suddenness of the flood washes away any limitations that we may hold.
 Next in the story comes The Chariot. Over the mountains, a crested crane rides a mute swan. As they fly towards the plains, the sun is rising. Standing on the swan’s back, the crane is aloof as he eyes the vista below him. In the distance are migrating swans.

In my story, Crane hears Beaver’s cries, and races to help. It is unsure whether he will arrive in time or not. If he does not, he still will be a witness to what has happened to Beaver.
 In the Major Arcana, The Chariot is movement. For me, The Devil, The Tower, and The Chariot reflects the several states of Death, which can be both sudden and gradual. The Devil holds death to a single instance, whilst The Tower shatters death completely. Whereas The Tower is sudden change, The Chariot is steady, the mid-point between the two extremes of inertia and discrete movement. Meanwhile, both Death and The Tower push forward to overcome The Devil’s active inertia.

 The last card in the story is Justice. This card depicts a barn owl, standing on a cliff’s edge, with a sword and scales. As day dawns over the mountains, a tern flies over the owl’s head. In nature, barn owls are known as voracious ratters. Moreover, they are often found in church yards, and have become associated with death. Because of this, I connected Justice with Death.

 Owl looks down at the scene of Crane’s rescue of Beaver. She decides to send Tern to Raven to ask him, why Beaver? As Justice, Owl will go down to deal with Raven, since she is equal to him in power.
 One aspect of Justice is dealing with unlawful death and administering lawful death. Moreover in Justice and Death, the owl’s sword and the raven’s scythe act as the same in conducting their respective duties. Both are impartial in what they do, and do not favor anyone. 

What I learnt from doing this character sketch is how the cards flow into each other, telling a story with relative ease. Death was the focus of these other four cards, with each highlighting a facet of this Major Arcana card. Also within each card were elements that related to the others in the group. The Chariot and The Tower are both about change, whilst The Devil is contained by Justice. Together, these cards weave an intricate story of intrigue and power.

No comments: