Mindmapping was hard for me. I saw various relationships between the cards but they did not all fully coalesce around any one card. The individual cards seemed too discrete to mesh together. I could see the layout as an entire story. However, starting with one card and relating it to all of the rest was difficult.
The High Priestess is depicted as a seated cow elephant in a glade. She is holding an open book. Scurrying about her feet are two chipmunks fussing with the scrolls on the ground. The words that came to me for this card were “regal,” “knowledge,” “questioning,” and “self-knowledge.” Since The High Priestess guides through intuition, this became the starting point of the story, that unfolded card by card.
The Empress is a she-wolf sitting on a throne, with a turtle-shell shield
The Lovers present two mandarin ducks standing under an orange tree. They are tenderly taking leave of each other. The High Priestess watches, knowing that they will need their intuition to guide them for what will be in store for them. The Empress notes the male’s duty to the Crown by his sword. The Lovers are caught between their spiritual and temporal lives. The story then becomes how they will solve their dilemma.
The Hermit’s life has become unsettled, forcing him to find his own answers. Perhaps he has experienced the horrors of war or has changed so much that his lover does not know him. The choices presented by The Empress and The High Priestess weighs heavily on him. Meanwhile, will his lover wait for him? How this drama will turn out is revealed in the next card.
The final card is The World. This card features two dancing dolphins. In the moonlight under a flowering tree, the dolphins are celebrating. The World is the answer to what happened to The Lovers. Finding solace within, The Hermit, he rejoined the world and his lover, who did wait for him. This coupled have weathered their separation and trouble. Now together, the mature pair dance in happiness, having lived through the worst and now enjoying the best.
The High Priestess told The Lovers to follow their intuition. The Empress showed them what they had to do before they could go on. Meanwhile, The Hermit had sought to understand what happened to him. Following his intuition and the advice of The Empress, The Hermit returned home. Now The World, The Lovers became whole again. Celebrating their long life, The Lovers thanked The High Priestess for her guidance.
Laying the cards out as a whole, I did move from one scene to the next. I could see the connections between each of the cards. The story unfolded with The Lovers as the final focus. The Empress and The High Priestess gave them choices. This became a story of a relationship grappling with separation and healing.