Friday, October 21, 2016

Tarot of the Animal Lords: Major Arcana: Justice, The Hanged Man, and Death

Justice is a barn owl who stands on the edge of a mountain cliff. She holds the scales and sword of Justice. However, this owl cannot go backwards because of the massive tree behind her. One misstep forward, she falls to her doom. High in the mountains, the owl stands keeping her balance. Like Justice, she has to weigh both sides carefully or risk disaster. (Barn owls are traditionally found in church and grave yards. This explains the artist’s choice for Justice, for me.)

 The Hanged Man presents a bat hanging between two trees under a full moon. Underneath him is a small pool of water that mirrors his face. Around the pool are night lilies, and two rats with their paws on skulls. Since bats sleep upside down and during the day, this bat is perfectly content to wait patiently. However, the rats seem to indicate a sense of impending death. I wonder if the scene is depicting the feeling of peace just before dying. This card is both disturbing and serene at the same time for me.

 This leads to the next card, which is Death. At the front of a cave littered with bones and weapons stands a raven with a scythe. He has his hand on a crowned skeleton. Behind him is a misty swamp. The only way out is to cross the river in front. Meanwhile, a chameleon stands in from of the raven. In African legend, this lizard is a sign of death and misfortune. The two animals together give a sense of doom. There seems a sense of finality to the card.

Other entries in this series:

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