Saturday, June 14, 2014

All In the Family

I've used a small amount of authentic Circus Lingo in the keywords for these minor cards, and here is another example of that: "Straw House" is the circus term meaning "A sold-outcrowd, a Full House."

For the first time since I designed "The Lovers" in the Major Arcana last year, I was forced to blur the background. I hate doing this, but I did try a number of alternatives and nothing worked. The design was too busy and confusing to the eye unless the background was thus blurred, and I wasn't about to change my main figures in the foreground: I liked them too much.

To longtime followers of the deck: You knew that I was going to put an elephant on this card somehow, right? Elephants have been by Designated Animal for the Suit of Cups, as their species is so reliant on and focussed around water, and among the animal kingdom I find that they are freest with their emotions and expression of their emotions.

This card typically celebrates the virtues of family, completion and fullness, and I knew that it was the proper place to celebrate the Circus Family. Performing is oftentimes, perhaps most times, a Family Business, going down for many generations, and this is especially true in the circus. The Wallendas are only one of the most public examples of this -- and patriarch Carl Wallenda's very public death did nothing to deter his sons from following in the family tradition. Family pride runs very strong in the circus... and "youthful rebellion" often means nothing more than trading in the family high-wire act to become a Lion Tamer, or splitting from the group to go solo.

Beyond that -- in the Performing Arts the concept of Extended Family, the notion that we can choose our own families if we desire, is very strong. Many small circuses are one big family made up of people who may not be related by blood, but are deeply connected in spirit if only because they risk their lives on a daily basis, and trust -- "having your back" -- is a necessity of life. Every high-wire act puts their faith not just in the other members of the act, but in the men and women who rig their equipment. As in any family there are disputes, hitches, hostilities and anxieties; "The Circus eats its own kind." -- But this card in its upright position is all about the Circus Family when it grooves.

-- Freder.