Friday, August 23, 2013

... HE Made Me Do It!

There's a lot that I can't tell you about this design, as THE DEVIL is one of just a handful of cards that features specific characters or events from the novel, SEE THEM DANCE, that compliments the Tarot of the Zircus Magi. This one actually reveals an awful lot -- maybe too much -- of the plot.

That said, I did try to make it as Waite-Smithish as possible, with some different symbolism. Gone is the pentagram over the Devil's head, as my Devil is about as far away from the Devil of the old religions as you cab get. Still, he's devilish enough: that's The Feejee Mermaid floating in the green tank, with the augmentation of some grasping, controlling tentacles.

The Feejee Mermaid has an interesting history that's well worth looking up if you get a chance. It was one of P.T. Barnum's uglier hoaxes, the mummified carcass of a monkey sewn onto the tail of a flounder. It's doubtful that the exhibit actually fooled anyone: still, people came from far and wide to see it in its display case at Barnum's American Museum, which was his principal business -- long before he got into the circus racket.

Although I felt that the tentacles did an adequate job of replacing the chains of control and addiction in the traditional card, the fun idea of using a Monty Pythonish sixteen-ton weight appealed to me enough that I tossed that in as well. My circus performers both have their dervish aspects, although neither have tails. 

This was a card that I knew what I wanted to do with for quite a long while before I actually began it, so the design process was pretty straightforward and it came together quite quickly without too much in the way of trial and error or experimentation. Hope that you like it!


-- Freder

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Star

This was one of my more problematic designs so far.... and yet the final version isn't terribly different from the original conception. Cutting it down from two figures to one was part of the key. Another part was making the connection from the draperies supporting the aerialist to the two steams of water typically being poured from vessels in Gaia's hands. If the water represents the unconscious mind, the cloth here represents energy flowing from the heavens and taking on the form of water. Here, this energy is shown enriching the whole planet rather than a specific landscape. Carrie Paris suggested that this is an image that evokes card No. 21, The World, and she's right -- but I have other plans for The World!!

The thing that really nailed down this design for me was finding a constellation that resembles the Ibis that sits in a tree of life visible over Gaia's right shoulder in the Waite-Smith version of the card. There it is, just over my aerialist's right shoulder! With that element, I felt that I had all the important aspects of The Star intact: the dual streams of life-water nourishing a verdant planet, the sense of connection to the earth combined with weightlessness in the main figure, the central star (representing "the radiance of cosmic consciousness" and the seven surrounding stars representing "the seven chakras in our bodies" and the Ibis, "an aspect of Thoth... keeper of magic and mysteries of the universe"-- all three quotes from Farrar & Bone's The Concise Tarot Reader

Next up: De Debbil, oops -- I mean THE DEVIL.