I’ve noticed that each deck creator has the challenge of taking their vision for a Tarot deck and fitting it (at least somewhat) to the existing structural tradition for the Tarot. We do have more than one tradition to work with (Thoth, Rider-Waite-Smith, Marseille, etc.), but to be a Tarot deck, we still need to work with something like the 22 cards of the Major Arcana and at least four suits for the Minors.
I’ve taken on the challenge of working with existing abstract images from the cosmos (because I can’t create like Van Gogh) to create a deck (check here for earlier examples), and I ran into a creator’s block over the past several months because seeing recognizable patterns that match a Tarot card has become more difficult.
I’ve been tempted to move into collage, much as the Quantum Tarot did, in order to introduce shapes that would make a card look more immediately like a traditional Tarot card, but I resisted. I really do believe that all the right shapes and colors can be found if one looks and crops/rotates the images in the right way.
But a good friend of mine, Jean Hamilton-Fford, told me recently to try being less strict about seeing the pattern in the image so clearly, and allow the viewer/reader to take a little more time to figure out why an image has the shape it does to illustrate the theme and symbolism of the card.
Yesterday and today I took her philosophy to the NASA website and gathered some more possibilities for cards.
Knight of Swords
The Knights are associated with men on horseback and the idea of swift movement. It was difficult to find images that had a definite horse-look about them (I was a bit surprised), so I went with a head/helmet profile for all my knights. The cool thing about this one is how definite the sword is thanks to two galaxies pulling matter from each other.
Ace of Disks
I’m using “disks” for the traditional Pentacles suit in Tarot. Still trying to decide about how much brown and how much green to use in this Earth-centered suit, but with the Ace, using the Earth itself was an obvious choice. I did use the Earth twice in my deck. This shot is focused on on continental land mass.
Six of Wands
Normally in the Rider-Waite-Smith tradition, this card depicts a young man on horseback returning victorious from the wars and enjoying the accolades of the populace. He usually has in hand a long staff or lance with a pennant on it. Also, in accordance with the association of Wands with the element of Fire, I’ve settled on images that produce a red color (there are lots of these in NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope infrared imagery). I found this one at the bottom of an image of the NGC 1333 star cluster. Lots of assertive young stars burning in this region of space.
Let me know what you think of my choices for these cards!