Thursday, January 24, 2013

work and rest

An interesting juxtaposition in this draw, both conceptually and visually. We have the ten of wands and the four of work - burdensome work and recuperating rest.

The former is by far the 'livlier' of the two cards. We see a youth (the androgyny/room for interpretation in so many of these cards pleases me much, I must say) trying to carry a bundle of sticks. In contrast to many depictions of this card, here we see him dropping one - leaning down to try and pick it up without dropping more. As someone who has by virtue of clumsiness and stubborness been rather literally in this position more than once, I must say it illustrates the idea of carrying too much rather well. It's not always about the weight of the load, but rather the tiresome frustration of dropping, stopping, shifting everything and trying again, going on. You can make it, yes, but it can be SUCH an annoying process. I remember once, I had the bright idea of buying two large packs of canned soda because there was a sale, knowing damn well I would have to walk with it all the way home. It wasn't a long walk, but I had to stop multiple times because my arms were literally trembling from carrying more than my muscles could deal with.

The color scheme of this card reminds me of starts or endings, of sunrise or sunset, spring or fall. They are the seasons between seasons, and in a way this creates the suggestion here of a limited time frame. Perhaps he carries it all because the tasks cannot in this case be broken up - must be done now, all now. Better planning might help avoid this situation in the future, but what has already been set in motion must be completed: roll up those trousers and trudge.

The second card, like the rest of the swords suit, is highly suggestive of winter. This figures clothes, particularly the shirt, are not so different from the firsts, if a bit fancier - but then, you don't put on your best outfit when hauling heavy things outdoors. Someone on the Aeclectic forums posted a link to a website suggesting a lot of the clothing here isn't so much randomly whimsical as it is referencing traditional Korean dress unfamiliar to most westerners - intriguing, and though I haven't had time to look into it yet, gives a shade more depth to the images in my mind.

The second figure reclines behind a kind of curtain supported by swords which seems to function here as bars of a sort. Barred windows, that extra layer of protection between him and the world outside. A few months ago I was in a car at night, randomly cutting through (and then getting a bit lost in) the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn. As a New Yorker the sight of Hasidic Jews walking around did not make much of an impression, but what really stuck out at me was the bars on the windows - almost all the windows - of the buildings in the neighborhoods, apartment complexes and brownstones both, first floor windows and those higher up. Safety from intruders, safety from falls, from the cold, the unknown?

It really is quite nice to be able to curl up indoors in the winter, in the warmth. Here the curtain barrier does not seem fully opaque. We can still see a glimpse of the outside, as can the figure who sits within. He is watching it too, pondering. No matter how nice and safe it is, venturing outside again will be necessary. So he rests and watches and plans. Perhaps in the future he can avoid ending up with quite so many sticks...


thesycamoretree said...

Lovely cards and wonderful post... Thank goodness he is trying to carry sticks and not swords in the first card! I too like the androgynous feel in so many of these cards.

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