Saturday, February 16, 2013

traps and being stuck

These three were part of a slightly larger casual reading I did for myself this morning. I thought the similarities in theme, differences in degrees were interesting to ponder a bit...

A bit of a bizarre scenario here, in this four of cups. It has a bit of an Alice in Wonderland type vibe, between, the juxtaposition of the fancy dresses, the sport turf next to the fireplace, the strange creature leaning over the chair with a class of something.

The woman at the center of the image holds a glass of wine. Her posture is that of dissatisfaction, boredom, apathy. We could call this scenario fascinating or uncomfortable, but the fact is, for her, the person in it, it isn't working. She doesn't want to be here, doing this.

She doesn't want to, or is indifferent. Dissatisfaction and yet she sits, keeps sipping from the glass. Ponders what she would rather be doing, but without actually getting up from the chair. Easier to sit and mope than to take action, create change.

Traps that aren't really traps except to the degree that we make them so. Times when we hold ourselves back out of lazyness, uncertainty, insecurity, caution. The trap that the path of least resistance can create. Perhaps change isn't even so hard to achieve here, but well - it won't happen without some effort, determination, will.

In the ten of swords we have a rather different image - a picture of despair, defeat, resignation. A woman sits in the middle of the floor, her dress pinned down by swords, another dangling just above her head. She sobs, face in her palms. Further away we see a letter, a bloodstained pen - and bits of red dripping from her hands onto her dress.

Was this a letter she received, some terrible news? Or was it a note she herself was trying to write, perhaps a last, melodramatic goodbye? What's interesting here is that, unlike in the classic RWS image, she isn't dead, isn't stabbed in the back ten times. Alive still but unmoving, ready to accept that fate, the final sword falling down onto her. There is no struggle left, only tears.

Why is that? This card is called Ruin in the Thoth. Ruin is painful, yes, dramatic, but does it have to be final? Are things truly as bad as all that? Despair and hopelessness - how they can paralyze you, blind you to any other options, possibilities, paths. Perhaps things aren't really so grim. Perhaps something can be rebuilt, or salvaged. But one needs to raise those eyes and look around first to find out.

Last perhaps is most difficult a way of being stuck. Another quite interest Devil image, we have in this deck: we see the goat hooves, ears, that goat that stands so central in the Thoth card. Here though it is anthropomorphized, woman and beast both. She wear's a fancy stage magicians garb, all show and effect. Not just the outfit too - the entire room we she is carefully decorated, classy with its tapestries, the detailed finishes on the walls. Black and white everywhere, two sides, stark contrasts.

Showy magician with so much control, sitting in the lotus position, balancing on her tail, almost floating. The barely visible occult circle hovers around her, behind her, power and danger you do not see until too late. The two human figures in her case must dance, perform like puppets. You cannot even see the string or chains that might bind them, control them. Whereas in the previous image, the woman could maybe move away if she would just stop sobbing and move the swords that seem so impossible to escape, here we have...the illusion of freedom, ease. We could stop it if we wanted. We could walk away if we wanted. If we wanted. Except the power of her influence is so strong, and the world beyond so frightening...and then, perhaps, trying to walk away and finding that it not so easy at all. Try and fail and try and fail. The devil does not care for our struggle. She floats and tempts and controls with so much confidence.


thesycamoretree said...

Your comments make this deck interesting to me. :) I like how you pointed out that all of the people feel trapped but for different reasons - good insight!

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