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Tim : I was hoping the team would go with an ace each so I quite agree I’m not sure how the cup and sword and all of those translate into “colour” cards (spades/hearts etc.) but I reckon this is quite a cool coincidence hehe
Daestwen says it’s ok to request a card-swap later on so we can always change later if need be, although I’ld say it’ld be better to make up our minds early and give us time to think about this. So I’ld go ahead and reserve one of the major cards ASAP guys
Like I said I’ve already asked for Judgment and Death, so does anyone want to tackle either of these ? I might like to toy around with the Devil or the Hanged-man as well, and I also thought I might like to interpret the Tower as a character Tommoy, so I’ld be happy if you end up choosing to do one of those two last ones hehe
What do you reckon : I figure it would be cool to work collectively on all the concepts, bounce ideas, correct elements in the WIPs etc. even though we’ld each paint our final versions of our 2 cards separately. Suggestions ?
Raoul : Let's hope you're right ! It’s almost like, a case of divinaAaAation ooouu spooky haha
I’m afraid I can’t do much offa the computer I’m on for the time being. I also don’t know much about this Tarot hocus-pocus, so I figured I’ld take the time to research these cards we’ve got going so far. Figured I’ld post the info here, maybe some of this will be good for us. Of course we have to design characters, but some of the symbolism might help give us direction.
I don’t know how spot on this stuff is, like I said I’m not much of a mysticist myself so this is all new to me. Alright, so, I copied some info on these aces of ours offa the net. Here’s the low down :
The Minor Arcana :
Brings us clarity and definition. These cards are the supportive role-players to the prime archetypes of the Major Arcana. The stage, setting, and supportive actors in our readings; these cards flesh out the big story of what’s going on in our interpretive experiences.
Each suit tells a story within the elemental/psychological realm of that suit. For instance, the Minor Arcana suit of cups tell the story of its element, water which deals with the realm of emotions.
Wands : Fire, Spirit
Pentacles : Earth, Physical
Swords : Air, Thought
Cups : Water, Emotions
Aces in the Tarot deck indicate new beginnings. They are also power cards, and rank high in the trumping factor in a reading, their power weighing in evenly with Major Arcana cards.
ACE OF WANDS
Passion, Direction, Ignition, Expansion, Initiation, Creativity, Energization, Resourcefulness
The ace of wands meaning deals with high volume energies bursting forth in assertive confidence. Those who pull this card in a reading are in for an incredible adventure. This card marks the beginning of a new direction - particulary in matters of creativity.
The ace of wands also reminds us of the creative control we have in our lives. Specifically when we look at the card, we note the hand holding the out a rod symbolizing our passion. This is indicative of our ability to take hold of our desires and allow that passion to fuel us up to reach our goals.
When in a reversed or in a position of conflict, this card may be a message that you are letting your wants or desires control you and it's time to get a better handle on your emotions.
The beauty of this card stands out loud and clear. It is a beacon amongst the Tarot pantheon, ever holding its light bright for all to see the way to clarity. As such, the ace of wands meaning often deals with creative insight. Many times this card shows up after the querent has gone through a period of murky waters or a time of stagnation in which he/she seemed to be "stuck." Hence the symbolism of the flame thrust out of the thick, obscuring clouds. A promise of motion, direction, and positive energy building to a delightful result.
This card is calls loudest to artists, visionaries, entrepreneurs, and those seeking to set out on a new creative path. To them, it is the "green light" card - a sign of positive encouragement, a signal to go for gusto! in their endeavors.
Key symbols to the ace of wands meanings:
Clouds: Symbol meaning of clouds deal with ambiguity, mystery, and things hidden. Most renditions of this card depict a hand holding a flaming torch thrust out suddenly from the clouds. This is symbolic of our ideas or energy coming out of the hidden places of our psyche and into the light of day. Clouds often deal with hidden agendas that might be keeping us in a holding pattern. They may also indicate underlying beliefs that hold us back from our being our brightest selves.
Rivers: River symbol meanings deal with motion, direction, and the flow of our thoughts as well as our lives. When the river in the ace of wands flows into our psychic vision it is a message that we must consider the direction we are taking in our lives.
Mountains: Symbol meanings of mountains deal with challenges, acquisition, accomplishment and aspirations. Mountains are a symbolic allegory for us in that as we climb them, each step brings us closer to our highest point. This highest point, the top of the mountain, can be a spiritual goal, physical goal, or anything else that we aspire to reach. The mountain is unbending, and inflexible. This makes it a reminder that only we can change how we deal with challenges (because the mountain certainly isn't going to change for us). This being the case, we can embrace the lessons we gain as we take on the challenge of the mountain. We can also rest assured that the peak will always be there as we aspire ever higher to our desired results.
The ace of wands meaning is all about taking our internal creative fire in hand and holding it out far all the world to see. Now is our time to spread our warmth, passion, and vision to others. Now is our time to shine as beacons unto the world.
ACE OF PENTACLES
Key Words :
Reward, Safety, Grounded, Fresh Start, Improved Status, New Responsibility
The ace of pentacles meaning pertains to new buds of opportunities awaiting you in areas of money, health, career, material gain, and other areas of practical matters. In matters of love and relationships, the ace of pentacles meaning indicates stability, increased trust, and new/stronger bonds made in an existing relationship.
Key symbols pertaining to the ace of pentacles meaning:
Hand: We see this symbol in all the aces, and in each one the hand represent a slightly different meaning. In the case of pentacles, the hand is symbolic of generosity. It is a reminder that in order to get what we want (in this case: health, material gain) we must also give. To only receive without giving is a violation of natural law, and may be our demise.
Rose: In the Morgan-Greer rendition the rose is stands out and is an integral aspect of the ace of pentacles meaning. A long-standing symbol of purity, promise, and beauty. The rose symbol meanings deal with the promise of new beginnings and hope. We must also take the thorns into consideration - with the promise of new hope, we may have to endure a few stinging thorns (painful ordeals) along the way.
Clouds: In relation to the ace of pentacles meaning, clouds are symbolic of allowing material gain and positive health into our lives after enduring a time of uncertainty. Clouds in this card are also symbolic of gifts bestowed upon us from seemingly out of nowhere. This is a reminder that we should rejoice in not only what we have, but what is right around the corner too.
Granted, the ace of pentacles meaning is about gaining the physical means in our lives we desire, and as such it is a very promising card in our spreads. The ace of pentacles meaning reminds us that we are human, and sometimes it takes work to get what we want. This card also reminds us that we must be flexible and keep ourselves in a positive state of allowing in order to receive the material gifts available to us.
ACE OF SWORDS :
Key Words :
Focus, Force, Clarity, Vision, Insight, Intensity
The ace of swords card meaning has to do with aligning yourself. Visually, this card is clearly making a statement of solidarity. When we see the strength of that sword standing erect in the center of this card, there is no doubt in our mind that we must focus upon the issues at hand (indicated by surrounding cards) and make our stand.
Often the ace of swords Tarot card meaning deals with gaining clarity in our lives after a long bout of disillusionment. Often this card appears in matters of love when the ties need to be cut in a relationship. This is particularly the case in one-sided relationships where the partner requires more of attention than you.
This confirms the ace of swords meaning as this card signals its beaming light to you. This card cries out "this is your time, the focus is on you!" But what kind of focus?
The suite of swords in a Tarot deck deals with thoughts, and awareness. They've also been identified as symbols of challenges or conflict in our lives. The ace of swords Tarot card meaning is symbolic of uncovering a new way of thinking. Or, cutting away at some old thought to make way for a brighter perspective.
More specifically, the ace of swords is a call to stop fooling ourselves and look into the crux of the matters of our soul. The ace of swords is bright and brassy. There is no room for excuses with this card, and it demands full honesty of the querent in a reading. This means that new projects, ideas, thoughts, or relationships are on the horizon. Due to the sharp nature of this card, you had better be mindful and clear about your intentions first before starting these new ventures.
Key symbols pertaining to the ace of swords meanings:
Crown: Yes, we might initially think of royalty or nobility when considering the symbolic meaning of crowns. But consider where the crown rests, on one's head of course. Consequently, the crown in the ace of swords is a symbol of thought. Specifically, the clarity and force behind our thoughts. Use this visual image to slice through all the distracting thoughts you may have about an issue and point your mind squarely to the core of the matter. This kind of keen focus will see your way to success.
Rose: The Morgan-Greer shows a red and white rose in the ace of swords card. These roses are symbolic of choices that we make. We can either chose to see our lot in life as a work of beauty, or we can focus on the thorns and pain. The rose on this card also symbolizes the delicate process of our thought. Meaning, just as a gardener tenderly cards of a rose to assure continually beautiful blossoms, so too must we take responsibility to nurture our thoughts to insure positive outcomes.
Clouds: Cloud symbol meanings in this card indicate confusion and distraction. We notice the image of the sword victoriously rising above the cloying clouds in seek of the highest point of inspiration. This is a visual message to us that we must rise above the chatter (nay sayers, conflict, media, negativity) and aspire to our own greatest thoughts in order to make our way to mental clarity and success.
Just from these few and simple symbols we can see a pattern of understanding: When we work towards clarity of thoughts, and choose the proper thoughts for our purpose, we reach the epitome of our goals, obtaining our crowning achievements.
ACE OF CUPS
Love, Peace, Patience, Harmony, Assurance, Tranquility, Compassion, Acceptance
Visually, this card is undeniably potent. I particularly gravitate to the Thoth rendition of this card because it shows prominent emanations of energy spanning out in a web of connectivity. This card illustration reminds me of the power that love has over all things.
Yes, if you are wanting hard and fast ace of cups meanings, most certainly it is a card symbolizing love as well as a signal of new relationships beginning (aces signifying new beginnings), but it's much more than that.
This card is a sign of blessing. A blessing that assures us if we hold ourselves (our thoughts, feelings, body, etc) in a place of love there is no end to the beauty we may allow to flow into our lives.
The ace of cups is a message for us to start at the place of love. Whatever our intent, need, desire, direction may be; if we initiate your action from the starting point of love and compassion then our result will be blessed.
Key symbols to the ace of cups meanings:
Dove: The dove is a common spiritual icon with symbol meanings indicating hope, purity, aspiration, and ascension. In Greco-Roman mythology, the dove is a sacred creature to Aphrodite/Venus, and therefore is a powerful symbol of love. Featured on the ace of cups, it is a promising symbol. Note the dove (in the Rider-Waite version) is pointing down. This is a second-pass message indicating: "whatever goes up, must come down." In other words, fly high, but ground yourself first
Water: Water is a symbol of emotion and subconscious. Water also symbolizes purity, cleansing, and rebirth. It is associated with the moon too which causes its symbolism to lean towards femininity. This is in line with the core ace of cups meanings that deal with love and compassion. Although males are surely just as capable of love as women are - human history primarily hands over the softer, nurturing, compassionate concepts of love to women. There is further connection here because many First People (ancient cultures, primitive man) believe the earth was formed from a watery womb. Here we are seeing water as a symbol of love rebirth and all the other associations that go along with these.
Lotus:Traditionally, the symbolic meaning of lotus deals with ascension. When we see the lotus unfolding its petals beautifully in the midst of inky, murky soils we can liken ourselves unfolding as divine beings emerging out of unclear situations or states of consciousness. Simply put, the lotus in the ace of cups Tarot card tells us there is beauty in all things as long as we have the inner eyes to select only the beauty among us.
These are powerful symbols, and this is an incredibly potent card. In a reading this card indicates new sparks of passion are being lit up in your life. It also tells the querent to start all endeavors from a place of love, and the results will always be blessed.
We can also see this card as a sign of renewal, rebirth, or starting over.
Nice post Nic! I appreciate the research into the cards.
So I'm stuck awake with so many thoughts bouncing around my brain. Sensory overload, in a good way, trying to wrap my head around the topic.
I think we are pretty much in agreement that we are all doing the aces for our minor arcana. So thinking about what the ace represents. The Trump card, a card which overpowers all the other minor arcana. In terms of characters, if the king, queen, page, are going to be depicted by human figures, it would seem that the Ace would have to have divine qualities. A figure that is above human status. A god, if you will. Remember Daestwan wants us to stick pretty close to the Rider-Waite interpretation, so be sure to check out the image that is associated with your card in that deck, and check out the symbols/meanings etc. All I'm really saying is that if our cards were laid next to the other minor arcana (king, seven, princess, etc.) without knowing our card we have to strive to make the viewer instantly recognize the power (not necessarily strength, maybe emotional, intellectual or scale) of our character, and realize all other characters within that suit are subservient. I think that's the mindset we should go into designing our "Aces"
Oooh this is going to be fun!
I know nothing about Tarot cards so your post helps a lot Nic. I'm going to take the Tower, besides Death and Judgement we already have. Maybe Tim or Björn have favourites, well there's one open spot. In the end we can decide how we divide things but Nic's suggestion on one major and one minor card each sounds good to me.
We could start thinking about theme's, styles, we are going for. Like a steampunk/hollywood combo, deathmetal/lolita/robot/alien combo or something like that, so we can start looking for inspirational and reference material.
Tim : quite right. Maybe not a "god" in every instance though, but an "extreme" surely. Maybe a “hero” in certain cases, the epitome of a given quality type of thing. I’m not opposed to the idea of supernatural either here I’m just thinking maybe if we go with something sci-fi then a “god” might not fit in as well with the theme. Then again that might be our angle: “divine sci-fi”. That might be fun.
But regardless: I agree with Tim on the super-human quality of our cards. This should be fun actually
Tom : Glad to see you chose Tower. Like I said, I was thinking it would be fun to transform that into a character, see how that works out so it’ll be good to have this card in the team.
As far as Death and Judgment go, again I don’t mind doing either, and Daestwen says we can change our minds about our chosen cards as long as the slot is still available. So if no one here wants to do “Death” for instance, then we can swap it to some other team I’m sure : it’s the one that filled out the first.
And yes, I think this is the time we should use to give direction to our cards, that is to say chose a general theme, a universe for them. I’ld have liked to take the time we have before the drawing phase starts to put together some reference sheets like Tom did for the “surveyor” ChoW, but I just can’t do that until I get home in a few days so… I can only suggest things until then.
Tom, I was wondering what you meant by steampunk/hollywood ? I’m not a big fan of steampunk myself, but I’m flexible Now I’m not quite sure what you have in mind with Deathmetal/Lolita/Robot/Alien either there Tom, but that sounds more down my alley hahah
I’ll try and put up some sort of inspirational references when I get home so we can all agree on a general feel for our cards (textures/brush technique/colours, creatures, armour ? hell I don’t know, anything that screams out “vibe” to me). Visuals should help us find a direction I think. Hmmm, alright I’ll come back with some ideas later !
Nic, I was just throwing in some random words that popped up. Nothing serious yet.
But it's important we choose our theme's wisely. All four of us have to feel comfortably with them so I suggest everyone of us give a few theme's we personally like and then lets see if there could be an interesting combination made. Here are a few theme's to start with:
Dinosaur age/Dragon world
Pin ups with a twist
Post war/brutally injured/apocalypse
Results of Frankenstein/biological experiments
WW II/French revolution
New star wars characters
Every char has a way of flying/floating/hoovering
The gates of hell open, our chars come out.
Hey there B-man, I snagged the chariot for you. So we have our 4 major arcana cards:
The Tower, Judgment, Death, The Chariot.
So lets divvy those up, Tommoy, likes the Tower, B-man the Chariot, Nic can pick which one he likes, Death or Judgment, I'll take whichever, I'm not picky .
Of course we all have our minor cards set too.
Tommoy - Ace of Wands
Nic - Ace of Swords
B-man - Ace of Pentacles
Tim - Ace of Cups
So we have that set, Tommoy has some really good ideas for themes. I think the key to picking a good theme is not to pigeon hole our characters by getting too specific, making it difficult to design the symbols/meaning for our character to represent.
Vikings (semi-fantasy driven ie furs, swords, which cater to this challenge, but with a nordic twist)
Anything Sci-Fi (Shit you can't go wrong with sci-fi. Our characters in mech suits? Exosquad anyone?)
Superhero's/Villians (This may be cool, and easy in terms of the costumes conveying the necessary symbolism for each of our characters.)
Underwater (It'd be tough to convey our necessary themes when everything takes place underwater, but it would give our cards a really cool and coherent visual aesthetic.)
These are just a couple of ideas, let's keep the ball rolling and toss out a few more. Maybe talk about pros and cons?
Tim, I'm comfortable with the Tower and the Ace of Wands.
I like underwater myself but on a second glance it would give us some hard nuts to crack when fire, lightning, cups of water! and prob some other things are involved. Of course nothing a little brainstorming couldn't fix, but with for instance Vikings we would have a solid bottom to start of from. It could be something like Vikings in a icy Dragons world.
Sci-Fi is always fun, with superheroes we could get too pinned down.
Just got home after an 8hour+ drive today, didn't sleep much the whole time I was up in snow-land neither so I'm burnt ! Good to be home hehe
I think Tim might be right in saying we should give ourselves a certain leeway to begin with although I think it might be interesting to mix in other elements into our theme later as we develop the "story".
I would like to submit a few ideas of my own here but the last couple of days have been utterly draining so I haven't yet be able to put much thought into this That being said, I wanted to at least touch-base tonight and voice my interest in the ideas you'ld already put forward, see where our interests might converge.
So : as you've pointed out Tom, I don't think going with an "environmental" theme such as underwater or space etc. would be very helpful given the importance of the elements in the Tarot visuals (fire, water, air, clouds, lightning, etc.) I rather like some of the other themes mentioned here though : Vikings is always one that talks to me so I'm cool with that. Science fiction is also a great favourite of mine so I'm cool with THAT as well. I wasn't particularly thinking of "mech" but I'm definitely ok with it if we go down that specific rout (I've never heard of Exosquad???) Maybe we could combine certain sci-fi elements into the Viking universe to help create an aesthetic diverging a little from a generic Norse look?... A "Nordic twist" Tim mentioned, that sounds right down my alley hehe Gives us direction without confining us to much.
I'm a bit of a History buff, and the World Wars are of particular interest so Tom's suggestion of a WWII oriented theme suits me as well. I somehow feel that it might be harder to design new costumes in this era and keep in line with the spirit of ChoW though, but I'm comfortable with this theme, if for no other reason than the opportunity to draw some of them guns
Not so hot on the superhero idea though. For one I've never really gotten onboard with the superhero thing. I mean, I like Lobo or even Hellboy sometimes, maybe even Ghost Rider (hey, I like skulls ) etc., but I guess guys wearing tights just isn't generally my thing. Even though I really dig comic books, it's just not the super-hero vibe that gets to me. I'm also not convinced this would translate particularly well into Tarot Cards visuals ? Maybe comic books à la Sin City or Heavy Metal would work quite well though, visuals like some of the Humanoids Associés comics with Juan Gimenez's work or Dark Horse's Hardboiled or some gritty stuff like that of George Pratt, Ashley Wood (Popbot, Zombies vs Amazons vs Robots etc.), Kent Williams (Blood) for instance.
Star Wars (the ORIGINAL Star Wars - are there any others ?) were probably the biggest influence on me growin' up, but I don't feel that would be a wise avenue to chose for designing Tarot Cards.
Tim : I was rather set on drawing Judgment "the firey angel" at first, but then I read up a little more on the Tarot Cards and "Death in Black Armour" with the white rose seems pretty damn sweet as well so. I really don't know. Do you fancy one in particular ?
I kinda like the viking ide, makes it easy to add alot of drama in the peice. I could go WWII as sugested by Tom and it would work fine for me. I would like to se that we didn't go sci-fi or superhero thogh. Its just something that rubs me the wrong way with those topics.
I know what I want to do with the ace of pentacles. and the chariot is a cool topic.
I think ones we start doing wips we all will kinda fall into sync and find a common look.
Edit: There is actually a Nordic Tarot deck called "Vikings Tarot"
Last edited by B-Man; December 29th, 2009 at 07:04 AM.
Now we're getting somewhere!
Nic if you don't mind I'll take Death, it would actually lend itself pretty well as a good juxtapose to my idea for the Ace of Cups.
So it sounds like after reading everyones responses the Viking and WWII ideas are what we like the best? I agree with you guys that these two are the most interesting. My idea is pretty solid and it actually could be applied to either theme and workout well.
I like the Vikings/Norse theme a little better. If you guys wanted to incorporate more "fantasy" elements ie dragons, beasts, etc that would be cool too!
If we went the WWII route it could work too, just more as a backdrop and less involved in the actual development of the character. I see Nic's point in regards to the wardrobe, it would make things challenging. However it is different, could be fun.
So yea, my 2 cents.
Björn, I'm not surprised there is a Viking version already. So I think we have to try to go a little bit beyond that.
One advantage of the Vikings it has a lot of mythical/mystical elements that could be used in the tarot cards. The disadvantage could be the limited choice in clothing we can use. If we combine the Vikings with some other theme it could broaden the horizon.
To be honest the combo Vikings/WWII doesn't immediately give me images on the retina. Vikings combined with some SF elements could work but I'm not very sure about that either. Maybe Viking/Lord of the ring or is that to much of the same category?
I've bought a Tarot deck today and I wonder if it could be helpful to lay down some cards to see how our team is doing the coming weeks or I could do it for other teams hehehe
Tim, I saw your post just after posting mine.
I agree with taking the Vikings as the basis. Personally I would like to add the Fantasy Dragon world to give it a boost. I agree its a little safer then with WWII what would be a bigger challenge. Of course we could use all three theme's. Maybe its a good idea too leave it open for the sketching phase and see if it works.
So, Vikings with a fantasy touch, think dragons world and possibly elements from WWII.
How does that sound?
I'm gona post some info I've gathered from sites on our 4 major arcana this time, that way we can have a little reference for our cards right here in our thread. I've gotten rid of some of the parts of the texts that seemed quite irrelevant. I'll mention that there is still a lot of hocus-pocus in what I'm pasting here, stating assumptions with which I blatantly disagree. But, that being said, it IS Tarot which means you'ld HAVE to believe in that stuff to "read" the cards right ? So in that optic, let's indulge shall we ?
I just found a sight that confirmed the link between Tarot suits and regular playing cards :
Cups = Hearts
Wands = Clubs
Swords = Spades
Coins = Diamonds
Also, they are apparently linked to certain social classes ? :
Cups = none
Wands = Peasants
Swords = Nobility/Militia
Coins = Merchants
And the cards can hold a "reversed meaning" if they are drawn upside down (like the Runes holding different meaning if they are right side up or upside down). Not sure if this info can be of any use to us but I reckoned I'ld mention.
Key Words :
Change, Exposure, Transition, Termination, Inevitability
All of us stop and shift in our seats when we come upon the grim reaper. Many of us equate death as an ending. Thankfully, that is not what this card is about. The Death card speaks of a major conclusion in an area of our lives. The key point to remember here is that where there is an ending, there is also a beginning.
Life is in constant motion and this is the irony of the Death card. Death is never the end - it is simply a motion in a different direction. The historical nature of the Tarot is steeped in allegory. As such, this occurrence of this card rarely indicates actual physical death.
Key Symbols :
Skull: Long seen as a symbol of humanity's mortality - the skull is a symbol that all things change and transition. Some cultures see the skull as the seat of the mind - the home of our thoughts. In this case, we can translate the skull to mean the death of unwanted thoughts.
Sun: More irony with this card! The sun is a symbol of life and growth. The sun in this case serves as a symbolic reminder that where there is an ending, there is always a new beginning. The sun will rise again, and tomorrow is another day.
Rose: A long-standing symbol of purity, promise, and beauty. In the case of the Death card, this rose represents the promise of new beginnings. We must also take the thorns into consideration - with the promise of new hope, we may have to endure a few stinging thorns (painful ordeals) along the way.
--The image of Death charging across a field on his spectral steed would strike fear into the heart of almost any man. The appearance of the Death card has a similar effect on most people, though it really should not. Whether you like it or not, Death is one of the most powerful cards in the Tarot. Humans naturally fear the unknown, and so Death is our greatest fear since it is the greatest unknown. The majority of us are unaware that our mind and spirit die all the time, constantly shedding old beliefs and acquiring new ones. It has been said many times by many readers: the Death card is not a card of death - it is a card of transformation.
In the Tarot Death is nothing more than a transition to the next level of life. Whether you believe that a soul goes to heaven or back to Earth to be reincarnated, the fact remains that the soul lives on. The river shown on many versions of the Death card is a symbol, showing that life will go on, no matter what disastrous things happen. The river water will reach the sea, rise into the clouds, then rain onto the land to flow into the river again. Nothing is destroyed, because nothing can be destroyed - there can be only transformation.
Every change happens for a reason, and Death is a force like Justice in that it is absolutely fair. It does not discriminate against one group and spare another - everyone is equal in the eyes of Death. There's no point fighting death, it only makes things worse. Like the Hanged Man, accept that change happens and let it do what it must.
Take a look at the Rider-Waite version of the Death card, and note the bishop on the right side of the image. He is actually welcoming Death, because he knows of the great spiritual transformation it brings. Almost all versions of the Death card show a symbol of resurrection or re-birth. This could be the rising sun, an egg, or a sapling sprouting from the body of a dead man. All these symbols show that to progress in life, our old form must die, just as a snake sheds its old skin to reveal a shiny new one. This is the message of the card: Death must be conquered by the regeneration of the soul, and he who knows this shall live forever.
While the Hanged Man was a card of voluntary sacrifice, the Death card is a forced sacrifice - but that does not mean that it is not for your own good. Open yourself and let Death strip away all that you no longer need.
Key Words :
Change, Eruption, Upheaval, Exposure, Cataclysm, Blind-sided, Sudden Shift
One look at this card and we know something is afoot, and it doesn't look good. The Tower card is all about change; usually very sudden, not-so-pleasant change.
Such a drastic upheaval means the Universe is trying to wake us up from our zombie-like state. This wake-up call comes in the form of an event that blind-sides us and shakes us out of the fog we've been living in.
When we are so entrenched in one single way of life, or one inflexible way of thinking we sometimes need to get a little rattled to get out of our daze. This is exactly what the Tower card represents.
An interesting observation about this card, particularly in this rendition (Morgan-Greer) is its movement. Clouds are rushing, fire is thrashing, waves are crashing, people are falling, everything is at high-speed motion except for the tower. This symbolizes that the signs have been all around us. However, we continued to sit in our "ivory tower" or continued to construct our lives based on errant thinking, all the while the storm is brewing, and a fire is blazing right in front of our eyes. So the changes foretold in the Tower card aren't so sudden, we were just too blind to see the signs. We refused to admit the problems. We simply turned away.
Key Symbols :
Falling: Falling is a befitting way to convey absolute loss of control. Most decks depict two figures falling: A male who represents conscious thought/action, and a female who represents unconscious thought/action. In this case, this is a symbol of duality and opposition. The two figures represent conflicting thoughts and actions, inevitably leading to an eruption. This concept is at the crux of all the Tower Tarot card meanings.
Fire: Fire is typically an aggressive symbol. It obliterates everything in its path, leaving little semblance of the original landscape. This is further indication that the Tower card means serious business, and when change comes it will significantly alter the landscape of our lives. It's also worth mentioning that the fire in the card burns from the top down.
Lightening: Lightening has long been seen by ancient peoples to be a direct signal from God. Some Native Americans thought lightening was brought about by a wink from the Thunderbird who was considered the Great Creator. In India, lightening was considered a flash from the third eye of Shiva, symbolizing the light of truth and enlightenment. Lightening is a powerful message of truth emanating from our highest source forcing us to conduct a reality check.
--Sometimes, when accepted and welcomed, divine wisdom and enlightenment flow freely like a calm river. The rest of the time, wisdom is blocked until it rages forth like a tidal wave and crushes anything in its path. This is the energy of the Tower card, an energy very similar to Death in that it is both a destructive and a creative force. When old attitudes and beliefs are outdated, you will have to let go of them, whether you like it or not.
When you believe material objects are more powerful than spirit and mind, you start building up a Tower of falsehoods on a very unstable foundation.
The fire of the Tower card burns away all that is negative and outdated, but it leaves behind all that is positive, all that is necessary to begin your life again and replace all that was lost. As soon as the tumbling figures on the Rider-Waite card land on the jagged rocks of reality, they are greeted with the influx of wisdom that they need to survive. And with that wisdom in hand, they can take the first step back on the true path to enlightenment.
On an inner level, the destruction of Tower is akin to the breaking-down of the fortress called the ego. When you build a wall to hide your secrets or to conceal your true self, you must know that sooner or later the wall will come tumbling down. Fantasies are particularly prone to being shattered by the power of this card; the Tower dissipates them like sunlight burning away fog. The crown on this card must be worn on a human head, not placed atop a tower of cold stone.
Key Words :
Faith, Honesty, Judgment, Resurrection, Transformation, Heeding a Call
For many, the word "judgment" evokes some very unsavoury thoughts and images. For eons this term has been associated with religion and intolerance. Wars are waged in the name of religion, and Judgement is the battlefield.
In the Christian faith, Judgment is associated with the "Judgment day." That day, according to Biblical text, in which all souls will be called and each soul is measured and marked according to virtue and obedience to God.
There is no evidence of fear in the card, and no conveyance of scolding or negativity. This is because the Judgment card meanings are not about judging against others. It has nothing to do with negative judgments made against our actions or against other people.
This card deals with honesty. When we put a negative spin on this card, it becomes confusing, confounding and seemingly irrelevant to a reading. However, when we understand that judgment is a natural, God-given gift that we can use in order answer our highest calling - it takes on an entirely new meaning.
The Judgment card comes up in a reading when it is time to heed our highest calling. When we are at a crossroads, and it is time to lift ourselves us and transform our lives. Other deck renditions show the angel Gabriel blowing his horn to call up the souls to their higher understanding. This is precisely the message this card bears. It is time to heed the call of resurrection. Now is the time to make a positive difference in our lives and in the lives of others.
Key Symbols :
Arms: The figures in this card are accepting higher knowledge with open arms. By openly embracing the new-found knowledge of our life direction we are able to more effectively move into a new direction. Knowledge is power when we take it in with open arms, we become powerful ourselves.
Cross: The ancient Greeks created this symbol with all legs of equal length and size. One of the simplest symbols, and used since ancient times, it represents several things to different cultures. In ancient Greece it is an emblem of the four elements. In the ancient Middle East, the symbol represents the four directions (north, south, east, west) and the four winds. Even the ancient Aztecs used this symbol to represent the meeting place of god (at the cross-section). The cross in this card indicates that an even-mind (sound judgment) is of foremost importance in our personal development.
Horn: The horn is the symbol of the angel Gabriel. It is an audible calling to us to rise out of our complacency and heed the call to live profound, invigorating lives. The horn is also a symbol of clarity and divine intervention.
--The card originally known as Judgement Day derives from Christian scripture, but in most religions and cultures there is the concept of spiritual rebirth after the end of the world. This is another card of transition, like Death and the Tower, but its energy is neither violent nor catastrophic despite the fact that its power is far greater. This is the energy of creation without destruction, impossible on the material plane but certainly possible in the world of the spirit. There is rebirth not through discarding negativity, but through integration of all parts of the self. The spirit is cleansed and restored without loss or addition. It remains the same, but different.
Traditionally, Judgement Day is a day of reckoning, where you must answer for your actions and your inactions. The tie to Justice cannot be missed, and in a sense, Judgement is an elaboration on cause and effect, and on the notion of cosmic justice.
As the Judgement Day represents the union of the material and spiritual world into a single unit of manifestation, so too can Judgement show the union or reconciliation of the different parts of yourself. The three human figures found on most versions of the card allude to this. The man represents the renewal of the conscious mind, the woman is the rebirth of the subconscious, and the child is the boy from the Sun, the eternal child in us all. United into one voice, they praise the angel that appears in the sky. After the non-destructive cleansing and restoration of Judgement, matter, mind and spirit are one - now and forever.
The Rider-Waite symbolism is particularly interesting. In the background are the mountains that first appeared on the Fool. The ocean is the termination of the river that flows through the Major Arcana, starting with the Empress. Gabriel's banner is red on white, the same as the Magician's robes. As with everything in life, the beginning is woven irrevocably into the end and the end will eventually lead to a new beginning. At its core, Judgement is not a card of endings, but of beginnings. This journey is over but the next, a journey on a higher plane of existence, is approaching. Judgement is the preparation for that journey; the last stop before eternity.
Key Words :
Tact, Skill, Action, Control, Focused, Driven, Motion, Balance, Physicality
Chariot battle takes a lot of skill, determination and control to manoeuvre a chariot in the heat of battle. Needless to say the Chariot represents tremendous focus and drive in order to accomplish the goal and win the battle.
An often over-looked item of chariot-battle is that the best plan of attack in a chariot is from the side. This was a common tactic for ancient chariot warriors and is mentioned here for its symbolic meaning. Coming upon our problems from the side - or a different angle will often give us the perspective we need to overcome the obstacle, or give us a different plan of attack for success.
Often, the Chariot card shows up when there is an obsession about work, a question about goals, or an issue of over-achieving. When a person is obsessed with climbing the ladder of success - the Charioteer is the one cracking the whip behind the scenes.
Key Symbols :
Crown: This deck version shows a crown of five pointed stars. These pentacles are symbolic of perfection and also indicate our Charioteer is at his physical peek of perfection. That he is wearing these stars as a crown indicates his thoughts are primarily upon the elements required to get the task at hand accomplished. His thoughts dwell upon his ability to perform to a high level in order to achieve his goals.
Horse: The horse is another symbol of physicality and vitality. The horse is linked with elemental and instinctual powers. They symbolize speed of thought, speed of deed, and speed of action.
Moons: Moons also deal with motion, influence and development. This card depicts slivered moons on the Charioteer's shoulder and at that top of his staff. These are symbols that indicate we are often driven by unseen forces in matters of obtaining goals or striving for success. Although the Charioteer is very aware of elemental matters and matters of the soul - these moons indicate that more investigation must be made on his motives.
--It is somewhat of a mystery why the Chariot, clearly a card of force and of control, should be of the Water element. But its attribution to Cancer is indeed valid because this card deals heavily with the emotions. Specifically, the Chariot is a card of emotional control; the power of the mind to shape the desires of the heart and direct them to meaningful expression. This is not the emotional control of the Emperor, who totally suppresses all of his emotions in favour of logic and reason. The man driving the Chariot knows that his emotions are not to be swept under the rug, but trained and used to his greater good.
The triumph over both positive and negative emotions is often shown by two horses or sphinxes of different colors pulling the Chariot. Though on their own they would run wild and untamed, going in whichever direction they chose to go, here they move only forward. So they still have some power, but this power has now been directed and focused by the man holding the reins.
The Chariot embodies the type of discipline that is necessary to gain control over the emotions, and this is why a military symbol has been chosen for this card. The purpose of the harsh conditions of the military is to develop the will and the ability needed to control emotions and put them to productive use on the battlefield. Only through the mastery of yourself can you ever hope to achieve mastery over others and your environment. The wisdom and the glory gained through conquering one's enemies is nothing compared to the self-esteem you build through defeating your fear. Inner enemies are often tougher to defeat than outer ones.
In the Thoth deck, written across the canopy of the Chariot is the word Abracadabra, which may seem foolish at first glance. What is the stage magician's catchphrase doing here - is there magic involved? No, there is no magic. Abracadabra comes from Hebrew, and it translates roughly to "What I have said will be done" or "As it is said, so it shall be." Nothing embodies the spirit of the Chariot more than this word.
Tim : damn it ! I was really diggin' Death now hehe It's all good, Judgment it is Turns out Death, Judgment and the Tower are all variations of the same theme, spooky
Björn : to bad you don't like sci-fi, there's more than half my repertoire gone out the window
Ya I agree, I reckon if we stick to only Norse material we're shooting ourselves in the foot : it's very constraining. Even though I'm very found of it, I feel we should mix "Viking" up with another sub-theme in order to respect the idea of ChoW.
I'm not convinced Tom's idea of combining Vikings with a Dragon/Fantasy touch would help much though, seeing as how Norse mythology is already knee-deep in such outlandish creatures and gods. By that I don't mean that we SHOULDN'T draw a dragon here, I only mean that I EXPECT to see a dragon or something of that sort if we're going with a Viking theme. So it doesn't seem very innovative. Also, Lord of the Rings was a mythopoeia deeply based on the Norse culture (I'ld like to say almost ripping off some of it), the Edas, the Sagas and Wagner, etc.. I mean "Middle-Earth" ? Anyway, I don't want to enter a debate about Tolkien here but I think it is fair to say that it would be hard to imagine some Viking/Lord of the Ring hybrid as to me, in essence, one is pretty much the offspring of the other.
Now Viking WWII... See I have no idea how I would tackle that, I'm not really convinced it would work either. But this odd type of pairing would demand some conceptualisation on our part, this kind of idea would stand out if we could pull it off in my opinion. Like Tom's early Metal-Lolita-Robot idea : no idea what that would look like, but it gets you thinking
I agree, Vikings, Dragons and LOTR are all the same angle, but it gives us a bit more space in the basic idea. Because this already is done for at least a hundred times we should try to give it a twist. Adding WWII is a possibility we should check out although I see some bears on the path. For instance how do we make a Schmeisser MP- 40 on a Viking believable?
Rambozo, Im actually a big sci-fi fan but I guess it just doesnt work for me with this subject.
Another thing... Combining Nords belief with WWII is a neo-nazi thing here in scandinavia so I wouldnt do that. Sorry sound like Im a big partypooper.
I do think we could work around it and just do sci-fi fantasy mix on vikings. I just dont want to be doing shiny mechs and luke skyballer. Maybe add some small hints of sci-fi. So... any more ideas on this. Im sorry if Im cutting big holes in the cake.
Tom : *Mr. Schmeisser never actually designed the MP40 so we have to chalk-that name up to a historical blunder hehe The Allie's just started naming them Schmeissers for some reason and the name stuck* But you're absolutely right Although I think an armoured Norse Berserker sporting a Stielhandgranate would probably be cool, I think Björn brings up an another excellent point.
Björn : it's better you mention the bad points right now before we start working in one direction and then someone starts pointing fingers at us later We'll just have to think of something better is all. I don't think we NEED to go sci-fi, but if we do, "small elements" like you suggest should work fine. I wouldn't want to see a transformer-thor myself so something believable would be in order. (Luke Skyballer ?? hahaha)
Besides, we've still got a few day to bounce ideas here.
Something of interest could revolve around :
- Samuraï (maybe toning down the plethora of colours associated with their gear though).
- Spaghetti Western (the man with no name, gritty "life is cheap" feel but we add some sort of devilish twist to them, or an indian-folklore angle). Not particularly fond of this one, but maybe it can spark an idea from you guys.
- Something slightly figurative with, for example, blood bursting out of a character's face or his head in a controlled explosion or the skeleton arms reaching out from the flesh or whatever to illustrate Emotions behind the card meaning ?
- The aesthetics of Alien and Predator (in the early movies, that sort of a horror feel remember ? Not that new hollywood wow hoopla)
- Maybe we could place existing historical figures in the shoes of each character ? (Samurais just got me thinking hehe). Don't reckon this is a winning idea either though...
Maybe establishing a certain "look" or palette would help guide us as well. For instance if we decide to create Klimt-esque golden backgrounds with shapes and textures, that might help us chose our direction.
Maybe we should just stick to a broader theme to begin with, allowing for a looser interpretation, like "Viking" quite simply. Which would allow for early exploration, so we could see if a "mecha-Aesir" or "lobster-faced Norn" would just be ridiculous or boring for instance (although this will probably eat up some precious time for us). In this manner we simply keep the Viking "taste", without actually having to stick to a rigid Viking line.
I can see two visual approaches to goin' about our cards. Question : Should we treat each character as it were a card/design element from the get-go ? Or should we illustrate each character in their respective contexts and then simply frame each illustration into a card with the card design around it ?
A quick look around my computer and paste-together of a few pics.
The first half are all Ash Wood, firstly because I like his work but also to illustrate that you don't have to fall into the typical super-hero genre to be a comicbook artist hehe
Nic - Ya know Samurai or orient inspired would be pretty sweet. I think we could remain relatively vague with the theme (as you mentioned "viking" or "samurai") and still come up with a fairly congruent style. Also I think since all of us are at around the same skill level, and very flexible in regards to style, that should bode well for maintaining unity throughout all our pieces.
As for the question of designing the character first or the card. I opened a new file in PS to take a peek at the dimensions that Daestwen wanted. It's actually pretty unique guys, very oblong, tall and slender. We should definitely start working within these dimensions from the start to plan out compositions. Also we should decide how much of the card we are going to use for a border. So yea, we should work those things out in the planning stage rather than finishing our pieces and trying to make them fit.
Oh and thanks for sharing Ashley Woods work with us, hadn't heard of him before, found his website and boy am I glad I did..
Last edited by t i m; December 30th, 2009 at 12:13 PM.
Tim, I think its better too start of with two or three clear theme's. It's obvious all four of us like Vikings as a theme so lets settle for that.
WWII is out of the question cos we don't want scandinavians on our back
SF opens a wide range of possibilities, we could see in the sketch phase what that brings us. Each of can use the SF elements he wants.
But I'm also still looking for something else that really makes it stand out little more.
What about Vikings and animals. It could mean half men half animal or animal armor or only a animal head. Animals like for example:
Horses (on them like the four drawings in Nic's post)
Insects (armor or corpses)
Tim, I agree before we start we have to know what the actual size is, so maybe think of the lay out of the final card at forehand.
Tim : Glad you liked Wood And cheers for mentioning the size factor of the cards, I'd completely forgotten Daestwen had set dimensions for our illustrations. It's quite a vertical ratio but I don't think that will pose much of a problem. I've included a blank image as an attached file here so we can all visualise the required size ratio.
If I read the description right : the size given is the size she wants for the illustration, so the card itself (with the boarder) would be larger (although probably the same ratio). I wonder if Daestwen intends to add the suits/names herself over our illustration in order to assure a continuation of type with her Tarot Deck.. Probably. That might become a factor affecting composition for us.
Tom : I'm not to sure about treating our characters as "manimals" (half man, half animal), but I thought your suggestion of having mounts was rather good. For the Aces at least : that way they all have something in common, the character's are riding a creature. One might be a some wolf-beast, one might be a horse, the important factor being that that "aces" themselves are riders. It doesn't NEED to be mounts, but I think that concieving all the Aces with something in common is an excellent point.
I agree we should keep "Vikings", and that maybe we don't really need more direction to begin with. But if we can come up with an extra "flavour" before we start drawing then all the better I think. I mean, what else is there to do right now ?
Hmm, what if we keep the "Norse detailing" ? By that I mean, for instance if we design an armour, the base of this armour, the "skeleton", the core-shape could be japanese/samurai based let's say as long as all of the materials and knots and design and chain mail and sword pommel, etc. were all worked in Nordic fashion ? I don't want to actually draw a quicky to illustrate this idea so as not to infringe on Daestwen's "no drawin' " rule here, I hope you guys sorta get the image of what I mean.
In any case, keep the suggestions coming for an extra theme, even they aren't perfect maybe some weird idea will open up the door to a really cool "combo" hehe.
As far as maintaining continuity goes, I reckon once we get going we should be able to pick up the interesting parts from each of our drawings and integrate them, and in the end do a once-over to have key details repeat across all 8 of our cards.
I love the samurai idea! And damn you just pulled out my favourite artist as inspiration, Ashley wood is a god!
I also think a style will come ones we start wips and descussion around art direction. I so want to start drawing it kinda hurts.
We should ask Daestwen if she intends to add suits herself? In that case we whont spend time designing frame and suite.
One of my cards will have 2 mounts and I was thinking griffons but horses would work also.
We could go Mounts for high arcana and the low arcana on foot. Just a sugestion.