We continue our exploration of Mary K. Greer’s “21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card” with Step 20: Deck Comparison
In this step, we will be comparing our chosen card to the same card in a different deck. This is actually a favorite method of mine. Each tarot deck is different and often contains its own symbolism, theme and interpretations. Sometimes, if you compare a card to its equivalent in a different deck, you may derive additional understanding or comprehension from viewing a different interpretation of the card. It’s like looking at the card with fresh eyes.
In this exercise, we are asked to find our chosen card in at least three different decks and to answer the following questions as noted below. My results are under each question in italics.
Describe each of the cards
I used the Robin Wood Tarot, the Tarot Illuminati and the DruidCraft tarot for my comparison.
In the Tarot Illuminati, a lavishly dressed young man is standing on the edge of a cliff, looking outwards. He seems to be carrying or wearing an excessive amount of clothing It’s difficult to tell whether he is in mid-step (with the possibility of walking off the cliff) or if he is standing and observing. A small white dog is standing upright, leaning against his leg. The sun is shining in the sky.
In the Robin Wood tarot, the figure is playing a flute and walking toward the edge of a cliff. A small white dog is next to him, standing on its two back legs. The person is dressed flamboyantly, in a manner that one would find at a carnival or circus. He is carrying only a simple backpack with multicolored ribbons attached to it. The sky is blue and mountains are visible in the distance.
In the DruidCraft Tarot, a young person (male, according to the book) is looking upwards with a dreamy look in his eyes and walking towards the edge of a cliff. He truly seems oblivious to where he is walking. A skinny black dog next to him is trying to get his attention. He is wearing a brown tunic that extends a little bit past his waist, with bare legs and bare feet.
In the Gaian Tarot, a young woman stand on top of small hill, looking out into the ravine. A small bag attached to a wooden stick is thrown over her left shoulder. She is holding a wooden walking stick in her right hand. We do not see her face – only her back. Next to her is a small red fox that appears to be staring at her.
Line them up in a way that tracks how the design changes. How are the cards similar & how are they different?
In the 3 other decks, all of the figures are facing and/or walking toward the left. In the Gaian tarot, the woman is facing to the right. The woman in the Gaian tarot is the only one who does not appear to be moving. It is also the only card where there is no cliff, no dog or any possibility of immediate danger (no cliff!)
The Fool from the Tarot Illuminati and the Robin Wood Tarot are dressed too outlandishly for taking an outdoors journey. The clothes of the Robin Wood Fool are bright, loud and are those of a carnival worker or court jester. The Tarot Illuminati Fool is dressed way to heavily for an outdoors walk. The Fool is the DruidCraft and The Seeker from the Gaian Tarot are both dressed simply and weather-appropriate.
There is a dog in each of the cards except for the Gaian Tarot, in which the animal is a fox. It is interesting to note as well that the dog is the DruidCraft Tarot is black whereas the other two dogs are white.
The Gaian Tarot is the only card where figure is not walking/standing on the edge of a cliff.
What new meanings and perspectives can you find in the alternate cards? Use storytelling, metaphors, dialog, embodiment, visualization or any of the other steps to get ideas. Note what emotions emerge as you interact with each card.
Gaian Tarot: The Hero’s Journey, a new adventure, perhaps gullible (presence of the “trickster” fox), don’t be too trustful
Tarot Illuminati: A foolish person, a naive person, excess, clueless, danger ahead, new journey
DruidCraft: naive, hero’s journey, a leap of faith, a new journey, childlike, oblivious, traveling light, new beginnings, talking off, hitting the road
Robin Wood: a fool or jester, a troubadour, a musician, naive, clueless, an empty slate, not the sharpest knife in the drawer
List at least three keywords and phrases that best express how you see the card across all decks. Are you keywords different than the ones which you started?
a journey, a new beginning, entering the unknown
Which version best expresses the advice you would most likely give yourself? What does it suggest you do?
The DruidCraft – I would give the advice of “focus!” In this card, he is looking upward, about to walk off the cliff. I sometimes suffer from lack of focus so this would be the advice card for me.
If you were to design your own version of this card, how would you do it?
My version would be closely to that of the Gaian. I typically see The Fool card as the beginning of a new journey and the Gaian version closely fits into my idea of what this card should be. I probably would make her sac a bit larger, more realistic – maybe a small backpack.
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