August 8, 2012

Art of Life Tarot

 The real voyage of discovery lies not in finding new landscapes, but in having new eyes. -Marcel Proust

As I have confessed before, I am a quotaholic: I am powerless over a good quote. And what better way to have a quote a day to fulfill my quota than the  Art of Life Tarot Deck by Charlene Livingstone. This stunning deck combines three of my passions: art, tarot and quotes, but what really impressed me the most was the packaging. The cards come in a box where the lid folds up into a nifty little pop up frame, complete with a clear plastic cover, making this a wonderful accoutrement for your desk or altar.

The Art of Life, recently published by US Games Systems, can be used for traditional tarot readings but for me works best as my daily affirmation. For years it has been my practice to pull a tarot card everyday, and these delightful cards have added a new layer of literature and art appreciation to my life. While the oversized cards were difficult for my small hands to shuffle, they truly do the art and quotes justice, any smaller and details would have been lost. The card backs have a beautiful detail of The Tree of Life by Gustav Klimt.

Developed by Livingstone when her husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, she found herself using the tarot as a way to find meaning and comfort rather than a mere hobby. A vivid dream inspired her combine her experiences and sense of purpose to give others a means to also help themselves. She writes in the LWB, "most importantly, I created the Art of Life because I wanted to empower the give (a) sense of strength, possibility and optimism... To encourage contemplation and for the reader to discover that the answers to life lie within."

Indeed, The Little White Book(LWB) is quite sparse in it's description and meaning of each of the cards,  but it will be clear to the expert reader that each one is a good representation of traditional meaning. Novice readers might find the deck confusing if they are trying to learn basic numerology and the five elements, but certainly they will enjoy the rich tapestry of images and inspiration that the cards provide.

I decided to do the Creativity Spread provided in the LWB:
Card 1 - Inspiration: What inspires you to do the best work possible?
Card 2 - Influences: Who or what has influences you in your decisions and endeavors?
Card 3 - Challenges: What current challenges do you face in your life?
Card 4 - Process: Where are you in your current process? What do you need to do to reach your goals?
Card 5 - Final Outcome: What are the results of your creative endeavors or current projects?

I shuffled the cards, thinking about my current creative projects, ranging from rearranging the furniture recently with more of a feng shui approach to revamping my website while Mercury was retrograde, playing in my garden after a long hiatus and my recent introduction to ballroom dance classes with my sweetie. I thought about my own long term plans create a tarot deck, how slow the artwork seems to be coming along although the writing is done. After cutting the deck three times and asserting no attachment to outcome, I drew the following cards.

Card 1 - Inspiration: Four of Wands (Harmony, Fulfillment, Growth) "Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant." - Robert Louis Stevenson. Art: Red Vineyards at Arles by Vincent Van Gogh, 1888. Interpretation: A good reminder to review my long term visions and goals.

Card 2 - Influences: The Lovers (Love, Beauty, Choice) Quote: "The heart has reasons that reason cannot know." - Blaise Pascal. Art: Endymion by George Frederic Watts, 1869. Interpretation: Working with my partner in creative ways is a positive influence now, for example, our video series.

Card 3 - Challenges: The Magician (Will, Determination, Creative Power) Quote: "I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul." - William Henley. Art: Opus 217. Against the Enamel Background Rhythmic with Beats and Angels, Tones and Tints, Portrait of Felix Feneonin by Paul Signac, 1890. Interpretation: Yes, it is challenging to do it all by myself, but it is up to me to do the work.

Card 4 - Process: Page of Wands (Enthusiasm, Ambition) Quote: "It's never too late to be what you might have become." - George Eliot. Art: The New Armor by Franz Meyerheim, 1858. Interpretation: This is a message of energy to me,  as well a seeing being a teacher a part of my process.

Card 5 - Final Outcome: I was not content with drawing a minor arcana to end a reading, so I ended up pulling three cards, the first two being my steps to outcome.
  • Two of Pentacles (Harmony, Achievement, Balance) Quote: "Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort." - Franklin D. Roosevelt. art: Blue Dances by Edgar Degas, 1899. Interpretation: Enjoy the journey as well as the destination.
  • Queen of Wands (Affability, Growth, Motivation) Quote: "The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches, but to reveal to him his own."- Benjamin Disraeli. Art: Madam Heriot by Pierre August Renoir, 1882. Interpretation: Nourish my energy and share the abundance of my wisdom.
  • The World (Self Actualization, Fulfillment, Wholeness) Quote: "All that Adam had, all that Caesar could, you have and can do... Build, therefore, your own world." - Ralph Waldo Emerson. Art: The Proportions of the Human figure by Leonardo da Vinci, 1492. Interpretation: I am a co-creator of this universe and I am now creating my reality exactly the way I want it.
Certainly a positive and optimistic reading, I am aware of pulling three wands (enterprise, development, creativity) and three major arcana (universal life stagehand major events) but the most significant card for me was The Lovers as my influence, for certainly my sweetie has been my muse, support and inspiration.  The Art of Life Tarot is indeed a treasure and will be treasured for generations to come.

Blessed be.