Working on this project has been a lot of fun and a learning experience! I got to explore a new medium and incorporate it into something I’m passionate about.
Here are my final collages. I decided to use the backs of old sketchbooks I had laying around as the base. Besides the convenience, I liked the natural color of the cardboard and the sense of wear. I used acrylic medium to bind the cut outs to the bases and to varnish the pieces once I finished them. Observing the original Rider-Waite tarot design, I imitated the grey border and outlined it freehand with an ink pen.
For it’s final iteration, I moved some of the color to make the interior cut outs stand out more. I also drew in some more of the symbology – the shoulder plates and the background city.
For me, the Chariot is about conquest, domination, and victory. Whenever it shows up in a reading, it usually indicates some kind of material success or mental fortitude.
“An erect and princely figure carrying a drawn sword and corresponding, broadly speaking, to the traditional description which I have given in the first part…He has led captivity captive; he is conquest on all planes–in the mind, in science, in progress, in certain trials of initiation. He has thus replied to the sphinx, and it is on this account that I have accepted the variation of Éliphas Lévi; two sphinxes thus draw his chariot. He is above all things triumph in the mind.” -Arthur Edward Waite, The Pictorial Key to the Tarot
“This is Will armed with Knowledge. We see here, however, the wish to achieve, rather than achievement itself. The man in the chariot thought himself a conqueror before he had really conquered, and he believes that victory must come to the conqueror. There are true possibilities in this beautiful conception, but also many false ones. Illusory fires and numerous dangers are hidden here. This is the Conqueror, not by love, but by fire and the sword…”-PD Ouspensky, The Symbolism of the Tarot.
The High Priestess
For the final, I made the High Priestess a lot more spare. I removed a lot of the black swaths to allow the background to show through. I also added the labels “B” and “J” for the pillars, tucked the word “wisdom” under the figures arm in place of the Torah, and drew in some stars.
For me, the High Priestess represents intuition, the
occult, and hidden truths. When it shows up in a reading, it usually indicates something happening in the realm of the unconscious, or represents a mysterious woman or romantic interest.
“She has the lunar crescent at her feet, a horned diadem on her head, with a globe in the middle place, and a large solar cross on her breast. The scroll in her hands…is partly covered by her mantle, to shew that some things are implied and some spoken. She is seated between the white and black pillars–J. and B.–of the mystic Temple, and the veil of the Temple is behind her…She has been called occult Science on the threshold of the Sanctuary of Isis…” -Arthur Edward Waite, The Pictorial Key to the Tarot
“Then the woman turned her face to me and looked into my eyes without speaking. And through me passed a thrill, mysterious and penetrating like a golden wave; tones vibrated in my brain, a flame was in my heart, and I understood that she spoke to me, saying without words:
‘This is the Hall of Wisdom. No one can reveal it, no one can hide it. Like a flower it must grow and bloom in thy soul. If thou wouldst plant the seed of this flower in thy soul–learn to discern the real from the false. Listen only to the Voice that is soundless… Look only on that which is invisible, and remember that in thee thyself, is the Temple and the gate to it, and the mystery, and the initiation.'”-PD Ouspensky, The Symbolism of the Tarot.
For the final version, I only made a few changes. I centered the top eyes and drew in water.
For me, the moon is about confusion and bewilderment. It represents short-sightedness or spiritual or intellectual blindness. When this shows up in a reading, it usually indicates the subject is feeling lost and ‘in the dark’, or is letting something cloud their perception of their situation.
“The intellectual light is a reflection and beyond it is the unknown mystery which it cannot shew forth. It illuminates our animal nature…the nameless and hideous tendency which is lower than the savage beast. It strives to attain manifestation…but as a rule it sinks back whence it came.” -Arthur Edward Waite, The Pictorial Key to the Tarot
“Dread fell upon me. I sensed the presence of a mysterious world, a world of hostile spirits, of corpses rising from graves, of wailing ghosts. In this pale moonlight I seemed to feel the presence of apparitions; someone watched me from behind the towers,–and I knew it was dangerous to look back.”-PD Ouspensky, The Symbolism of the Tarot.