Monday 1 August 2016

Tarot Blog Hop Lammas 2016: Opposites


Maureen Aisling Duffy-Boose is the hostess for this tarot blog hop, the first one this year in which I have felt drawn to participate:

This Hop celebrates the festival of Lughnassadh, Lammas, Loaf-Mass, and many other names. It has historical lore connected to a tale of Lugh Lámhfhada (Lugh of the Long Arm) or his alternate title, Lugh Samhildánach (Lugh of the Many Skills), who is a primary harvest Deity in Celtic lore. In the oldest Irish lore, the festival is celebrated in honor of the funeral games of Tailtiu, the foster-mother of Lugh, who had died of exhaustion after clearing a huge tract of forestland by hand in order that the crops which were being overrun by the armies of the Tuatha de Danaan and the Fir Bolg might be re-planted, so that the people might not starve. Lugh is a primary God of the Harvest in Ireland, and in Christian times, the first-fruits of the grain, harvested in the month of August, were baked into the sacred bread of which the Holy Communion was made in the churches, giving rise to the name "Loaf-Mass" for the festival celebration. In any case, this feast in all the Celtic lands has a particular relevance to the way we interpret the Tarot, for the reason that it is focused on a "union of opposites", celebrating both the bounty of the land which is yielding the Harvest, and honoring the memory of a beloved Elder who dies in the process of making this Harvest possible. 

 So, for this "Hop", let's do some exploring of the "union of opposites" and take a look at the cards with this in mind.

 I feel like a bit of a cheat - when I sat down to write this post, about 2 cards that represent opposing but necessary parts of a cycle, I realized I had already spoken about this idea, here

Here is the soundtrack to go with the cards:


So this time, winging it, let's discuss the symbolism in XIII Death that indicates the new growth that comes after ... one of my favorite versions is from the Hudes deck:

The Hudes is a sparse deck, not overloaded with color or images; but it's very starkness means that the symbols that are depicted have more impact - and here the butterfly symbolizing transformation and new life is in addition located in the pelvic region (sex and new life) of Death's skeleton.

All these versions contain the signs of new life to follow:

 Darkana Tarot Halloween Tarot Crystal Visions Tarot

 Shadowscapes Tarot                                New Palladini Tarot                              Tarot for Cats

 Animism Tarot Crystal Tarot 

It is more of a challenge to find Marseilles-type decks with imagery of transformation, but it can be done:

Tarot Noir BOTA Tarot Daniloff Tarot

Of course, if you consider those decks which retitle Death to 'Transition' or some such bowdlerized name, there are several 'fluffy bunny' versions to be ignored; in this category instead we seek cards which retain the darkness, and my (not exhaustive) search found only one:

Wildwood Tarot

If you know of any renamed 'Death' cards that are not Happy Squirrel-type cards, please let me know in the comments section. 

I imagine it would be an interesting if time-consuming exercise to see how many other tarot cards contain opposites in their imagery - if you have found any, please let me know in the comments section.

Now you may fall back to Joanne's blog, or trip forward to Boglarka's blog ...

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  1. Great selection of cards and I loved having the soundtrack in the background!

  2. I saw cards here from decks I never heard I'm hungry again! Nice work, and thank you~~

  3. Personally I like the names of Death such as "The Close" or "Transition" because it helps me see Death in other ways. I don't find them "fluffy" at all.

  4. Glad to see that the Wildwood and one of Alexander Daniloff's Deaths made the grade!

  5. Have a look at Osho Zen "Transformation". You might like that one

  6. Really enjoyed this thorough comparison. It's such a great exercise to see how different artists interpret the symbolism of each card.

  7. The Wildwood's version of Death is my favourite - although the Thoth version is dark-ish too. I like the simplicity of the Hudes Death card, though. Great to see so many versions all in one place!

  8. You made me start to love the Death card! :) Your collection of these cards is wonderful! A big fave of mine is the Deviant Moon Death card - scary a bit but hilarious, as well, it would fit in your collection, too. Great post, thank you so much for it!


Thanks ! I love comments :-)