Card study: The Hierophant

img_20190104_095602_758Getting back to doing card studies. Got a whole slot of studies for the next few weeks on Deck. Pun intended. This week we are going to look at the Hierophant. You can see all of the shapes that support the idea of structure. Structured learning is an important part of this card. But notice a few other details that give us further insights.

The bird in the upper left reminds us to always try to see the big picture and have perspective on what we are learning. Birds also symbolize our connection to our souls. So we should try to include our souls as well as our heads in our learning. Birds also symbolize our desire to connect to a higher power, however we define that.

The second thing to notice is the presence of both male and female energy here. Traditional learning can be very male-dominated. This rendition of the card reminds us that even within the bounds of structured learning, we should try to value all types of knowledge and ways of learning.

Card study: evergreen trees

Screen Shot 2018-08-22 at 3.31.33 PMThe Wild Unknown one of my favorite decks because it is ripe with Pacific Northwest imagery. I love the use of an evergreen tree to symbolize the emperor. Evergreens symbolize virtue and longevity. They are tenacious in establishing their roots and will grow tall, towering over other trees in the forest. They also represents the New Year, interestingly. The emperor often symbolizes the opportunity to build something new and strong.

Card study: foxy!

Screen Shot 2018-08-22 at 3.29.41 PMI love the fox for this card. Yes the seven of Swords can symbolize that you were someone is not being completely truthful. But this can also be strategic and self-protective and not necessarily malicious. The fox here asks us to see through any deceptions that we or others might be putting up. But he also advises us that sometimes keeping to ourselves can be best in tricky situations.

Card study: Three of Swords

Screen Shot 2018-06-30 at 2.40.34 PMThree of Swords. This is not a card anyone enjoys seeing even though it reflects a truth we all experience. This card indicates there is heartbreak in our lives. It might be past heartbreak that continues to haunt us. It might be heartbreak we are doing our best to prevent, even though it might need to happen for growth to occur. Heartbreak is inevitable. As Mary Oliver wrote, ‘It is better for the heart to break, than not to break.’

One of my favorite things about this incarnation of this card from the Wild Unknown deck is that the swords are all bound up together. No pain exist in a vacuum. There are painful experiences in which one is not to blame. But this doesn’t refer to those situations. This refers to painful situations in which all involved play a part. We all must figure out our contribution, however small, so that we can begin to untangle ourselves from the pain. The wonderful book Difficult Conversations outlines ways for us to communicate more honestly and productively and ALWAYS from a place that acknowledges feelings. It focuses on the idea that in many situations, all players contribute in some way, small or medium or large, to painful experiences. If we are to move forward, we must figure out how we contributed and help others do the same. We are the tangled red threads in this image. We can stay bound up and messy. Or we can unweave this tangled web toward a new freedom.

Card study: shapes and colors

IMG_20180618_143657_556I love the rich imagery in #thewildunknown deck. Artist Kim Krans uses color and shapes vividly to convey intense and layered meanings. I love the new meanings offered in this card through the images represented.

I love the use of the god’s-eye in this card. This symbol signifies the ability to see things unknown but felt. What became a children’s craft to many Westerners is originally a sacred Mexican symbol for seeing beyond the physical eye and seeing the unknown. How powerful to see it here.

Krans understands lines and how they can convey complex ideas. All of the lines here work together on this card to create a space that feels enclosed yet safe. The diamond pattern in the Wild Unknown deck is used to different effect. Sometimes it is suffocating, while in cases like this, it is enveloping in a loving way. And I especially love the contrasting colors: the soothing and calming blue which is a lovely contrast to the fiery yellows and oranges. Our mind’s eye works best when passion is part of the lens.