I took today and part of yesterday off from painting cards to really put some time into making an easy to use, simple enough- but also nuanced enough- visual reference for Tarot correspondences.
I very much like the cabalistic depictions corresponding the tree of life to the Tarot system. I think it is both a simple and complete framework for understanding the essence of each card's meaning. This is the framework that like the best for reading cards- super minimal, succinct but enough to convey the deeper currents of each archetypal person, event, emotion, phase, concept or theme.
This framework has been well imbedded in my head, and it comes with me, consciously or not, with every card I focus on. From the classic Rider-Waite images to all the beautiful, myriad variations on thousands of oracle cards, every artist and reader also have this foundation. From this common seed, all of the intuition, insight and energy grow.
As I focus on each card that I paint, I am really working to tune everything out, and immerse myself in the story of the card, and, specifically, my moms story in the card. I am well aware that each character that I see in Tarot, in dreams, probably definitely in life in general, is just a projection of some aspect of myself, and I am using that to move deeper into the story of the card, noticing the details, and finding that place that I only find painting.
There is this magic that happens for me with paint that doesn't happen in quite the same way with any other medium. At some point in just about every painting I do, there's this moment where it sort of jumps off the page at me. This is most poignant when I am painting a person, because when that paint has finally done it's thing, melded in just the right way, it's like I am making eye contact with them. I recognize them, there on the page. I see them.
Because of this, it's interesting to see who pops up on the cards when I focus on channeling my moms story, her energy, into the painting. These significances will now always be a part of each card for me- even when I use another deck, I will still feel that *ping* of recognition when The Magician is drawn- that feeling in the back of my throat that I know now as hunger, that I felt when I painted the card only to recognize myself there in the person.
It is the truth of the card for me, and it is part of a bigger truth: Tarot is both deeply personal, and universal. A relationship can be built with each card- the *ping* of aching recognition will be there because we all live all of these stories, either in our day to day life, in the roles that we play, or, in the memories that flood me as I paint, in the once upon a time.
This is why Tarot has stood the test of time; it's adaptable because we are each so oddly specific in the same ways, only different.
I decided it was time to get more formal with a correspondence guide for a couple reasons. One, it's gonna take a while to get all these paintings done, lol, so it's fun to have something to share in the meantime! Two, it's going to help me have less of a mad-scientist-notes-everywhere kind of vibe, because I pared it down to the essentials and got it on one sheet, which is awwwwwsome because even my pretty-good charts and notes haven't got the Majors and Minors on the same page- with Chakra, Kabbala, Numerology and Waite's references noted. One of the things I like best about Tarot is how it combines traditions, and each piece is part of how I think of the energy of the card- along with mythology, symbology, Jungian concepts, colors, planets and elements.
I take allllll of that, and then I feel into it. Lately as I paint, I feel into the stories as they relate to my mother, because that's the story I want to paint with this deck. When I do a reading for someone else, I feel into their energy, and try to let that wash over me as I read the card. The frame is there, and my intuition fills the details in, the specifics, the nuance.
And yours does, too! With your stories, your mothers stories, and all the other stories that come together when you read a card, for yourself or for someone else. That's why, even though we share this seed of tradition, every person reads the cards differently, and differently at different times.
I hope that my chart will help you! I made a pretty one that will be on a gorgeous full color print poster that I can't wait to get a copy of, but I made the PDF with very limited color, to make it easy on your printers. Print it, pin it, punch holes and slip it in a binder or book... I'm so proud and excited to be contributing to this tradition!