Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Minor Arcana Royalty

The Dressed Cards are actually a group of their own. They follow the suits, but don't represent a thought the same way as pips and major arcana. They represent people, fair and square. Now, there are people who disagree about this. Of course, I disagree on many things with my fellow tarot readers, and the funny thing is that none of us is wrong...

The traditional interpretation is that Cups are blonde, Scandinavian type people, Coins are redheads, Staffs are brunettes and Swords blackhaired and -eyed people. This has been adjusted a lot during the times, people have been trying to fit in non-Caucasian people, and placed dark-skinned people in Staffs and Asian people in Swords, but in the end, looks don't matter that much. It's the impression that matters.
The impression is the one of the questioner, not the reader. We all have different impressions on people. A motherly woman is something for one and totally different for another. One perhaps thinks all mothers are like Joan Crawford, another sees a bun-baking 50's housewife, nurturing, self-sacrificing woman. A third sees a modern woman with career, who will defend her pups to the last drop of blood when needed.

Pages are children, knights are teenagers, queens women and kings men. It really is that simple. What makes it a bit more complicated is that we don't always act our age... Some people were born old, some won't grow one day older how long they ever live. We have heard "boys grow until they are five, after that it's only their toys that grow". Very generalizing and wrong assumption, but some boys (and girls) are like that. They would be presented with a page, even when they are over 30, 40 and 50 by their birth certificate. We have the Lost Boys and Girls, who will be presented with knights.

I am a fairytale fantast, fantasy reader and medievalist, so to me page and knight are important - king and his page, queen and her knight.
In some decks the names have been changed; page to princess, knight to prince, in an effort to equalize "the family" and to modernize the deck. (The court cards are sometimes seen as a family; King the Father, Queen the Mother, Knight the Son and Page the Daughter.)

Young noble boys were sent to a foreign court to be trained. They were supposed to be small helpers, running errands, fetching things, standing by you ready to help, like a surgery nurse. In the Victorian times, this job was switched from males to females, and fell to unmarried women in the family. "Fetch my shawl, take this book back, fetch the book and read to me, walk the dog, comb Harriet's hair..."
For Alistair Crowley to change the name from Page to Princess was not a good move. I don't know what he was thinking. That a lot of women have taken the practice in use with gratitude is understandable, after all, tarot cards, just as any other old tradition, is very male dominant, and it is not nice when you are a woman. Nevertheless, it's not a good idea to change the name of the card, and making the pages female... not a good idea either. Most feminists don't wish to enhance the female servitude and docility any further. Also, making the page a girl instead of a boy is a better idea, because of the meaning of the card. Princesses don't run errands, deliver messages or fetch forgotten things.

Some pages and princesses of Cups

Another pet peeve of mine is Golden Dawn and Paradosi (Western Esoteric Kabbalah, distorted version of the Real Jewish thing, and shouldn't be called with the Jewish name either.)
Tarot is a perfect, complete divination system and doesn't need to be tainted with astrology, paradosi, numerology or other such things.
Tarot works on the subconscious symbolical level, you are to read the 1000 words hidden in the picture, and these words are always different depending on the company and situation.

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