This Tarot of Fire Card Reminds Me of That Old Man

Daily Draw June 4th, 2011

I bought The Tarot of Fire deck knowing it wasn’t perfect in its artwork, but knowing that the classic Lo Scarabeo quirkiness of meaning was back in force, I felt compelled to buy it. I like it much better than the Pagan Cats, which was way too bland in its rigorous attachment to Rider-Waite imagery. Poor LS, people complain about one thing or another and they are caught in the middle.

I’ll get the negative bits out of the way first. They’ve used computer generated figures on this which gives some of the cards a goofy lack of expression. I had the Poser software once and I found the absence of expression disconcerting and still do. There is just something missing, but they’ve managed to pull it out of the fire and make some charming cards. (Pun!)

The other really odd thing is the greenish cast to the fire in many of these cards. Green fire? Bad day with printing proofs or something fellas? Instead of fire, it’s more like green ice in some images which is weird. God has green hair instead of gold on one card.

Apart from that I was immediately hooked and liked the deck, I liked that they were all over the place with world mythology, I kept seeing images that reminded me of other decks, which is part of the fun for me in getting a new deck, and away I went. This is a keeper. It may not be an “A” level deck, but it has some solid information on mythology that will lead to greater exploration, and charming imagery.

This is where the old man comes into it, I saw this card and was reminded of the Osho Zen Tarot. Aren’t they a perfect match? In The Tarot of Fire he is illustrating a Chinese myth about animals contributing to the discovery of fire. This little bird was hoping he could get some millet seed for his trouble but the man is busy. What’s this, too busy for the birdie after he helped you discover fire? What kind of a deal is that Grasshopper?

My husband keeps asking me how I remember when I have a similar card, especially since I’ve now got 350 decks. I don’t remember them all but I’ve worked with many of these decks for years so they tend to stay in my visual memory. When the artwork hits your eye, that means it’s good. I saw this chap on the Justice card and out came Osho again. This Tarot of Fire card shows the Egyptian god Osiride on his throne in the Underworld.

Although I didn’t remember this card outright, while I had the Osho Zen out I browsed through it and this one went well with a card I had already pulled out of The Tarot of Fire because it struck me as a good one. The butterfly seems to have the face of a Siamese cat on his wings. The cat is attracted to that fire green candle, while heavily under the influence of Dylan Thomas’s poem Fern Hill obviously.

This references the myth of Eros and Psyche because Eros is the flame of desire that Psyche cannot resist. In this picture, he’s been sucking on a lime green popsicle for refreshment and she, arising from her chair after reading Thomas, finds herself drawn to his ice green flaming lips. I dare you to forget what this card means after that explanatory notation. Hey, I can roll with these Lo Scarabeo booklets, I’m with it, I’m there.

A story to every card, that’s my imperative.

And then the hand of god came into the picture, or rather Zeus. Back to some Greek mythology and Hephaestus forging thunderbolts for Zeus, which reminded me of one of my all-time favourite cards from The Mystic Rubaiyat by Penelope Cline. Destiny, thunder, the hand of Zeus and fire forging our lives and firing up our creativity.

These four cards were ones that struck me and I pulled them out. I really loved that they put Pompeii being destroyed by the volcano Vesuvius on this Tower card. If you’ve ever seen the archaeological digs of Pompeii and Herculaneum, you can see the way the people died, huddled together; it is very poignant. It brings some depth to this card, which as an archetype can become something we take for granted.

The Fool is great, he is an Alf or Drac from Germanic mythology, and LS describes him as a goblin that lives in homes, a ball of fire that enters through the chimney. The Fool as a fiery Santa figure. I thought it was interesting and will look up the legends concerning this goblin later.

The Moon is lovely too—another card that can become worn out in stereotype. Here the snake is bringing man the fire of knowledge and momentarily checking the illusions of the moon. What I really like though is the spider, which brings to mind creation myths of a spider goddess, plus Anansi the trickster spider from African mythology.

That lovely black swan on the 5 of Swords is from an Australian myth, where the swan saves fire (presumably for man) but does not realize the witch is with him. While I did find an aboriginal myth about black swans, I haven’t yet found the particular myth about fire and the black swan and a witch.

And lastly I come to the 6 of Swords which so reminded me of several cards that I had to pull them all. This depicts a Hebrew myth and the purifying flames goes from red to white according to the booklet. But those stairs, those thin, winding stairs are what piqued my interest.

One court card caught my eye, the Queen of Chalices, who is drawing the sign of the rune “Ken” on a rock. I loved the note in the booklet: “The Queen is a dreamer seeking a way of expressing herself through art.” This is probably one of the few Cups Queens across decks that speaks to me. Ken has several meanings and is supposed to represent a torch flame. I like that it is associated with Heimdall as I put Heimdall on the bag I made for the Lord of the Rings Tarot.

It also reminds me of a card I drew from the Instant Oracle in this post that I titled The Secret Writer.

Another successful deck. I will enjoy rummaging through this periodically and reading up on the mythology.


4 thoughts on “This Tarot of Fire Card Reminds Me of That Old Man

    • In The Wheel poor Ixion unfortunately looks like a Poser person in a diaper, which hardly gives impact to the archetype. (I stifle a chuckle.)

      BUT, it’s an apt tie-in if you examine the story of Ixion in mythology. The image reminds me of St. Catherine on her wheel too.

      I’m trying to think of an effective way to get around the odd goofiness of the image. Perhaps a full-blown study of Ixion and the wrath of Zeus would frighten the hell out of us all and bring deeper meaning to the card?


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