The Fool is a soul in search of experience said Arthur Edward Waite, an occult writer from the 1880s and co-creator of the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot deck. The Fool represents the protagonist and he is on a journey very similar to the Hero’s journey.
So, my reasoning for choosing the Fool as my first card to design was that he stands for the protagonist and symbolizes the beginning and the end. It’s funny, but in my story, Dragon’s Gate there is a clue that is given to the main character and part of it said the ‘beginning must go to the end.’ Okay, it’s out of context, but for me it was time to cue the Twilight Zone theme music. You know the one.
I was going to walk you through my steps on how I did this card, but I got so involved I forgot to document it. Ooops. But, I used acrylics for paint and covered the surface with Mod Podge so the liquid wouldn’t soak into the mat board. Cut the card to the size of 5 x 7 to have a larger work area.
My story takes place on a mythical Chinese island, P’eng-lai, the isle of the Immortals of Chinese mythology. I mixed the Tarot with the I Ching, since obviously Tarot cards are a western tradition.
The Chinese calligraphy means balance, but it’s not specific what kind of balance. The character is walking on a bamboo pole across an abyss. In Chinese culture the bamboo symbolizes moral integrity, resistance, modesty and loyalty, all things needed when on a Hero’s journey. On the journey, the protagonist might feel loneliness because he is leaving behind what he has known and venturing into the unknown, which is another thing bamboo represents.
There is a fan, which is meant to ward off evil spirits, the color red, represents good luck, and of course, the fan can be used to cool oneself off. The peacock feather also represents warding off evil doers.
On the pants leg is the I Ching hexagram meaning The Wanderer. It calls for the necessary attitude for undertaking a journey. Such as to be sincere, flexible and understanding of the new surroundings.
The overall color of the card alludes to the idea of a world slowly dying. The burnt red color of the fan and the turquoise green of the feather represent the hope that my main character represents.
What do you think? Any suggestions? Would you like to know more about my process for developing my Tarot deck?
Till next time,