Monthly Archives: June 2019

Disney Tarot: The Balance

In case you are wondering why you have never heard of this card: I decided to not go with the usual name of The Temperance. Mainly because I don’t quite like the religious undertones of it. Especially since I picked Mulan as the perfect representation for the card. Mulan might be religious, but not in a Christian sense. And nobody fits the card as well as her.

14-The-Balance

Usually Temperance is depicted as a person pouring liquid from one cap to another. It is a historical reference to the cardinal virtue, representing the dilution of wine with water. In many decks the person is a winged angle of unspecified gender, standing with one foot on water and with one on land. In the background is a path and a crown, which might show the attainment of a goal, the mastery of one or the ability to stay true to one’s life purpose.

I think at this point it might be pretty clear why Mulan is the perfect choice for this card. Her story is all about about finding a balance in order to fulfil her life’s purpose. In her movie we see her trying to fit into the role of a woman and the role of a man, but it is only when she stops worrying about expectations and focussing on her inert abilities that she succeeds. The moment when she sits on the top of the pole is a triumph in more than one sense. She has connected strength and discipline in order to fulfil the challenge set to her, but she has found balance in herself.

Since the card symbolises in its upright position balance, moderation, patience, purpose and self-confidence, it logically warns of imbalance and excess in reverse, pointing to the need of self-healing and re-alignment. Emphasis on “self”. This card is all about the inner balance, of figuring out what your goal is and patiently go for it. Just like Mulan did.

 

 

 

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Disney Tarot: The Death

The Death might be the most feared card in Tarot, but frankly, there are other cards which have way more negative meanings than this one. I was therefore tempted to go for a more cheerful design, but ultimately decided to stay as true to mood of the card as possible. The end result looked like this:

 

13-The-Death

The elements are very different from the original card, which features an apocalypse-style skeleton on a horse, judging a group of people of all ages and different status. In the background, a boat floats down the river, akin to the mythological boats escorting the dead to the afterlife, while the sun sets between two towers one the horizon. I aimed more to capture the mood of the card while also adding elements which would properly symbolize its meaning.

The skeleton as the messenger of death is here represented by the Evil Queen on a mission to deliver death to someone else. Though she doesn’t really stand for death itself, since she is not armoured against the same fate she wishes on Snow White. Everything and everyone is fated to end, regardless of age, status or power. I have reflected this in the card by adding the two vultures, already waiting for an opportunity to feast on what is the dominant figure of the card. As powerful as the Evil Queen is at the beginning of the movie, at the end of the day she is unable to escape death (by heavenly intervention no less).

But the core meaning of The Death is always change, transformation, transition, something has to end to make room for something new. Well, the transformation aspect is shown in the card very literally by referencing to the transformation the Evil Queen undergoes to reach her goal, but also suggested figuratively if you consider that her ending Snow White’s life will eventually lead to Snow White waking up to a new beginning for her.

The Evil Queen also symbolises perfectly the reverse meaning of the card. In this position it stands for the inability to move forward, the repetition of negative pattern and the fear of change. The Evil Queens obsession with staying the most beautiful above everything else instead of accepting the passage of time and the existence of Snow White is what leads to her downfall in the end. She had everything, and she lost it because she couldn’t accept reality.

To summon this up: The Death doesn’t stand for a literal death, and frankly, it would be utterly irresponsible to read anything along the line out of the cards, ever. I can’t stress this enough. Tarot can be a tool of reflection, but it can do serious harm to people who attach some prophetic meaning to the cards. Telling such a person that they are fated to die will have a huge psychological impact on a person. Nor would it in any way reflect the spirit of the card.

 

 

 


Disney Tarot: The Hanged Man

For The Hanged Man, I didn’t pick a picture which is from a Disney movie. Instead I went to the promotional material. Because the card immediately reminded me of this:

 

12-The-Hanged-Man

The only thing which doesn’t quite fit is Eugene’s impression. The Hanged Man is supposed to look serene, like someone who chose his fate rather than a martyr. Serenity isn’t exactly in the nature of the great Flynn Rider. But he also happens to be the character who fits the meaning of the card the best, since The Hanged Man indicates someone being at a crossroad. Often it is about letting go of a goal or way of life you have in favour of something new. I even put the two options Eugene faces into the card: The crown stands for his old life as Flynn Rider, which is all about becoming rich eventually, the lanterns stand for his new dream, being with Rapunzel. They also happen to reflect nicely the halo from the original card, which symbolises new insight, awareness and enlightenment.

Ironically when you see the card in reverse, The Hanged Man tends to look even more trapped. The bonds which previously kept him from falling are now just looking restrictive. In this position the card stands for delays and for indecision, for someone holding onto a fantasy and hence overlooking what is truly desirable in life. Or, to put it differently, it says: “Your dream stinks!”

 

 


Disney Taro: Justice

So, high time to finish my Tarot cards, continuing with Justice.

There was one element I was keen to preserve from the Justice card: The Sword.  The scales are often getting more attention, because they portray the balance which should be in Justice, but I feel that it is overlooking the judgement aspect of it. And speaking of judgement, a particularly scene immediately sprung into my mind. Hence the card ended up looking like this:

11-Justice

Basically I used the emperor as a symbol for the scales, while Shang gets the role of the judge. Together they symbolize justice, fairness and law. But they also show how difficult it is to find a just balance between the written law and what is morally right.

When Shang discovers that Mulan is truly a woman, there are no less than three aspects pulling at him. There is the law or the convention regarding women in the army – most likely more a convention, because who would write specifically a law about this? Then there is his own feeling of betrayal. He trusted Ping and suddenly Ping doesn’t even exist. And finally there are his own morals, which win out in the end.

When the emperor encounters Mulan, his choice is easier. Because he is the law, he can change and reinterpret it at will. He can ignore her embracing him (which, btw, would in reality be a death sentences), and can elevate her to the respect she deserves due to her actions. He represents the fair and just ruler which frankly, is more prevalent in fiction than in real live.

Upright the card stands for justice, fairness, truth and lawfulness. In reverse it stands for lack of accountability, unfairness and dishonesty, all elements present in the scene between Shang and Mulan. Mulan is the one who has been dishonest, due to a society which is unfair and she is now judged by Shang, who might be feel be bond by the law, but is in this moment the sole power. As the heroic general whose troops stopped the Huns, he could get away with more or less everything at this point. And his decision is not following the law at all, it takes the situation into account and hence he ends up with a more merciful ruling. Though arguable, the truly fair ruling of Mulan happens towards the end of the movie, through the hand of the emperor.

Hope you all like my interpretation of the card. Next update is scheduled for in a week.