Author Archives: swanpride

Disney Tarot: The Star

Well, following one of the most chaotic cards of Tarot follows what might be the most serene one. The Star also happens to represent a symbol, which is very prominent in Disney movies, and important for exactly one Disney Princess.

17-The-Star

Usually this card shows a naked woman kneeling at the edge of a small pool, pouring water out of two containers she holds in each of her hands. She has one foot firmly on the ground, representing her practical abilities and common sense, the other in the water, representing her intuition. Above her head is one large star and seven smaller stars, representing the chakras. At least, that’s what the card looks like in more modern decks. In older ones a woman (sometimes man) is simply looking at or gesturing towards a star in the sky.

My version of the card is closer to those older designs. Though I guess I still managed to capture the pull between the practical and the spiritual, with Tiana being a really down to earth character, working hard to realise her dream (represented through the picture in her hand), but still pulling her hope from the star.

That’s what the card is standing for: hope, faith, purpose, renewal and spirituality in general. Consequently it stands for a lack of faith, despair and some sort of disconnect in reverse. But in this position, it can also simply stand for trusting in your own abilities.

I’ll be honest here: Initially I feared that Tiana wouldn’t be a good fit for The Star, exactly because of her not particularly spiritual character, but in a way, she is perfect exactly because she is so down to earth. After all her story is also about hope, and about her finding her spiritual balance.

 

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Disney Tarot: The Tower

Well, there was from the get go a pretty obvious association regarding this card. After all, there is only one truly famous tower in all Disney Princess Movies. But it was important to capture the right kind of mood for the card, too, so it ended up looking like this:

16-The-Tower

Most people fear The Death or get nervous when they see The Devil, but the card one really has be anxious about in Tarot is The Tower. Not because it is an outright negative card, but because it represents upheaval, chaos, revelation and awakening, and most people are terrified of the idea of sudden changes in the status quo. Thus said, such a change can be a good thing, too. For example when you shake off a system which controls and limits you. The card is therefore not quite as negative as some claim. Or, to put it differently: For Gothel it might be the end of her world (life!) that Rapunzel awakened to what was done to her, but for Rapunzel it is a liberation.

In reverse the card symbolizes the fear of change, but is also can stand for a disaster, which will be averted, making this one of those cards which can be read very differently depending on the context. It is neither inherently negative not necessarily positive, no matter in which direction or which position it turns up. But it always indicates some sort of life changing event.

 

 


Disney Tarot: The Devil

Well, to me there was never a doubt who would represent The Devil in my deck. After all, there is only one “Mistress of all Evil”. Maleficent even has the horns. And this time around I tried to add as many elements as possible for the original card. The result looks like this:

15-The-Devil

Well, there are some changes in the details. While there are two figures bound in front of the throne in the original card, their bonds are really lose, indicating that they could slip their chains if they truly wanted to. This is not the case with Phillip, he is pretty much trapped. But then, the fairies are right around the corner ready to free him.

The Devil is one of the few Tarot cards which are some sort of warning. Upright it is often seen as a symbol for attachment, addiction and restriction, but other readings interpret it as a sign of jealously and resentment, self-delusion, selfishness and violence. In a way I have put both meanings in my card, with Maleficent standing for the resentment and violence and Phillip standing for the restrictive aspect of the card.

One better hope that the card turns up in reverse, because then it stands for the release of limiting beliefs and detachment from whatever tied someone down.  In other words, it indicates that the fairies are right around the corner of your own soul.


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.

 

 

 


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.

 


Disney and Fox: What’s the Deal Part 2

So, it has been a while since I wrote my first article about the Disney/Fox deal. Partly because those last six months really kept me from writing all that much for the blog at all, I couldn’t even use the Christmas break for writing since I hurt my hand shortly beforehand. Though originally I waited so long to continue this because of Comcast’s bid. Less because I though that they would succeed in stopping the deal altogether, but I knew that it might influence how it would look like in the end. And they did, not just in terms of cost. But that is a topic for another article, in which I will take a closer look at the international assets Disney now acquired. Today I want to talk about the TV assets specifically regarding the US markets and the various TV shows which now fall under Disney’s umbrella.

But first a little update. It seems like I have been pretty close with my predictions regarding the Fox movie studios so far. Bob Iger has already confirmed that they will leave Searchlight untouched, so I was right that they would stick to the usual MO to not change a working system. Searchlight’s academy award track record is just too good for Disney to do a big overhaul.

The take-over of 20th Century Fox on the other hand ended up being quite a blood-bath, the biggest surprise being the decision to dissolve the Fox 2000 brand. Well, it was mostly a surprise because there was no noise about this possibly happening beforehand. But, let’s be honest here, Fox 2000 doesn’t have the same level of brand awareness Searchlight has, so little, that I didn’t even address it separately in my last article but just lumped it in with 20th Century Fox proper. And the kind of movies they produce – middle budget book adaptations – is nothing Disney Picture can’t cover, too. Not that Disney Picture couldn’t use some creative talent to give it a few impulses, but that is another story.

20th Century Fox is currently undergoing a lot of changes. In: every project will be examined and judged. Disney has said that the movies which have started filming would be released, but there are still a lot of projects which haven’t made it to this stage yet. One project which has already been cancelled is an adaptation of Mouse Guard , a comic which is apparently Game of Thrones but with mice. Haha, some of you might think, naturally Disney wouldn’t allow anything Game of Thrones like to go through. Well, not quite. There were a lot of reasons why Disney decided to stop the project (though they’ll allow the creators to shop it around), one of it allegedly being the overblown budget for an unknown property. But apparently one reason was that Disney wants Fox to focus more on PG-13 and R-rated properties, and lower budget family friendly movies. Which, frankly, makes a lot of sense. Now, I am not quite sure why an adaptation of Mouse Guard would be considered as skewing too young – meaning, I am not sure if Fox originally pushed the concept in this direction or if Disney erroneously thought that a story involving mice had to be cutesy – but the reasoning given shows that the fears Disney might turn Fox into a clone of itself were completely unfounded.

Another thing which is now know about the future of Fox are some details regarding the future leadership. Vice chair Emma Watts is the senior most member of 20th Century Fox who will make the transition to Disney. Emma Watts is a seasoned production executive known for having a great relationship with a lot of strong talents and might be the perfect choice to take the various Fox franchises in hand.

On April 3 she joined Alan Horn during a representation at CinemaCon, and everything which has been said so far sounds like Disney intends to run 20th Century Fox like another of their brands. Give it a few years and what comes out of 20th Century Fox might be quite distinctive in their own right, mostly offering a mix of r-rated movies, horror franchises and edgy movies with franchise potential.

You might remember that I was unsure about the fate of Blue Sky and it turns out if there might be a place for it at Disney after all. At least for now Disney has put the studio on its website, alongside with Disney Pictures, Disney Animation Studios, Pixar, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Fox and Searchlight. Those seem to be the future pillars of Disney’s movie business.

While I originally wondered why Disney should need a third animation studio (not counting the entities responsible for their TV shows) when it already owns the two most successful ones out there, there is a future use I can imagine for Blue Sky.

Above all, doing movies which fit neither into the Disney Animation Studios nor the Pixar brand. To clarify, Disney is known for making family friendly movies based on fairy tales or well known childhood classics. They have dabbled in original movies once a while, and more recently with a lot of success, but taking pre-existing properties and disneyfying them is their bread and butter. Pixar on the other hand is mostly known for original, off-the-wall ideas which they develop in successful movies and then into franchises.

Those two approaches cover a lot of possibilities for animation, but there are some things which won’t fit either Disney Animation or Pixar. For example Comic book adaptations. Yes, I know, both of them have dabbled in superheroes, but there is a difference between disneyfying an extremely obscure property or doing an original take on Superhero tropes and actually adapting a comic book. Or a comic strip. Remember, Blue Sky was also the studio which successfully adapted The Peanuts and it is currently working on Nimona. Now that Into the Spiderverse has been highly successful, Disney might want to get in on the action, and Blue Skye would be way more suited to tackle a project like this than the Disney Animation Studios or Pixar are. They know how to respect an art-style and how to capture the core of an IP.

They are also more suited to movies which are more, well, contemporary. Both Disney and Pixar prefer a time-less style, which is part of the reason why their movies tent to be pretty much classics the moment they are created. Blue Sky is more connected to pop culture, which is one of the reasons why their movies often veer into “disposable” territory, but, well, there is a market for those middle-tier movies which don’t shoot for the stars. Plus, while Blue Sky has so far mostly targeted a demographic which is roughly in Disney’s wheelhouse, they are not above to do something which is clearly addressing a younger audience – see Ferdinand – or to target nostalgic about a specific period of time more so than specifically families. And since Blue Sky’s target demographic isn’t quite as defined as Disney’s, they can easily do something specifically aimed at teenagers if they wanted to.

Plus, Disney will need a lot of content for its streaming service, including animated content. Not that I think that any of the movie studios will start to produce exclusively for streaming service, at least not as long cinemas are still a profitable revenue stream. Alan Horn said as much at CinemaCon.

“The theatre is and will always be in our minds. It is the cornerstone of the theatrical business, period. It is really where it all started…it’s where Disney and Fox will continue to move forward as one united company.”

Thus said, Disney’s strategy seems to be clear. They seem to be focussed on blockbusters and popular franchises, the kind of movies which makes people feel that they really should see them in theatres because they belong on a big screen, or which make for a good outing. The smaller production seem to fall by the wayside, with the exception of Searchlight’s output, since the only kind of smaller movies which do well on the big screen tend to be the ones which get award buzz.

In the long run this means that the low to middle budget dramas will most likely be squeezed out of the market and only turn up on streaming, but I admit, I am not sure if I am too bummed about that. Mostly because I myself feel that they don’t really utilize the big screen anyway, so why not making them for streaming from the get go?

Well, so much about the movie studios. Let’s move to the television studios. Here is what Disney has acquired and will keep (there are a few assets they need to sell to avoid anti-trust issues and naturally Fox didn’t sell it’s broadcast network):

  • Fox Television Group
    • 20th Century Fox Television
    • Fox 21 Television Studios
    • FX Networks
    • FX Productions
    • National Geographic Partners (73%)
  • Fox Networks Group International
    • Fox Networks Group Asia
    • Fox Networks Group Europe
    • Fox Networks Group Latin America

There is also the Endemol Shine Group (50%), Hulu (30% which raises Disney’s share to 60%), Star India and Tata Sky (30%), but I’ll address those properties when I cover the international future of Disney as well as their plans for the streaming market. Though I need to point out that with the Endemol Shine Group (which is seated in the Netherlands) Disney also gets its hand on a couple of very interesting international IPs, including Big Brother, MasterChef, Peaky Blinders and Black Mirror.

Now Disney made an announcement regarding the future leadership and structure of the Networks on October 8, 2018. Now, this was a few months ago, and it is possible that there haven been or will be changes, but back then, it was supposed to look like this:

  • Peter Rice – Chairman, Walt Disney Television and Co-Chair, Disney Media Networks
    • Dana Walden – Chairman, Disney Television Studios and ABC Entertainment
      • Channing Dungey, President, ABC Entertainment
      • Patrick Moran, President, ABC Studios
      • Jonathan Davis and Howard Kurtzman, Presidents of Twentieth Century Fox Television
      • Bert Salke, President, Fox 21 Television Studios
      • Tom Ascheim, President, Freeform
      • Wendy McMahon, President, ABC Owned Television Stations Group
    • Gary E. Knell, Chairman of National Geographic Partners
    • John Landgraf, Chairman of FX Networks and FX Productions
    • Gary Marsh, President and Chief Creative Officer, Disney Channels Worldwide
    • James Goldston, President, ABC News

Notable about this structure is that for now mostly that Disney has apparently no intention whatsoever to disrupt the work of FX. Not only will it stay under the same leadership, it will report directly to Peter Rice. Also notable is the fact that Disney plans to keep ABC Studios and Fox Television Studios as separate entities for now. It doesn’t really look like there will be much of a change for any of the entities other than maybe in terms of programming. We will know more about than on May 14. For this day ABC’s upfront presentation is scheduled, and this year it is expanding to include it’s new corporate siblings. Not that I expect huge changes.

In a way it might make more sense to wait until this date to write this article, but let’s talk about the IP’s Disney acquired. Small disclaimer here: Television rights are waaaaay more complicated than movie rights. With movies, you have a production company and a distributor, which often belongs to the same entity as the production company. With TV shows, you have a production company, a network which buys and airs the show, someone who buys the syndication rights – and all of those can belong to a different company.  Basically, even if you know who originally produced a show that doesn’t necessarily mean that said entity has currently the control over said show. It all depends on the contracts.

Thus said, this deal is actually streamlining some of the rights, since Fox produced a lot of shows which aired of ABC – a kind of famous example is the Adam West Batman show which is now owned by Disney. And once you put all this together, well the Library is huge.

But on top of all the IPs which are owned/have been produced by either ABC or Fox, there are also a long list of IPs by now defunct production companies Fox bought at one point (or which were operating under the Fox umbrella until Fox decided to stop production). So, before I get to 20th Century Fox Television and FX, I’ll briefly cover some of the other production studios.

Regency Television seems to have been mostly active between 1999 and 2008. It’s most notable shows included Roswell and Malcom in the Middle. Foxstar Productions had a lot of success with Biography and some with Alien Nation, but otherwise there is nothing really remarkable in its small line-up. Genesis Entertainment was active in the 1980s and early 1990s and is responsible for hit shows like Highway to Heaven and Tales from the Crypt. Then there is Blair Entertainment and Storer Broadcasting, whose TV-show line-up is so small, it is barely worth mentioning. Four Star has a little bit more to offer, but since that studio was active from roughly the 1950s to the 1980s, with most of their titles being from the first two decades, a lot of those shows are a little bit dated. A lot of westerns and shows which stars celebrity X overall. Speaking of which, the list of defunct studios also includes MTM Enterprises – Mary Tyler More Enterprises – which naturally includes the Mary Tyler Moore Show but also a few other classics, like Remington Steele. And New World Television, whose most relevant programming included a bunch of Marvel based shows, including The Incredible Hulk. And Sledge Hammer.

I think the most valuable of those acquisitions is the Metromedia Producers Corporation., which has produced a number of quite interesting IPs,  including Charlie’s Angels, Hart to Hart, Starsky and Hutch and a number of other shows which can be called “classics”.

And finally there is Stephen J. Cannell Productions. Now apparently in this case the library is owned by Cannell’s family, but Fox still retains a few rights. Like the right to do remakes. We are talking here about shows like The A-Team, Hardcastle and McCormick, Hunter, Riptide, Stingray and 21 Jump Street.  Though for Disney those rights aren’t that interesting. Nice to have, but what they really want are IPs to put on their streaming service.

Which is a little bit a problem with FX. Oh, there is certainly a place for FX in the company, but I think it is save to say that if Disney decides to stream certain FX shows, it will happen via Hulu, and not Disney+.  Between shows like JustifiedNip/Tuck, Rescue Me, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Sons of Anarchy, The Shield, Archer, American Horror Story, Anger Management, The Americans, Better Things, Louie, You’re the Worst, Fargo, American Crime Story, Legion, and Atlanta there aren’t really many who would tonally fit the tone subscriber would expect from Disney.

There is one sub-division which is currently active nobody talks about, but which might not have much of a future under Disney: Animation Domination High-Def. They have produced animated shows since 2013, but frankly, there is nothing in their line-up which I actually know except for Neo Yokio, which is a hot contender for the most tone-deaf series I have encountered in the last years. Any, I am mostly putting a question mark beside this particular studio due to its animation veering more to an older audience, and Disney will be automatically more interested into shows which fit Disney+ one way or another.

But let’s talk about the big one, the long list of shows Fox produced and aired in the last decades. Those shows include M*A*S*H, Glee, How I Met Your Mother, Bones, Empire, Family Guy, 24, Modern Family, This Is Us, American Dad!, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Futurama, New Girl,  The X-Files and, maybe the biggest property, The Simpsons.

Or let’s just talk about The Simpsons, because apparently The Simpsons is seen by some people as some sort of litmus test. I am not quite sure why, though. I mean, realistically speaking The Simpsons has been a zombie show for at least a decade. Those who still watch it seem to do it more out of some sort of habit than out of true excitement. There have been videos about when exactly the downfall of The Simpsons began and what was the cause of it for years. So…what exactly can Disney do to “ruin” The Simpsons?

From my point of view, if Disney had decided to cancel The Simpsons it would be totally understandable. Yes, the ratings for the show have been relatively stable for a long, long time, but sometimes it might be a good idea to stop beating a dead horse. At the same time, I never expected them to actually do it either. Because The Simpsons are still a reliable cash cow and it would have been stupid for Disney to not milk it. And that is exactly what they did.

So, for those who don’t know already, The Simpsons was renewed for a thirty-first and thirty-second season on February 6, 2019. The latter season will contain the 700th episode. In addition, Disney is moving the first thirty seasons of the show to their streaming service, so that they will be Disney+ exclusives. Well played, Disney, well played.

But I am slipping into discussing the streaming service, so let’s close this for now with a pretty obvious observation: Regarding the merger the different Fox channels will most likely be fine for now. Some shows will be renewed, others won’t, and overall it will be business as usual. For the broadcaster the rise of streaming is the far bigger threat. They will never be completely replaced, because there will always been events which are more fun to watch live, there will always be the news segment, there will always be shows and there will always be people who prefer to flip through their channels in order to eventually settle something which happens to be on instead of having to search through some sort of catalogue. But especially the cable channels will come more and more under pressure in the future. And this might lead to Disney shutting down specific channels, both on the ABC and the Fox side of things. But if that happens, it will be more about the overall shift to streaming. It is on the various channels to keep the audience interested in their programming.

Meanwhile Disney has acquired a ton of content. Now, I don’t expect them to put all of this on their streaming platform, and not just because a lot of them are still tied up in a deal or another. But this is a lot with which they can do whatever they want. And that includes creating remakes or making movies out of them. The possibilities are kind of endless there.

And that’s for now. Next time I will examine the streaming plans of Disney in more detail – both nationally and internationally, the latter maybe being the more interesting topic.

 

 


Disney Tarot: The Wheel of Fortune

The Wheel of Fortune might present the very core of Tarot. The depiction of the wheel itself varies greatly, but when it has inscriptions, it usually displays the letters T-A-R-O which can naturally be read like a constant circle of Tarot, but also as rota, which is the Latin word for “wheel”. I left those out, but I found the perfect “wheel” to symbolize the notion of fate in a Disney Princess movies:

10-Wheel-of-Fortune
Since Aurora’s fate literally hinges on a (spinning) wheel, there was no doubt what the motive of this card would be from the get go. This card is a little bit unusual, since it is more unpredictable than most. Sometimes it is read upright as good luck and in reverse as bad luck, but that is a little bit too simplistic for my taste. To me it symbolizes karma, life cycles and destiny in its upright position. And that can be as well as the good karma to be gifted with beauty as well as the bad karma of being fated to die. In reverse though, it can show a resistance to change, but also a breaking of the cycle. Because at the end of the day, we do have a degree of control over our own fortune. When the three fairies break the curse on Aurora, they not just rescue her, she is also finally free of the restricting fate which up to this point has controlled her whole life. She is still restricted due to being a princess, but she now has a future which will be shaped by her, not by decisions the three fairies make to protect her.

And those are my (admittingly very surface) thoughts about The Wheel of Fortune. Frankly, this is a card you always have to read in context, but I am very happy with my interpretation of it. The next card will be Justice, though I can’t promise that the article will be up next week. The busy time of the year starts, and I haven’t even decided yet if I will manage to do a fairy tale month this time around. But I promise, I’ll try.

 


Disney Tarot: The Hermit

This is one of the cards where I went a little bit more creative. It might be a little bit of a leap to get from an old man with a lantern to a young woman with a book, but I still felt that this picture was perfect to capture the spirit of The Hermit:

09-The-Hermit

This is one of those cards which is often renamed: The Monk, Time or The Sage are all possible alternative names. I considered going for The Reader, but then I felt that keeping the title would be more specific.

Usually The Hermit holds a lantern which guides his path, but only lights the next steps and not the whole journey. He needs to take steps forward in order to see where to go next because knowledge won’t be revealed to him all at once. Reading a book is similar, you have to take it page by page and even when you have finished it, there is still the next book to add to your knowledge.

The Hermit stands for soul-searching, introspection and inner guidance, but also for being alone. Belle trusts her own moral compass and the knowledge she gains through reading, but she is also utterly disconnected from the village due to walking her own path. Consequently she is also experiencing the reverse meaning of the card: Isolation, loneliness and withdrawal from the world.

So, hopefully that helped to explain why I made this leap. My pick for the next card will be a little bit more obvious, though. See you next week.