Category Archives: Extras

Disney Tarot: The World

And we have reached the last card of the Major Arcana. If someone has done the math, the princess and prince left from the line-up are Ariel and Eric. And yes, they are both in the card:

21-The-World

The World is one of those cards which were originally full of religious symbolism. It features a naked women which hovers above the earth, seemingly moving forward but looking back, holding a staff in each hand, surrounded by a green wreath, and in each corner a different creature. In the older decks those are usually a tetramorph, featuring the symbols of the four Evangelists: A human head, a lion, an ox and an eagle. Never decks tend to avoid the Christian symbolism and choose to explain those figures as astrological symbols (the Leo, the Taurus, the Aquarius and the Scorpio) for the four elements, and the wreath is sometimes replaced with an ouroboros.

I have decided to lean into the idea with the four elements. So, Fabius naturally stands for water, Scuttle for the air, Max for earth and Eric for fire (of desire). The background also reflects this, showing the sea (water), rocks (earth), the sky (air) and the yellow light of a rising sun (fire). I was first unsure about using Ariel in her mermaid form, but then felt that her being on land, but still having her fish tail is a good way to show her direction of travel. That’s what the card ist standing for: travel, completion and accomplishment. It is also seen as a sign of growing maturity. Considering that I see The Little Mermaid as the story of an immature teenager making the transition to adulthood, Ariel is in my eyes the perfect symbol for a card which also represents the falling away of boundaries

Especially if you consider the reverse meaning, which warns of taking short-cuts and possible delays. One could say that in Ariel’s story, Ursula stands for the short cut to “standing on your own feet” and Triton for the delay of allowing her to grow up.

Speaking of Ursula, I have also a card featuring her in my Minor Arcana. Alas, since nobody answered last weeks requests for input, I won’t post it just now. If someone expresses interest after all I might eventually. So I hope at least some had fun with the cards I designed and my thoughts regarding them. For now I am taking a break of tarot.

 

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Disney Tarot: Transformation

Judgement is another card I renamed because I wanted to take out the religious element of it. The original one is very much inspired by the notion of Christian Resurrection. I went for Transformation in the place of Judgement, because it is pretty much the core meaning of the card, but it is also an element which often turns up in Disney Princess movies in order to usher in a big change. And the most famous of transformations is certainly this one:

20-Transformation

No dead people being resurrected in this one, at least not literally. One could argue though that the prince was dead inside until it experienced being a Beast, eventually developing empathy for other beings. Since it is a whole journey it was important for me to include both of his transformations into the card, showing how he comes full circle. It is both an end and a beginning.

The card is meant to tell a story of transition, but unlike The Death or The Tower, it isn’t a sudden or even unwanted change. This one is a slow change towards an intended outcome, a change, which will set your life on a new path going forward. Upright it stands for judgement, change, decisions, success, rebirth and an inner calling. Sometimes it can mean absolution. In reverse is symbolises self-doubt, the need for inner critic and a warning, not to ignore a call.

In a way, it is a very fitting card to have as the second to last of Tarot. There is is only one card left, and everyone who has paid attention should be able to guess which Princess/Prince pair will symbolize The World, which will conclude the Major Arkana. Now I am wondering: Is there an interest in the Minor Arkana, too? I have done a complete deck, but writing those articles takes time, too. Hence I would really like some feedback if should continue those kind of articles, or if I should perhaps bundle them or if I shouldn’t bother at all. I would be very thankful for any kind of answer.

 

 

 


Disney Tarot: The Sun

The Sun was another card where the pick for a fitting image was fairly easy. After all, there is exactly one princess, whose powers came from the sun, and who comes from a kingdom which uses the sun as a symbol. The design I came up with looked like this:

19-The-Sun

Usually the card features a child riding on a white horse but, well, there isn’t a single moment in Tangled in which Rapunzel is actually riding Maximus, never mind doing it as a child. So I needed to be a little bit creative. To symbolize the child-aspect of the card I put child Rapunzel into the sun (for which I naturally picked the symbol of Corona as drawn by Rapunzel herself). And then I picked a scene which shows the close connection between Rapunzel and Maximus, while also expressing the joy which is inherent in this particular card.

The Sun is an inherently positive card, standing for success, abundance and vitality. It suggests that personal goals are well within someone’s reach, if said someone is ready to put some effort into realising them.  In reverse it points to the inner child, but also warns of being overly optimistic about something. In a way, this is also Rapunzel’s biggest strength and biggest flaw at the same time, her optimism wins her a lot of friends, but it also leaves her often vulnerable.

In a way her journey is similar to what is presented in the card, the development from childlike innocence to a better understanding of the world which surrounds her. It is a journey we all take, though usually not within three days.

 

 


Disney Tarot: The Moon

Well, we are back to one of the trickier cards. Picking the right motive to represent The Moon was fairly easy though. I pretty fast settled on this one:

18-The-Moon

I laid the ghostly figure of the Genie over the moon because in the original card the moon has a face. There are usually no humans in the card, instead it features a wolf and a domesticated dog howling at the moon as well as a crayfish peaking out of the water. There are also two large pillars shown, which are here represented by the huge trees.

I don’t mean to be insulting, but I felt that a thief and a princess are a good replacement for the wolf and hound, the human which is bound by nothing vs the one which has been domesticated, so to speak. They are representing the tamed and the wild aspect of the mind. The main reason I wanted those two on the card though, is its meaning.  The Moon indicates that something in the life of the reader is not what it seems. That doesn’t necessarily mean an outright deception along the lines Aladdin commits, it also can be about some sort of misunderstanding or a truth one refuses to admit to oneself.

Usually the moon on the card is frowning. The expression of the Genie is more fluid. Technically he is smiling, but you can also read his face as either angry or worried, depending on which part of it you focus. I felt that this was a good fit for the ambiguity of a card which on the one hand warns of deception, especially the deception of oneself, but on the other hand advocates for a spiritual approach to cut through said deception by using intuition as a weapon.

In reverse The Moon stands for repressed emotion and inner confusion. This aspect is hinted in the card due to the reflection of the characters in the water, hinting at the need to reflect on oneself. If the card turns up in reverse, the reflection is on the top, showing how the emotional side needs to be attended to in order to move on in life. Even if it won’t be on a flying carpet.

 

 

 


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.

 


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!”