Category Archives: Disney Tarot

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.

 

Advertisements

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 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.

 

 


Disney Tarot: The Strength

Historically The Strength was the card number XI in the deck, but I went with the now popularized Raider Waite Tarot numbering and put it on number VIII. And I have to admit: This might have been the easiest card of all of them, at least in terms of concept. Just looking at the usual arrangement of this card, I was immediately reminded of this scene:

08-The-Strength

Everything about this moment embodies strength. Walking away peaceful from an alteration is strength. Convincing someone to do so just with a kind word is strength. The Card stands for courage, persuasion, influence and compassion, and there is no story and no character which embodies all those ideas better than Cinderella. To quote from Wikipedia:

“The Strength card was originally named Fortitude, and accompanies two of the other cardinal virtues in the Major Arcana: Temperance and Justice. The meaning of Fortitude was different from the interpretation of the card: it meant moderation in attitudes toward pain and danger, with neither being avoided at all costs, nor actively wanted.”

That is exactly what Cinderella does. She picks her battles. I put the bells in the background of the card as a reminder of the pressure she is under in this scene. She knows that if Bruno actually hurts Lucifer badly, she would no longer be able to protect him. So she let’s Lucifer “win” in this particular situation, but she also rescues Gus from him just a few scenes later. Cinderella’s interaction with her family is similar. Most of the time she is following orders but if an opportunity presents itself to her – be it an excuse to interrupt “music” lessons or to go on a ball – she will take it. That is in a lot of ways true strength, the ability to endure while keeping an eye out for opportunities.

The low point of Cinderella, when her dress gets destroyed, is a cumulation of everything the card stands for in reverse: Self-doubt, lack of energy and raw emotion.

The Strength is usually my favourite card in every Tarot deck, because there is something dignified and powerful about it. Next week we will discuss the maybe most introspective card of them all: The Hermit.