Monday, January 18, 2010

Tarot Girls: The Major Arcana

Photo by Lilly1975
Everyone seems to have their own interpretation of tarot cards. Something about those little pieces of paper seems so mystical, so omnipotent, and every card seems to have a life all of its own. Some cards are tiny girls with swords unsheathed, some are boys with electric manes like lions - nevertheless, these seemingly harmless cards can be potent parts of our lives; fortune tellers and iconic figures. They can be girls and boys who we know and recognize - maybe best friends, maybe strangers; they can be ourselves - and whether we lay out ancient spreads every morning or play "pick-a-card" with our baby niece, tarot cards can spill their secrets to those willing to listen. Each card has a life of its own, and through this on-going series here on Cocoa I'll share what each card says to me in lullaby highs and hushed lows. This is the story that the Major Arcana tells.
The Fool

The Fool
- A daydreamer
- Full of potential and possibility
- Almost blind to impending dangers
- Childlike
- Optimistic
- Naive
Emily believed that the absolute best way to calm a charm bracelet of jittery nerves was with a big bowl of chocolate gelato and a night spent whizzing around the nearest roller rink. The gelato wasn't hard to find - there were tiny gelaterie everywhere, boasting spectacular names like "Michaelangelo's" or "La Dolce Vita", tucked away in the sullen corners of sleepy city streets. The roller rink, though - that was a whole different story. In this glorious age of twenty first century thrills and chills, she found that most folks had long ago traded in childhood classics like roller rinks and ice skating for more the age-appropriate pursuits of Blackberries and pub crawls. While other women her age spent their weekends picking out Yves Saint Laurent lipstick in deep raspberry shades, she sucked down ballerina pink cherry sodas and gazed dreamily at glossy magazines, transfixed by the fizzing whirlwind of electric color. She realized that in this ever-changing marquee of a city, even children weren't allowed the luxury of childhood - it seemed as though everyone had already grown up before they even had the chance to be foolish and wild. Staring wide-eyed at her favorite childhood roller-rink, plywood nailed to the doors and neon spray-painted pictures of high-rises and superheroes thrown across the walls, Emily vowed that she would never fall victim to the disease that is adulthood. With one hand on her magazine and another over her heart, she swore to swing through the childhood that, much like her favorite roller rink, everyone else had abandoned.
The Magician

- Self-confident
- Powerful
-Skillful/talented
- Provides the tools for change
- Creation
- Smooth-talker
- Open/revealing
The very first trick Kate learned, at the all-grown-up age of eleven and a half, was to make a coin disappear. After French lessons and piano practice and college level calculus taught by a charmingly tousled tutor - a sweetly awkward English twenty-something to whom Kate felt superior to in every way - he would lead her out onto the peppermint-scented lawn for a lunch of mushroom pate and warm baguettes and pineapple salad and chocolate mint eclairs and, between the rows of honeysuckle and baby's breath, he would show her magic. He palmed coins and produced scarves and turned cards into flowers, and deep down inside, rumbling with the aftershocks of not fully understanding something for once in her life, Kate burned to do the same. Her head, with its world-class education and radiant sharpness, purred that these simple parlor tricks were child's play and could be deconstructed into their smallest parts, and so snuck quietly to her room, her tutor's coin in hand, and practiced until the sky darkened and her hands ached. After the next morning's Mandarin and classic literature and viola lessons in the parlor, she pulled the coin from her dress and, like a seasoned magician gracing a crowd with mysteriously foreplay, waved her hands until the coin shimmered out of existence. Her tutor, a glint of pride in his eyes, clapped politely, but it wasn't until he began searching for his coin (of which he assumed she had palmed or slipped into her sock the way children often do) that true confusion began to set in. Opening the piano seat, peeking behind keys, plucking at each taut string until they confirmed, with a polite D, F, or G minor, that the coin was not there, he turned his gaze on her and demanded the coin. I made it disappear, she declared, smoothing out her dress - isn't that the trick? The coin, by now most likely tarnished by age, was never found, and even Kate can't quite account for the items that she makes disappear. All she knows now, standing on stages and in front of tail-coated gentry, is that she found her magic, and no textbook could ever teach her the same.
The High Priestess
- Beauty
- Mystery
- Omniscient
- Intelligent
- Psychic powers (intuition and secret knowledge)
- Secretive
- Eccentric
- Insightful
- Unpredictable

Sadie was a curbside prophet, a Saturday-morning dreamer who spent every weekend exploring the city that she loved like a first-time lover. She would wander barefoot through farmers markets that blocked off entire roads and come home with funny hats and bohemian scarves and vegetables still wet with morning dew. She would watch passion plays in the park and sing along with every musician she passed, beating with them on bongos or slapping at her thighs. She bought tickets to independent movies playing at theatres no bigger than her flat, only to give them away to strangers on the street right before showtime just so she could stand under the marquee and its hundred-year-old bulbs and watch the crowds rush in. At night, she would swing through cafes that seemed aglow with dim electric light, sipping cafe au laits and holding existential conversations with complete strangers, only to slip out quietly when they weren't looking and do it all again somewhere new so that when they turned back around they could only wonder if she was there, with her wild hair and crow-black eyes, or if she was just a strange and wonderful dream.
Always,
Penelope ♥

6 comments:

Crysti Couture said...

Penelope,

I VERY much love the little stories you came up with on each Tarot inspired outfit!

Oh my goodness, especially the Magician! I can only hope to be a little like that character!

Much love!

stay gold said...

I am so thrilled you are back! You are as lovely as ever. :)

Melissa said...

I really like these little stories. :) Especially the last one! The part about the movies was genius.

S. L said...

I love the toe-tingling magical stories you write - so glad you're back!

Teddi said...

oh but u can write deliciously! love ur poetic insight & the pictures u paint with words :)

Ariel said...

Hi, I just discovered your blog and I LOVE this post...you should do The Star, The Wheel of Fortune and the World!!!

wishing you an enchanted life,
read my storyblog, The Forest
freewebs.com/queercat
xo Ariel Grimm