The 2017 International Tarot Day Deck, spearheaded by Janet Boyer, is under construction, and the individual cards can be previewed by going to this site.
After much ironic agonizing over my choices every step of the way, here is the final design for my 7 of Cups:
Here’s the bio I gave them:
Jennifer (@aceoftarot) has been obsessively studying Tarot for about a year, and is quite fond of gardening, space, and various creative, meditative, and spiritual practices. She is less fond of practicality, moderation, and making choices, which is probably how the 7 of Cups ended up being her card. Find her at aceoftarot.com or as @aceoftarot on Instagram (mostly) or Twitter (rarely).
And here is the description I submitted for the card:
On this card we see a figure in silhouette, gazing at an array of items in golden “cups” that hover in the clouds before her. The items seem to be on offer to her; she needs only to make a choice. In this sense, it is much like the Rider Waite Smith version of the 7 of Cups. However, the figure here – rather than standing in a pose that implies some shock or bewilderment – is sitting in a contemplative/meditative pose on what might be seen as a pool or mat of water, on a barren moon surface. The water beneath her, reflecting her silhouette, represents the way our subconscious minds and unexamined emotions underpin our choices, and affect who we become as a result. The moon in the Tarot symbolizes the unconscious mind, intuition, and dreams. The clouds here are cosmic – the birthplace of stars, suggestive of pure potential. She has in each hand a garden tool, and the “cups” arrayed in front of her are actually garden pots, full of flowering plants that (like the contents of each cup on the Rider Waite Smith card) symbolize potential aspects of self/life that tend to have emotional value for us as humans.
The 7 of Cups is a card with many potential keywords, but generally suggests choices, illusions, imagination, daydreaming, fantasy, or even overindulgence or addiction (in the Thoth deck it is called “Debauch.”) This version of the card uses a gardening metaphor to examine the choices we make and how we make them. What do we choose to cultivate and grow in our own lives, and within our character? What do we plant in the first place, and do we plant it at the right depth and location, with adequate spacing and in fertile soil? Do we care whether the plant will provide food or habitat or only beauty? How much do we nourish and tend to each plant once it’s in the ground? Which areas of our gardens do we carefully prune, in order to help the rest grow in a healthier or more attractive manner? Are there things we plant that we forget to water after our initial interest wears off? Have we planted anything “invasive” that is growing out of control, perhaps even damaging other life forms around it? Is there anything we decide after a time to just dig up entirely?
Many cultures have assigned “meanings” to various flowers. The flowers shown here were chosen from the Chinese “flower calendar,” to play on the concept of these flowers coming from the stars. However, since there are seven cups (and twelve months of the year), it’s obvious that our silhouetted figure isn’t simply being dealt her fate based on her date and time of birth. Her astrological sign may affect her, but she is actively choosing here which personal traits or elements of life to pursue. For that reason, it is not important which month each flower is associated with. In fact, it’s not entirely necessary for the sake of this card’s advice to know what each flower’s suggested meanings are, just that each cup offers a different choice. But just for fun, here are some of the symbolic associations for each flower on this card, with the traditional Chinese meanings in italics:
- Tree peony (love and affection, reproduction, happy marriage, nobility, compassion, prosperity, peace, devotion, bashfulness)
- Poppy (emblem of evil and dissipation, pleasure, imagination, eternal sleep, consolation)
- Plum blossom (beauty and longevity, perseverance, courage in adversity)
- Lotus flower (perfection and purity, enlightenment, self-regeneration, rebirth, longevity, honor)
- Pomegranate (progeny and posterity, mature elegance)
- Cherry blossom (emblem of the feminine principle, fragility of life, a good education)
- Mallow blossom (magic charm against evil spirits, consumed by love, delicate beauty)
Notice that each flower has many potential meanings. Similarly, we make our life choices based on what meaning we assign to each thing we pursue or attempt to embody – and whether we even believe it is possible for us to attain in the first place. The figure on this card looks to be taking her time, pondering her choices, perhaps dreaming big (but hopefully not getting her head stuck in the clouds!) Ideally she is aligning her intuition and imagination with her core values in order to make the best choices at this point in her life. We all must come back to moments of contemplation like this, time and time again, as we tend to our lives.
How is your garden growing?
Well, I’m excited about this image being made into an actual card, and having an actual deck with a card in it that I designed. And I’m also really pleased that the 7 of Cups no longer bugs me every time I pull it. Now it just makes me chuckle, because I’ve spent so much time with it that it almost feels like an old friend teasing me when it shows up.
I’d like to say so much more about a ton of things, but it’s late and I need to sleep. I will leave it at this for now — just the update I promised when the card was done. I mean, geeeeez, I can’t even think of any jokes to make or bring myself to make a numbered list or ANYTHING. I must be suuuuuuper tired.
If anyone actually reads this before I write the next post, feel free to leave me a comment and let me know if there is something in particular you’d like to hear about. Otherwise I will just see what comes up whenever I sit down to write. Until then, happy travels on your own Fool’s journey!