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Tarot images everywhere

April 10, 2010

One day a while ago I walked out of a grocery store and saw a young man walking two standard Poodles, one white and the other black.  The dogs were in front of him, pulling at their leashes, and the little tableau (of course) made me think of the chariot card.  Interesting, I thought.

This was not the first time that an image or scene from a Tarot card came to life in front of my very eyes, and I wonder if other people sometimes notice Tarot-like images popping up now and then.  Whenever it happens, my reaction ranges from puzzlement to thoughtfulness.

For example, consider the comic strips below, which I’ve collected over the past year or so. Each of them has an unintentional (I presume) resemblance to a Tarot card. While amusing, they also make me think a bit about the cards.  See what meanings you think they might suggest for a Tarot card.

Does this Peanuts strip suggest that the Death card might indicate a the end of a conflict, but with a costly victory at best?

Peanuts and the Death card

Maybe the Hanged Man can say: “Change your routine. Do something new. Look at life in a fresh way.”

Pearls Before Swine as Hanged Man

Considering that Jon Arbuckle seems rather social-phobic, this Garfield Minus Garfield strip suggests that the Four of Cups can say that if you’re bored, you have no one to blame but yourself; get out there and do something.

Four of Cups via garfieldminusgarfield

This Get Fuzzy ends with the Four of Pentacles.  This strip illustrates an obvious misuse of resources … or does it?  Might it also indicate an interestingly innovative use of them?

Get Fuzzy as Four of Pentacles

Do these comics call to mind any new or interesting meanings for the cards they resemble?

And what about that incident with the black and white dogs?  Perhaps this sort of occurrence is an impromptu reading that the Universe springs on us sometimes.  As I mentioned, once I saw those two dogs, I thought of the Chariot card. And since I was about to get into my car, I took it as an omen that I should drive carefully.  So I backed out of my parking space more slowly and carefully than usual due to seeing this omen, and as a consequence, I had time to see a car zipping along through the parking lot faster than it should.  I stopped and let it pass by, but if I’d been driving normally instead of hyper-defensively, I might not have been able to do that in time.  Interesting.

The Universe is constantly talking to us, and for those of us versed in Tarot imagery, this may be the language it chooses some times, so be on the look out!

If you have a similar story, it would be fun to hear it.  That’s what the comments section is for. 😀

Addendum:  See also my post titled “Tarot and Comic Strips — Another Example.”

  1. Interesting James. I tend to relate the Courts more, you know oh she’s being a Queen of Swords type of thing. But I guess when you use tarot a lot and study it a fair bit, one can’t but help see life mirror their images.

    • Oh yes, Helen. I do that with the Courts all the time. But in this post I was going more for visual references. A discussion about people reminding us of court cards would make for another interesting post though.

  2. I absolutely love it, James! I’ve noticed it also in situations where I have seen dogs trying to get further than they can on a lead (leash) end up wrapping themselves to what they are attached to (people, poles, trees, etc)…The Eight of Swords! We often by our attempts to not view the whole of a situation, try to struggle free (get further than we can reach at this time) by going around and around our limitation, only to wrap ourselves up to the tightest confinement possible. We did it to ourselves, no one else!

    We just failed to see that our limitation is as far as we can currently see our skills (or limitations), and by trying to fight it by going around the same way, we inevitably end up getting more and more confined and restricted. If we were to simply retrace our steps and go back to where the restriction began, we might be able to see our way free from the restraints we have put ourselves in.

    (Dogs usually keep pulling on the lead barking, yelping for someone to untangle them, pulling on their chain until they get tired, sore and thirsty)!

    I agree, if we actively look in our daily lives at our surroundings, the archetypal messages are everywhere, giving us clues, like our dreams do. We are constantly getting messages!

    • Dogs tangling you in their leashes — interesting observation. That’s happened to me more than once, and it usually happens when I haven’t been paying proper attention to what was going on. Now doesn’t that lend a bit of interesting meaning to the 8 of Swords!

  3. Celeste Cornelia permalink

    One afternoon, while waiting for a red light the turn green, the Middle School I was in front of let out. A group of young people emerged, all carrying these ginormous book bags on their backs. I immediately thought of the 10 of Wands. A whole bunch of 10 of Wands…Celeste

    • Thanks Celeste.
      Yes, I’ve seen those poor little tykes too. Their stoic perseverance lends meaning to this card, doesn’t it! But also, they demonstrate another interpretation for this card — Yes, it’s a lot of work, but if you keep at it, it will pay off in the long run.

  4. alisoncross permalink

    I love the dog leads idea! That’s so great for the 8 Swords.

    How about several people trying to assemble a tent (without instructions!) for the 5 of Wands?

    Ali x

  5. Recently there was a discussion at Aeclectic Tarot about Vasco da Gama’s tomb and how it looks like the RWS 4 of Swords. You can see a picture of it here:

    Funny that you mention visual tarot references… one of these days I was taking my dog for a walk and there was this guy at the park… he was wearing a yellow t-shirt and was walking his dog, a white west highland terrier. The dog wasn’t wearing a leash, but it was very excited and kept jumping and trying to pull his owner’s pants! It was so funny to watch! The guy kept saying “bad boy!” and he could barely notice where he was going because of the constant pulling at his pants.

    I remembered the fool immediately!

    • Yes, that’s a rather common motif for tombs from that era, and I’m sure that Pamela Colman Smith was well aware of that and consciously used that in her creation of the 4/Swords.
      PS: Love the fool story. “Bad boy!” lol… Apparently the dog knew that his human either didn’t mean that or wouldn’t act upon it, so he was able to control the situation. It’s interesting to consider that role reversal in light of the Fool card.

  6. Donna permalink

    A community comes together for a shared purpose:

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Tarot and Comic strips — another example « James Ricklef's Tarot Blog
  2. More Comic Strips Imitating Tarot « James Ricklef's Tarot Blog

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