We are reminded that the decision-making often indicated by this card is often a complex process of discerning what really is play and how we have to weigh two sides of the coin or ‘our two minds’ symbolised by zodiac sign Gemini to which card refers.
The famous twins Castor and Pollux from ancient Greek and Roman myth, immortalised as the stars Alpha and Beta Geminorum in the constellation Gemini show the dual character of the Twins and hence the Lovers: they are inseparable as twins and polarised with Pollux being immortal and Castor being mortal. At Castor’s death, Zeus allowed them at Pollux’s request to live together alternating between Olympus, the abode of the immortal gods and Hades, the underworld of the dead. One of their symbols was a pair of snakes.
Our image is inspired by a “snake-witch” rune stone from Gotland in the Viking era.
We also had in mind the story of Hyrrokkin, a giantess called in by the Aesir for her immense physical power needed to put the dead Baldr in his ship out to sea. Hyrrokkin had two snakes for reins while riding on an enormous wolf.
On this cosmic day and full-moon night we gaze into the sky. We chose for our archetypal dragon the Star, the constellation Draco – a huge circumpolar constellation winding across the Northern sky. Circumpolar means, it is never setting.
In the pyramid age some 4-5.000 years ago, its main star, Alpha Draconis or Thuban in the tail of the dragon, was the Pole Star of the Earth and one of the two shafts of the Great Pyramid in Gizeh pointing to the sky was oriented towards it. Present Day Polaris, the Alpha Star in the Little Dipper, is not considered as part of Draco by modern astronomers, yet in antiquity the Little Dipper was seen as the wing of Draco.
The constellation revolves around itself and our whole zodiac seems to hang from Draco as its “King”, in the words of the Kabbalistic Sepher Yetzirah. There are many legends and mythic references to Draco linking it, for example, to Ladon, the hundred eyed dragon, guarding the golden apples of the Hesperides for Hera or, much older still, to TIamat, the great creator-chaos dragon of Mesopotamia.
Prominent is the very ancient symbol of the winged sun-disk, an emblem of divinity, royalty and power in Egypt and the Near East (Meopotamia, Persia).
In her face you can detect features of the lionine Egyptian sun-goddess Sekhmet, whose very name is derives from the root word for power. Sekhmet was the deity of war, courage and healing. One of her symbols was the Ureaeus-snake, the protecting serpent-power in the crown of the Pharaos.
We also see in our image the phases of sun throughout day and even night, sun-rise and sun-set in her two wings, East and West, the sun at its zenith in her crown, finally, the black ‘midnight’ sun, where the mysterious rebirth processes are taking place in the scarab under her face.
Today we continue our series with the Emperor.
In this image we turn to Asia to honour the dragon companions of the Chinese Emperors (and other rulers in Asia) who consider(ed) themselves as sons of dragons.
The card shows how the Dragon of Celestial Fire supports and feeds the edifice of wise statecraft and authority.
In the second part of our series we introduce our Empress as an archetype in the Starlight Dragon Tarot.
The Empress is the only card where we show a fully developed human-figure. In her we celebrate the “Goddess of the Beginnings” (or Great Mother) and the very early association of women with serpents/dragons, which goes back to the Stone Age and carried over in the Bronze Age and Antiquity.
Our Empress is in the presence of two benign dragon companions, sharing their wisdom with her. This card-image is also meant as an encouragement to allow yourself to be found by a personal dragon companion through working with our deck.
The image was inspired by a pendant of the “Dragon Master” from Tomb II in Tillya Tepe in present-day Afghanistan, which you can view here.
Today we open a new series presenting cards from the Starlight Dragon Tarot: “Archetypal Dragons” – to reveal some of the mythic influences flowing into our conception and design:
The High Priestess or Dragon Guardian of Esoteric Knowledge sits stern and dark. She is not easily accessible and her message to those she deems worthy is indirect or coded.
The Pythia of Delphi comes to mind presiding over the “House of Snakes” (Pytho = great snake, the guardian of an original sanctuary of the Earth Goddess Gaea, later slain by Apollo). But we also think of Hecate,goddess of the Moon, liminal places and witchcraft often depicted with snakes in her hands.
We present an example of two of the court cards from our deck: the King and Queen of Cups, or in our elemental characterisation: Fire of Water & Water of Water.
If you are not familiar yet with this system, you will surely catch up quickly with our overview further below.
And soon you will benefit from this new perspective on the Courts! It is much easier than it might look at the first glance…
The courts correspond to the elements. So instead of Pages/ Princesses, Knights/ Princes, Queens and Kings we have Earth, Air, Water and Fire in their particular suits of Pentacles/Earth, Swords/Air, Cups/Water and Wands/Fire. So for example, the King of Cups bears the symbol of Fire (top) and Water (bottom) and is Fire of Water, whilst the Page of Wands is Earth (symbol at top) of Fire (symbol at bottom).
Today, we share our conception of the pip cards and two of our images as an example
The 6 of Swords & The 2 of Pentacles:
We decided to keep the pips unillustrated, to focus on the numbers and the element of the suit symbol, similar to the tradition of the Tarot de Marseilles. But as Lady Frieda Harris in the Thoth Tarot, we go beyond the symbols in expressing meaning through colour and form. Each suit has its own colour scheme to fit the element. So for the Swords it is colours of coolness for the rationalty and decision-making of the suit, whilst the Coins are in colours of earth and vegetation. But here and there you can also discover a dragon-figure or dragon-eye. Just look closely …