What is Tarot supposed to accomplish?
It should function as a guidepost and accomplish the task of allowing for personal reflection. Tarot is not, to me, a magical oracle that casts a future set in stone. Tarot is only a symbolized representation of life’s common challenges, a tool or a lens by which we can better understand the choices available to us within the framework of what Western culture presents as common experience.
So I believe it’s important to use common themes when working with the Tarot to explore these challenges, themes that can be recognized, mythologies that are shared, and images or memes that exist throughout modern human experience. Don’t get me wrong I think there are many great decks out there…but what good is a deck that uses symbology that only I understand or draws on myths that only I think are important. If I’m doing a reading for a client wouldn’t I want that client to be able to tap into his/her own understandings and experience? What better way to do that than by using images, stories, and personae that we have a shared experience of.
About a year ago I crafted a Star Wars themed Tarot deck. Now many Tarot users would probably scoff at this, but I’d like to think that more serious Tarot aficionados and the more mystically/magic(K)ally inclined in the community would completely understand its creation and use. After all Star Wars is merely a mythology that is current, no different in my mind from classic mythology or the tales of gods and heroes that our ancestors revered and told, it’s only difference lies in that it is being manufactured as we speak. Anyone who was born during the 1970’s and who lived through the original trilogy release experienced the power of Lucas’ mystical/mythical/magical retelling of the Hero’s Journey, and doesn’t need to be convinced of its effect. And yes it’s fun and odd and a bit strange…who says Tarot has to be so damn serious all the time!
Being as there is no manufactured Star Wars deck out there I had to be creative and thought I’d share a bit about mine and why I chose the cards I did…and perhaps it may help other Tarot creators and users out there to get their own Star Wars deck started.
I used playing cards to build the deck: The first pack was used to create the Pip or Minor Arcana cards. For the Trumps or Major Arcana I used a combination of the Heroes deck and the Villains deck. The first deck is called “Famous Quotes”, I used this for the Pips because each card has a different scene and a unique quote. Most of them work very well within the established meanings found in Tarot, and I have found them to be insightful.
I started with those three decks of normal playing cards – using the entire Quotes deck but cutting out a majority of the Heroes and Villains cards until I felt comfortable with my Major Arcana choices. It’s important to note that the Minor Arcana cards have white borders while the Major Arcana have black.
Fool = Jar Jar (I’ve also used Wicket in this position)
Magician = Lando
High Priest/ess = Qui-Gon Jinn
Queen = Leia
King = Han
Hierophant = Yoda
Lovers = Padme Amidala
Chariot = Biker Scout
Strength = C3PO
Hermit = Obi-Wan (Episode 4)
Wheel = R2D2
Justice = Luke (Episode 6)
Hangman = Anakin (Episode 3)
Death = Darth Vader
Temperance = Bail Organa
Devil = Darth Maul
Tower = Boba Fett (Episode 6)
Star = Mon Mothma (Episode 4)
Moon = Stormtrooper
Sun = Boss Nass (holds a glowing orb above head)
Judgement – Grand Moff Tarkin
World = Shmi Skywalker
Highlights of the Major Arcana:
The fool – Jar Jar acts without thinking but his impetuousness eventually leads him into roles of power where his experience and intellect have allowed him a good life.
The Magician – Lando is an expert at many things – gambling, politics, economics, business, he’s a ladies man, a fighter, a thinker, stately and thoughtful – He commands the elements of the Tarot well.
Strength – C3PO is my favorite Star Wars Character. Like the traditional meaning of Strength in the Tarot C3PO’s power is not in brute force but in mediation, smarts, and will. He tackles his goals in odd ways and always remains to address the next challenge.
The Hangman – Anakin Skywalker is the man in the middle. The Hangman in the Tarot is a representation of being drawn in opposite directions, sitting between heaven and earth, and points to a time of indecision and possibly misdirection. The Hangman isn’t sure which way to go and cautions the seeker to sit it out and think rationally about choices. Anakin is a good representation, especially during the time depicted in the card image, of being at precipice or a time when sitting back and rethinking ones options is important.
Temperance – Bail Organa is sensible. He is not heavy handed, in fact his presence in the Star Wars mythos and films is hardly felt, yet his role is paramount to the survival of the Jedi and the Republic.
The Tower – Bob Fett symbolizes the Tower well; a turning of events that drastically force the rebellion and the heroes to rethink their goals.
The Moon – Stormtroopers were always a mystery to me when I was younger. I wasn’t sure if they were men or if they were robots. The Moon in the Tarot is about illusion and about seeing things differently, somehow Stormtroopers still embody that odd something.
Judgment – Moff Tarkin is the ultimate outgrowth of judgment. It’s important to remember that Judgement is not Justice. Judgement is only the utilization of the wisdom gained by the fools journey up until this point. that journey may be different depending on the goals of the individual. Tarkin is merely able to make concise judgements based on his experience…right or wrong judgements may be different all together.
The World – Shmi Skywalker is perhaps the progenitor of the tales that take place in the Star Wars films. It’s from her that everything blossoms. The World in the Tarot terms is the full awareness of life and all its wonder by the Fool at the end of his journey, but the World is as also the beginning and a reminder that the cycle never ends.
Episode 2 will discuss the Pip cards and a bit about how they relate to the traditional Tarot.