The Artist's Concept
The Nine of Cups was given to me for this project. At first I was reluctant to work on this card, but as I delved into some of my tarot decks and books for inspiration, two images formed. One was more spiritual in nature; the other was more physical. Since the two are intertwined, I tried to merge the two images into one card promoting both inner and physical happiness, as they are both important in developing happiness and a greater consciousness.
Simplistically, the Nine of Cups card represents happiness. Since the suit of Cups represents emotional dealings, this card represents a happiness and harmony between the emotional, spiritual and physical planes that compose our daily lives. When I see this card in a layout, I am reminded that before one can manifest anything in the physical realm, happiness must come first from within. And even though things aren't always at their brightest, there’s always some small detail in life that can brighten any part of someone’s day.
I took a nontraditional stance when designing this card. Whereas most tarot decks use physical chalices or cups to represent emotional situations, I decided to create a suit focused around water drops. Water drops were the first thing to come to mind when I was gathering imagery for the cards to represent the numeric designation of the card. Water has always stirred powerful emotions within me. The drops can be seen either as being from rain, washing negativity away or cleansing or as teardrops representing fallen aspirations. However, since they appear more as tears than that as individual drops, I decided to cluster them off to one side of the card. The lizard, dimmed in the background, is a traditional North American Indian symbol for dreams, represents one’s dreams and fortunes. I have always found happiness in my dreams and mental meandering and thought it proper to add one to the card. In reading the tarot I have seen a connection between the Nines of all the suits being connected to the power of one’s dreams in one form or another. The bottom of the card shows two hands holding a rose. Roses are a symbol of love and happiness and thing of beauty. Since the rose seems to blossom from the hands, this sort of represented the transformation from inner happiness coming out into the outer reality of the world. The background of the card originally displayed a calm water scene. It was manipulated to a more green hue. And as with the Temperance card I designed, I added a banner of Chinese characters down the side of the card, to draw everything together. Again, I chose the images not from meaning but more for what they evoked in me upon seeing them.
The imagery of the card tells a story from top to bottom. It shows the manifestation of happiness that starts within the mind and emotions of an individual and how it carries forth into the world. Starting at the top with the drops and ending in the physical realm of the hands and rose, the card gives a meaning of inner happiness moving into the physical realm. The drops off to one side are thoughts and feelings, passing through the lizard and the Dreamtime State of being, to pass into the real world through the hands blooming into a rose.
Reversed, the card gives a stifling quality of sadness. Instead of sharing one's dreams and happiness with the world, the rose does not get a chance to bloom. It is locked away inside, far from prying eyes. When given in a reading, there is a block in the person, they are afraid to share their happiness with the world or others.
A variety of images were gathered and manipulated by Adobe Illustrator and PhotoShop. Filters and fonts were then applied to create the desired outcome. Final image produced on an Apple Macintosh Pismo PowerBook.
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