Some people who are working with iTongo Tarot have written to me asking about anomalies in the deck. Here is a brief explanation of what I was thinking and trying to portray in the two most common asked about cards. 6 The Lovers and 4 The Emperor.
iTongo Tarot is a deck designed for personal transformation – a deck for meditation and personal guidance.
6 – THE LOVERS
UTHANDO uthando n. (-thando): Love
CONCEPT:Choice and decision; Eternal triangle; The merging of opposites; Balance and wholeness
The traditional tarot has two people (male and female) and a ‘divine’ presence – I moved away from this because I personally don’t read The Lovers as a ‘romantic love’ card but rather as a card that indicates choices and decisions to be made – it’s a card of maintaining or finding balance within the eternal triangle. I felt that if we were to use this card for meditation and inner guidance the ‘humanising’ of the visuals would be a distraction.
The symbolism on the card is The Bird (As Above) The River (As Below) and the Bridge (The choice) thus forming the triangle of harmony between body, mind and soul.
The Bird – the higher we fly the broader the perspective – this also represents the element of Air. The greater our view of a situation and the deeper our thoughts, the better our choices. This symbol also gives us the intellectual freedom to survey all that is within our thoughts and concepts – to rise and fall as we choose.
The River – This represents the element of water and our emotions. The concept of impermanence. impermanence is an inescapable fact. There are three things we can guarentee – birth, change and death. Change is inevitable. The key is to anticiate and be ready for change. As the River flows it is always changing yet it remains the river. So too should we flow to wards our purpose. We may divert when there are obstacles in our way but if we remain true to ourselves and our path we will reach our goal. When we prepare to make choices we need to understand that whatever we choose to do, we will create change, we need to be emotionally ready to deal with those changes.
The Bridge – This represents the physical and Earth. As we stand on one side, we have an option to cross over to the other side. We have the means to do so, what we need to find is the will (Fire). What is our motivation and intent? What are we seeking on the other side?
We use Bridges as a metaphor for transitioning between life and death (the rainbow bridge) we ‘build bridges’ to cement relationships and we ‘burn bridges’ to end relationships. Bridges create solid foundations and are the vehicles for moving forward.
I hope this adds some clarity – as you prepare to cross your own bridge may it be with a clear mind and full heart.
Next is 4 The Emperor
INDLOVU indlovu/izindlovu n. (-dlovu) : Elephant
CONCEPT: Symbol of the patriarch and the animus (masculine energy); Wisdom; Leadership; The responsibility of power; intellectual as opposed to emotional
In African mythology and legends there are no Emperors as such – rather Kings and Chiefs. Researching for a benign masculine deity (or Historical figure) that encompassed the strength and leadership the Emperor represents proved to be quite a task.
All humans have shortcomings and flaws – I believe the power and the energy of the Elephant which symbolises wisdom, strength, moderation, and eternity in African lore was a significant symbol for inner transformational work. Deities were wrathful and vengeful and didn’t fit into the wise leadership of The Emperor.
I could have chosen a King or Chief to represent, but felt that it humanized the concept and imposed limitations on ones inner journey. Again looking at the concept and symbolism I chose the Elephant (Power within structure) to represent the energy to manifest.
Elephants are portrayed by many cultures in their cosmology to represent wise leaders and stability, they are hardworking, practical and have an excellent social structure. They are the largest of the land mammals but can move through the bush as silently as any stalking animal.
When working with The Emperor allow the wisdom of the ages to flow and remember you carry the wealth of knowledge within. Seek silently!