Originally posted on Tenthousandunicorns:
As I mentioned in my earlier post, this painting combines the imagery from several randomly drawn tarot cards from the Thoth tarot deck to create a new visual representation, or “answer”. In this case it was The Hanged Man, Queen of Wands, and 2 of Disks: Change, among some other cards from various decks to guide the color scheme; the three main cards being the thematic focus. I also borrowed some symbols from Buddhist traditions to accentuate certain things.
Although I want viewers to draw their own conclusions, I do have some of my own thoughts as far as how I interpret the image. When I drew the cards, I simply asked to create a good image, not for an answer to any specific question. But the eternal holographic nature of archetypes allows the image to serve as a message or lesson all the same. None the less, I still spent some time thinking about what the image meant to me.
I have strong ties to The Hanged Man card, as my birthday is represented by it. I always saw it representing martyrdom, a man being punished for a crime, or as being “hung up” on a problem. A common interpretation of the card is as “surrender”, and I feel like this could work too, surrender only happening after much resistance.
The large spotted Leopard is the Queen of Wands’ agent, as he acts upon the Hanged Man, via the Snake of Change. You may notice that the Leopard has grown a beard, and may even look like a certain gladly deceased dancing bear… that was somewhat unintentional, but once I saw what he looked like I went with it. I wanted the Leopard to have a carefree, joyful attitude, as he devoured the terror-stricken Hanged Man. The Leopard is somewhat divorced from the Queen herself, him being a reflection of her subconscious and inner strength, but also her fiery passion and pride.
So we have two sides, fear and acceptance, and the snake moving between the two, reaching out and drawing in. The Leopard keeps moving, and seems almost to not notice the Man (despite his six eyes and jeweled “Third” eye). The Man clings to the cross/ankh he was hung on, and points a “banishing” mudra at the others. The Leopard counters with his own charms, a Trident and a Vajra (I’ll go into these shortly), and is backed by a Caduceus of medicine. But again, he does not look at the Man, but at the viewer, with almost a self-satisfied smile. The snake simply consumes, being an animal subject to higher forces. Yet he effectively renders the man impotent and ineffective, since hand-waving isn’t likely to do much from his position.
The Trident has many different meanings, the least significant being that it represents the Three Jewels of Buddhism. But more importantly it is a spiritual tool, used either as a prod against the sluggish, or as a weapon to pierce through delusion and negative obscurations on the path to enlightenment. The Vajra is also both a tool and a weapon, having the natures of Diamond (indestructibility) and Thunderbolt (unstoppable force). It is also a symbol of Skillful Means, and so it presents itself as a nearly complete set of tools.. There’s just way too many things the vajra symbolizes as a tool, so if you’re interested you can start here.
So the Leopard has the Tools to overcome change, and even be the master of it. But he exists on an almost metaphysical plane above the Man or the Snake, and thus cannot change. As I said earlier, the Leopard has a sort of “Dancing Bear” quality to him, and this calls to mind the role of ancestry not only in sources of spiritual power, but also that he is the receiver and store house of the effects of change. In this sense, he could almost be seen as a collective memory, or the spirit of mankind (which has clearly gone to his head and inflated it). And finally, a little easter egg: there are ten spots on the Leopards chest, in an arrangement most students of the occult, and especially the Thoth tarot should recognize!