Posted by: whitesagetarot | April 21, 2010

Gods Behaving Badly

It’s been quiet on the blog front, although I must admit that although the writing bug hasn’t bit me, the reading bug sure has.

I just finished reading “Gods Behaving Badly” by Marie Phillips. If you haven’t read this gem, I would suggest you quickly place it on your ‘must-read’ list. Without giving too much away (although, if you truly want to explore the book without prejudice, come back to this blog entry after you’ve read it), ‘Gods Behaving Badly’ is a modern tale of the Greek gods as they plug their way through mundane life in modern-day London.

One of the aspects I found utterly fascinating in this book was the range of activities attributed to each god. Phillips stays true to the archetype each god represents. She attaches both desirable and questionable character traits to her pantheon. Like the gods of ancient times, these representations have a truly mortal appeal. Aphrodite possesses beauty beyond imagination and has the ability to make mortals fall in love with her on sight. She also runs a phone sex line from her mobile. Apollo’s ego is plentiful and is occasionally blind-sided when others don’t feel about Apollo the way he feels about himself. He is also the star of his own psychic television show.

These characters immediately made me connect the text to the Tarot. How often do we forget that card meanings have a range of possibilities?  We often get stuck on the idea that some cards are favourable and some are not. I would argue profusely that all cards have a continuum of possibilities, and all can be looked at favourably or unflatteringly.    I partook in an online webinar with James Ricklef earlier this year that explores that same concept. You can read more about it in his blog entry entitled, Good Cards, Bad Cards.

Here are a few examples. Feel free to add your own.

Apollo and the Sun card: The Sun card can often signify joy. It can also represent our creative self. But what happens when the joyous light that our sun gives off is blinding to us or to others?

Hermes and the Magician: The Magician can indicate strong communication.  But what if the message is garbled? The Magician is also often seen as the tool master. But what if we are using the wrong tools for the task at hand? You can’t build a house with a butter knife.

Demeter and the Empress: The Empress is a card of harvest, fertility and abundance. At times, we lose sight of the work that is essential to the harvest. We forget that fertility often requires planting, nurturing and waiting and are then surprised when our yield is diminished. Can we see the Empress there, too?

I am packing my knight`s tunic, my cards and my desire to learn in my suitcase and heading off to NYC for a weekend of Tarot at the Readers` Studio. This is my first visit to the RS and I am excited to be getting the chance to meet and work with a world-wide collection of Tarot enthusiasts.

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Responses

  1. Hi Peter,
    Thanks for the shout out about my webinars.

    Relating the Tarot archetypes to mythic archetypes, as you have done here, is a valuable tool for deepening your understanding of both. By the way, I used Apollo in my version of the Sun card in my deck, “Tarot of the Masters.” (See: http://www.jamesricklef.com/ToM_INTRO.html )

    Thanks for the book recommendation. I’ll have to look into that one sometime.

    See you at RS!

    Bright Blessings,
    James Ricklef

  2. An interesting post, thank you…I’ll look that book up and look in on yopur blog again. For another post linking the Apollo myth with The Sun Card:-

    http://katieellentarot.wordpress.com/2010/05/07/the-sun-card-happiness-and-sunflowers/

    Best Wishes

    Katie-Ellen Hazeldine


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