Wednesday, 3 August 2011

How the heck do you say 'Huitzilopochtli'?!

And why would you put him on the Ace of Coins?

Click here to hear it said

That was easy enough, but figuring out why Sol Invictus Tarot creators Kim Huggens and Nic Phillips chose 'Wheat-see-la-poached-lee' as the Ace of Coins is a bit more of a mystery. I must admit to being completely ignorant of Aztec mythology, so the name meant nothing to me when I drew this card this morning. I tried to read the 3 pages of densely packed text in the companion book explaining all about Huitzilopochtli, but I get very frustrated if I can't see an immediate connection between the back story of a card and its traditional meaning. This is why I usually dislike decks that are too heavily themed. I dislike when deck creators seem to have to labour hard to create a tenuous link to the traditional meaning, or worse, give elaborate back stories to the card illustration, then provide the traditional divinatory meaning which seems to have no connection to the illustration whatsoever. That's not to say this is what happens in the Ace of Coins of Sol Invictus, but it's the first truly frustrating card I've encountered so far in the deck. (Admittedly it's early days with it!)

To make a very long story mercifully short, 'Wheat-see-la-poached-lee' seems to have been the primary Aztec god, and was a god of war and the sun. Like many gods of various traditions, he sprang from his mother fighting his siblings, and slew 400 of them to defend her...each night he journeys to the underworld to do battle with darkness and emerges victorious the next morning to provide the day's light. Okay, that's familiar. But what has the sun god got to do with the Ace of Coins? Battle for earthly power, material wealth...possibly...I can sort of see that. But for this card to work for me, I'm going to have to make it work through imagery alone.

So, at the top of the card, the blazing sun, Huitzilpochtli, is actually a giant shining coin, hovering over a temple. In the foreground is a marketplace. There are small figures of people in the background walking, carrying things, greeting each other, trading presumably. On the market stalls we see food, drink, jewelry, weapons--all the things that would have been very important to this war-like Aztec culture, I would think. When you look at the card as a whole, it certainly reminds me of this image:

Eye of Providence
It's the 'Eye of Providence', seen on US currency. To my mind, this card instantly makes me think of money, wealth, commerce, material gain, etc, because it is so similar to an image from the currency I grew up with. So in that way, I can instantly associate it with the Ace of Coins, particularly as I also associate this image with the one dollar bill, the piece of US currency that is most in transaction and that is the basis of accumulated wealth. I mean, you can't have a million dollars before you've got one dollar, right? So...Ace of Coins. Beginning of the material realm.

The market stalls also help me understand the meaning of the card, because Ace of Coins is all about physical health (the food), abundance, competition for material success, pretty much anything to do with inhabiting a body and surviving on the earth.

So, I don't get why 'Wheaties' was chosen for the card, but the picture works for me, anyway. AND it's appropriate for my daily draw, as today is the first weigh-in for a weight loss group I joined online, and I've embarked on a personal challenge to complete 260 workouts over the next 365 days. All earthly concerns!

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