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Friday, 14 June 2013

'You have chosen wisely'

Haindl Tarot, Lotos 2002
I found something I wrote about the Haindl Tarot last year ( What's it all about?) in which I try to explain the tone and mood of this deck, as it seems to me. I don't think any card in the deck captures the mood of this deck as well as Parzival, the Prince of Cups.

Parzival (or Parsifal) also appears in the Fool card in the Haindl Tarot, which depicts the scene where Parsifal kills the swan, an impetuous action which caused him to discover sin, death, and responsibility. The Prince of Cups ( 'Son of Cups in the North', as it is called in Haindl Tarot) depicts the moment when Parsifal achieves the Grail. His face is lit up by its radiance, his expression shows he is overwhelmed and in shock. He's melting away, look at his hands, and how his image seems to liquify and smear right off the card.

Rachel Pollack says this is a complicated moment. 'On one side it signifies the discovery of spiritual truth, something greater and deeper than personal desire. Parsifal becomes aware of the Holy Spirit and Divine Truth. This challenges him to goals beyond his own gratification...' Pollack goes on to suggest that Parsifal sees in the Grail the wounded earth, and our need to restore it. This wounded earth theme pervades the Haindl Tarot, as does the 'shock-and-awe' of enlightenment, so I think the Prince of Cups is the quintessential Haindl card.

Once all the high-flown stuff is out of the way, in a real drawing, the card is usually interpreted a lot like any Prince (or Page) of Cups: someone who is sweet-tempered, naive, easily moved. Possibly self-centered but only due to his naivety. When it's pointed out to him how he's aggrieved someone, he feels genuinely sorry (like Parsifal and the swan). He's just a gentle, tender-hearted kid, really.

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