OUR HOME MAJOR ARCANA TAROT MINI-BOOK
By Billy Woods
I personally took all the photographs that comprise Our Home Tarot Major Arcana. All 22 photographs were taken inside Our Home or in our yard. No preparation was done to the objects photographed. I simply shot them as they stand in nature. However, a good deal of prior observation and preparation went into surveying Our Home and yard before selecting the targeted images. The following comments describe each image and its place or function in our everyday life. The functional description is followed by a brief explanation on how I associated each photograph with the 22 Trumps of the Waite-Smith Tarot deck.
Our Home is modest and relatively private. My wife and I live here, on the outskirts of Florida’s state Capital City, Tallahassee. Tallahassee is uniquely remote and rural, but for its inner circumference – inside its “Capital Circle.” It is the oddest place for a state Capital to be located. We are 500 miles from Miami, which typifies Florida, and 300 miles from Orlando, known for its attractions, like Disney World. Nothing like that exists in this part of the state. No beaches, no sand, no amusement parks, no surf fishing, and only sub-tropic foliage, unlike the Caribbean tropics of South Florida. Rather, Florida’s Capital City sits on the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and does not signify the vacation paradise for which Florida is known. Our Home Tarot Major Arcana gives a glimpse of this part of the planet and the joy and serenity of love, nature, isolation and home.
0. The Fool: The cat is The Fool. He is known as “The Moosch.” The Moosch is 19-years old. Three other cats live outdoors. They eat as much as a full-grown horse. The Moosch does not care at all about the outdoor cats. It is as if he does not even see them, although they could tear him apart if he ventured outside. Each time he walks down “The Saint Catherine Hallway” he does so as if he has never been there before. The Moosch represents The Fool, because he trusts no one and yet he trusts everyone. His soft fur and purring open doors of opportunity for him, but he fumbles all his chances to gain attention and status; instead, he walks in the wrong direction or tumbles over. generally speaking, The Moosch gets everything wrong; or so it seems. Border color: Bright yellow; radiant; creative, extreme intellect, naive, the Sun.
I. The Magician: The Ozone Machine is the Magician. It converts oxygen into ozone (02 into 03) to ozonate water by converting either pure oxygen or the oxygen in the air into 03, which is an unstable molecule and highly reactive. Some people ozonate water; some inject 03 gas to add a higher a concentration of oxygen into their system. Ozone can heal, alter a condition, destroy pollutants, and breakdown contaminants in water. It makes things happen using all the elements within its reach. Border color: Yellow; radiant; creative, intellect, the Sun.
II. The High Priestess: The painting by contemporary artist, Itzchak Tarkay, is the High Priestess. She hangs on a wall in a short hallway that was built to connect the original home’s structure to an extension. We pass through that vestibule all day and night. She is always there but often unnoticed. The High Priestess, the Trakay, hides in plain sight. While she goes unnoticed, nothing gets past her. Behind the invisible veil that cloaks her appearance lies the intuitive mind of Our Home’s High Priestess. Border color: blue; freedom, imagination, intuition; secretive.
III. The Empress: The Cement Statue by the Pond is The Empress. She is the matriarch of all that surrounds the pond. Like the sound of the pond’s running water, she is always there to add femininity to that portion of mother earth we call our yard. Border color: Emerald-green; nature, the sky meeting the fields, the quiet side of nature, sensitivity, intuition.
IV. The Emperor: Iron Mike is The Emperor. always in his full suit of armor with sword and shield, he stands guard to the front door of Our Home. Named after former Heavy Weight Champion Prize Fighter, Mike Tyson, who fought his way from the crime-ridden streets of New York, to the status of World Champ, our Iron Mike also rose from the bottom to the top. When I first found Iron Mike 17 years ago he was unpainted, rusty, and lacking a purpose in life. He later served as a conversation piece in my law office for many years. At one time, he had an internal light that made his face light up red! He is our father-figure, humble, mature and all-knowing. Border color: Scarlet; extreme red, blood rushing to the forehead, radiance, intelligence.
V. The Hierophant: Billy Wohlsifer (your humble ITF student) as former candidate for Florida Attorney General (2014) is The Hierophant. The yard sign is a political poster leftover from Billy’s statewide campaign. It is the last poster known to be standing, as it marks the former-candidate’s doorway. When you are the candidate, people trust in the convictions of your personal beliefs. When you are the candidate your opinion matters. People seek it out. People want to believe in it. They even think your jokes are funny. Like the Hierophant, the candidate, being true to his calling, does his best to guide others with the spiritual wisdom that has called him to run for public office. In so doing, he holds himself out as a person who can be a trusted representative and exemplar of his community’s culture. Border color: Red-orange; passion, action, love, harmony, contentment.
VI. The Lovers: The Palm Trees are The Lovers. They grow side by side. They grow very slowly, but strong. They bend with the winds, and survive all storms – even when the pine trees and oak trees are uprooted and have fallen because they cannot temper Florida’s hurricanes, The Palm Trees see it through. The broad palm Fronds of these two trees capture much rainwater to nurture one another; and together they block the strong Florida sun so that plants and flowers may grow beneath them.
Border color: Orange; harmony, aspiration, contentment, intelligence.
VII. The Chariot: The Two Cement Lion Statues at the top the steps to the planting shed comprise The Chariot card. The planting shed is where the garden tools are kept and the potted plants get potted. There is nothing but a can-do attitude when working in the planting shed. In the background is a seedling tray made by your humble ITF student to germinate wheatgrass for juicing for vitality and ability to overcome illness. The lions exalted the confidence of a king. They were placed there unintentionally 7 years ago. They sit atop three steps. Border color: Amber; creative harmony, mindful contentment, positive intelligence.
VIII. Strength: The Moosch is The Strength card, when he is not being The Fool he is an exemplar of Strength. The Moosch endures the loss of his sister, Flora Bell, endures his bad arthritis. He suffers in silence with the strength of a lion. Border color: Greenish-yellow; spring meeting summer, youth, nature, health, protection, clarity.
IX. The Hermit: The Piano is The Hermit. My wife, Steffi, an extraordinary talented jazz pianist/vocalist, spends hours, days, weeks, years, and decades in deep contemplation and practice to further understand the power of its 88 keys. She calls it “woodshedding.” Like the Hermit, the pianist’s years of dedication and ascetics results in the ability to turn thoughts into music and music into brilliance. Border color: Yellowish-green; spring meeting summer, youth, nature, health, protection, clarity.
X. The Wheel of Fortune: The Signs by The Bamboo Trees create The Wheel of Fortune. The sign post’s origin was decorative. But faced with obstacles over time it has become a significant indicator to remind us we are faced with many options, trials and tribulations, joys and sorrows, but not without recourse and opportunity to ponder about the pool of possible outcomes. The Signs by The Bamboo Trees reminds us to exercise our free will to influence outcomes. This Wheel of Fortune offers several options: “Fresh Beer/Cold Bait;” “Kiwi Village;” “Lobstes [sic] Traps;” and “pineapple Paradise.” One may be confused by these messages, until they discover that the signs were made by children participating in a fund-raising project. It is this level of understanding that enables us to recognize that the decisions we make in life are influenced by outside forces, some of which are helpful and some that come from lesser evolved creatures. The Signs by The Bamboo Tree reminds us to make our own decisions, in our own time, in our own way. Border color: violet; fragility, spirituality, devotion, peace.
XI. Justice: The antique industrial scale balances competing conditions. This scale was in a testing laboratory of my father’s wire and cable manufacturing plant. It was last used more than 60 years ago. In its drawer is a glass tube filled with a substantial volume of liquid mercury. To the Alchemist, the mercury was a mysterious substance, considered to be of “the highest divinity, but also a devil.” the scale keeps these two aspects of human nature in balance. When the glass tube lays flat the divine and devious counterbalance each other. But when it is tipped, one takes a dominant position over the other in direct proportion to the degree it is tipped. Border color: Emerald-green; the sky meeting the fields, the contemplative side of nature, solitude, mercy.
XII. The Hanged Man: The Everlast Heavy Bag is The Hanged Man. It hangs in suspension waiting for the next blow to strike. It is said of The Hanged Man that we control our “letting go.” Well, there is no better way to “let go” than to kick and punch the heavy bag. When in doubt, punch it out. When not sure which direction to go strike at the heavy bag. Striking the Everlast Heavy Bag is like a letter written but never sent; a physical manifestation of internal thoughts, as an outward expression of one’s decision-making process. Border color: Deep blue; freedom, imagination, the abyss of the oceans, dilemma, intuition.
XIII. Death: The man-made pond is Death. So far, all minnows and goldfish that have lived in the pond died in the pond. Unlike the great natural flows of the Temperance Card, the man-made pond is finite. It works for months flawlessly, then begins to leak, its pump fails. it sometimes gets so shallow that the opossums can eat the minnows within. When this happens, I must rebuild it again to obtain its optimum performance; until its fails again, needs to be turned off, cleaned out, and refurbished anew, and so the cycle repeats. But unlike a natural pond that spontaneously regenerates, our man-made requires much human intervention. Border color: Green-blue; nature, adventure, health, expansiveness, imagination.
XIV. Temperance: The Yin and Yang fish on a Cement Step in the ground displays the phenomenon of The Temperance Card. For every force that affects us in life, there is an exact opposite counter force pulling in the opposite direction. This is a law of nature that does not come naturally to ambitious people. Temperance is being mindful that there are consequences for our actions, choices, and allegations made, such that they must be made with consideration for the anticipated consequences thereof. Temperance reminds us that less can be more. The Yin and Yang on a Cement Step reminds us that the opposing forces in nature are always at play. Border color: Blue; the sky, open space, freedom, imagination, boyhood, sadness, humbleness.
XV. The Devil: Maruin Quina, Le Puy, is The Devil. The Crystal Ball sees The Devil coming and warns of the shadows that lie ahead. The Devil is darkness and confusion, while the crystal ball foresees all that needs to be known. Finding oneself caught between these two worlds is The Devil Card at work. We want to forget the dark past and envision a bright world ahead, but The Crystal Ball juxtaposed with Le Puy are there to remind us that error is a part of life. We must learn to walk lightly on the dark side, but not feed into its temptation. Border color: Indigo; deep emotion, inner strength, diplomacy, commitment.
XVI. The Tower: The Many-Colored Signs leaning on a pine tree supported by a dilapidated bench is The Tower Card. Not only are the directions on the Many-Colored Signs confusing, but they are leaning on a pine tree because the sign post was uprooted by rot, decay, wind, and storm. Even the one-time beautiful outdoor bench that once belonged to my darling late mother-in-law, attempts to support the Many-Colored Signs, is in a grave state of disrepair. This is total chaos! When the Tower Card appears one does not know whether to head to Montego or go to Kokomo. There are at least five other options to choose from. This is the Many-Colored Signs at work. It is a very uncomfortable place to be, but a necessary obstacle in your path. There are choices to be made and the time to make them has run out. Be confident that the angels brought you to this place because a new direction is warranted in your journey. Make the right choice and you will be glad you did. Border color: Scarlet; extreme red, blood rushing to the forehead, radiance, intelligence.
XVII. The Star: The Water Barrels are the Star Card. The upper water barrel is the recipient of water flowing from a series of gutters that follow the downside of a gable roof. Although we have two roof systems, as Our Home is “L” shaped, ranch style, one side of one roof provides more rainwater than the two barrels can hold. Rain falls on large sloped roof, channels through the rain barrels, and is used to water our small vegetable and herb garden to nourish our bodies and souls. This is The Star Card in action. Border color: Violet; fragility, spirituality, devotion, peace.
XVIII. The Moon: The Cycad tree is The Moon Card. Its blossom is a moon-like globe, for the female of the species. The male cycad projects a long tree-like blossom, sometimes said to resemble a phallic symbol. These plants are as prehistoric as Florida’s alligators. Like the moon, they have a thorny dark side. It’s blades readily prick the skin. This natural protection keeps predators away. Like a rose bush, despite its thorns The Cycad emits absolute beauty, strength, and illusion. Border color: Ultra-violet; hidden fragility, overt spirituality, blind devotion, darkness.
XIX. The Sun: The Camellia Tree. The photograph of this Camellia Tree was taken from the ground up, looking toward The Sun. The Camellia Tree brings beautiful flowers; some are red, and some are white. They grow and blossom even in the harshest conditions no matter how dry, wet, shaded, or sunny. Nothing stops The Camellia Tree’s vibrancy and warmth, day after day. Border color: Orange; harmony, aspiration, contentment, intelligence.
XX. Judgement: The New Staircase. The New Staircase is new to Our Home. Our entire property is on a hill. It begins at street level and rises. Our neighbor across the street is on the downslope of the same hill. Thus, their property begins at street level and descends downward. At the top of our ½ acre yard I can see over the roof of Our Home; the hill is quite steep. The New Staircase brings The Fool to a red brick walkway that leads up to our front door. Beyond that door lies many variables, some are memories of days past, but most are about music and song, research and writing, faith and spirituality. At home, we shape our principles for guidance on how best to conduct our lives. We also consider how our conduct will be judged when we transcend to the hereafter. Border color: Glowing scarlet-orange; contentiousness, aspiration, mercy, intelligence.
XXI. The World: Rocks on a shelf and books of knowledge comprise the entire world on a shelf. The Fool may ask, “How is this Possible?” The response is easy: These are not ordinary rocks. These rocks are sacred, having been chosen from a collection of over 1,000 rocks, now reside on our bookshelf. The bookshelf is much bigger than it appears on the card; indeed, it covers an entire wall. these few rocks in conjunction with those few books compose the entire world from both a physical and intellectual perspective. This combination reflects the union of matter and intelligence. It makes us complete and whole. It is the end of the journey. having reached this level of completion, The Fool then leaves the books and rocks behind to embark on his next journey down The Saint Catherine Hallway. Border color: Indigo; deep emotion, inner strength, diplomacy, commitment.