What unknown potential lies in following my passions? What follows is a comparison of the imagery and interpretation of the Rider-Waite, The Haindl, and the Collective Tarot decks' respective Aces in the fire suit.
Rider-Waite offers a pillar of smoke or a grey cloud, out of which emerges a white hand holding a living branch, with either leaves or green flames floating near it, over a gentle landscape. The white hand and cloud seem to come from another realm, they are not of this world, they are special and unnatural and surprising. They are made even more striking by their presence in the grey and mundane landscape. Moments of creative inspiration come when we least expect them, sometimes when business-as-usual is at its most mind-numbingly usual. We become bored of our habits, of our daily practices, of repeating the same mistakes. Rachel Pollack explains in The New Tarot Handbook that the shapes of the leaves/flames are the Hebrew letter 'yod', which is the first letter of the name of the divine. As an astrologer, I can't help but note that a yod is also a rare astrological phenomenon that indicates great difficulty or block. The passions of the fire suit are often initiated by breakthroughs of such blocks, and as necessity is the parent of invention, we initiate our greatest creative progress by addressing our most deeply-felt hindrances.
Haindl, who was German and centered his own experience in creating his deck, envisioned the direction of East and the Wands suit as personified by Hindu philosophy and mythology, hence the title of the card "Ace of Wands in the East." As such, he selected Yoni water and the lingam stone to personify the Ace, or the initial moment of inspirational passion. The yoni water is the stillness and receptivity that the lingam stone penetrates with grounded action. The Wand in the image is a flaming spear, a weapon that stands guard over our divinely-blessed creativity. A field of yellowing grass echoes the Rider-Waite's grey background, indicating that the Ace reflects flashes of passionate flames amidst a boring, mundane world.
Collective Tarot is the most complicated of the three cards, and shows a chest on a table opening to release fire, flowers, bees, a typewriter, sewing tools, musical instruments, and a treasure map. A hand holds the key to unlock the already-opening chest. Our passions are ours to decide to release, and, like Pandora, once they are opened they will take on a life of their own. The Collective's booklet remarks on the excitement that new projects can bring to even the most tedious of practices, adding that there is some sustainability to this energy: "The more you explore and learn about what inspires you, the more skilled you will become at having your passions be a part of your everyday life." The booklet warns against the frenzy and out-of-control nature of fire, however, as the image depicts the flames seeming to threaten to envelop the entire card. "Let close people be your reality meter if you hare having trouble being one for yourself amidst all the passion."
Thanks to @inthe78cards and @thetruthinstory for hosting this month's awesome challenge, as I'm loving the wealth of information coming from all these comparisons.