How do I master my creative impulse? That's the question asked by the KING OF WANDS / MENTOR OF KEYS / FATHER OF WANDS IN THE EAST / BRAHMA cards. What follows is a comparison of the imagery and interpretation of the Rider-Waite, The Haindl, and the Collective Tarot decks' respective King of the fire suit cards.
Rider-Waite shows a brightly-clad king sternly looking out, staff in hand, on a throne with lions and lizards, a lizard at his feet, and a cape emblazoned with lizards. This king is primal, instinctual, and aggressive. He seems almost on the edge of his seat, confident he should be out in the midst of battle rather than seated awaiting those who wish to hold court with him. Flames make up the prongs of his crown, his mind is afire with brilliant ideas.
Haindl used imagery from Hindu stories to represent the wands suit, and for the Father or King of wands, he chose Brahma, the Creator. The creative impulse of the fire suit, the inspired and impulsive quality to our own creativity, is embodied in the creator Brahma here in the Father of Wands. A footprint at his head, which echoes the Father of Stones in this deck, indicates the evidence of a presence past- that all of creation is a footprint of a long-passed deity. Brahma has multiple faces and hands, a powerful god with few limitations. Rachel Pollack in The Haindl Tarot: The Minor Arcana, points out that the four faces blend together, illustrating the the illusion of separation. The folds of his garment create crescent moons- waxing or waning? Is this the beginning or the end of the creative moment?
Collective Tarot uses a non-hierarchical phase card system in replacement of the court cards, honoring the phases we may inhabit in our lives. A figure looks up enthralled into the night sky, lit up by a full moon, on the edge of a cliff, gazing at a constellation of a key above. The figure is balled up in a small position on the grass, humble from the bigness of the starry sky. The constellation, the Collective's booklet says, is the mentor. The guiding light that we can follow reliably. It is the goal that we can never reach, as well as the confidence that we can always take one more step towards it, and also the humility to realize that the goal is so much bigger than we are, that our own limitations will eventually kick in and all we'll be left with is the opportunity to sit and marvel and the bigness of our creative dreams.
Thanks to @inthe78cards and @thetruthinstory for hosting this month's awesome challenge on Instagram!