How much passion is too much?? That's the question asked by the TEN OF WANDS / TEN OF KEYS / OPPRESSION cards. What follows is a comparison of the imagery and interpretation of the Rider-Waite, The Haindl, and the Collective Tarot decks' respective tenth of the fire suit cards.
Smith Rider-Waite shows a figure with his back turned to us, carrying a too-heavy load of staves to a house that is so far away we can hardly believe he will make it, bent as he is already with the burden. “It’s as if his fiery confidence led him to accept more and more responsibility,” says Rachel Pollack in The New Tarot Handbook, “he may be a person who simply cannot resist an opportunity or a challenge or has a belief that everything depends on him…” Pollack goes on to observe that the figure in the card is also unwilling to carry the staves in such a way that would make it easier to travel, due to the buds on top of the sticks being crushed. “He’s willing to make his work harder so that all the possibilities have a chance to bloom.” However much this may seem to be to us watching this figures struggle, the blue sky above him is cloudless, indicating clear, unimpeded thought. He has not mistakenly taken on this burden- there’s an inevitability to it. He didn’t ask for this, but he accepted it, and now it must be done.
Haindl originally titled this Oppression, and renames this card "Misuse of Power" (which works well in this tarot perspectives exercise considering the Devil card in the Collective Tarot is renamed Oppression, and that might be confusing.) The I Ching is 54, Kuei Mei, "The Marrying Maiden", which reverses to 53, Chin, "Development". Ten flaming spears, all face down, threaten a group of mice hunted by cats. However, as Rachel Pollack points out in her book The Haindl Tarot: The Minor Arcana, there is a switch happening: a bat, a mouse with wings, spooks the cats and turns the tables. "We can see this as a kind of parable," Pollack states, "If you misuse your power to hurt others, someone stronger than you eventually will turn that around."
Collective Tarot offers a glimpse into a home with too much going on- at least ten projects running simultaneously to each other give the impression of chaos and clutter, and peace is nowhere to be found. Maybe each of the elements will look cute when finished, but at the moment it's very hectic. Clearly if one thing at a time was focused on, it would get done eventually, but as it is, the whole picture is overwhelming to the point of paralysis. The Collective's guidebook describes this as "complete burn out...that creative, driving force of inspiration that got you so engaged has weakened into a smoky silhouette of what once was...now is the time to delegate tasks, ask for help, or decide which projects to focus on first." Creativity here is in abundance, but it's excessive, in an exhausting way rather than a joyfully sustainable way.
Thanks to @inthe78cards and @thetruthinstory for hosting this month's awesome challenge on Instagram!