With today’s post, I am starting a very personal journey on my blog, presenting a series of outfits in a format that is both dear and significant to me: the Tarot. Many of you may be familiar with what the Tarot is, some of you may not, but without turning this blog post into a Tarot lesson, I will try to give you a very brief introduction.
The Tarot is a deck of 78 cards, featuring different symbolic pictures. A standard deck consists of 22 trump cards (the Major Arcana) and 56 pip cards (the Minor Arcana). The symbolism and art on the cards represent primal patterns and experiences that occur in each human life. While each card has a general symbolic meaning, a significant portion of the interpretation of tarot cards is dependent on the reader. The most well-known and “grandfather” of Tarot decks is the Rider-Waite Tarot. The art and symbolism on this deck provide the basis for the design of most modern Tarot decks.
Many Tarot decks are designed around a theme, integrating the Rider-Waite symbolism into a new overarching motif, such as fairies, art or even cats. There are hundreds of different Tarot deck designs, and it comes as no surprise that the rich world of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth has also been used as an inspiration for a Tarot deck. As far as I am aware, there are two Tarot decks based on Tolkien’s work: The Lord of the Rings Tarot and the Hobbit Tarot. While I am personally not very fond of the first one, the Hobbit Tarot is actually quite lovely. The art-work is well done and in general the Hobbit theme weaves well into the original default meaning of the Tarot cards. It is this deck that inspired me to create a virtual deck of my own based on LOTRO. I have no idea how many cards I will end up doing and I will probably not follow any particular order, except for my first card, The Fool.
The Fool is the very first card of the Tarot. It is numbered 0. The Fool, and the number 0, represent the unwritten page, the step into the unknown, innocence and youthful excitement. It is who we are when we are children, full of wonderment and eagerness to take the step into adulthood, without the slightest notion of the inevitable pitfalls that will follow. All options are still open. We can go anywhere we like. The card also represents a warning though, because the Fool is nearing a cliff and may fall off if he doesn’t watch his step. The Fool in the Hobbit Tarot is represented by Bilbo, leaving behind his familiar hobbit hole to take the step into the unknown and journey with the dwarves to the Lonely Mountain.
“It’s a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no telling where you might be swept off to.”
~Bilbo Baggins – Lord of the Rings~
With my virtual LOTRO Tarot Series I do not aim to represent any of Tolkien’s characters, nor parts of his stories necessarily, but rather use the game environment and outfit system to create an image that I think captures the symbolism, colors and meaning of that particular Tarot card. So here’s my first Tarot card: The Fool.
For comparison, I will add the images of three real Tarot cards to each post in this series. The original Rider-Waite card, and two cards from a deck of my own choice. For this card I chose Bilbo from the Hobbit deck of course, and in addition I chose The Fool from the Robin Wood deck.