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Maybe another reason I've slowed down with this shadow work meme is that a lot of the prompts are sort of meaningless for me. Last one was about my Inner Child, which is frankly in the category of New Age concepts I don't buy into (maybe that's why my card was the 10 of Swords?); coming up is "inner god" and questions of divinity, which I don't really know if I hold truck with either. But I'll keep on keeping on. It's better to use my cards more often than not, right?

Today was day 17. According to the meme:

I assume that this is a question about romantic relationships, conveniently phrased for the polyamorous and/or the single ("loved ones" is a vague term). There are essentially three groups of loved ones in anyone's life:

1. Family
2. Friends
3. Romance

The card I drew was The World, reversed. One of my least favorite cards: it's so non-specific in imagery and meaning, it might as well not be in the deck. Everything I can use to describe it is really abstract concepts like COMPLETION and TOTALITY, or in this reversed case: INCOMPLETION and UNFINISHED BUSINESS.

It seems logical that unfinished business would stand in the way of intimacy. But who do I have unfinished business with? How does this concept apply to me and my loved ones?

1. Do I have unfinished business with family? I probably have level of soul-searching and therapy I need to go through on my own accord.
2. With friends? Nothing on my end.
3. With JV? Again, nothing on my end. But I'm not a mind reader.

The question really is: do I feel that I have enough intimiate connections in my life? Am I being a good friend/partner in all of them? If not, how can I improve? Do I have any dead weight I should be stepping back from?

Much hay is made over the four figures in the World and how they relate to the Tarot's four suits, but in this particular deck, the creatures have halos and hold what look to be books in their paws/hands/claws/etc., making them less related to internal consistency and more related to the four Gospels: Matthew/human (or winged man), Mark/winged lion, Luke/winged ox, and John/eagle. This world card is therefore a little more Christian and a little more...revelatory?...than other modern Tarot images. In a timeline:

(Tarot de Marseilles, ~15th century)

(Visconti-Sforza Tarot, also ~15th century)

(The Grand Etteilla Tarot, 1788)

(The Waite-Smith Tarot, 1910)

(The Thoth Tarot, initially painted 1938 - 1943, first published 1969)

And from these definitive decks, we branch out into modern interpretations. There are a lot, but I'm sticking with decks that I've owned and used fairly frequently.

(Russian Tarot of St. Petersburg, 1991? 1995?)

(Robin Wood, 1991)

(Gilded Tarot, 2004)

The same artist of the Gilded Tarot (Ciro Marchetti) has since done a few decks (which I don't currently own) and revisited the above Gilded Tarot (renamed Tarot Royale, or sometimes Gilded Tarot Royale):

(Tarot of Dreams, 2005)


(Legacy of the Divine Tarot, 2009)

(The Gilded Tarot Royale, 2012)

(Victorian Romantic Tarot, 2006)

So all in all, this is a card that artists seem to take license with. It's interesting that at least some modern artists prefer to reinterpret the original Christian imagery as elemental or astrological imagery. Other decks ditch the four beasts/four elements altogether. Yet, the most strikingly Christian one (to my eyes) is not one of the early decks created in Renaissance Italy, but Yuri Shakov's deck from the early 90s. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of biographical information available on Shakov, and I don't have the companion book for this deck on hand.

The remaining consistent images are: a person of some kind, the open sky, and a circle. Half the time, globes don't even figure into it.

In the end, I'm not sure what this reading is about when it concerns intimacy—unless I'm stting on some unfinished business that my subconscious is actively repressing?—but at least it afforded me a fun little diversion and a chance to look at the evolution of this card that I dislike so, so much!

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