I have been going through my different fairy tale decks, which are “The Fairy Tale Tarot” by Lisa Hunt, The “Fairytale Tarot” by Karen Mahony (art by Alexandr Ukolov and Irena Triskova ), Isha and Mark Lerner’s “Inner Child” cards (illustrated by Christopher Guilfoil ), and “The Whimsical Tarot” by Mary Hanson Roberts. (I know of at least one other fairy tale themed tarot deck that I don’t have, and there may well be others.) The Hunt and Mahony decks use illustrations from tales and legends for all of their cards; the “Inner Child” and “Whimsical” decks use them for the Major Arcana and some, (not all), of the Minor Arcana. I will bring them to the workshop tomorrow, in case anyone wants to work with them in the Tarot Round Robin or the Fairy Tale Village exercise. Although I’ve had a longtime appreciation of fairy tales and folk legends, I find there are some stories represented in these cards that I’m unfamiliar with, and I have to refresh my memory regarding others, so I shall also bring the books that go with them.
In reacquainting myself with these fairy tales, I’m also considering different themes. Among other things, I want to revisit the Western fairy tales to see if there are any cases similar to in Asian lore, where demons, monsters, goblins, etc. are converted into guardians and helpers, (and even holy men and women). This reflects a different worldview than the Western dualism we’ve grown up with, that views everything through the lens of GOOD vs. EVIL, where the unredeemable forces of Absolute Evil are always out to get us.
In regions with a Buddhist sensibility, there are also different types of demons, goblins, and monsters—many of them quite horrifying—but when they do evil, it’s not that they are inherently committed to the destruction of everything good, but because they are ruled by their unrestrained senses and driven by greed, hatred, and delusion. Of course, the core of the Buddha’s teaching is that all beings suffer from greed, hatred, and delusion, so everyone is enjoined to reflect, “I myself am not free of greed, hatred, and delusion …” so if I judge others, I must do so compassionately, with these things in mind.
This is a reason I find Asian fantasy genres, such as anime, (I’m a great admirer of Hayao Miyazaki, who I feel deserves more credit and honor as the new Disney), to be much more satisfying than the Good-vs-Evil, End-of-Days themed scenarios that American films and TV series have limited themselves to and seem unable to transcend. Although our dualistic worldview has shackled the American imagination, a huge segment of the younger generation has grown up with anime. This is something that the larger establishment seems unaware of, but I think it likely that this will eventually result in a paradigm shift that will affect all of our imaginative enterprises.