I’m getting lazy with the essays. Anyway, the reason why this scene isn’t The Lovers is because their love story lacked the simple emotional weight of: “I love you.”… “I know.”
The modern movie business takes a lot of heat for not being able to come up with original ideas. Roughly 90 percent (a completely un-scientific number that I pulled out of my hat) of new films are remakes, reboots, sequels, prequels, or spin-offs, leaving only the late fall Oscar contenders to provide original content—and even those are increasingly based on novels and historical events. It seems as if no one but the heavy hitting directors (Christopher Nolan, Quentin Tarantino, and I suppose James Cameron once a decade) is creating original stories.
I understand the general public’s gripe with this trend. It can definitely get frustrating. But for fans of the world of comics and graphic novels, the modern movie business has become something of a running tribute, constantly immortalizing our favorite characters and stories on the big screen. For example, I’ve had a blast explaining the concept of Marvel’s upcoming Civil War saga to friends who don’t know the comic background. Also, I can’t wait to see how the upcoming Star Wars continuation incorporates various subplots from graphic novels.
The interesting thing to me, though, is that as the movie business has continued to promote comic sagas for the past 15 years or so, we’ve more recently seen an expansion in the ways in which original comic content can be consumed and enjoyed. A lot of this, naturally, is due to mobile technology and ever-expanding app markets. Ultimately, through comic readers, video games, and even brand-new original content, there are just about limitless ways to enjoy graphic novels and the like these days.
The first two obvious examples that come to mind are DC Comics and Marvel Unlimited, both free apps in the Google and iOS app stores, and both designed to bring fans digital versions of all their favorite superhero comics. The two apps work a little bit differently, with DC Comics more about a free download followed by pay-per-issue collection (get it here), and Marvel Unlimited offering something that more closely resembles a subscription service (get that one here). But for avid comic readers, both are pretty great, and offer a huge variety of popular comics to enjoy. Personally, I kind of prefer the DC app’s format (though that may be because I’m more of a DC comics guy in general!).
As mentioned, gaming also plays a role, and in that regard we’ve seen some pretty interesting playable displays of old Marvel and DC comics emerge in the last several years as well. The Betfair Casino hosts a number of Marvel-themed games here that are surprisingly loyal to comic backgrounds, and though players will have to put real money on the line to play, the welcome bonuses and promotions at the site make it pretty reasonable to try these games out. You’ll find all the popular Avengers characters, as well as more fringe characters like Daredevil, Blade, and Elektra. Within the games, there’s lots of comic-style imagery displaying old villains, settings, etc. For somewhat-simpler gaming experiences, there are almost too many Marvel and DC app games to keep count of; though I’d point out Spider-Man Unlimited as a particularly good option for comic junkies, because its animation and action style make it look like you’re literally playing through the pages of a comic book.
Ultimately though, it’s not all about DC and Marvel. They may have everything from casino games and app arcades to digital comic downloads, but the world of comics and graphic novels is far larger than its two biggest players. For example, I for one am in it for the Star Wars content!
I shouldn’t need to mention gaming here because most any Star Wars fan is familiar with the endless range of gaming options available. But what I do feel the need to point out is the Star Wars Book Collector app (more info here), which might be the single best reference tool I’ve found for the hundreds of books and graphic novels that have spun off of the original Star Wars saga over the years. I should clarify that this isn’t like Marvel Unlimited or DC Comics in that it’s not simply a platform on which to read digital copies of Star Wars pieces; rather, it’s sort of an all-inclusive reference and organization library. The app helps you to track books you own, books you want, and books that are coming out soon. It will help you to organize your own collection, and will even put stories in order in terms of their chronology within the realm of fiction! And finally, you can also order books, and sometimes audiobooks, straight out of the app.
Beyond Marvel, DC, and Star Wars, there are also plenty of independent graphic novels and comics that have been brought to digital formats in recent years. The Huffington Post featured a nice list of six great graphic novel apps to try out, and it’s a great place to start. They even included the basic iBooks app, which I thought was a little cheesy until I realized that iBooks now has a comic and graphic novel section built into it. Who knew!?
So, that should be enough to get you started. I’m not usually one to support the full digitalization of entertainment, or the unyielding spread of rehashed fiction, but this is one area in which digital tools have been immensely helpful in making some great stuff a lot more accessible.
I’ll write something here later.
…I am your Father.
We left off with The Empress, and what’s interesting about the Major Arcana from II to V, is that there’s almost this bell curve from spiritual feminine (The High Priestess) to material feminine or mother (The Empress) and then material masculine (The Emperor) to spiritual masculine (The Heirophant). The Emperor, is in some ways, the opposite of The Empress. Where The Empress is free and abundant, The Emperor sets rules and creates limitations. He is the father figure: the leader, the master. Now, Emperor Palpatine is the most obvious character for this Major Arcana. But only expresses the negative side, the Dark Side, of the archetype. So I’ll have to site fatherly behavior from characters who don’t express the archetype of Emperor as well.
I personally think that being a father is the highest form of masculinity. That is to say, everything we associate with being macho has everything to do with being a father. Unfortunately, this machismo can become negatively unbalanced and being the leader and man of the house may express itself as domestic abuse. But when being the man of the house goes right, things are taken care of and probably taken for granted. A strong man can physically protect his family. A rich man can financially provide for his wife and children. A sexually viral man can get you pregnant. Personally, I take mental notes about child development because I want to be a good father.
A true man takes care of his woman, his family, his friends, the people he gives service to (or his career). And like the Jedi he is chivalrous. He may take what he wants, but he will do so under the agreements he lives under. He takes up his sabre and fights the mundane beasts of putting food on the table and saving up for your college fund. He caries his cross and drops you off at soccer practice and mows the lawn. Unlike mom who hugs and takes care of you, its your dad who teaches you how to drive.
He can be a stern and patient teacher, like Father Time. Or he can set limitations and rules like the Judeo-Christian-Islamic God. Where your mother will kiss your boo-boos aways, your father will tell you to stop crying and shake it off.
When George Lucas was putting together this space epic, all the big wigs didn’t understand what a Wookie was or if this thing would even make money. But the top studio executive, the Emperor, at 20th Century Fox (forgot his name and I’ll have to correct this part after some internet research) said that he might not understand the script, but he believed in George Lucas.
So, like I said, Emperor Palpatine is the most appropriate character for this card. He is the political leader of an inter-stellar fascist government. Everything he says goes. He is the lord and master of Darth Vader and was a father figure to Anakin Skywalker.
Obi Wan Kenobi was a positive male role model to Luke Skywalker. Where Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru wanted to shelter and protect him, Old Ben Kenobi wanted to teach him how to stand on his own two feet so he can protect himself. This is what he attempted to do with Anakin, but ended up more like an older brother. This is what Qui Gon Jinn wanted to do. In fact he took Anakin away from his mother.
This reminds me of some of the initiatory rituals in New Guinea, where boys are taken from their mothers. Their mothers will cry and act sad as part of the ritual. But the boy has to be taken away from safety and security. Anakin had to leave. Luke had to leave. So they can be men. So they may be fathers themselves.
May the Force be with you.
Next, The Heirophant (But I haven’t done that, so the next is The Hanged Man>>
More resources on the Empress:
Mother is the name for God on the lips and hearts of all children.
Our last card, we were at number two: The High Priestess. The mysterious, secret side of the Divine Feminine. Now we are at number three, The Empress. The mother. With two, you just have a couple. With three, you have a family. In geometry, three points define a plane: the material world, space. Three is the birthing of true wisdom, it creates a very stable and pleasant shape.
There is something special about the mother archetype.
I once knew a girl who I was willing to give my heart to. But deception and drama were involved and I never saw her again. Google being google, about a year or two later, I found instagram pics of her and her new baby. Whatever remaining malice I had toward her fell away. It’s as if her path of love was now complete. I was just an unnecessary detour. (If you’re reading this, congratulations.)
The role of mother is truly sacred. Tibetan Buddhist Monks wouldn’t dare hurt a worm because it might have been their mother in another life. The Virgin Mary is blessed amongst ALL women and has been venerated (or worshipped, if you will) among Catholics. As much as I’d like to be an independent grown-up, it’s nice to visit the parents and have mom cook me something. And since we’re talking about my mother, she has sort of become a matriarchal figure, an Empress in her own right, to her family and clan back in the Philippines. In fact, she founded a library in her hometown, giving knowledge and fun to the local children.
This sort of abundance and giving is what mothers do. They give their bodies and about nine months so you can be born. They give their time and energy and money for you. They care. They worry. They love.
So does the more abstract mothers, Mother Earth and Mother Nature, they give. They give their resources because we’re part of her. And to be a bit of an environmentalist, maybe we should clean up after ourselves like Mom raised us to.
When I have an idea, I’m like a pregnant woman. I just have to deliver.
Giving birth is a creative act. A person is created. My sister just had a baby and this is perhaps the most delightful person I’ve ever met. (I’m sure my own yet-to-be children will be more delightful.) And you just want to be with them. You want them to turn out right. You want them to be President of the United States, or Valedictorian, or Head Quarterback. As George Lucas gave birth to Star Wars, he nurtured it with everything he valued. You can see his love for Joseph Campbell’s work, old Flash Gordon serials he grew up with and World War II dogfights. He gave birth to it with all of his awe and wonder of childhood. He gave that part of himself, that very special part of himself, an entire generation and generations to come, understood. He gave birth to a mythology, a child made up of imagination. He nurtured it. He re-wrote it. He got concept artists to draw and develop it in this sort of primordial womb of developmental creativity. And when it was time to push, it was time to push. A long and painful birth of filming in Tunisia and going over budget.
Leia, do you remember your mother? Your real mother?
— Luke Skywalker
So, here we have Queen Amidala, sitting on her throne. She isn’t wearing her more iconic fanciful headdress. But the last dress we see her as Queen. That is to say, the most developed and mature version of Padme’s role as the Queen. (Also, Bernice Gordon did it first and I wish she would continue with her Star Wars Tarot deck. I mean, just to go on a tangent here, all the other Star Wars Tarot fanart I’ve seen out there are either too pretty/distracting to use for a reading or are lacking in skill and symbolism. Gordon’s Tarot deck is beautiful and minimalist, but has just enough information to be useful. Anyway…)
She is pregnant with Luke and Leia. Now, we all know she doesn’t get pregnant until she retires her role as Queen, but this is more about iconography and symbolism than retelling the Star Wars Saga pictorially. She loves them so much, that she gave her life for her children. Among the Aztecs, fallen warriors are given a special place in heaven. Women who died in childbirth go there to.
In the background, we see the abundant, natural setting of Naboo. This version of nature is different from, say, The Forest Moon of Endor. Endor is wild, where Naboo is beautiful. Endor is dangerous, where Naboo is safe. Its this kind of Mother Earth where crops grow, as opposed to the type of Mother Nature where you have to forage and hunt. We see abundant amber waves of grain at our Empress’s feet, further strengthening this theme. And we see a waterfall in the background, related to emotion.
Leaning to the side of the throne is the emblem of Naboo. This deck, mainly being a Rider-Waite Clone, I felt like something needed to be in that spot. In the Rider-Waite Empress, we see a heart with the symbol of Venus. Venus, as you know signifies love an relationships. Naboo, being the place where Anakin and Padme fell in love, it seemed appropriate. Also, the shape of the emblem reminds me of the medical diagram of a Uterus.
On the Khabbalistic Tree of Life, The Empress is associated with the path between Chokmah, or Wisdom, and Binah, or Understanding. She’s sort of that path between being a sparkle in your father’s eye, to being a kick from inside mom’s belly. Thought on the path to Form. An Idea on the path to being a full fledged pitch to some rich studio executives.
I feel like the Empress is the first step in the practical, material world. That is to say, a Fools are fumbling and free, Magicians can be idealistic weirdos, and High Priestesses held up on a pedestal. The Empress, however is the one that gave birth to you, made sure you had clean underwear, and saved up for your college tuition. She also loves you unconditionally, unlike that fever-pitched Tinder kind of love. It is so magical and utterly mundane. Its something easily taken for granted: to be a mom and to have a mom. But as much as your mom might nag you about settling down or whatever psychological issues you have with her, she was the very first person you loved.
…Even if she died giving birth to you as your estranged cyborg father mourned for her in the most unintentionally humorous way.
May the Force be with you.
Next, The Emperor >>
More resources on the Empress:
I’ll eventually get to the essay later, but for now check out learntarot.com
When you’re going from here to there, you can’t do it with one foot… net very well at least. You’d be like a maimed Anakin Skywalker on a Volcano planet, screaming “I hate you” and trying to do his best with the woody dialogue he memorized in his trailed. Or maybe you’d hobble around like a humanoid droid holding your other foot, shortly after you’ve been rebuilt by your astromech counterpart.
You need at least two feet to make the first step.
Early on in any journey or endeavor, we don’t just need to know our goal, but we need to make plans for that goal. In “A New Hope” Luke wanted to be a Jedi but the only person he knew who could train him was died at the end. Then he went to Dagobah, met Yoda and now we have a plan to confront Vader.
Senator Palpatine had a plan. It involved starting a war, becoming the head of Senate and killing all the Jedi. And all this can be seen visually in the holographic plans of the Death Star.
To have a plan doesn’t simply mean creating a list or directions and then following those directions. It’s actually kind of rebellious because you’re subverting the natural order, the given system or someone else’s plans. There is a boldness to it. You’re going to piss someone off, and in the case of galactic conquest, kill a lot of people.
But I got side-tracked here. This card isn’t explicitly about making plans, but it is about having power. Having respect, dominion and authority. Wielding the Force for your goals.
This card is about power and power can be seductive. In the case of the Emperor, he wielded power for its own sake and not in the service for others. Something a Jedi should watch out for.
May The Force Be With You.
So, personally it’s been a busy year. And like a lot of people out there, I got to get my act together.
But if you need to see new stuff from me, follow me on instagram.
Check it out:
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Photoshop fix of tifalicieux (I’m not tagging her this time because: one drawing from a stranger is flattering. Two- cool. Three- a little creepy.) By now I’m just obsessed with getting the drawing right and the person is just another pretty face. If you clicked on the next two tags, you can do a comparison. I exaggerated her chin and shoulder in the last one. #randomcutegirlswholikeelansdrawings #samedrawingbyelan06 #sketchbook #watercolor #ink #portrait #girl #photostudy #photoshop
A photo posted by Elan’ + + + (@toecomics) on
Random cute girls who like Elan’s drawings 2 – @valerie_0928 kissing her #dachsund — the real dog is much cuter, and actually has well-groomed eyebrows, and has also successfully quit smoking. #randomcutegirlswholikeelansdrawings #photostudy #art #sketch #sketchbook #ink #watercolor #drawing #girl #dog #fez #kiss
One of the first things I noticed about the Rider-Waite Ace of Wands card is how much the wand resembles a penis with a leaf growing out of it. This would make my inner-twelve-year-old giggle, which isn’t a very suppressed part of myself. A friend called it “The Ace of Dickweeds”. I mean, its made out of wood!
But since we’re on the subject of phallic symbols, let’s talk about The Sword again. The sword was the first known weapon specifically created to kill another human being. It cuts down. It destroys. It destroys lies with truth and logic. It upholds justice with force, or in the case of the Jedi, THE Force. It is severe masculinity. Remember Space Balls when they had their lightsaber fight? It was pretty much a contest of whose Schwartz were bigger. Who was a more man? Who was dominant? Who had a bigger dick?
The Staff, or Wand, isn’t a tool of destruction (at least that’s not its main use). If you put some bristles at the end of it, you can make a brush. And the brush can paint a beautiful masterpiece or put a coat of paint on a newly constructed house. And that home is made out of Staves or staffs or wood refined for human use. Where Swords are the masculine’s severity, Staves are its mercy. It creates, rather than destroys. It builds up, rather than takes apart.
The staff is also associated with fire. You can burn wood. Yes, fire is destructive, but if used properly, you can make a good meal, a porceline plate, even a sword. Unlike the element of air, which is assoiated with thoughts and logic, fire is associated with creativity, passion, intuition, excitement, and spirtuality. It can be a light of inspiration, the burning one feels for those they want to kill, those they want to make passionate love to, or for those in complex relationships, both. It can be the Bodhi tree that the Buddha sat under. Or it could be the cross that Christ died on, a symbol of faith. Both trees gave light to both men.
The Tuskin Riders are a firey people, wouldn’t you agree? The first time we see one, it attacked Luke Skywalker, holding its Staff over its head. Yelling in rage like a cross between a wild animal and a broken tuba. Do you think you can logically talk your way out of an attack by Sand People? They’re savages! Not like the noble savages of the Wookie or the adorable savages of the Ewoks. They kidnapped and tortured Darth Vader’s mom. They didn’t have a reason, either because they’re that savage or that under developed. They are more like a natural force than a band of nomadic people. Stormtroopers tried to frame them by destroying the Jawa transporter. An easy scapegoat because you know they’ve attacked Jawas before. They randomly shoot Pod Racers. And most importantly, their savagery ignited Anakin’s hate and anger and pushed him ever so closer to the Dark Side of the Force.
The design of this card is based on that first time you see a Sand Person but I added distant smoke to further emphasize the wild and firery personality of the Tuskin Raiders.
But enough of Sand People. We can find Staves among the Ewoks and the Wookies. They represent another side of the Staves. These creatures CAN be reasoned with. Your intuition and passion and creativity can be an ally and be used to bring down the Dark Side or the evil Empire. It can help you take down your own personal Dark Side… or as C.G. Jung would call it, your Shadow. Actually, all the tarot cards can help do that, even the scarey looking ones.
When I see this card in a reading, it means that your intuition or creativity of fire is just below the surface ready to erupt. Its a plant, the North American Dickweed, just about to grow out of the ground. Its a reset buton. Your will and faith and sense of adventure are renewed. And its hard to say what that really means. Because the Staves don’t represent things, but how things are done.
May The Force Be With You.