A Personal Journey Through the Tarot: Landscape

Depictions of the Inner World

The figures in the cards do not stand alone. The landscape that houses them is as important as the figures themselves. The Landscape is a depiction of the querent’s inner landscape and can be taken into account in the read. There are some basic landscape features to watch out for. 

The Mountain: Joseph Campbell describes the mountain as a universal symbol of attainment. The fool jumps from this mountain, essentially jumping from a place of completion into a new adventure.  We then see the mountain in varying degrees throughout the deck as, like a labyrinth, we move hoping to reach it again. So, when looking at a card you may ask yourself; How close am I to the Mountain of Attainment? 

Water: All the water in the Tarot flows from the High Priestess’s dress. She is the source of all emotional and spiritual undertakings. It can be helpful to note the state of the water in a card. Is it turbulent? Is it still? Is it frozen? Is it note worthy in its absence? When a figure is interacting with the water, like Temperance has a foot both in water and on land, they a walking between the worlds of the physical and the spiritual. 

Vegetation: How abundant is the landscape? The Empress sits in a fertile landscape while the Emperor’s throne is in a desolate one. The Empress is the abundance of nature and the ability to live freely off the land, where the Emperor’s skill comes in eking out an existence regardless of the abundance around us. Her’s is about living with a lot, while his is about managing with little.

The City: A symbol of the community and our relationship with it. Humans are communal creatures and survive better when part of a healthy community. But there are times when the community must be changed, or left, or sought after. Where is the City in regards to the figure? 

Celestial Bodies: The World: like the mountain, is a symbol of attainment. The Moon: is a symbol of the unconscious. The Sun: is a symbol of the conscious. When we are looking at a card we are always looking east. So if there is a celestial body in the background it is rising.

The Weather: As Air is the element of the mind, the weather is depicting the state of mind.

Today I contemplate my surroundings. I do not stand alone, I am a creature of this world and am always influenced by the landscape I inhabit. 

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