Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Tarot Cards (The Moon): I Can’t Understand the Moon

Andrew McKnight: I Can‘t Understand the Moon


I collect Tarot cards, as much for the artistry as anything else. Tarot seems to inspire some amazing artwork at times, although it can also bring out the corniest side of some people as well. But the decks I like bring out all of the mystery and power of the Tarot. The Moon card I have chosen for this post is by Salvador Dali, and it comes from a complete deck that he painted. The card represents dreams. These can be the source of inspirations for great endeavors. But the Moon can also represent nightmares, or even insanity. To me, that is the aspect of the card the Dali captured best.

In my Halloween post on Oliver di Place, I promised that I would be posting another Andrew McKnight song here. McKnight captures another aspect of the Moon card. His narrator is lamenting the loss of a lover who was unattainable in the first place. He identifies her with the moon. But maybe he is literally referring to the moon, and maybe the rest is just his fevered imagination. To me, the song allows for either interpretation, and therefore is a perfect song to go with the card.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tarot Cards (Justice): Justice

Alan Price: Justice


We all want justice but you got to have the money to buy it/
You'd have to be a fool to close your eyes and deny it.

A cynical sentiment from former Animal Alan Price, "Justice" is one of the minor cuts on his O Lucky Man! soundtrack. (So you can imagine how great the major cuts are.) Price appears in the Lindsay Anderson film in the same Greek Chorus role as Jonathan Richman in "There's Something About Mary" and Nat King Cole and Stubby Kaye in "Cat Ballou". In the film our hero, played by Malcolm MacDowell, must abandon his principles to succeed in capitalist society. Will he succeed and at what cost? The hairstyles and clothes may be dated but, in light of the Occupy Wall Street movement, the film's message has never been more relevant.

Tarot Cards (The Hanged Man): The Hanged Man

The Hanged Man or Le Pendu (XII) is the twelfth trump or Major Arcana card in most traditional Tarot decks, and amongst others signifies suspension, rebirth, sacrifice, and transformation. Now I'm not sure of course, but I've got a hunch that the early seventies British folkers of Mr. Fox were well aware of this when they wrote the rather spooky The Hanged Man. "Walking a valley that never saw the sun, step by the stones where the icy waters run, stand in a church where the village choir once sang, and run along the pathway where the dead man used to hang..."

Monday, October 31, 2011

Tarot Cards (The Fool): The Fool

The Fixx : The Fool


I'm not at all familiar with the Tarot or the various meanings of its cards. Let's just say everything I know about it I learned from Wikipedia, the blogger's friend.

I know more about the British band The Fixx, though, 'cuz they're one of my favorite 80s New Wave groups. They've always shown more complexity in their melodies and lyrics than most bands of the time. This song is from their first album, Shuttered Room, which also gave us the better-known hits Stand or Fall and Red Skies at Night. The group is still active, touring, and working on a new album that will come out next spring.

The Tarot's fool is a childlike spirit on a journey. In contrast, The Fixx's fool is a sad madman wasting away in confinement (So I'm locked away in my padded cocoon, A square of hell where nightmares bloom). I think I prefer the Tarot version, especially since I'm out of town on my own journey for a few weeks.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Tarot Cards (The Tower): Franklin’s Tower

Grateful Dead: Franklin‘s Tower


To begin our week of Tarot cards, I wanted to make a fairly obvious connection between a card and a song. I will get all mystical on everyone later in the week. But I’m starting with Franklin’s Tower, simply because it has the word Tower in the title of the song.

Actually, Franklin’s Tower has one of Robert Hunter’s more mysterious lyrics. I could make a somewhat forced connection to the meaning of the card if I wanted to. But I think it suffices to say that a tower is, symbolically, a solid structure, a foundation upon which to build. For Hunter, it is a beacon, guiding the traveler through a mysterious landscape. It is a song that asks the listener to use their imagination to fill in the blanks. The Grateful Dead were famed for their musical imaginations, so this song represents at least one side of their artistry perfectly. The version of Franklin’s Tower heard here is a live version from the album Dead Set.