Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Spiels on Wheels, Part One

When I first thought about doing a post on tarot's Ten, the Wheel card, I figured ten wheels. Perfect. Except that in no time at all I was at thirteen entertaining wheels, and counting. The post was rapidly turning into a novel. How to sort them out? Joni Mitchell to the rescue.
"Moons and Junes and Ferris wheels..." from her 1969 hit, Both Sides Now.
Problem solved! I'll start with Ferris wheels.

Here's London's Eye, used in the opening credits of the cell-phone savvy Sherlock series.
And now Budapest's Eye, on view for this summer only in lively Erzsébet Square. Picture taken by ME! during an unforgettable week in July.
Time to turn the wheel over to tarot. The tough gritty Tarot of the Burroughs takes us on an occasionally seedy excursion through the Big Apple, and a spin on Coney Island's Wonder Wheel. On the right is a Wheel that's not quite Ferris; the rollicking Wheel of Fortune from the Anna K tarot. Sometimes you're up, sometimes you're in the mud, but you can always climb back on for another spin!

That's enough stomach-swooping for me!
Over to the merry-go-round and the Inner Child deck on the left, where we hop on with Alice in Wonderland and the Mad Hatter. On the right is a real-life carousel that lives in Edinburgh's Princess Street Gardens.
"And the painted ponies for up and down; we're captive on the carousel of time."
Joni again, from the Circle Game.
Wait a sec, please. I need one of those fresh-squeezed lemonades where all the sugar sinks to the bottom of the cup.
OK, over to the midway and the roulette wheel. First to the Housewives Tarot (L), where we ask June Cleaver to mind the kids while we high-heel-it off to the fairgrounds to gamble with the grocery money.
A bit of dark humour creeps in with the kooky spooky Halloween Tarot (R). Here's an alarmed carnival-goer tied to the Wheel, which is being turned by an elephant, who in turn is about to be given a turn by a mouse. Expect the unexpected!

Grab some candy floss to go - we're leaving the carnival!
The somewhat odd but interesting Bruegel Tarot uses the child's game of hoop-and-stick. Images of comic-tragic masks and the letters F/A (felicità/duolo) depict happiness & pain following each other around the hoop. We're definitely out of the kid-stuff with this one.
That's the first six Wheels. Now the last four: spirals and spinning wheels.
Here's the Budapest wheel again, next to the spiral on the Tarot of the Sidhe card backs.
Same purplish-white glow - I love it!

Right underneath the Sidhe glyph is Rachel Pollack's Spiral of Fortune, from her deck-unlike-any-other, the Shining Tribe. This endearing creature reminds me of the mulefa, the wheel riders in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. In this series of books, many different worlds co-exist simultaneously, much like in a Wheel of Fortune card where one person's world is up while at the same time
another's is having a downswing.
On the left, the sweet 'n feisty Fey Tarot turns the spiral into a gameboard. As one Fey adds a game piece to the spiral, the other player removes one. As the player in her autumn years exits the spiral of life, a younger Fey enters. The Wheel is always changing and yet remains the same.

The final two!
On the left we're attending "Mandrake Academy" in Corrine Kenner's richly imagined Wizards Tarot. The scene is the Guidance Counselor's office, where ghosts of past and future listen in while she helps us cope with the twists and turns of fate (as we twist and turn the wool into yarn).
On the right we see a cropped version (sorry, anti-croppers!) of the Wheel from the delicate Dreaming Way Tarot of Rome Choi. This young woman doesn't seem to be having much luck with the yarn on her spinning wheel. I hope it will soon come 'round right for her.

Ta-da! Ten Wheels of Fortune! But who will read them for us?
Over we go to The Baroque Bohemian Cats' Tarot, and the creative folks at Baba Studio.