Overcoming hang-ups

Mary-EL Tarot

I shuffle the deck and pick my daily card:

6 of Swords.

Immediately my mind sounds out the Yuck-alarm:

Ihrroak!? That is archangel Raphael 😦

– All my hackles are up. I do not like christian angels!!!!!

Yes, OK BUT:

After the immediate gut reaction subsides I am really looking at the card= What is on there – NOT what I know from the book:

The predominant color is red. Alarm!!! Huuuuuge red wings – waaaay too big for that scrawny lad…. But red wings none the less…

Is THAT, why I had that instant = before thinking reaction? Red is also Blood and guts but also heat and sun and lust and fire…..

There is a rather puny looking red haired teenager guiding 2 younger kids, that could be his younger siblings – or smaller kids from the playground. This guy certainly poses no threat to anybody, he is malnourished and pale, nerdy looking. His hand is also kindly , protectively petting the neck of a medium sized Dog – a hunting Dog maybe…(I am not good with the names of breeds…)


Hands are predominant as well.

The hand on the Dog’s neck, the older girl holding hands with the younger boy,interweaving their fingers.

With an open hand the skinny teen points the way ahead, up some flight of stairs, while also with his thumb holding a strange long stick around which a black Snake-like ribbon is curled. This staff somehow reminds me of the caduceus – and right, I am finding out, that Raphael is in charge of healing and guiding the soul towards harmony and integration by dispelling fear, ignorance and – as in my case -dysfunctional oooold hang-ups!

See! πŸ™‚ That was not sooo bad.

Looking at a christian angel in a new way and actually finding out, what they think he is for, instead of shutting down by the first sight of him…..

In wikipedia I find out that he too is a patron of physicians, so that is, what the blood and guts wings are for… πŸ™‚


In the RWS system the 6 of Swords is often shown as a person in a boat, embarking on a journey, the boat filled with the 6 swords – the thoughts, the mind, Dark clouds in the distance speaking of past troubles, perils, hard times and hurts….

So this guy is the boat for the journey forward.

Into seeing things differently

taking off some old blinders

and let in some light and tolerance.

The little girl has brown hair, long and open – like I had at her age….

I am not the little girl anymore, that got dragged into darkness, abuse and pain by some christian nuns…..

Dare I now look at the other angels in this deck?

See, what I see, disregarding – for a moment – the knot in my stomach?


Hi πŸ™‚

Gregory E here! πŸ™‚

My immediate response is:

This card evoked two things for me : A painting of a bride preparing for her wedding by Max Ernst where she is covered with red feathers and looks much like the wings on this card :



Secondly the angel’s appearance reminds me of the god Pan, who always seems to appear with the same cropped curly red hair and the pointed elfin face. Pan is mischievous, and the immediate suggestion to me is that he is leading the children into a bit of harmless fun at someone else’s expense – like a class ringleader.

Even the wand with the caduceus has a β€œfun” snake wound around it ! This in turn makes me think of Peter Pan – who did exactly that. Which suggests to me – probably totally inappropriately – that this card is actually about fun. And – we often Can use a dose of fun to heal our deepest wounds.

8 thoughts on “Overcoming hang-ups

  1. I see even more hands. πŸ™‚ The top of the red wing looks like a half-open hand (almost as if the middle part of the wings is a head looking to the back of the card and the person is reaching up their hand). There are two (more abstract) spread hands at the top of the stick. And the guiding gesture is emphasized by the way the wing drapes alongside the biggest boy’s arm.

    All the red feels like a warm, protective blanket to me (even if I still find the angel guiding kids theme rather cheesy).

    Anatomically, however, we have some problems here (and I don’t mean the too big hands in comparison to the angel’s head or his weird left shoulder, which I’m totally willing to file under artistic license): The way the smaller kids hold hands is either impossible or very, very uncomfortable for the bigger girl (try it out!). Unless the hands both belong to the smallest kid and he is praying or something. The dog’s paws also aren’t quite right (why are they even visible?). As I said in my previous comment, I get distracted by these things…

  2. Yes, you are right, the way the kids are holding hands is also anatomically “problematic”, as are the shoulders of the imp.
    Looking through the Mary-El there are soooo many “anatomically problematic” renditions of limbs, that for now Gregory and i decided to check them all under “artistic tries”. Not everyone is a Leonardo and I do not want to bash Mary White. I wish I could draw as well as her.
    However, it is quite distracting, when trying to make sense of a Tarot image. Deciding ifff this is just a bad try at drawing a human hand – or is it really the pale spidery fingers of a looong dead monster, that I have to include into the context of the reading…. (talking Hierophant here for example………)
    Somehow, This morning, looking yet again at this image I had the sad and creepy feeling, this impish angel is leading away 2 kids, that just died…. Somehow I had the feeling, the darker hand folded into the boy’s hand is not his sister’s but his mother’s and she is still on the side of the living. For a fleeting flash I had an image of a car crash in my peripheral vision…..

  3. When I first saw this card, it looked like a remake of the silly pop-Christian “angel chasing the children across the bridge” painting. Now I think that the children are the most powerful part of the card, and the rest of it feels rather insubstantial, so I mostly ignore it.
    The anatomical inaccuracies bothered me a bit when I saw the first few cards, while Marie was still working on the Majors and Aces. But the distortions are consistent throughout the deck (they are the same type and mostly in the same places on the bodies) and are strongest in cards that have a lot of movement. So I’ve come to accept them as a positive artistic feature of the deck – one that emphasizes that these are symbolic spirit-figures, not ordinary people.
    I find the red in this deck a bit jarring from an artistic perspective (it is too opaque and intense, and tends to overpower the more subtle, transparent, and earthy colors in the remainder of her palette) but much of that is probably due to my own hypersensitivity to bright colors. Younger people who have grown up in a bright colored, artificial environment and are accustomed to the supersaturated colors on computer screens, will not see it that way.

  4. Oh!
    Thanks, Ironwing:)
    The thought to see the anatomical inaccuracies as “a positive artistic feature of the deck – one that emphasizes that these are symbolic
    spirit-figures, not ordinary people”
    is a helpfull idea, that I will remember!

  5. On first look, reminded me of Klimpt’s way of deliberately distorting the anatomy.
    Then I wondered, why is it distorted? (this deck/book is on it’s way to me now πŸ™‚
    After looking at it for a while I got a message of leaving behind any past forms of negativity (blood & gut memorys are behind the tall young fellow,in the form of wings? or is he stepping out of a self restricting dogma as the Fool… who is now moving on from the five ( I would have to see more neighboring cards for context in a reading)..while he reaches over to the loyalty of the dog across the two children who hold hands in trust that there is in fact a way forward, ie: sometimes just having to believe is necessary… that there are those who both…can & are willing to help. Though…. at the same time being aware of blind faith, ( all of this is of course just purely hyporthetical as there is also a chance that this card is also only a guise of feasable rationality with hidden agenda towards more accepting without questioning.
    As mentioned above by CAT, (more hands) are these the hands of the phantom travellers who try to steer us fom our own path to theirs?

    • Reaching across to the loyalty of the Dog:
      Like:” …. see, if he does not bite me, I am save to go with, I am not a stranger!”
      But then again maybe he is…. To some little kids like me after all…. as I will elaborate on in the next post…..

  6. Eeuu. I see those kids faces as totally apprehensive. More charnel for some house of god. I want to scream out Leave Them Alone! Ask the children to look at what they did to your companion. Starved for truth and heaped with burdens he can’t possibly carry…
    You won’t much find any help from me in curing your aversion to the idea of angels.

    • Yes, I was wondering if this scrawny angel is what will come of the 2 nurselings the hierophant has hanging on her tits and what poison………
      The fact that the Dog has not bitten him yet lets me hope….

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