Tarot at the MFA

MFA Boston Last week I took a little trip to the Museum of Fine Art in Boston.  I love to go to art museums, although I steer clear of reading the descriptions of the art usually because they can sound so snobby, affected, and irrelevant to my enjoyment of the art.  Instead I saw tarot tarot everywhere!  Ever since I started up an Instagram account for The Willow Path Tarot, I've had my eye out for things I see around me that remind me of the tarot cards.  This is a great way for me to practice tarot card meanings, help me be more observant of the world around me, and also to creatively connect my love of tarot and photography. Hobbies fused!  Anyway, as I wandered around the MFA I took some photos of works of art that resonated with me and thought about with which tarot card I would connect that feeling and image.

Above you will see the work of art that struck me immediately as The Fool.  Unfortunately, I didn't find out the artists name, or the name of the piece (a hazard of not reading the plaque!), so sorry super talented artist if you see this and feel unrepresented. I'm happy to credit this if someone knows who did it!  Anyway, a long hallway stretching from one end of the museum to the other had many of these free flying figures, taking the leap of faith on their journeys.  The Fool is one of my favorite cards, and this was the first piece of art that really jumped out and me and said:  "The tarot is also artwork based on human archetypes, therefore won't it be possibly to relate all the art in this museum to a tarot card?"  Isn't that the very nature of art- to reflect, question, and explain the human archetypes?  Would I find any work of art in this museum that did not relate to a tarot card?  If I did, would that mean that there are essential cards missing from the tarot?  I have heard of some decks with an added card for The Artist. How is this archetype different from say, The Magician?

Ellsworth Kelly, Blue Green Yellow Orange Red (Blue panel), 1968

I was also drawn to this rainbow piece of art.  It made me think of the happiness and contentment of the X of Cups or The Sun.  Notice the line on the floor in front of the painting- this is as close as you are supposed to get before a little alarm goes off warning you that you are too close to the painting.  I was surprised at how often the alarm sounded throughout this exhibit in the Linde Family Gallery of Contemporary Art.  It seems many people needed to get super close to inspect the art.  Even a painting that is seemingly as straightforward as these blocks of color can still lure people to get a closer look.  The ability to touch and play with the tarot cards makes a tarot reading a tangible, hands on experience of art.  I love the feeling of shuffling a tarot deck between my fingers and I usually encourage my tarot clients to touch and interact with the cards.  I think this lends intention and intuition into a reading that can bring the reading to a deeper level.

Josiah McElheny, Endlessly Repeating Twentieth Century Modernism, 2007

One more piece of art from the exhibit, and then I'll be done talking about art for today :). This piece on the left was truly captivating to me.  The never ending illusion of glass containers stretching back into eternity reminded me immediately of the VII of Cups. These vessels could hold limitless opportunities, but which of them are real and which of them are illusions? This also brought to mind the X of Wands, feeling overwhelmed and burdened, not being able to see your way through to an easier, less busy time.  Then the IX of Swords popped into my mind- anxiety!  Hopefully I don't wake up in the night unable to shake the stress and worry over all those endless bottles, containing all those endless possibilities and challenges.

Lime Green Icicle Tower, Dale Chihuly

Ok, I lied- one more photo to close out the post. I loved the Chihuly exhibit when it came to the MFA a couple of years ago and am so glad they were able to hang onto this giant green tree guy.  What could better represent a passionate, creative spark than this tower of glass?  It is the Ace of Wands through and through.  I hope this post inspires you to open your eyes to the archetypes of tarot around you.  Each of our experience of life is connected, intertwined, combined, and co-created to contribute to one big human experience.  Creating and appreciating art are great ways to tap into that shared energy within and around us.