January 18th, 2007, 3:56 am
Comparisons between Harry Potter and the symbolism of the many Tarot cards are everywhere. The most popular comparison is between Dumbledore's death and the Tower card.
What parallels can be found between characters/places/situations and these cards?
silver ink pot
January 30th, 2007, 1:48 am
One card that fascinates many people is the Seven of Cups, due to all the objects shown that seem to correlate with the remaining horcruxes. Here are two versions:
We can see:
Wreath - Laurel?
Jewels or Cup of Fire?
Dementor or Voldemort? Or Invisibility Cloak?
Seven of Cups:
Ideas, desires and dreams, all that mattered
Castles in the air, forces and focuses are scattered
Good use of determination and will
Forces and focus up to size
A project to be realize
January 30th, 2007, 2:32 am
Oh, I've never seen that one before...
I did some research on the card, and for the most part, it does seem to relate to Horcruxes. If Harry drew this card, it would be telling him to go out once and for all and destroy the Horcruxes.
The Seven of Cups depicts an individual faced with the mysterious appearance of strange images from cups in a floating cloud. Though the character's back is toward us, we can see from the half-raised arm-gesture that the apparitions before him are something of a surprise. The various "prizes" appearing from the cups are a mixture of positive and negative visions. Jewels, a snake, a laurel-wreath, a dragon, towers, a shrouded person and a woman's head. The character faced with these specters is taken aback by their confusing nature.
The correspondence for this card is Venus in Scorpio. On the tree of life, this card is Victory and Venus.
This card indicates that we are faced with a time of decision, that the images in our minds must be dealt with not only in our dreams but in the world of reality. The character in the Seven of Cups is a dreamer who is able to see beauty and excitement as well as fearful trials and difficulties in the future. If we are constantly caught up in our own dreams, fantasies, and/or fears, we will never be able to move forward and make those dreams a reality or overcome those fears.
This card indicates that though dreaming is beautiful and provides inspiration for action, we must at some point abandon our "castles in the sky" and begin to build those castles in our real life. bold mine
Remember Harry's dreams about the Horcruxes, and how images of cups and snakes (hah, accidentally typed you-know-what instead :p) appear in his dreams?
The Seven of Cups often appears when a difficult choice must be made, and the image on most versions of the card reflects that. The seven cups are filled with strange and wonderful gifts... but there is always danger hidden within one or two of them to sting anyone who ventures near. Lying amidst the gems and the wreath of victory are a snake and a dragon. Sometimes you have to choose between many options, all of which may be tempting but only one of which is the best choice. At others times not all of those choices are real options at all; they are delusions of the imagination.
Hidden dangers? Like the ring curse, or the green potion?
In short, the Seven of Cups is a sign to be vigilant in everyday life. Be on guard against temptation, and before taking any offers be aware of all the potential ramifications.
Interesting. Aren't many heroes tempted at one time or another to do the wrong thing?
The card also speaks of "letting go" and relaxing rules, and also being wary of unattainable dreams and desires.
Wikipedia (oh noes! D: ) also tells us what some people think each of these symbols....symbolise.
There is a dispute as to what the 7 symbols mean. But some tarotologists have some specuation behind the meanings.
The cups seem to offer:
Snake - May represent animal passion and desire. Alternatively, some consider the snake to represent powerful transformative knowledge. The snake around The Magician's waist may offer insight into Waite's intention with this inclusion herein.
Treasure Horde - Probably represents wealth and abundance.
Head - May represent a potential female companion to the seeker (love).
Castle - May represent power and stability, or one's native land.
Wreath - May represent victory albeit for better or worse. Note the skull like shadow on the cup itself.
Dragon - May represent fantasy, magic.
Shrouded, glowing figurine - May represent the seeker's need for self-illumination.
silver ink pot
January 30th, 2007, 7:55 am
I just realized that the two pictures I posted were slightly different - one has a bird in one of the cups instead of a woman's head. Of course, Harry's owl, Hedwig, is a female bird. :lol:
Great research, Ignisia! Those descriptions sound like Harry at the end of HBP, uncertain of what to do next, or where he will find the missing horcruxes. There is also the sense of some deception ahead with some of them - Harry could get sidetracked, or confused, or follow a lead while missing the actual horcrux.
From what little I know about the Tarot - if JKR is associating Harry with Cups, it is an interesting choice, as they coincide with the Water element - like Slytherin - and also the emotions. Of course Harry's emotions make him what he is and give him "the power the Dark Lord knows not."
In HBP, the trip to the cave with the evil potion and all that water imagery surely lead us to the Cups.
It's interesting to look at the next "Cups" cards in the series. The Eight looks like a man going on a journey - perhaps Harry leaving Hogwarts or his trip to Godric's Hollow? Nine and Ten are very positive cards, which might suggest a hopeful outcome. Yet I suspect other "Major" cards will play a greater role, as they did in the Lightning Struck Tower.:
Eight of Cups:
Abandoning of the present situation
For good or evil, the leaving of the material
Joy and feasting coincide
The spiritual is abandoned for the material side
Nine Of Cups:
Good physical health
Material success, assured futre and wealth
Mistakes and imperfections in a present plans
Overindulgence in food and drink at passion's demand
Ten of Cups:
Happy family and lasting success for you
Attainment, a friendship so true
Loss of friendship and betrayel
Family quarrel to no avail
January 31st, 2007, 1:44 am
You mentioned the Tower scene and it's similarity to the Lightning-Struck Tower card. I can think of two more cards that we have actually seen visually depicted in HP.
The Hanged Man appears many times in the books - from Levicorpus to the Hanged Man Pub and simple kid's games of Hangman (in Quidditch book and at Weasley's Wheezes). The card is based on the myth of Odin hanging upside down on the World Tree to gain wisdom. Basically tells one to look at something again, but differently. Certainly a huge clue to look at the Marauders differently than before SWM.
And Snape's long trip down to the gate to let Harry in is certainly indicative of the Hermit card - the very dark night with the lamp - based on Diogenes - the greek cynic - who wanders alone - looking for an HONEST man. Considering Snape's insistence on getting the Truth from Harry - threats of Veritaserum and using legilimency (with Harry lying even tho' he KNOWS Snape can tell) - I think the symbolism there was quite apt.
JKRs use of symbolism throughout the books (in this case using the tarot card scenes) is part of why I find her books so incredibly interesting to delve into (not just read). Thankfully, we are now allowed to do just that again, now that we have this section.
January 31st, 2007, 9:48 pm
Well, my knowledge of tarot extends to about three hours and the beginnings of one free online course (http://www.learntarot.com), but I guess I'll take a stab at it.
if JKR is associating Harry with Cups
My guess is she's associating Harry with the seeker. Which probably makes us the reader(s). :D
No, I'm not making this up, these are real tarot terms for the person whose cards are being read and the person interpreting the cards, respectively.
And Snape's long trip down to the gate to let Harry in is certainly indicative of the Hermit card - the very dark night with the lamp - based on Diogenes - the greek cynic - who wanders alone - looking for an HONEST man.
As the hermit represents a period of receding from the world to free oneself from material concerns and interactions with other men, I believe Diogenes was wandering alone to make himself an honest man, or to find the honest man within himself. I'm not familiar with the actual story, but I'm guessing that was either his intent at the beginning or at least what he discovered by the end. I should probably go and read the actual story to make sure.
JKRs use of symbolism throughout the books (in this case using the tarot card scenes) is part of why I find her books so incredibly interesting to delve into (not just read). Thankfully, we are now allowed to do just that again, now that we have this section.
I totally agree!
So the tarot thing seems interesting enough that I'm even thinking of buying a deck, and as I was perusing the various options I came across:
The Arthurian Tarot by Caitlin and John Matthews is a republication of the former Hallowquest Tarot. This deck is based on the legend of King Arthur and his Round Table. The major arcana cards show key figures, objects and places in the Arthurian story. The Magician is Merlin (left); the High Priestess is the Lady of the Lake. The four suits stand for different aspects of life symbolized by the four hallows on the aces - stone, spear, grail and sword. A hallow is a "holy empowering object of the inner quest." Cards 2-9 show landscapes in Britain that relate to each hallow. The weather reflects the associated season. The ten shows the castle where the four royal figures of that hallow live - king, queen, knight and maiden. The Arthurian Tarot comes in a slipcase holding the deck, a blank-paged journal and text guide The Arthurian Tarot. This companion book offers details about the symbols and meanings of the cards and special spreads designed for this deck. The artist is Miranda Gray.
I doubt Jo's hallows will be a stone, a spear, a grail, and a sword, but I wouldn't be surprised if she put the same principles into similarly symbolic objects of her own choosing.
February 2nd, 2007, 3:29 am
I was listening to Mugglecast - when they were discussing the hanged man and I came up with a theory. I sent it in to them, but they didn't mention it whatever. I want to know what you guys think.
The hanged man (according to wikipedia):
"A more common interpretation of this card is that the man appears to be upside down (an outcast to society)"
Luna is the outcast in the books. Everybody makes fun of her
"The Hanged Man is often associated with Odin, the primary god of the Norse Pantheon. Odin hung upside down from the world-tree, Yggdrasil, for nine days in order to gain knowledge of the runes, which the Norse cosmology regarded as the source and end of all mystery and all knowledge. The moment he glimpsed the runes, he died, but the knowledge of them was so powerful that he immediately returned to life. This interpretation highlights the necessity of undertaking acts of personal sacrifice in order to achieve one's own higher spiritual good."
When we first see her in OotP Luna is reading the Quibbler upside down. Harry later figures out that she was looking at runes when read upside down reveal a spell which can turn somebody ears into kumquats.
But could this also mean that she sacrifices herself?
"The Hanged Man is the initiate into mysteries. He understands the truth because he sees it from a different angle.
The most common interpretation of the card is of an outcast of society that appears to be a fool but is actually in complete alignment. The upside downness of the hanged man gives him an advantage that outsiders are unable to see or understand."
We all know that Luna obviously see's things differently then others. But there is something more mysterious there - and thats proven at the end of OotP - when she comforts Harry and talks to him about the veil, and giving him a cryptic awnser.
Could Luna be the key to the destruction of Voldemort? I think given all the symbolism of the hanged man and other things discussed on Mugglecast, that Luna may play the most important part in the next book. I think she will sacrifice herself to help Harry. Also - Luna's unique outlook at things may give the trio (or whoever ends up halping Harry) an advantage against Voldemort.
February 2nd, 2007, 4:05 am
I think the Hanged Man probably symbolizes several different characters. It is associated with Frank Bryce (Hanged Man's Pub), Snape (LeviCorpus), Ron (LeviCorpus) and the Twins (Hangman's game in their store).
However since Luna reads her Quibbler upside down, I think she can also be included as one of the Hanged Men.
Note that even Draco has a small connection thru his Hand of Glory - made from the hand of a hanged man. Altho' in his case he merely 'bought' whatever he gains from it - didn't put in the time on the 'tree' like Odin.
February 2nd, 2007, 10:32 pm
FeverFudge, that's an amazing parallel you've picked up on with the runes and reading them upside down. I never saw it that way, but now that you mention it, it makes sense.
The Hanged Man is, from what I gather, a card of revelation and catharsis as well. So perhaps one of her "crazy" ideas turns out to be true.
No comment on Luna and sacrifice. :scared: I like to hold the hope that she makes it through DH. I couldn't face it if she didn't! :upset:
February 3rd, 2007, 7:21 pm
thank you ignisia. I really hope she makes it through as well - she's such a great character.
February 6th, 2007, 8:05 pm
yeah i have noticed many parallels with hp and numerology and psychic materials
February 7th, 2007, 3:18 am
So I wound up buying a deck on Amazon, one of the Waite versions. Fascinating stuff. The book that explains it is divided into three parts, the first two being The Veil and its Symbols and The Doctrine behind the Veil.
I think what they're talking about here is the "veil" between the conscious and subconscious aspects of our minds, the part that deals with the everyday physical world and normal intellectual endeavors and the essentially inaccessible part that stays constant — the soul, so to speak. Or you could call it the veil that divides the physical world from the spirit world, although spirit here doesn't really mean anything supernatural. More like thoughts and ideas and feelings, which sometimes transcend the ability of words and symbols to capture. Influences that can be felt but not named.
I think the whole point of the Tarot is to allow communication between the subconscious and conscious (I've also read the real point of Alchemy was basically the same). People project meanings onto the archetypal symbols depicted on the cards, it allows you to see what's really going on in the back of your head. Normally it's not something you'd be able to see, completely unphysical, unembodied influences that are like incomprehensible whispers, so in that sense Tarot is like lifting the veil, allowing the spirits to emerge for a while.
So many deathly, hallowy connections, I have no idea where to begin ... :lol:
March 16th, 2007, 8:47 pm
I just started this thread in the Common Room and it might dovetail with this one
"Spinner's End" = "The Cave" = Plato's Cave?
A good part of the thread deals with the idea of "Half-Blood Prince" = "The Ligthing Struck Tower" while "Deathly Hallows" = "The Hanged Man."
March 21st, 2007, 10:18 am
Would the seven cups also have a relationship to the potions on the way to the mirror of Erised in PS/SS. Given that there are supposed to be clues in that book about the rest of the series, it may be relevant.
In that, there are :
"Two of us willl help you, whichever you would find
One among us seven will let you move ahead,
Another will transport the drinker back instead,
Two amoung our number hold only nettle wine,
Three of us are killers, waiting hidden in line..." p207 PS (Bloomsbury)
The idea of comparring Luna with the hanged man card seems to work too. Nice pick up. The only problem is that because her views are so far out of the box, she is discredited too quickly. There seems to be a recurring theme of not overlooking those who are often overlooked - like the house elves - and Harry hasn't nreally grasped that yet. Something for book 7!
March 21st, 2007, 5:34 pm
Luna and Hanged Man seems logical, as does the Seven of Cups horcrux comparison. The Hermit might be similar to Dumbledore, but then again, it might be self-delusion to fit the topic. I'm trying to remember if any cards have black dogs on them--the Rider-Waite fool, I believe does. And then there's the Lion on Strength, but that's common symbolism, anyway.
March 21st, 2007, 7:33 pm
Oooh, yeay, a tarot thread. I've always thought the tarot references in HBP especially are interesting. Some of these topics have come up before (I say this because I don't want to seem like I'm mooching off of other folks).
Mostly I've heard The Hanged Man associated with Snape and Levicorpus. But FeverFudge makes a good case for Luna:We all know that Luna obviously see's things differently then others. But there is something more mysterious there - and thats proven at the end of OotP - when she comforts Harry and talks to him about the veil, and giving him a cryptic awnser.
And good call hwyla on the upside-down Quibbler. :tu:
To add to the excellent stuff FeverFudge posted,
The Hanged Man, in similar fashion, is a card about suspension, not life or death. This is a time of trial or meditation, selflessness, sacrifice, prophecy. The Querent stops resisting; instead he makes himself vulnerable, sacrifices his position or opposition, and in doing so, gains illumination. Answers that eluded him come clear, solutions to problems are found. He sees the world differently, has almost mystical insights. This card can also imply a time when everything just stands still, a time of rest and reflection before moving on. Things will continue on in a moment, but for now, they float, timeless.
...This card signifies a time of insight so deep that, for a moment, nothing but that insight exists. All Tarot readers have such moments when we see, with absolute clarity, the whole picture, the entire message offered by a spread. The Hanged Man symbolizes such moments of suspension between physical and mystical worlds. Such moments don't last, and they usually require some kind of sacrifice. Sacrifice of a belief or perspective, a wish, dream, hope, money, time or even selfhood. In order to gain, you must give. Sometimes you need to sacrifice cherished positions, open yourself to other truths, other perspectives in order to find solutions, in order to bring about change. One thing is certain, whether the insight is great or small, spiritual or mundane, once you have been the Hanged Man you never see things quite the same.
Another popular tarot connection I remember folks talking about is Trelawney's reading that Harry interrupts. 'Two of spades: conflict,' she murmured, as she passed the place where Harry crouched, hidden. 'Seven of spades: an ill omen. Ten of spades: violence. Knave of spades: a dark young man, possibly troubled, one who dislikes the questioner --'.
She stopped dead, right on the other side of Harry's statue.
'Well, that can't be right,' she said, annoyed, and Harry heard her reshuffling vigorously as she set off again, leaving nothing but a whiff of cooking sherry behind her. I've heard Snape, Harry, and Malfoy as popular subjects of this 'reading', although I favor Harry. Prof T always seems to misinterpret her own readings, so it would make sense for her to assume it couldn't be about Harry if it really were. I think it is interesting that she pulls all spades (aka swords). Maybe she just is a poor shuffler.
This could be a four card spread (or five card - if you count the Lightning Struck Tower - Prof T later tells Harry she always gets it as a final card, so it may be possible it would have appeared had she not stopped here). I'm not a tarot expert, just a humble dilletante. And there are tons of different 'spread' interpretations out there, so I'm not sure which one JKR would be using here. Personally I don't think it's necessarily worthwhile to nitpick on the spread.
The two five card spread versions I've seen tend to be:
1: the situation/problem
2: obstacles to be dealt with
3: the past (which has lead to this situation)
4: immediate future and influences
1: the past
2: the recent past
3: the present
4: near future
5: outcome/distant future (yet to be determined)
A common four card spread:
1: the goal
2: forces in your favor
3: forces working against
4: the solution
What the cards themselves mean (based on my research):
1: two of spades ('conflict according to T): temporary peace or compromise
2: seven of spades ('a ill omen'): deception, thievery, a secret plan, spying
3: ten of spades ('violence'): hitting rock-bottom, but things can't get any worse, a martyr or victim (the common image on this card is a man with swords in his back which personally always makes me think of betrayal)
4: knave (page) of spades: quick-witted, risk-taker, facing a challenge (pages are considered to be youths: inexperienced but curious)
Sites I've found helpful:
March 22nd, 2007, 3:55 pm
Excellent post, owlpostgirl! ^____^ You've done your homework on this. :tu:
The meaning of the cards seems to fit the common four card spread.
We want peace, spying and secret plans help us, Dumbledore's martyrdom halts our progress (I'm not going to say "Snape's betrayal" because...well, you all know what side of the fence I'm on ;)), and Harry is our solution for this ultimate goal of peace.
March 22nd, 2007, 5:53 pm
Um, this might be a stretch, but Harry's wand is 11 inches. The 11, or the Page of Wands is all about following one's heart, the active fire of each suit, here the fire of fire. He pays for it with 7 Galleons, 7 golden Pentacles. I think that in paying with such, he recieves part f the lesson in that card--that the journey is to be enjoyed as much as the destination. Seeing as he soon journeys on the Hogwarts Express, it might be fitting, and the wand shows up in all 7 books.
Then, in Book 5, Harry is able to see the thestral-drawn carriages. That might be related to the Chariot. It's about opposites, according to some, while others say it's the card of victory and conquest. It's often seen as a go-ahead card, even as it teaches yielding. Interesting to juxtapose that with Luna seeing the Thestrals, and her being the Hanged Man.
March 22nd, 2007, 8:35 pm
The Hanged Man is about, among other things, reversal: turning the world upside down, or seeing things from a new angle. It could signify an incident instead of a person, and knowing Jo's propensity for visual puns, I'd say SWM is a prime example. Harry saw the Hanged Man (literally teen!Snape, in this instance) and the appearance of this symbol marked a moment when his old views and assumptions about his father were turned upside down.
April 4th, 2007, 6:44 pm
I wanted to start a new thread around the symbolism of the Tarot and how it applies to the series- if that's ok. I will repeat the main connection of the Hanged Man and go from there.
I mentioned this in the Speculation Thread on how I think The Hanged Man is connected to the Title of Deathly Hallows (link to that thread here.) (http://www.cosforums.com/showthread.php?p=4434866#post4434866) (I've posted this idea on another board btw but I think it's good to bring it up here as well.)
Consider this and the connection to "The Hanged Man" motif which has been popping up all over the place.
1) When J.K. Rowling announced the Title of Deathly Hallows, visitors of her website could play a game of Hanged Man to get the name.
2) We see a magical game of Hanged Man in the Weasley twins Magic shop.
3) The "Hand of Glory" that Draco uses in HBP - by folklore is always a a lamp that is made from a Hanged Murderer's hand. Draco used this the night Severus Snape stole his "Glory" and murdered Dumbledore.
4) We see a game of Hanged Man scribbled by Ron inside the cover of "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them"
5) We see images of the Hanged Man anytime someone uses the Levicorpus Spell- in particular Snape in his Worst Memory. Snape himself simulates the Tarot's card for a Hanged Man (Hung upside down by his ankles.)
So I believe we're talking about Judgment day in Deathly Hallows. But I don't think it Necessarily the hellfire and brimstone Apocalyptic variety and I don't think "Snape is gonna Hang!" for murder in the literal sense.
I do think there will be self atonement on the part of both Harry and Snape.
When you interpret the Tarot's story of The Hanged Man you get a much different story that a guy going to the Gallows. You get the vision of a Fool who is enlightened and aware of his inner self having given up his earthly desires for ultimate truth.
So I believe the "Judgment" Harry is facing in his own. In order to defeat Voldemort Harry will have to KNOW THYSELF. As Snape was telling him more or less in his Occlumency lessons- Every weakness, emotion, and desire Harry has in his mind - is a "weapon" against himself until he learns to Close it. "Mouth closed- Mind SHUT Potter!"
This all leads the series full circle back to the Mirror of Erised- "The happiest man on earth would look in that mirror and see only himself."
To further explore this idea, I want to show how the connection made of Deathly Hallows to the Hanged Man made me explore the Tarot stories. I think it can add something to the plot as well. It's interesting to think about the "Story of Tarot" with the Hanged Man, The Devil, and The Lightening Struck Tower
Snape and Harry are both "The fool" (First card 0) at different stages of their own journey in the story of Tarot. The Devil Is Voldemort. The climax of Half Blood Prince was on the the Tower. All these elements will play into how Harry deals with Voldemort not just in his quest to defeat Voldemort but for the Ultimate Truth.
I found some interesting interpretations on Wikipedia and aecletic.net (http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/)
The Hanged Man
The Hanged Man can be applied both to Snape and Harry - as Harry identifies with Snape for the first time when he sees "Snape's Worst Memory" and Snape is hanged upside down, of course.
The Gallows from which he is suspended forms a Tau cross, while the figure — from the position of the legs — forms a fylfot cross. There is a nimbus about the head of the seeming martyr. It should be noted (1) that the tree of sacrifice is living wood, with leaves thereon; (2) that the face expresses deep entrancement, not suffering; (3) that the figure, as a whole, suggests life in suspension, and life overturned but not death.
A more common interpretation of this card is that the man appears to be upside down (an outcast to society) but has inner harmony (the fact that his body is in complete alignment). The twist on this card is that the hanged man's upside downness may eventually destroy him in later cards (such as death or the tower). Receiving the hanged man should be a warning to look out for excessive independenceat the expense of a person's own well being.
(Wikipedia: The Hanged Man (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hanged_Man))
Here's another interpretation from Aecletic.net.
The Fool settles beneath a tree, intent on finding his spiritual self. There he stays for nine days, without eating, barely moving. People pass by him, animals, clouds, the wind, the rain, the stars, sun and moon. On the ninth day, with no conscious thought of why, he climbs a branch and dangles upside down like a child, giving up for a moment, all that he is, wants, knows or cares about. Coins fall from his pockets and as he gazes down on them - seeing them not as money but only as round bits of metal - everything suddenly changes perspective. It is as if he's hanging between the mundane world and the spiritual world, able to see both. It is a dazzling moment, dreamlike yet crystal clear. Connections he never understood before are made, mysteries are revealed.
But timeless as this moment of clarity seems, he realizes that it will not last. Very soon, he must right himself, and when he does, things will be different. He will have to act on what he's learned. For now, however, he just hangs, weightless as if underwater, observing, absorbing, seeing. (aecletic.net The Hanged Man Basic Card Symbols) (http://www.aeclectic.net/basics/hangedman.shtml)
The Hanged Man is the 12th card and is considered the stage between life and Death (Death is 13). The Fool looks inward and reflects on his life. We don't really know what happened after or how Snape got rescued from James prank do we? Was this a moment that changed Snape's life in a way we don't know yet?
We see Snape as an outcast who's position suggests a tortured soul and "Seems to be a martyr" but as Sirius points out to harry Snape often brought it upon himself. He even invented the very spell that Harry's dad would use on him in that moment. So in that view, he is a man who found a Tree (choosing to sit in the shade near some shrubs) - climbed it and hung himself upside down. Snape choices brought him to that moment just as much as Jame's choice to harass him. But his isolation will be his weakness when met by two other cards - Death and the Tower. Though Harry and Snape are both "Fools" in this story- Snape has isolated himself. He has no friends and is often overcome when ganged up on.
Even though it was Snape as the Fool hanging from the tree- Harry became enlightened to an inverted vision of Snape, allowing him to identify with the man in way he'd never imagined he could but also of himself and his own father. Harry assumed his father was a Hero and flawless, he's defended him every time Snape called him arrogant ("MY FATHER DOES NOT STRUT!") when in fact, his own father was arrogant and strutting. But this realization will help Harry in the end. Harry needed to learn from the Hanged Man in order to see inside himself and realize that he idolized his father who was only human after all- as is Harry. Snape is the ultimate Greek "Nemeses" serving as Harry's reminder "Hubris." When Snape points out Harry's arrogance, and his weaknesses, it is as he tells him in Occlumency lessons, "You're handing me weapons!" Snape is pointing out to Harry everything Voldemort will be using against him. It will be what is in Harry already. (Back to the Mirror of Erised.)
The reason Voldemort (The Devil Card) is so powerful is because through legillimency he can manipulate thoughts and negative tendencies in people. He uses their own fears and desires against them. In POA when Pettigrew is begging in the shrieking shack (page 374), he implies as much, "Sirius, Sirius, what could I have done? The Dark Lord...you have no idea...he has weapons you cant imagine...I was scared, Sirius, I was never brave like you and Remus and James. I never meant it to happen...He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named forced me--" We all know no one forced Pettigrew to be A death Eater, but what's important is that he believed he had no choice.
Snape The Hanged Man is one step towards preparing Harry for The Fool's meeting with the Devil (the 15th card.)
The Fool comes to the foot of an enormous black mountain where reigns a creature half goat, half god. At his hooves, naked people linked to the god's throne by chains, engage in every indulgence imaginable: sex, drugs, food, gold, drink. The closer the Fool gets, the more he feels his own earthly desires rising in him. Lust, passion, obsession, greed. "I refuse to give into you!" he roars at the Goat god, resisting with all his might. The creature returns a curious look."All I am doing is bringing out what is already in you," the beast responds. "Such feelings are nothing to fear, nothing to be ashamed of, or even to avoid." The Fool gestures angrily at the chained men and women, "You say that even though they enslaved?" The Goat-god mimics the Fool's gesture. "Take another look."
The Fool does so, and realizes that the chained collars the men and women wear are wide enough for them to easily slip off over their heads. "They can be free if they wish to be," the Goat-god says, "Though you are right. I am the god of your strongest desires. But you see here only those who have allowed their base, bestial desires to control them." At this the Goat-god gestures upward, toward the peak of the mountain. "You do not see those who have allowed their impulses and aspirations to take them up to the top of that mountain. Inhibitions can enslave as easily as excesses. They can keep you from following your passion to the highest heights." The Fool realizes the truth in this, and that he has mistaken the Goat-god. Here he understands now, it is not a creature of evil, but of great power, the lowest and the highest, both of beast and god. Like all power it is frightening, and dangerous...but it is also the key to freedom and transcendence if understood and well used. aecletic (http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/learn/meanings/devil.shtml).
Tom Riddle said way back in COS "There is no Good or Evil..only Power." Dumbledore reminded harry about the importance of a man's decisions cs his abilities. There are mentions of this idea throughout the series.
The Tower Card: Basic Tarot Story
The Lightening Struck Tower is the card which Trelawny showed Harry in HBP foreshadowing Dumbledore's death on the Astronomy tower. The Tower card has an image of a tower struck by lightening and surrounded by flames. Often 2 Men are seen falling from it. The story behind it on Acletic.net is quite perfect.
As the Fool leaves the throne of the Goat God, he comes upon a Tower, fantastic, magnificent, and familiar. In fact, The Fool, himself, helped build this Tower back when the most important thing to him was making his mark on the world and proving himself better than other men. Inside the Tower, at the top, arrogant men still live, convinced of their rightness. Seeing the Tower again, the Fool feels as if lightning has just flashed across his mind; he thought he'd left that old self behind when he started on this spiritual journey. But he realizes now that he hasn't. He's been seeing himself, like the Tower, like the men inside, as alone and singular and superior, when in fact, he is no such thing. So captured is he by the shock of this insight, that he opens his mouth and releases a SHOUT! And to his astonishment and terror, as if the shout has taken form, a bolt of actual lightning slashes down from the heavens, striking the Tower and sending its residents leaping out into the waters below.
In a moment, it is over. The Tower is rubble, only rocks remaining. Stunned and shaken to the core, the Fool experiences grief, profound fear and disbelief. But also, a strange clarity of vision, as if his inner eye has finally opened. He tore down his resistance to change and sacrifice (Hanged man), then broke free of his fear and preconceptions of death (Death); he dissolved his belief that opposites cannot be merged (Temperance) and shattered the chains of ambition and desire (The Devil). But here and now, he has done what was hardest: destroyed the lies he held about himself. What's left is the bare, absolute truth. On this he can rebuild his soul.
Here we have harry and Snape on the tower. Snape SHOUTS the AK curse and sent Dumbledore over the tower. We see flames behind Snapes pained face when he yells at Harry, and of course Harry's SCAR which directly symbolizes the lightening bold of revelation. We've learned about the power of choices and free will and we've heard Snape yell at Harry time and time again "MOUTH SHUT MIND CLOSED!" When it comes down to it. Harry will have to look inside himself to vanquish the dark lord. It will be a self realization of some kind that will provided the final step.
I think it would be interesting to look at other cards in the series and see how it all comes into play.
April 5th, 2007, 2:50 am
Whew! Huge post, but very enlightening, so well worth the read.
You bring up some pretty nice points, such as Snape also playing the part of the fool. He then experiences an epiphany along with Harry. It's a very good way of thinking about it, since he's (IMO, of course) been misunderstanding Harry's motives just as much as Harry has misunderstood his.
And I like your connection with "There is no good and evil--only power" with the Devil card. Voldemort has been acting on his own selfish desires for years, and so has completely destroyed the pure (god-like) part of himself. He is now only left with the beast (or goat's legs).
June 21st, 2007, 4:26 am
I tried to teach myself tarot card reading awhile ago but I guess the cards aren't the tools that will activate my psychic powers.:hmm:
The deck I bought to learn with is called the Quick and Easy Tarot. I just wanted to post the interpretation that it has for the Hanged Man, in the interest of more sources are better than fewer, and not to contradict anything anyone has posted here. (I think this is why Hermione hates :grumble: divination, too many interpretations for the same thing, but that is probably another thread, sorry.)
Quick and Easy Tarot
The Hanged Man
This is the card of contradictions. Confusing time ahead. Do the opposite of what your instincts tell you to do. Peace of mind comes from making the decision. Put aside any selfish interests. It may be necessary to sacrifice in order to achieve success. Instead of trying to control situations and people, leave them alone.
The one thing that always struck me about the image on this card was that the hanged man was completely relaxed in this position like a yoga position (meditative). Guess that has been said, sorry. So I wonder about Levicorpus really being analogous to the hanged man card. On the surface, yes, a person suspended upside down brings the card to mind (actually it didn't for me until I read it here). The spell seems to discomfort the person whom it is cast on in the books. They struggle against it rather than relax and notice the different view it gives them.
Fever Fudge -- about Luna ... I think that your insights on Luna and the Hanged Man are very good. She is completely comfortable with seeing the world in different way than most, I rather admire her for it.
Totally off topic here but how do I join the "Admitting I might be wrong club."