The Salem Arcanum Tarot
Photographic Interpretations of the Tarot by James Bostick
The images and symbols of the Tarot tradition have a rich and ancient history. I’ve been inspired by these images and here attempt my ownphotographic interpretations of the visual language that is the Tarot. For me thisseries attempts to deconstruct the symbol systems of the Tarot in an effortunderstand the evolution of meaning attached to these images. In a time whenit’s far to common to believe each photo we see has been digitally manipulatedI also strive to only capture the scene as seen before my camera. In my studioI create theater and story telling for each theme, captured for others to findtheir own meaning and symbolic value. For those who believe in the mysteries ofthe Tarot they contain personality and attempt divination at the heart of eachimage. Combined they become a secret language and form of expression uniquelytheir own.
0 - The Fool
Before thebeginning. The fool represents the space before a decision or choice is made. Anew cycle is about to begin that the seeker will enter inexperienced. New and EndlessPossibilities. New Life. Pure energy. Chaos.
You may bewondering what’s in the sack? It contains the four elements, Earth, Air, Fire,and Water. The fool caries them always but he has long since forgotten why. Allhe knows is that they are his to protect.
“Order isthe pleasure of reason, but disorder is the delight of the imagination.” - PaulClaudel
I - TheMagician
The “One”card in the Tarot deck considers singularity and the oneness of the humanspirit. Will, originality, invention, and concentration are all key aspects ofthe magician. He can also be a trickster. With his blade toward the heavenswhere power emanates and the other hand toward the earth where power manifeststhe magician gains control over the elements.
 “It is the function of art to renew ourperception. What we are familiar with we cease to see. The writer shakes up thefamiliar scene, and, as if by magic, we see a new meaning in it.” - Anias Nin
II - The High Priestess
III - TheEmpress
The Empressembodies the female side of nature. She protects and nurtures. She is full ofopportunity. Just as a mother must anticipate her offspring's birth we arereminded that only time can manifest our desires. She teaches patience and theneed to prepare for times ahead. When the Empress’ influence is present it is aclear indication that creative endeavors are encouraged and outcomes promising.
 “In seed time learn, in harvest teach,in winter enjoy.” - William Blake
IV - TheEmperor
The Emperorrepresents the male side of Nature. He is a self-made master and desirescontrol of his surroundings. The Emperor's conviction brings us comfort andreminds us to be aware of our motivations. He also reminds us to be aware andto avoid falling in to a sense of entitlement above what we deserve. Foursymbolizes his strong foundation. Fours are stable and require great energy toinfluence them. The risk of stagnation is his weakness.
 “The clearest way into the Universe isthrough a forest wilderness.”  -John Muir
V - The Hierophant
VI - The Lovers
The Lovers represents relationships and choices. Here our lovers’ mutual commitment is blind and binding. They’re in the moment and willing to embrace a future that is unknown and unseeable. The lovers are immersed in the delicious intoxication of their emotions. This is the harmonious intertwining of two beings.
Impulses manifest as arousal, desire, curiosity, infatuation, or even duty. Once involved there’s no turning back on this crucial life choice. Decisions may have ramifications but will be long lasting.
VII - The Chariot
conviction, bravery, pride, conquest, balance
Imagine for a moment the skill and determination required when harnessing the power of the chariot.
Backed by the power of celestial forces. Guided by balanced and mystical energy. This cosmic warrior is in control and heads swiftly toward triumph. He is approaching his moment of truth.
Like the black and white lions, the chariot embraces the union of opposites. While pulled in many directions use ambition and determination to give your will a singular direction. Confidence and motivation can control the opposing forces of your emotions, wants, and circumstances and assure that the battle is won.
“One who never turned his back but marched breast forward, never doubted clouds would break, Never dreamed, though right were worsted, wrong would triumph, Held we fall to rise, are baffled to fight better, sleep to wake.”
- Robert Browning
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
- Nelson Mandela
VIII –Justice
Justice isnot as blind as you might think. She represents good instincts and keenperception. Justice brings order, balance, and harmony. Setting a confused lifeto order successfully. Adjustment. Strength. Protection. Mercury in the houseof Libra rules Justice and Mars provides strength and power. Justice alsorepresents the equinox.
“I love theevil man who knows he’s evil more than the righteous man who knows he’srighteous.” - Tales of the Chassidim
IX The Hermit
Only alonecan we find ourselves. The Hermit’s lantern lights the depths of out innerbeing. He represents a teacher with profound insight and asks that we searchthe soul. Step back and reevaluate goals. Search for something more than youhave. Listen to advice and keep an open mind. Meditate. The number 9 drawswithin itself indicating completion of a cycle or a foundation to begin anew.
 “Solitary Man you are going the way toyourself! And your way leads past yourself” -Friedrich Nietzsche, Zarathustra
X - Wheel fo Fortune
XII - The Hanged Man
XIII – Death
The GreatLetting Go. Relinquish. Renew. Change is due. The present situation is outwornor unproductive. The end of a particular phase, time, or feeling is at hand.The cycle ends at 12. If it does not begin again at 1 the cycle ends. Thescythe represents the harvest hope and rebirth. The white rose is theimmortality of the soul. The petals within the rose are concentric circles seenas stages of transformation.
 “No witchcraft, no enemy action hadsilenced the rebirth of new life in this stricken world. The people had done itthemselves.” - Rachel Carson
XIV - Temperance
XV - TheHorned God (the Devil)
The god ofthe old religion becomes the devil of the new. The Horned God thrives onritual. He feeds uncivilized aspects of our psyche. He lives in the hiddenparts of our nature. And is material in the sum of unlived possibilities.Fifteen is the number of the full moon and represents destructive energy.Antlers are symbolic of this god’s male virility and rivalry.  We are all, male and female, lost soulsenslaved by temptation.
“God comesdown to earth to found a religion and the devil comes right after him and organizesit.” - Swami Vivekananda
XVIII - The Moon
XX - Judgement
XXI - The World
Queen ofCups
This is avery powerful card. The Queen of Cups is the source and guardian of the essenceof life.  When she appears you mustexamine your deep and unconscious feelings. She will help you to be immersed inyour inner emotions and provide guidance to help you to see and follow yourinstincts. Give yourself to the things you hold most sacred and go aboutprotecting these in your life.
 “I am an intelligent river which hasreflected successively all the banks before which it has flowed by meditatingonly on the images offered by those changing shores.”  - Victor Hugo
King of Cups
This deepand reflective spirit guards hidden mysteries. He brings an end to care andworry, liberating one from ones normal self.  The King of Cups is an influential voice in a sea ofopinions, which reminds us to be cautious when counseling others. His hold on emotionand areas involving creative intelligence can lead to devious behavior when outof balance. Be warned to carefully understand your strong feelings withoutrepressing emotions.
 “The experience of life consists of theexperience which the spirit has of itself in matter and as matter, in mind andas mind, in emotion, as emotion.” - Franz Kafka
Ace of Cups
Three ofCups
One of the mostjoyous cards in the Tarot. Abundance, great happiness, friendship, celebrationand Fulfillment are key attributes of this card. The shadow of this cardhowever holds lust, hedonism, and raw sensuality.
Spiritual,emotional, and physical healing and maternal instinct is also called for, asthis card is often the representation of conception. Development of the seed(one) in union with the earth (two) produces a plant (three). Three of Cups iscompletion.
 “Believe me! The secret of reaping thegreatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment from life is to livedangerously!” - Friedrich Nietzsche
Five of Cups
The water ofstagnation. This is not good. The Five of Cups illustrates the effect if weallow matter to triumph over spirit. With our emotions fixed on misfortune thegood in life is overlooked. All is not lost, there is something left to buildon.
The need tolet go brings with it some regret. While wondering where we belong in the worldwe are called to rediscover. Five of Cups beckons us to appreciate theperception of chaos around us.
 “Come up, O lions, and shake off thedelusion that you are sheep; you are souls immortal, spirits free, blest andeternal; ye are not matter, ye are not bodies; matter is your servant, not youthe servant of matter” - Swami Vivekananda
Seven of Cups
The water ofdelusion. The Seven of Cups offers fantasy and dream, power and greed, andindecision. On one level the card represents the need to be realistic about thechoices we make. But this is also a warning against illusion and confusion. Wemust understand reality and not get caught up in daydreaming. Focus on one goalto achieve success.
“It is farbetter to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion,however satisfying and reassuring.” - Dr. Carl Sagan
Knave fo Wands
Ace of Wands
Knave of Pentacles
Ace of Pentacles
Seven of Pentacles
Queen of Swords
Ace of Swords
Three ofSwords
Matters ofthe heart are at stake. While a reversal of fortune may be indicated it is alsoa time to stop and count your blessings. The light is ahead and will guide youthrough. Get in touch with your pain and sorrow to begin the process ofreshaping your thinking. Denial will lead only to hostility. What you are goingthrough is a prerequisite to growth. Focus on the heart of the matter and gainunderstanding from it.
 “Only by joy and sorrow does a personknow anything about themselves and their destiny.”  - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Four ofSwords
Take noaction. A time of reflection is called for. The battle is behind you and neednow calls for a retreat within our deeper selves for recuperation. Examine youractions, successes, and defeats and let higher energies honor your stillness.Let intuition take course and move within your soul. Find your prime directive.
 “Inside myself is a place where I liveall alone and that is where I renew my springs that never dry up.” - Pearl S.Buck
Six of Swords
Eight of Swords
The spiritof restlessness. You are a temporary prisoner of the self. Lack of confidenceand motivation to initiate a necessary change is blocking progress. Eight ofSwords reveals a temporary loss of sight of the circumstances around you.Discard old ideas for new ones.
“If there isdissatisfaction with the status quo, good. If there is ferment, so much thebetter. If there is restlessness, I am pleased. Then let there be ideas, andhard thought, and hard work. If man feels small, let man make himself bigger.” -Hubert H. Humphrey
Ten ofSwords
It doesn’tlook good, but surprisingly the trouble represented by the Ten of Swords isoften more melodramatic than real. The suffering may be sincere but could be anexaggeration. Ten swords do seem excessive when one would clearly have done thejob. Being a martyr isn’t always the same as making a sacrifice. On the brightside this card sometimes signals the point where things start looking up sinceit typically can’t get much worse than this.
 “There are no hopeless situations; thereare only men who have grown hopeless about them.” - Clare Boothe Luce

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