[LMB] Vorkosigan tarot

Elizabeth Holden azurite at rogers.com
Mon Jan 31 03:52:52 GMT 2011

--- On Fri, 1/28/11, Meg Justus <mmegaera at nwlink.com> wrote:

> So, over on LJ, I made a comment to
> Elizabeth Holden about how nifty it would be to have a
> Vorkosigan tarot.  She sort of ran with it

It doesn't take much to encourage me, really.

I wrote out my list and my rationale for choosing each one.  I'm open to counter-suggestions and corrections.  Here it is:

00 The Fool - Miles Vorkosigan

The Fool often stands for beginnings, or for the journey of the life; I think of it as a viewpoint card, leading the individual on his path - an illustration of Forward Momentum. This is Miles as he was in The Warrior's Apprentice, going out into the universe with his way to find, innocent in intent and without any preconception of what was going to befall him.

01 The Magician - Emperor Gregor Vorbarra

The Magician stands for manifestation or creativity. I see Gregor as being a focal point of the creation of the people of Barrayar, and their cultural or historical growth. He has taken on the quest to reify progress. We know that the position of Emperor in the Bujold world is a dangerous and ephemeral one, a role taken by madmen and heroes. Gregor has to take the disjointed situation of sixty counties, a changing world, intergalactic influences, and a dodgy economy, and make something of it - making a silk purse out of a sow's ear, so to speak, in terms of governance. And he has to make it look easy. If that isn't magic, I don't know what is.

02 The High Priestess - Ekaterin Vorsoisson

In Miles' life, Ekaterin is a lodestone and a guide to a better life. Though knowing her, Miles has grown emotionally and spiritually.

03 Empress - Cordelia Naismith

The Empress represents the good aspects of the feminine, as well as authority and emotional strength, all characteristics of Cordelia. Moreover, Cordelia is a leader as well as a teacher and ruler, strong in her mind about the way things are and the way things should be. She guides with a gentle but strong hand. As mother of our viewpoint character, Miles, Cordelia is the maternal archetype.

04 Emperor - Aral Vorkosigan

The paternal archetype, Miles' father - and in extension, the man who played a paternal role to the Emperor (as guardian) and the whole planet (as Regent and Prime Minister), as well as Governor of Sergyar. In Miles' mind, he stands for authority, stability, and moral strength.

05 Heirophant - Simon Illyan

The religion of the Vorkosigan novels is not a theology, it is a social and political philosophy. The abritrer, policeman and judge of all of Barrayar is Simon Illyan, in the middle of everything, but (because of his role) also above it, and apart.

06 Lovers - Kou and Drou

The representation of young love in all its uncertainty and hope; and mature love after years of living together and getting to know each other, raising a family, dealing with life's vicissitudes together.

07 Chariot - Miles' Lightflyer (Pym driving)

There is an ambiguity to the figure of the Chariot in the Tarot - the chariot is a vehicle of motion, but in the card it is usually stationary. Miles' lightflyer is a fine vehicle, but we first see it in ACC as avoiding accidents; he can't fly it himself because of his seizures; it makes Pym a powerful force in his life, taking him where he needs to go - or not doing so.

08 Strength - Bothari

We first see Bothari as a powerful warrior with a gun. We see him carrying many burdens - including Miles himself, lending Miles his strength when Miles has none. But he isn't just St. Chrtistopher; he is a warrior with the sword-stick, a killer and assassin, a soldier, a bodyguard, and Cordelia's dog. He cannot direct his strength himself, but needs guidance, and the heaviest burdens he bears are those of his own guilt and madness.

09 Hermit - Byerly

Byerly operates in isolation in the middle of crowds. He is a gadfly and a clown, hiding his own intelligence and wisdom cloaked as wit and irresponsibility. He is apart from his family, fits in anywhere and yet doesn't quite belong to any group or team. Even his work for Impsec is covert and hidden. His role - observing everything, but not acting except as someone who passes on information - gives him his own status as someone apart, yet who influences the outcome of things by enlightening others.

10 Wheel - Piotr Vorkosigan

The Wheel reminds us that historically, on Barrayar as elsewhere, everything changes. Piotr was born into one age, grew up in another, saw that society fall apart and recover in civil war, and then again. He saw things change under galactic influence and changing times; under evil rulers, and good ones. He raised a family, lost it, and got another after Aral's marriage. Piotr's life went through one cycle after another of growth, destruction, and regrowth, in parallel with historic events. From one cycle to next, Piotr was a ruling aristocrat, a fugitive in the mountains, a Count, an ailing old man, illustrating the turning fortunes of life.

11 Justice - Alys Vorpatril

Alys has strong ideas of Right and Wrong, and enforces them with a stern tongue. She looks over the society of Barrayar and judges both people and actions, with authority granted on the one hand, by the wealthy upper crust of Barrayar, and on the other, by the Emperor himself.

12 Hanged Man - Ivan Vorpatril

The Hanged Man is about being a sacrifice to fate, handing between two destinies, enlightenment through inaction, with a figure suspended upside-down between two trees. Ivan has always been between the Vorkosigan family and he outer world; between Miles' forward momentum and Gregor's waiting and seeing; between wealth and power (such as his relatives hold) and his own lowly status (illusory as it may be) as bureaucrat, lieutenant, messenger, and errand boy for his mother. Ivan may gripe, but he survives by yielding to the will of others.

13 Death - Princess Kareen

In a symbolic sense, Kareen's death made the future of Barrayar possible, as envisioned by Ezar, Aral and Cordelia. Death as achievement and liberation.

14 Temperance - Bel

Temperance is about the merging of opposites, blending fluidly. As a hermaphrodite, Bel is an illustration of yin/yang contrasts, embodying many paradoxes with stability at their core: a rational warrior.

15 The Devil - Emperor Ezar Vorbarra

Ego, loss, illusion, deception, bondage, suffering. Emperor Ezar was not an evil man - he wanted the best for Barrayar, and he needed an ego of steel to recreate his world. To this end he lost all friends, family, and comfort - everything but his hope for the future. He worked through illusion and deception, doing his greatest/worst deeds in secrecy, suffering an ultimate sacrifice - the despicable act of murdering his own son, and many others beside, in the interest of preventing horror. I wonder if it destroyed his soul.

16 Tower - Ges Vorrutyer

The Tower is the card of radical sudden change. I see Cordelia's encounter with Ges Vorrutyer as a pivotal point in her personal growth: before she was his prisoner, she was relatively passive, an actor in a chain of historical events which directed her choices, but where she was not in charge. After her catastrophic imprisonment by Ges, she took charge of her own fate as never before, and never looked back. I'm not sure she ever saw that as her turning point, but I do. The Cordelia who walked into Ges Vorrutyer's room was not the woman who walked out. From that point onwards she saw life with a more directed, morality-driven forcefulness that made her a leader, not just a Survey Captain.

17 Star - Elli

A feminine card of hope, rejuvenation, and beauty, surrounded by starlight. Elli embodies that - a woman surrounded by stars, a beautiful woman with a path of her own to follow.

18 Moon - Taura

Subconscious, feminine urges - a picture of dogs braying at the moon, and towers. Taura embodies the nexus of womanhood and monsterhood, depth of nightmare and heights of self-growth.

19 Sun - Nicky 

Energy, life, illumination. Being young, Nicky embodies lively innocence, running around the garden, dreaming of spaceflight. Nicky brings verve to every scene he's in.

20 Judgement - Mark Vorkosigan

Faith, honest, resurrection, choice. Mark had to choose his own path, a cataclysmic decision that had to be made using his own judgement. His Black Gang illustrate other forms of judgement, other kinds of choices. Again and again, Mark has had to make choices that transform and shape his own life

21 The World - Miles' children

Value, achievement, worldly satisfaction. Miles' children represent his greatest success - finding and creating a home of his own on Barrayar. Home home is not a place, it's people, and they are both Miles' creation and his joy.

Posted at http://fajrdrako.livejournal.com/1550604.html


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