8 of Cups: A One Page Guide, Series 2

With this article I begin a series of analyses of the inspired art with which Pamela Colman Smith illustrated the 36 cards of the decans. These posts will attempt to explain the illustrations by recounting the stories—mythic or otherwise—that contributed to the concepts with which she imbued her scenes. This in the hope that if we understand the stories that underlie them, we can not only better interpret but we can also better communicate a cohesive story out of several cards laid down in a spread. Indeed, these are stories that have fascinated humankind for millennia. We start with the Eight of Cups, attempting to explain its solitude, and exploring a component apparently unique to Waite and Colman Smith—the eclipse we see in the sky of the illustration. It would be just like Waite to bring in Good Friday, but we shall see that the Prodigal son was already there. Alas, Elvis has left the building.

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