One of the ways I explain tarot to the curious (or nervous) is to describe it as a picture book for grown-ups.
That the whole of the human condition is covered in this deck of cards. Which is why I say it’s not any more wicked than the average person you meet on the street.
The response to this, of course, depends rather entirely on one’s view of humanity, but at least it offers a shift in focus from a particular fear of the cards themselves.
Between 2006 and 2017 I worked on 5-8 novels (self-published one). When my mind was in Story-Mode, everything connected to what I was working on: plot, description, emotional journey – some part lined up with whatever songs I was listening to. This led to my compiling multiple playlists on YouTube – sometimes by novel, sometimes by character.
Recently I began toying again with those loose threads of story, and the songs still resonated – both as part of my history, and in the ways they’d connected to each novel or character situation.
I started to test my own claim: if all of life is covered by the cards (and songs are one of the most potent expressions of experience), I should be able to line up these resonant songs with individual cards.
This led to one of the richest study sessions (seasons?) I’ve had since I first learned the cards almost five years ago. Some topics proved too big to wrestle down to a single card (which totally makes sense), but a remarkable number could line up with various elements in a card, and I ended up making a deck’s worth of connections.
Since I most-recently did a post giving examples of the visual differences between decks’ interpretations of the 2 of wands, that’s the card I wanted to use as my opening example.
That said, every card has shades of meaning, and every reader latches onto the core personality of the card as it resonates to them, so if you disagree, and have a different (or additional) song that jumps to mind for the 2 of wands, I hope you say so! I’d love to hear your angle in the comments and hope you include a link to the song that connects for you.
As I said in the last post, “All the figures – human or otherwise – invite the viewer to identify with their place in the scene, and that identification is part of the method of interpretation.” This is true of the songs as well, though in some cases (I’ll make it clear as we go) the words might be aimed at the main figure. That is, a sort of reacting to them rather than representing them directly.
But we’ll get there a different day.
The first song that made me think of the 2 of wands is this one. [I Can Go the Distance, sung by Roger Bart.]
This example has the bonus of already being part of a narrative, so if you know the story you might make your own connections.
In this song (and story beat) you have insecurity and the unknown alongside optimism and hope or expectation. This is a terrific angle on the 2 of wands.
In fact one way to frame or interpret the 2 of wands (especially since it’s right at the beginning of the wands suit, which tells its own tiny story within the deck), is as the time when someone decides what they want. The world is wide open, and they can DO it. Whatever it is.
There are whole essays (including video essays) about the “I want” song, its role in movies/musicals, and sometimes where it hides in non-musical stories. If this interpretation resonates with you, that’s a really fun rabbit hole to jump down.
An interesting twist on this 2 of wands confidence and self-determination is the backwards (motivating?) pessimism of this song. [Hero, sung by Chad Kroeger.]
Here we have a voice (the singer’s) naming how messed up the world is, so he’s going to act. And the line, “I’ll hold on to the wings of the eagles. Watch as we all fly away,” is that confidence/optimism, the expectation to succeed, that fuels the 2 of wands.
Because the whole reason the 2 of Wands is a thing, the reason it happens, it’s because the protagonist (this being you, or the querent, or the figure on the card) thinks it can happen – and so sets it in motion.
Sometimes though, “confidence” might be overstating the case. In this instance, it becomes about forward motion – however you can get it. But again, by choice. The wands, with their fiery energy represent the force of will to create action, to make things happen, but sometimes the fire is very small. [Brave, sung by Idina Menzel.]
In this we hear, “If this is my rite of passage that somehow leads me home: I might be afraid, but it’s my turn to be brave.”
The will is still engaged here. The flame of self-determination and the will to act that demonstrates the 2 of wands.
Coincidentally, this card aligns with my next goal: Launching this deck-long series of musical connections. Maybe offering new ways to see some cards, modeling the way music can create connections and some contrasts. It may or may not be interspersed with other blog topics. I’m just gonna leave the door open for either inspiration.
Thanks for coming along for the ride. 🙂