Friday, May 11th, 2012

The Two Moons of the Tarot of the Absurd

Jes Shanahan

Artist: Jessica Rose Shanahan


Strange things happen by the light of the Moon.


The Moon shines light on the inner demons of the unconsciousβ€”
giving life to the shadow self’s distorted visionβ€”
a moon-shadow landscape of illusion
where dream and reality swirlβ€” undifferentiatedβ€”
where the self wanders bewildered and aimlessβ€”
anxious and madβ€” into the arms of deception.


When illustrating the cards in this deck, I incorporated the meaning of the card with a few traditional symbols together with a few symbols of my own into an illustration that attempts to embody the concept of the card intuitively. The conveyed meaning is based largely on posture and human expression rather than on the basis of occult symbols. What allowed me to do this relatively freely was largely my ignorance of the sacredness of symbols in the occult tarot. However, artists invariably have personal symbols that come through in work. Thus the cardsβ€” like any work of artβ€” are not devoid of symbols. The symbols are merely different. My goal was to offer a new way of looking at looking at an old idea.


When illustrating the Moon I thought, What is the most deceptive thing? My conclusion was that the most deceptive thing is a creator who brings something into this world and endows it with the faith that it will be loved and cared for and protected fullyβ€” then from within the realm of confidence of its creation, the creator becomes destroyer. I illustrated this as a mad mother consuming her own child: the ultimate deception. It is a disturbing image.


This action can be seen overtly in cases of child abuse. However, it also occurs small-scale in every-day relationships. We let people down. Despite our best efforts, we are imperfect mothers, friends and lovers. We deceive and destroy even our own selves. This inevitability begs the question, Who is more greatly deceived in this relationship: the creator or the destroyed?


Upon becoming a mother myself, I find this image more and more disturbing and have found it necessary to deceive myself anew. Thus, I drew a second Moon. The second Moon contains not only the illusion that my creation will have the ability to wander into the wilds unarmed and sleep with the wolves, unharmed, but that I myself will be the perfect mother, able to produce such a miracle. This comforting illusion occurs when we refuse to take off the veil of deception and witness reality.


Unfortunately, although this is the more comforting image, the refusal to see reality ultimately does more harm than good. Facing the truth of one’s destructiveness allows us to better our actions. Choosing some comforting illusion allows us to be lead blindly by our own inner demons into the deception of dreams.


Which Moon you choose is up to you. I leave them both in the deck.

4 Responses

  1. eva andras says:

    I love your art and every card you created but I’m so glad to see the new Moon! as I agree with everything you wrote about the cards. The new Moon is delicious! πŸ™‚

    • Jessica says:

      Thank you. Me, too. I don’t think I drew another card quite so brutal as the old Moon, did I?

  2. Misc. says:

    I LOVE the new moon so much I want to blow it up!

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