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Fey Tarot - The Hermit

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Fey Tarot - The Hermit


I was just wondering if I'm the only one to see the similarity between the Hermit and the work of Escher. If there is a deliberate similarity, how does that effect the meaning of this card especially considering Escher's scientific point of view.

Has anyone else seen this and if so, what do you think:

Here are some more examples of Escher's work:

House of Stairs

High and Low
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Yes, indeed, the Hermit is pure Escher!

I know nothing about Escher's scientific point of view, though. I see the Fey Hermit as a solitary contemplative who goes within and discovers the strange connections and inner twists we all contain. He becomes familiar with how we start one direction and suddenly find ourselves somewhere completely different.

It's all a wondrous adventure that you probably can't complete. But the Hermit comes out of it knowing a lot more about what's inside him!
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Here are two quotes from Escher

"So let us then try to climb the mountain, not by stepping on what is below us, but to pull us up at what is above us, for my part at the stars; amen"

"To have peace with this peculiar life; to accept what we do not understand; to wait calmly for what awaits us, you have to be wiser than I am"

I suppose I'm talking about Escher's use of geometry and mathematics rather than strictly science. The way in which he consistently uses black and white, convex/concave and figure/background in order to destabalise and unnerve the observer. He also saw a parallel between tessellation and DNA. If you look at his symmetry drawings for example he is playing with the idea of complete genetic information contained within each cell of an organism. If you look at Metamorphosis as another example, his use of tessellation gradually transforms the shape and structure of the tiles and the transformation becomes infinite with the introduction of circular narrative patterns that lead back to a starting point - Similar of course to the evolutionary process.
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Do you see that Escher statement as an aid to interpreting the Fey Hermit?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imagemaker
Do you see that Escher statement as an aid to interpreting the Fey Hermit?
No but as an aid to answering my original question:

Quote:
If there is a deliberate similarity, how does that effect the meaning of this card especially considering Escher's scientific point of view.
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This is a familiar topic to me from my literature studies. There's a longstanding discussion in art/writing circles as to how much of a creator's biography/beliefs should be used when evaluating/interpreting their works.

In both art and writing, some think a maker's background/beliefs MUST be incorporated for valid understanding of the work. Others think only the finished work is necessary for study.

I take a middle road, that considering the creator's path to creating is a valid inquiry, but may not be any sort of key to the meaning I find in the work. Sometimes there IS a huge key that opens up meaning completely.

I certainly think tesselation and DNA have interesting and significant similarities in form and meaning. But there's no tesselation, as I understand it, in the Fey Hermit. The twists and turns are something like DNA structure, for sure.

When I'm interpreting a tarot spread, I keep all that info in my subconscious and let it inform but not control my reading.

Will meander to a stop here :-)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imagemaker
This is a familiar topic to me from my literature studies. There's a longstanding discussion in art/writing circles as to how much of a creator's biography/beliefs should be used when evaluating/interpreting their works.

In both art and writing, some think a maker's background/beliefs MUST be incorporated for valid understanding of the work. Others think only the finished work is necessary for study.

I take a middle road, that considering the creator's path to creating is a valid inquiry, but may not be any sort of key to the meaning I find in the work. Sometimes there IS a huge key that opens up meaning completely.

I certainly think tesselation and DNA have interesting and significant similarities in form and meaning. But there's no tesselation, as I understand it, in the Fey Hermit. The twists and turns are something like DNA structure, for sure.

When I'm interpreting a tarot spread, I keep all that info in my subconscious and let it inform but not control my reading.

Will meander to a stop here :-)
I appreciate you have studied post modernism and the death of the author ie Barthes. I was just wondering if the designers of the card had incorporated any of Escher's thoughts behind his work into the Hermit card.

I take it you are saying that it doesn't matter either way - please correct me if I'm wrong or misunderstood

I fail to see why Escher is used here or at least I don't really understand why his 'stairs' concept was used unless it's because it simply looks good which I suppose is fair enough, cause it does

Quote:
In both art and writing, some think a maker's background/beliefs MUST be incorporated for valid understanding of the work. Others think only the finished work is necessary for study.
When you say this I'm not entirely sure what you're referring to. Do you mean that the creators of the Fey, their reasoning behind the iconography is not important or do you mean the derivation of Escher or do you mean both?

I'm afraid that I think that when it comes to tarot the reasoning for the iconography is very important which is why many spend such a lot of time examining and discussing it! I don't believe the author dies with the last drop of ink and it's entirely up to the reader to interpret that work. I also think that knowledge of the whys and wherefore's behind the work enriches our understanding of it.

Anyway, I'm getting lost like our Hermit.

I hope someone can help me out here
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When it comes to tarot, I think there's no right or wrong in which approach to take--extreme detailed research into background/iconography at one end of the scale or simple visual reaction to an image in the moment at the other.

Readers from both ends of the scale seem to get accurate readings. I think it's up to each reader to decide for one's self as to what matters.

As I said, I take a middle ground on researching moderately and letting that info support what comes to mind when I look at the cards.

Only the artist knows how much of Escher's theoretical knowledge she used in creating that staircase image. It's like she filtered Escher in some way to create the image, and we filter her image in some way, through our knowledge and life experiences, to reach our interpretation when the card appears.

Any yes, all that knowledge contributes to our reading.
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Moving on to the symbolism of the card - I think what is most puzzling about it is its claustrophobia. Even Escher's intense patterns make use of space but there seems no room for movement in the picture. Secondly, the traditional Hermit stands on a mountain top, he is in a position to observe everything below him, in this way he signifies the traditional Hermit or teacher famous in most cultures. Whereas this Hermit is inside, lost in some tower or turret, he looks frightened of what his light may shine on. There is nothing expansive here; in fact he can draw nothing towards him because he is enclosed and doesn't know where he'll step next or where it will lead. It looks like a maze that is getting tighter and tighter as he descends. This is fundamentally the opposite of the traditional interpretation of the Hermit who always ascends in fact he has reached attainment.

This is what lead me to wonder at the mind games and puzzles of Escher. If we look at the Mobius for example, it looks as though the ants are on two side but really they are on the same side. So could this card with its nod towards visual illusions be him ascending rather than descending? My point being (and I do have one!) is is it just an optical illusion?
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I recognized the stairs looking like a Escher drawing right away and was glad to have found this site.
Your quote makes the Hermit make sense to me now.

"To have peace with this peculiar life; to accept what we do not understand; to wait calmly for what awaits us, you have to be wiser than I am"

The Hermit is a time of quiet, of meditation, search. and of course acceptance of what is.
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