page of wands Bohemian Gothic

bumble bee

There is a very old tree just starting to bud out which takes up much of the scenery. There is a lovely young girl appearing in a mist in the forefront of the picture. She has a little book with new ideas in her hand. It seems like she and the boy are like little buds of the old tree. He is creating music with his wand The girl looks like she is going to take her first communion. The veil makes me think of this. Her little book is red the color of passion and life force energy. Maybe she is marching to the tune of her own fiddler.
Maybe she represents new ideas and the tree reminds us to stay grounded with our thinking.


Examining the other Court Wands gives me new thoughts on this card. The little girl's "wand" seems to be a flute, and the little boy's wands is the bow of his fiddle. I'm guessing that they're fraternal twins, and it's interesting that only in the Wands suit do we get two instead of one "page" and male/female rather than just female. As discussed with both the Knight and the Queen, there's an ambiguity of sexual identity. The "effeminate Knight" and the "transvestite" looking Queen. The suit of Wands in this deck seems to suggest tricks, twists, plays on sexual identity, a merging of male/female. Perhaps that's why we have our male/female twins in the Page card.

As with the other Wands, there is a feeling of putting on a costume. The girl, especially, looks all dressed up and ready to pretend, as if she's in a play or going on stage to perform (play her flute?). Everyone of the Wand cards has that feel--that the person singled out is in costume and pretending to be something they're not--like a good little Christian girl (?).

I'd like to point out that there are many gothic tales that involve brothers and sisters, including little boys/girls. In many cases, the flavor of these scary stories turn on the incestuous nature of the brother/sister. Most notable of these is Henry James' "Turn of the Screw" about a governess who thinks the young brother/sister she is watching over are possessed by a pair of ghostly lovers. In some gothic tales of brothers/sisters, one or the other of the siblings has died (usually the "evil" one) and the ghost of the dead one is still influencing, talking to, and convincing the live one (the "good" one) to do mischief.

It's notable that the boy is in the background, spotted by that light through the tree, and playing on his violin while his sister stands waiting for her communion in a dress very like a wedding dress, with red "bible" (?) and silent flute. My suspicion is that it's the boy who is dead and ghostly, and still influencing his sister--maintaining with her not only that implied, incestuous relationship, but also living on within her. Thus, she is both male and female, both strings and wind instruments, both holy and unholy.


Just to add, I love the idea of Pages with musical instruments. It not only gets across the passion and creativity of the Wands suit, but the "message" element of the Page. How better to offer a message than with music?

It even strikes the "child" element of Pages, as we're all familiar with how children are made to learn an instrument and show off their playing of it to adults. Marvelous card!

swimming in tarot

She's ba-a-a-a-ack! SiT is here without any brilliance of her own, just with her scalpel and magnifying glass....

That big, beautiful tree has a sign on it that I can't make out; not even what language it's in. Maybe, Danger, No Climbing? Is that the uncontrolled and threatening form of nature that the LWB refers to, which it is natural for children to seek out and grasp? It would be more natural for children to climb trees, than to dress up for "command performances" by adults. I quite like your role-playing, dressed-up-for-someone-else idea. It fits in with, at least, my take on the Page of Pentacles: forming and moulding of kids contrary to the patterns of nature.

The boy does look ghostly--well, both kids do, being in that misty vapour, and in a different light-source than the one that the tree has. What is the boy doing in his pyjamas, outdoors? Sick-bed attire, and he has since died? Yet was expected to play the violin, in spite of being poorly? Or is it an obsession, reminiscent of The Rocking Horse Winner? The fiddle is considered, in some places, to be a musical instrument that the devil plays. (Have you heard the fiddle tune "The Devil Went Down To Georgia?" It narrates a fiddle-playing contest between someone and the devil. You can almost smell the strings smoking, so fast and intricate is the playing!) There would be the boy's fire element.

The item that the little girl is holding doesn't have stops like a (modern) flute does, and the bottom appears solid, not hollow. It is also creamy white like white wax or paraffin, and not metallic or even wooden. I really, really think that that is a long taper candle that the little girl is holding, twined with a decorative vine, that she will light at mass. It has a long wick on the end. This is her wand: fire waiting to burn. I guess she's going to her first communion, like Bumblebee says. Now, I'm not Catholic, so someone Catholic please correct me, but the little girls are dressed like brides at first communion, sort of to mark their "engagement" to Christ/Christianity; after which if they become nuns, they become "brides of Christ". Pure, virgin, solo. Brotherless. Even so, you suggest that her brother is still "present" within her, and she dances to his tune, as it were. The LWB does speak of hidden passions, especially in young people.

(I did read The Turn Of The Screw long ago, but I guess I wasn't good at nuance, because even when I went back through the book, I never found what it was that had set the governess off in a flap. And she wouldn't say what the problem was in so many words, either. All I remember is not understanding what was going on. Feeling like a kid with adults talking over my head! Unless Jane Eyre counts, that's the only gothic novel I've read.)


I can't find the sign. Where is it?
swimming in tarot said:
It would be more natural for children to climb trees, than to dress up for "command performances" by adults.
Very apt! That would seem to be what the card is very much about, natural vs. unnatural passions, desires and inclinations. What we have here are the parents dictating where the kids will put their energies, in religious or music lessons. This leaves their own, more natural childish energy (the need to climb trees) with no outlet. If not let out in childhood, then it will certainly find a less innocent outlet in adulthood.

Of course, the boy beneath the tree might be telling us that he did climb that tree against his parents wishes, and is now a ghost.

What is the boy doing in his pyjamas, outdoors? Sick-bed attire, and he has since died?
They do look like a cross between pj's and an old style clown costume, but what you're seeing aren't pajamas. This is a typical boy outfit of the Victorian/Edwardian era, sailor-esque, with short pants and such. Take a look at this picture and you'll see the match-up:

So he's not sickly at all. In fact, this adds to the message that his natural, childish passions and desires have been thwarted. If he were wearing normal boys clothes, he'd be free to rough-house and play like a boy. But not in that get-up! I'm sure he's been told to keep his nice white sailor's outfit clean and tidy. No climbing trees. No more than his sister would be allowed to play in her pretty communion dress.

The fiddle is considered, in some places, to be a musical instrument that the devil plays.
Nice thought! Of course, the fiddle was also seen as an instrument of refinement and elegance--a ticket to fame and fortune. Which is why you get silly, old movies like "Golden Boy" which is about "the son of an Italian immigrant" who loves "to play the violin. Sadly, he’s set aside his musical aspirations for the boxing ring, and its lure of easy money. His Italian father is heartbroken, fearing that his son will break his hands and never play music again!"

I dunno know, but I can almost see a similarity between that movie and this card in that these parents seem to be keeping their kids "on the ground" in hopes of making them all good and tame and refined. They don't want either kid to display anything wild or natural.

I really, really think that that is a long taper candle that the little girl is holding, twined with a decorative vine, that she will light at mass.
I would never argue with you and your magnifying glass! :D As you say, fire waiting to burn. A wand indeed.

I never found what it was that had set the governess off in a flap.
LOL! Don't feel bad about it. Henry James is like that and it's not uncommon for him to go over heads because he's being waaaaaaaay too subtle. It doesn't help that the story wants us to wonder if the governess is right about the kids or if she's going nuts. So not only are the clues ones that she alone recognizes, but they're deliberately ambiguous as well.

There was a wonderful 1961 movie made from "Turn" called "The Innocents" which is much better at getting the ghost story across.

swimming in tarot

Hi again!

If you look on your card about one inch to the right of the girl's head, there is a sign stuck high in the tree, under a big limb.

Fiddle vs. violin--all in who's playing it :laugh: if Farmer Brown got his hands on a Stradivarius and started playing bluegrass on it, it would suddenly become a fiddle, I think! :laugh: But yes, the parents are putting on the dog through their kids, I'm sure. And am I mistaken, or is that some sort of pedestal the boy's standing on? It's pale like marble, and appears to be in the shape of an oblong with a cloth draped over it. It is at the rightmost end of a stone wall beneath the tree. Actually, it looks like he's hovering over it, standing on a slightly different plane.

Does only the boy need to be a ghost? Perhaps this is the "death" of the natural child, and they are both "ghosts" in that sense. That way, we don't need[i\] to have the haunting dead twin, although that reference certainly enriches the background. For those of thus who aren't haunted by dead twins, we still have something that we can relate to. Who among us cannot remember thwarted childhood impulses?

Unfortunately the link to Tripod didn't work--at least, it only said Tripod in the upper left, and was otherwise a blank page. I had briefly wondered if the boy's outfit might have been a Pierrot outfit, but thought the better of it. (But that would at least reinforce the "twin" idea, Pierrot and Pierrette.)


swimming in tarot said:
Does only the boy need to be a ghost? Perhaps this is the "death" of the natural child, and they are both "ghosts" in that sense.
Hey, they could have both climbed the tree and now be living on under it. Which is to say, sure! They could both be ghosts.

Unfortunately the link to Tripod didn't work--at least, it only said Tripod in the upper left, and was otherwise a blank page.
Hm. Strange. Works for me. Well, here's a not-so-good image, but it still gives one the idea:

I had briefly wondered if the boy's outfit might have been a Pierrot outfit
You know, I actually thought the same thing. I suspect it *is* that more common sailor suit the boy is wearing, but I don't think we should rule out its similarity to Pierrot and that Pierrot/Pierrette connection. They are both wearing white outfits with black accents as if paired up, and I wouldn't be surprised of our artists tweaked the images a bit to emphasize that similarity of the boys outfit to that famous clown costume.

Here's what I found on the topic of Pierrot/Pierrette:
"The legend of Pierrot and Pierrette began in the 17th century when Jean-Antoine Watteau committed to canvas two clowns who were later made famous by the Italian Commedia dell'arte. This timeless Duo was then adapted to French pantomime where Pierrot is a noble and fun-loving clown. He is lonely and in love with the beautiful Pierrette, whose affections run hot and cold. When his affections are returned, they can be seen sitting together on the crescent of the moon. When she ignores him, Pierrot sits on the moon by himself, strumming his mandolin and pining for his beloved Pierrette."

Strumming his mandolin, huh? Or playing the violin maybe? It's also interesting that the Commedia Dell'arte is what is featured in the 3-D murals of the Queen's Ballroom and there is a Pierrot very clearly seen in the one that is behind her!

And yes, the boy does seem to be standing on some sort of rock or pedestal.


Quick one. Yes, she is dressed for first communion and carrying a taper candle. He is wearing something like a sailor suit - maybe not a classic one. And you're right, it's very similar to a pierrot suit. Both are of course taken from old photographs. I'll see if I can fish out the originals to post, as that may be interesting.

Meantime, here is a link to a fairly typical first communion photograph. It seems to have been fashionable at one point to do studio photos for a girl's first communion.'s.jpg

By the way, I have to admit to a powerful personal motivation behind this card. I caused a scandal in my family when I was twelve by refusing to take first communion. We even had the vicar at the door at one point. I had a suffragette (in her young years) and rather rebellious grandmother who said to me at the beginning of my communion year, "By the way, dear, do you believe all of this?" and when I said no, she told me that in that case I did NOT have to get up and say all the "I believe in .... etc" . So I went home and announced to my scandalised mother that I would not be taking first communion that year as I did not intend to say a lot of stuff that wasn't true. Chaos ensued - but I never did take the communion.

I think that must have been in my mind, to some extent, when I designed this card with Alex. To me, first communion is closely tied in with ideas of honesty and dishonesty. And my rebellious grandmother. :)

brother Joseph

Page of wands

After reflecting on this card for a long time I would like to make the following comments:-

Firstly, yes she is dressed as if she is going to first holy communion. The wand is actually a candle as is a custom in the western church. its possibly got some material wrapped around it - some people do this because its a special occasion and a special candle - possibly from her baptism which would have been 7 years or so before.

Secondly I know how ridiculous this sounds but if you look closely you will see its not a tree she is next to. Its a trick of the light. The whole card is kind of illuminated by bright light shafts peering into the forest but actually there is one place where it is not peering in and that it what we have all mistaken as being a tree since its looking like a long dark trunk. The top of the picture has bits of a tree but that "trunk" is not its source. Looking closely you will see its transparent and is not a trunk. You can see beyond it and what is on either side of it is actually does continue in the shadow.

If you find the sign mentioned above on the "tree" you will see its on a pole attached to the ground. From there you can see a path. That took me to various other "illusions". Such as a monster above the sign or an owl or something there. At one stage I even thought it was a cave entrance.

But, you can see that behind that "tree" in other words in the shadow lies a lake and a church in the distance and the building is even reflected in that lake. It took me a long time to see this but it is there. There's also a boat to the left of the lake tied to the ground similiar to the other card with the woman being pushed out between the mountains by a skeletal figure (I forget what card that is - its a gate card.).

I haven't been able to fathom anything else about the boy and what hes standing on but I will let you know. Im also still unclear on the violin but my discovery has opened a new dimension to the angle of the card and I feel thats significant. I do know the fiddle is sometimes used to depict the devils presence in film.

Is it possible that shes lost and listening to the sound of his music to follow so she doesnt go "too far" into the woods? Maybe shes trying to find the boat? By coming towards us shes headed in the wrong direction.


Well, this is certainly an interesting card! I do believe it is a tree in the background as I can see the roots to the right of the girl. It does look like the sign is on a post and I am also wondering what the sign says. The tree is in bud and the wand/candle has a budding vine wrapped around it.
If you look to the left of the boy you will see the remnants of a brick wall that has broken down - to me this picture is suggestive of memory - there is something about the scale of the boy, the tree and the girl which invokes the sense that the girl is remembering her brother - as though she is somehow carrying his message forward; the mist separates the two. The candle tipped to the left is suggestive of past action and memories but she is facing forward reading to act - the red book speaks of passion. I know nothing about Catholicism and Communion and Baba Prague I really enjoyed your Communion story and adore your suffragette Auntie! There is a sense of strength or wilfulness behind the message - as it looks like an oak tree in bud.