Strength of the Luna Sol Tarot
by Darren Shill
Cards on the table, I write as a biased observer. I have watched Mike Medaglia’s Luna Sol Tarot gently emerge to life with wonder, enthusiasm and delight as each new card appeared. And with so many wonderful options, including an amazingly narrative-packed Minor Arcana, it was no easy job to help decide which card image should appear publicly first. Thoughts were divided between Strength and Justice, just as these two cards jostle in position between numbers 8 and 11 on so many decks. But of course, the inner resilience and gentle power of Strength could not help but win through.
What follows are my thoughts regarding Strength in the tarot, particularly as shown here in the Luna Sol. Thoughts that, having discussed with Mike at length, I know largely overlap his, but may well differ in a few respects. The traditional imagery (Marseille, Wirth and Waite-Smith) shows a standing woman overcoming a lion by closing, or perhaps opening, its mouth. Her face and to an extent the lion’s too is fairly serene, this is not a conflict exactly and you sense things might go quite differently if either of the participants approach was more aggressive. A chain of flowers runs from her and around the lion and in the background a mountain range sits. So what does this calm show of force represent?
The lion here is our primal, passionate, instinctive self, which is harnessed into higher goals by her willpower and empathy. That empathy is expressed so clearly in the Luna Sol. Here all sense of struggle fades; she sits as if in meditative reflection and the lion accepts the hand about its head with gratitude. The instinctive and higher sides of the self have been reconciled together to bring about a greater whole. The sun and moon reflect this on a higher level in the card, seeming to swirl around each other like the yin and yang in the Taiji symbol. Yet a space still exists between them here, a space within which the powerful cosmic force of gravity can act. This imagery then evolves one step further in the sphere in her hand: a swirling mass of yin and yang with a centre of emptiness. She demonstrates her mastery of internal transformation. The chained flowers show the art of using compatible desires (the roses) to achieve your aim.
The Major Arcana can be viewed as a spiritual path or a tale of spiritual growth.The imagery of Strength and its message of compassionate, conscious harnessing of our energy is such a vivid symbol on that path.
If this card appears in a reading then it is time to reflect that within you is both the woman and lion of this card. Through conscious and gentle willpower and the experience of past trials, you have the strength to harness your energies, overcome problems or seize opportunities. A combination of courage, discipline and compassion is the true way to approach what lies ahead. The qualities that this card shows reside within you strongly.
The Luna Sol Tarot
As an aside, you may be wondering how typical Strength is as an example of the Luna Sol Tarot. The fact that it follows the classic tarot symbolism with a few twists is very representative of the Luna Sol. And this not the last time you will see animals or use of the moon and sun motif in various guises, but I guess the name of the deck gave that one away. A global perspective of how humanity appears is of importance – the Luna Sol cards are not born of the Victorian era and, as such, race and gender are viewed very differently from the more traditional decks. Spiritual inspirations are also a little more global, although the Daoist links shown in Strength (the concept of self cultivation) are most strongly made in this card.
Perhaps the most important quality that the cards in this deck share is a gentle, uplifting essence that Mike Medaglia has brought to each card – an essence that anyone familiar with his previous work will recognise instantly! This runs strongly through both the Major and Minor Arcana (please do not get me started on how wonderful the Luna Sol Minor Arcana are – full of story like the Waite-Smith tarot but VERY much Mike’s particular take on them). With this deck, Mike’s aim is to produce a tarot that is traditional enough maintain the core concepts but to do so in his own style and voice – that is, one with compassion and warmth. Hopefully the seasoned practitioner will find much appeal in this beautiful and individual deck, but of equal importance is that it might form the home of those new to the tarot and wishing to explore the treasured wonders within a welcoming environment.
Several great Kickstarter campaigns that are running right now are worth mentioning:
The Considerate Cat Tarot by Madeleine Belanger is well worth a look; lovely, clear illustrations and a great colour scheme set this apart. Obviously, being a fan of cats will add a certain something to this. The funding target has been met and there should still be a bit of time to get on board if this appeals.
Another all-star cast outing from 78 Tarot with their fifth deck, 78 Tarot Mythical – Tarot of the Legendary. It’s well worth taking a look at the marvellous variety of styles that the 81 artists bring to this endeavour, all bound by the common theme of mythology. Standout cards for me are the suitably mysterious High Priestess by Leilani Joy, and the contemporary, fun Four of Wands by Shana Cinquegrana. This campaign ends soon so follow up quickly if you are interested!
This deck reminds me of another greatly anticipated tarot deck that I cannot wait to see launch, Yoshi Yoshitani’s Fairy Tale Tarot, a stunning reinterpretation of the tarot through fairy tales, myths and legends. To read more in her own words, I recommend visiting Little Red Tarot, where she did a guest blog at the end of February. You can find out more details as to when this launches by signing up to the newsletter at the end of the article – this should also help give her some feedback as to the scope of the project too. Like us, Yoshi is attending Thought Bubble in Leeds, UK, in September this year. We very much hope we get the chance to meet!
We hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about the Strength card from the Luna Sol Tarot. You can sign up for our newsletter to stay updated with our tarot deck and our other projects. We’d love to hear what you think of Mike’s approach in the comments below! We also invite you to ‘like’ and ‘share’ this post with your friends using our social media links below. Who knows? Perhaps it will help them find the strength within!