The Eight of Staves, traditionally depicted without a person in it at all, was always going to be a little bit difficult. How do you insert a human model into a card about change, messages, and swift action? How do you show flying arrows and the archer altogether?
The answer, in this case, was that you don’t. The camera we use is not fancy enough to do true action shots like an arrow in flight, and we didn’t have the equipment or the safe space available to do so anyway. The compromise was to show the arrows having been shot, implying the flight just a moment before, showing that they had been fired and struck their mark.
These photos were taken, as so many have been at this point, in the Berkeley Rose Garden, which has a rather wide variety of scenery in a very small and accessible location. I liked the imagery of the new redwood sprouts poking up among the dead leaves around the base of the arrows- after all, swift change and new information often brings new growth, new hope, new promise.
Swift change is neutral in of itself, of course- whether its change for the better or the worse is often up to you. There is also the inherent danger of becoming swept up in it, and letting important things slide, or finding yourself so focused on the change that you forget to enjoy the ride. On the other hand, it is so easy in life to become stuck in a rut without even realizing it’s happened, and we often need a swift kick in the pants just to wake us back up.
These two poses were suggested by our mutual friend, the lovely Iris, and they turned out to be two of my favorites. They’re more abstract, certainly, but there’s a suggestion of sitting in the eye of the storm, of deliberating a next move, that I find really intriguing. Where will the arrows fly? What will they strike? What messages will be tied to them?
It’s not an easy card, this- restlessness is in the air. Change is afoot, news is in flight, and it’s far too soon to begin to predict where the chips may fall. The paths are diverging in the wood, and the decisions are not yet made about whether to take the high road, the low road, or to jump of the cliff and fly.