When I decided on which card I wanted to discuss this week it was while I was on a train, peacefully staring out the window at old barns, billowing smokestacks And empty oil drums. I was thinking about how much I love train travel and what it symbolizes to me as well as in history. So many amazing possible topics. The push west, ghost trains, train robberies, beautiful women waving little white hankies with a tear or two! And so on! Such fun ;) I even have more than one card inspired by the railway but since I've decided to talk about just one at a time, let's talk about this one
Knight of Swords
Artwork and History
The Prominent Vanderbilt family is considered American royalty, by birth and accomplishment. William K Vanderbilt, born to a life of luxury, thanks to his father's achievements, continued the family business, becoming the president of the New York Central Railroad in the early 1900's. When not at work in New York, he spent his timing yachting, racing cars and relaxing at his mansion in Long Island as well as on his island in Florida. Before the income tax was law in this country, the wealthy could afford incredible extravagance and made superior social standing their goal. Many fortunes in this country were made from achievements in business and industry.
Although it might not look like it immediately in this card it deals with a big part of the finances of the railway. I was interested in making the knight of swords when I was visiting Newport, R.I. with my mother and touring the "gilded age" mansions, a term Mark Twain gave to the privileged tycoon families that they adopted and embraced.
One of the things that really caught my eye in the Breakers, the summer mansion of the Vanderbilt family, was a french inspired Louis XVI style sculpture above a doorway that at first looked like it came straight out of Versailles. It depicted 2 angels flying over the entrance, one had a hammer and the other had a railroad spike with a train charging towards the foreground carved out of stone. It seemed inappropriate but also refreshing and fascinating. It seemed to say "if it wasn't for industry, we wouldn't be here pretending to be royalty in a country that isn't supposed to have royalty" What a big hand full of irony there!
For the artwork I combined the look of gold and glitter and royalty with an industrial image. In the background you'll see a train charging in the scene and his face is layered with textures of old train wheels and rusted metal as well as weathered sculptures for the Vanderbilt property, to help symbolize another aspect I wanted to address, no one stays on top forever.
The Knight of Swords is a cunning, courageous and athletic person that comes and goes whenever they please. If you draw this card in a reading your behaving bravely but foolishly. Rushing into all situations can be a sign of sure confidence, but think before you leap whenever possible. This card reversed urges you strongly to reconsider your next move and plan a little more strategically.
Happy Tax return time everyone! Might be time to gift yourself with a deck ;) and btw that whole thing about not buying your own deck is a TOTAL wives tale. It's okay to be good to yourself once in a while ;) especially since you know what kind of deck you want better than anyone.
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