XIII: Transformation

An initial description:

A woman is kneeling above a creature laying on the path in the woods. Her gown is purple with a floral pattern, and her hair is curled in ringlets. A look of sadness is on her face, and she cradles the beast’s head in her arms. He looks disparagingly at her, his long brown hair spread across the path. His blue garment is rich looking; at his hip is a matching blue satchel. At his head and feet are two tall trees; 3 red rose petals lay on his breast. Behind the woman is a thicket of red roses, and above it, in the light, are portraits of the woman and creature as a man, smiling and happy.

Preliminary meanings:

A transformation is occurring, the creature is dying and there is nothing his lover can do. Behind them the roses represent love, the flowers are its beauty and the thorns are the bumps along the way.

The basic fairy tale from once upon a fairy tale (beauty and the beast):

Beauty was cheerful and hardworking while her two sisters were lazy. The father stumbles into a castle during a storm, and is cared for until he picks a rose for Beauty. He is given a box of gold and must bring back one of his daughters. Beauty chooses to go, and her dad leaves. The beast was generous, and kind. She is well until her father falls ill, and he lets her go if she comes back in seven days. She comes back too late, but asks him to marry her, and he transforms into a man. They live happily ever after.

personal significance:

Sometimes a part of us must die in order for success to happen. Out of tragedy comes new beginning. Transformation/death is the logical next step after Entrapment/hanged man. But only by stepping up and embracing what fate sends our way can we be transformed.

book symbolism, etc:

The end is a new, transformative opportunity. The 3 red petals are life, death, and rebirth. The trees frame a dream. You must rise above defeat and connect with your deeper self. You have to learn to come to terms with the death of what you knew and embrace the prospect of transforming yourself.

variations of beauty and the beast:
– beauty and the beast (basque): a king had 3 daughters and always spoiled the 2 oldest. He takes a flower for the youngest from an enchanted garden and must bring a daughter there or die. The 2 oldest refuse but the youngest goes. An enormous serpent keeps her until her father falls ill, and sends her home with a ring that changes color. On the 4th day she returns, creates a fire, and the serpent comes and asks again and again if she will marry him. She agrees to marry him as a man. He becomes a man and brings her a snake skin to burn. They live happily ever after.

– zelinda and the monster (Italy): a poor man had 3 daughters. The youngest was the best and asks for a rose. He finally finds a rose in an enchanted garden, where a dragon demands the daughter who wanted the rose. She goes and the dragon asks her often to marry him. She agrees if he saves her ill father, and the dragon becomes the son of the king of oranges.

– the 3 daughters of king O’Hara (Ireland): the 3 daughters put on their father’s cloak of darkness and wish for husbands. The 2 oldest choose men during the day while the latter chooses dog during the day, man at night. She has 2 sons and 1 daughter that are taken away. They go to visit her family and her mother burns his dog skin while they sleep, so he must leave, but his wife follows. She stays in 3 houses and each has one of her children there. She receives at them a magic pair of scissors, a magic comb, and a magic whistle. Her husband marries the queen of Tir na n-og and the youngest daughter uses the magic items to trick the queen into letting her spend the nights with him, leaving him a note that tells how to kill the queen.

Traditional meanings of Death (From Gray’s book):

The main meaning of the death card is the manifestor of the universe. Kings must inevitably fall. There is perpetual transformation and this card protests stagnation. Change old concepts to new, like the change from the personal to the universal view. “Creation necessitates its opposite- destruction.” This card is transformation, a change in consciousness, and new opportunities. Reversed is anarchy and temporary stagnation.

Beauty changes the way she thinks about the beast and realizes she loves him, resulting in his transformation back into a man. This creates a new opportunity for her- life as a princess.

Death (From Journey of the hero):
This card means one phase has come to an end and it is time to say farewell. It is departure and the conclusion of something. Don’t take yourself too seriously, for you are only standing in your own way. The horse is the 4 th horse of the apocalypse, the pale horse that death rides. The task we all have in life is to become whole, and to do this, we must become involved with the inferior, awkward side of ourselves we overlook. We have finally reached our boundaries- now we must overcome them.

Sooner or later, life will force us in an inevitable and inexorable way to continue in the other direction and look into the eyes of the unavoidable, for we cannot avoid looking at death and transience. In this process, it does not matter how clever, well-concieved, or extensive our concepts of Death are. The only decisive factor is how we approach it, how close we let this experience get to us, and how deeply we are touched by it (137-138).

This archetype is death and it’s goal is overcoming the ego and profound transformation.

Related to the fairy tale tarot version of beauty and the beast:
Marriage is an event that brings two souls together as one. Similarly, this card reminds us that our task is to become whole in spirit and mind. Death comes to us all, whether commoner or royalty.

Meditation/writing jump off:
I held his hand, knowing I had come back too late. Our dream was shattered; love had been lost. But then, then he began to transform. Death had been another step in the journey, not the end.

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