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Reviews are hard...

Or rather, I don't like Acafellas until it gets to Mercedes, so I'm stalling.


It is productive stalling. Ever heard of Tarot?

On a slightly related note, any accomplished artists out there willing to draw some of these up?
Tarot and Glee, or in which I have many feels over archetypes. This deck was especially hard to make because I wanted to stick with characters that are actually a part of New Directions- In other words, the directors and kids. I had a bit of an issue with the sheer number of cards I had to represent. I don’t really think season 3 characters have earned a spot yet, but that means that I was short one or two cards.  But I think I worked it out. Either way, there are 3 directors- Will, Sue (Throwdown), and Emma (Sectionals), and there are 17 kids- Mercedes, Kurt, Tina, Artie, Rachel, Finn, Quinn, Santana, Brittany, Puck, Mike, Matt, Jesse,Sunshine,  Sam, Lauren, and Blaine (Who didn’t join until season 3, but was developed enough in Season 2 that I count him as a technicality). If I were counting Season 3 kids, we’d have Rory and Sugar. So we’d have… 22 kids and teachers? Like… 22… cards…


No. You know what? No. I like what I have right now, so there.

But seriously, concrit welcome as always. As is discussion!

New Directions – The Fool (0)

“You could also make the choice to be happy. That we are part of a Glee Club that is bursting at the seams with talent.”

The Fool is pure, unmitigated possibility. It’s the protagonist of The Fool’s Journey, a very popular story and interpretation of the Major Arcana. He’s the person who is learning all these lessons, who is taking these steps towards enlightenment. Protagonist.

New Directions as a whole are our protagonists, and there’s even more to it than that- The club is full of talent, of skills and possibilities. What better way to represent that than via the ultimate trump card- possibility.

Don’t stop believin’, after all.

Kurt – The Magician (I)

“Picture yourself standing in front of a full audience, belting out the final number of one of the greatest musicals of all time.”

“There’s no orchestra.”

“Make one. In your head.”

Kurt plans. He tries to conquer the world through doing. He’s mastered himself and seeks to master the world in the same manner. When Kurt wants Finn? He hatches his plans in Ballad and Home. Kurt wants to shine? He makes his way onto the Cheerios. Kurt is pretty intrinsically tied into the Tarot in many, many ways, as his trip to Dalton was (Easily) arguably a Fool’s Journey, but from the moment he hit that Broadway stage and made the allusion to The Magician explicit, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this sort of Tarot motif idea for most of Glee.

There’s a lot about Kurt that echoes the Magician- He’s assertive and one of the more powerful characters in the narrative, he would rather act or speak up than remain quiet, he has several talents, tapped and untapped. Kurt’s a powerful character, and it shows in his actions. Even when he’s being understated, such as Black Bird and As If We Never Said Goodbye.

On the flip side, things get serious when Kurt’s agency is removed- He’s practically defined by what he can do, so feeling helpless is the absolute worst feeling in the world to him.

Key Words: Personal Power (Kurt is very much a self motivator), Self Confidence (“One day, you will all work for me”), Action, Initiative (Kurt going after Finn, going after Blaine, taking care for his father, going after solos), Being Objective (“Face it Finn, you’re not the quarterback anymore”).

Blaine – The High Priestess (II)

“So it’s just like When Harry Met Sally. But I get to play Meg Ryan.”

“Deal… Don’t they get together in the end?”

Almost as if to serve a contrast, we have Blaine the High Priestess. Whereas The Magician experiences the world through action, The High Priestess seeks to know the world. And in some ways, that’s Blaine to a T- He doesn’t want to have a fight with Finn, he just wants to know what his problem is. Since coming to McKinley he’s been forced into a nonaction role- But even before then, he acted as a mentor to Kurt, imparting wisdom and knowledge during his stay at Dalton.

More than that, however, is the fact that each card in the tarot embodies two sides of an issue- in this case, The High Priestess can still be in the process of learning (“Kurt… I don’t know what I’m doing.”)

Key Words: Wisdom (Being a mentor to Kurt), Intuition (My favorite example of this is in Sexy, when Blaine says Kurt will just stick his fingers in his ears and scream “LALALALA”, and then Kurt… proceeds to do just that), Otherworldliness (Blaine is from Dalton, not WMHS. Another world), Serenity (Blaine works hard to project this, but we’ve seen beneath THAT veneer), Love and Relationships (His major focus right now is Kurt and their relationship). However, Blaine has had far less growth than Kurt, so he also has a lot to work on with this- His obliviousness and tendency to put his foot in his mouth run opposite to the keywords of Knowingness and Sound Judgment. And Common Sense. >_> (Fail Blaine is best Blaine)

Quinn – The Empress (III)

“You are so lucky. You’ve always been at home in your body. Don’t let Ms. Sylvester take that away from you.”


“I needed my Mom.”

It’s strange where Glee takes the characters it has, isn’t it? Quinn when introduced is the least mothering figure in the show. If pressed, before Preggers I would have probably picked Emma here. But then Quinn got pregnant.

I’m going to be frank- Quinn being pregnant is not the only reason she’s The Empress. The Empress represents motherhood and fertility, yes, but it also represents nurturing (Such as how Quinn is with Mercedes in Home), and also represents things like nature and beauty (An interesting commentary on both these concepts in regards to Quinn appears in Born This Way). The card mostly signifies all that comes with the feminine perspective, and Quinn is our resident fledgling Feminist in the cast- She understands the power that comes from femininity.

The other side of this coin is how much Quinn needs something like this in her life- Puck talks about how no one would look after and help Quinn in season 3, most of her actions are rooted in feeling like she needs love and approval, in season 1 her relationship with Judy (“I needed my mom” was a really powerful line to me). Quinn needs an Empress just as much as she IS one.

Key Words: Beauty (“You’re a very pretty girl Quinn. Prettiest girl I’ve ever met.”), Comfort (Mercedes in Home), Material prosperity (She comes from a well off family), Nature (Lucy/Quinn/Skank Quinn/all other iterations of Quinn make plenty of commentary on what is natural in a person and what isn’t), Mothering (Beth, convincing the Troubletones to return).

Artie – The Emperor (IV)

“I still love performing, but thanks to Mr. Schue and the school musical, I finally discovered my true passion – bossing people around.”

Artie is a bit of a sneaky leader in ND- It’s getting a bit more explicit in season 3, with him directing the musical and Christmas special, but… this has been going on since way before. Like when Finn wants Artie’s opinion for inviting Sam to join Glee Club, or taking charge of Puck post Juvie, or being Mike’s voice in Silly Love Songs. Artie’s been almost secretly leading the club ever since he got his first taste of it all the way back in Wheels- he eventually becomes someone that the whole club turns with, as seen in Hold on to Sixteen when he backs up Sam.

Another large part of the card is realizing what’s within our control and what’s out of it. Artie’s explicitly had that as a storyline in Dream On, and there are moments where he struggles with that pretty much every time he has character focus.

Key Words: Authority, Inflexibility (No Tina, Artie will not be walking. And that’s OKAY),  Rules (The narrative goes out of its way to show how Artie gets a whole new set of rules- Think Karofsky and Azimio refusing to beat him up in 2.02. It’s arguable whether this is a good thing or not), Stability (Has never quit Glee or intentionally caused strife), Leadership (Directing, how the Glee club sees him).

Will – The Hierophant (V)

“Everybody loves Disco!”

Will often embodies the bad parts of The Hierophant- he’s stubborn, he’s mired in his own status quo where he favors Rachel and Finn, he’s very focused on himself, and takes it upon himself to show everyone the error in their ways. Early in the series he’s very stuck on what is traditional show choir fare- In Wheels with the Wicked number, in Showmance with Disco, in oh, every episode ever.

The funny thing about Will is how he aspires to be a positive influence via the ideals of The Hierophant card (Which is totally possible- I may talk about it negatively, but each major arcane can be both positive and negative), but he falls short very often.

Key Words: Experience (Will does nothing except draw from his own experiences), Conservatism (Wheels anyone? Kurt can’t sing girl songs and Mercedes is too black), Group Identification (Will over identifies with New Directions), Status Quo (“No let me guess. Finn and Rachel are going to do a ballad, right? Followed by the kids joining in with a classic rock number where Mercedes will belt out the last, jaw dropping note.”), Education (Will is a teacher. I guess)

Mercedes – The Lovers (VI)

“You know, I know that I talk a good game about not needing a man, and I don’t. I just really wanted to take a date to the prom. I want the dress. And the guy. And the damn corsage.”

Every Mercedes plotline. Every single one. Has been about love and affection. From chasing Kurt to wanting a prom date to wanting to be valued as she should be in Glee Club, Mercedes has only wanted one thing- love.

And there’s nothing wrong with that. It bothers me when people complain about romantic plots as if they’re inherently cheap, or somehow detract from a character, as if love is somehow cheap and detracting. Erm. Tangent.

But anyways, Mercedes is a strong person. She knows who she is, and she is fierce. She’s so full of love and warmth for those she really cares about, and all she wants is that in return. The Lovers are about more than just romance, though. They encompass platonic love, and a whole lot more. While I mostly follow the Rider-Waite deck (It’s the deck I’m most familiar with, being the one that I own), the Marseilles deck adds difficult decision or dilemma to the mix, and Mercedes has to make a lot of those- it seems she’s constantly having to choose between love of performing and love and respect from her peers. Asian F, Night of Neglect… Mercedes has a tough time.

Key Words: Passion (Mercedes has plenty of passion), Romance (Girl is a hopeless romantic), Connection (core to her character is the need for this), Affinity (To the other Divas), Desire (to be loved, to be a star… She wants things almost as badly as Rachel)

Rachel – The Chariot (VII)

“You might laugh because every time I sign my name I put a gold star after it, but it’s a metaphor. And metaphors are important. And my gold stars are a metaphor for me. Being a star.”

Name a character with more drive and willpower than Rachel Berry. Her big driving character focus has always been balancing out this aspect of her personality with her insecurities and warm friendliness.

Rachel, being the ostensible lead of the show (That I’m actually convinced that we should be rooting for), has had a lot of screentime devoted to her learning the lessons that this card puts forth. One thing important to the Chariot is having goals, yes- But more importantly it stresses going about to achieve them in the proper ways. Something that Rachel, after 3 seasons of growth, is much better at.

Key Words: Willpower, Recognition, Pride (All things that Rachel has in spades), Self-assertion, Self-confidence (Things that she’s been getting better at expressing and holding onto), Anxiety (Rachel is easily shaken, like with Jesse in Funk and Laryngitis, Mercedes in Asian F, Finn in Special Education, etc.), Impulsivity (Ballad, crush on Will, Audition, sending Sunshine to a Crackhouse).

Finn – Strength (VIII)

“I’m not really a nice person. I’m selfish. Fact is I’m only really generous if there’s something in it for me.”

“Yeah, but I still like you.”

“And you, you’re so… kind, and open… Well, it’s made me want to be a better person.”

Strength does not refer to physical power, but rather mental fortitude. So why Finn? Well, it denotes mental fortitude, but mostly in the context of comprehension, compassion, patience. Gentleness and discipline. Real functions of INNER strength, you know?

And here’s the axis on which Finn spends most of his time trying to operate- Finn is everything supportive when he tries to be. There’s a plethora of episodes with evidence of this- Lady Music week for Santana (No matter how you feel about that particular moment, Finn did it in an effort to support, to show compassion), dancing with Kurt in Furt, coming to ND’s rescue in Sectionals, understanding Kurt in Home.

However, the flip side of this is just as apparent with Finn- he tries so hard to be compassionate, to bear his troubles with patience. But that just makes the moments when he lashes out so much more explosive. His outburst right before sectionals, Theatricality, outing Santana… Finn’s almost as defined by his moments of no control as he is by his general demeanor.

Key Words: Self-Control (See above paragraph for the lack of, but for a charming, fun version of self-control, see Duets, where he reigns in his competitiveness and love of Breadstix for the sake of the team), Perseverence (We constantly hear that he’s trying to dance better. Also, sticking with Glee despite being teased, his attempts at leadership), Slowness (Finn takes his time with everything), Kindness (The guy helps Kurt become kicker. Think about WMHS’s football team. Finn’s best interest was to NOT do that, he did it anyways), Comprehension (he has flashes of insight into why people are acting the way they are- Think Kurt in Home).

Matt – The Hermit (IX)

“At the beginning of this year, I was just another football player.”

Matt is a bit of a mystery- He’s only really spoken twice in the show, but that doesn’t mean we only know two things about him.

The Hermit is about seclusion and introspection, in all honesty. It’s about looking within to see who we really are. I think that lesson was learned by a lot of people, but Matt is the only person who ONLY learned that lesson.

Think about it- seclusion from the other jocks (Think choosing Glee in Mash Up), seeing himself as more than just another football player, learning to have a passion for dance.

But wait, you say. Puck and Mike fit the exact same story. Well, the difference is that Puck and Mike learned more. If we look at all they’ve done after season 1, the influence of The Hermit is a blip on the radar- Matt’s character arc (Admittedly, an incredibly out of focus, very basic arc) was all about learning that Glee was actually kind of cool to be in.

Key Words: Introspection (Matt is not just another football player, but it took him time to figure this out), Silence, Being Quiet (Oh come on, too easy), Distance (At a remove from most of the drama in club), Guidance (think Sectionals and how he supported and encouraged Mercedes- yeah it was just one moment, but it established that out of focus, offscreen, he was helping to build up her confidence, to help her shine).

Sue – The Wheel of Fortune (X)

“Yeah that got boring.”

Is Sue on anyone’s side but her own? Think about it- she wants her kids to succeed, but she also engineers many of their downfalls. She helps the Glee Club, but then right after wants to destroy it. She’s tender and kind, but also rough, abrasive, and abusive.

She’s a walking, talking, bag of contradictions.

I think that’s kind of the point.

Sue, just by existing, presents change in every character’s life that she interacts with. Sometimes these changes are bad (Kicking Quinn off the Cheerios), and sometimes they are good (Buying ramps for Artie in the very next episode). Caprice is the name of the game, but one thing that Sue never flip flops on is trying to prepare these kids for the real world- she just seems to change her mind on how to do that every so often.

That, more than anything, is what the card is about. The ups and downs of life. You’ve got your highs and you’ve got your lows, but life goes on.

Key Words: Opportunities (“Presenting you with an opportunity to compromise yourself? You betcha.”), Dissention (She’s a frequent naysayer of the club), Sudden Change (Sue is the master of 180s. That’s largely the point), Superior Forces (Cheerios>New Directions), Development (Surprisingly, Emma’s life coach. Huh).

Lauren – Justice (XI)

“This just in, Jacob Ben Israel’s queen poll has you up by 40%. I… suppose… I had that result coming.”

Lauren is introduced in Wheels, when Burt and Kurt are having a conversation about getting a fair shot at singing Defying Gravity. She got on the wrestling team, but had to sue the school to do so.

You’ll notice that bargaining and extortion are kind of Lauren’s MO- sorta like a young Mr. Figgins. And surprisingly, that fits into the Justice card quite well. The card is about fairness, yes, but can also be interpreted as demanding you receive your due- You don’t get what you want without asking for it first. So Lauren shows up several times before joining Glee- always to provide a service, always for a price.

Even when she joins the club, she remains a bit aloof. However, all her storylines are about getting your just desserts- Think how hard she made Puck work for her, or how she treated Quinn in Prom Queen and the end result there. She’s all about the Justice (At least in her head).

Key Words:   Severity (Lauren never does anything halfway), Insensitivity (She’s kind of rude most of the time), Objective Mind (“You can eat that you know” is not the response to the slushying in A Very Glee Christmas of someone emotionally invested, sorry), Criticism (“Actually you’re just a bitch.”, Prom Queen with Quinn, “Show Choir is stupid”, etc)

Mike – The Hanged Man (XII)

“I’ll dance in my free time. Then everybody’s happy.”

“Except for you.”

The Hanged Man card can mean many things. First and foremost is the idea of self sacrifice- and this is a trait easily exemplified in Asian F and Hold On To Sixteen. The only things Mike contemplates giving up are the things that make him and him alone happy. He doesn’t try to give up Glee or Booty Camp, or Football. Just the play, or pursuing a dance major. Stuff that only affects him.

On top of that, the Hanged Man also represents seeing a different perspective. Or seeing both sides of an argument. Mike time and again is easily won over from adversarial positions, be it with Rachel in Audition, Sue in Comeback, the football team in The Sue Sylvester Bowl Shuffle… The boy is paralyzed by being able to see both sides of the argument.

Keywords time- Conformity (“I was afraid to dance outside my room”, not speaking up in Never Been Kissed, etc), Patience (You try teaching Finn to dance), New Point of View (see above), Sacrifice (see further above). Heck, Mike even embodies acceptance- We’ve never seen him have a problem with someone because of gender, race, sexuality, ability, or anything else.

Tina – Death (XIII)

“My new mantra is ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world’.”

This actually strikes me as really funny- the girl who is introduced to us as a goth, who masquerades as a vampire, who wears lacy lady demon clothes, representing Death? Way to be stereotypical, me. I had the same problems here as I did with Quinn- it felt too easy, too generic.

I thought some more, however, and I realized it’s actually rather fitting. Tina makes a lot of radical changes. From stutter to goth to her current look, she’s had some definite karmic cycles going on. She’s the master of reinvention on this show, and that sort of gets her into trouble when she attempts to cause one of these cycle shifts onto someone else.

Remember Dream On? She pushes Artie, and things don’t exactly go well. Her actions in Mike’s season 3 storyline follow the same sort of pattern. And the funny thing is that it always helps them grow as a person, to change in some way. It’s just not always a fun or happy experience, or growth or change in the way they want or expect.

Key Words: Transition into a new state (Tina seems to change each season), Elimination of old patterns (Stutter, Lady Demon clothes), Sadness (Dream On in general), Deep Change

Emma – Temperance (XIV)

“Most of the adults we know have trouble accepting their eccentricities.”

Emma does a lot for the club.

Emma smooths over some of the rougher personalities (“Rachel, why don’t we let Mercedes give it a shot.”). Emma brings people reality checks, helps them balance their ambitions with what is possible (Think Julliard not having a Musical Theatre program). She helps the Glee club be more cohesive, be more whole. Often through helping Will, but occasionally directly too.

More than that, however, is how hard balance and harmony are for Emma herself. She fluctuates between extremes before she’s ready for them (She’s been proposed to three times, and said yes each time. I barely think she’s ready now, after 2 ½ years of growth.). She struggles with her OCD and how it affects her day to day.

Emma continues to attempt to find control and balance in her life, and that’s the major lesson waiting for us with Temperance.

Key Words: Joining forces (Emma and Sue, Emma and Will, Emma and the Glee Club… Emma will always be a staunch supporter, and in turn have great supporters herself.), Moderation (She’s the reason that the club doesn’t always go overboard. Unless she’s the reason that they DO.), Harmony, Unification, Balance (See above about Mercedes).

Puck – The Devil (XV)

“I don’t think about consequences. And while I used to think that made me cool, now I just think it makes me a loser.”

The Devil card is one of those cards that represents roadblocks in our lives, much like The Tower which is coming up in just a second. But it’s all things that Puck struggles with- There’s a definite sexual charge to the card, and not a healthy one. Puck’s MILF thing? Combined with his cries for attention seen throughout the whole series, it does come off as a little… well, I’d say it’s a red flag.

Some other things that come with this card are all the baggage that comes from being too attached to something- chained to a person, thing, or idea just a little too hard. The Devil is a cautionary tale against taking things too far really, and Puck is the character that learns this the hard way.

Key words: Futility (Remember his outburst during Never Been Kissed about no one wanting to help him? Yeah), Temptation (Tempting Quinn into cheating), Ignorance (Puck’s pretty stupid, but as Artie says, he’s a smart dude. It’s just ignorance), Sexuality (probably the most sexually active kid), Anger (Have you met Puck?), Self-Bondage (The only person stopping Puck from changing? Puck)… Puck’s got it all.

Santana – The Tower (XVI)

“Hey Santana, why don’t you just come out of the closet?”

Santana just sort of happens to people. She’s like a strike of lightning. And also, things tend to happen to Santana like strikes of lightning. Brittany sort of outing her in Rumors, Finn outing her in Mash Off, Her Abuela in I Kissed a Girl, Her realization that Karofsky is gay… most everything that happens with Santana is a big eureka moment, and that’s just what The Tower is about- the unexpected.

On the other hand, Santana’s big moments? The ones that are really her? Are when she’s being unexpectedly nice. Standing up for Kurt and Blaine in Night of Neglect, her soft spot for Brittany? All things that tell us more about Santana than any of her other moments, and she’s totally coming from left field, being unexpected. Embodying The Tower.

I mean, just look at all of the key phrases surrounding The Tower: ego blow (Santana’s specialty), realizing the truth (how the club sees her in Silly Love Songs, figuring out Quinn and Finn were cheating, figuring out Dave), explosive transformation, downfall, crisis (how she was forced out of the closet)… Santana couldn’t have been written with more influence from The Tower if they’d tried.

Sam – The Star (XVII)

“These galactic mobiles aren’t the stars of McKinley- We are.”

Let’s talk about The Star. This card is full of hope. Hope, Faith, Optimism… all exemplified by the card.

Now let’s talk about Sam. The boy comes to McKinley with the hopes to join the football team, and become popular. He gets his shoulder dislocated. He has faith that his girlfriend didn’t cheat on him, then later finds out that she did. He’s a very optimistic person. Who keeps having his life ruined.

The Star has a few other traits too. But mostly it has a calming, almost introspective trait to it. Finn wants to settle New Directions right before sectionals on their third year? Who better to settle them than Sam (Who ultimately succeeds, even with Blaine. Else why would he have his “top dogs” moment with him during the event).

Key Words: Regeneration, Renewel of Forces (“Sometimes you gotta use your assets to get back that advantage.”), Hope, Faith, Optimism (See above), Good Will (Even if a bit… off, think the Christmas episode this year), Trust (The whole club likes Sam and trust him to get them the Sectionals win).

Brittany – The Moon (XVIII)

“And remember- Even the smallest envelope is heavy for an elf.”

I’m going to first direct you to Brit Brit’s Lady Gaga costume in Theatricality- She wears a lobster on her head, one of the creatures that shows up on the Moon card. The Moon represents Brittany is very, very hard to see through. Most everything she says makes sense, it’s just usually from a different approach than we’re used to.

She’s one of the few characters who can cut through all that murkiness that life throws us and has startling moments of clarity- Remember when I mentioned with Finn that the kids embody the opposites too?

Key traits:  ‘lack of clarity’, ‘unrealistic ideas’, ‘confusion’, ‘romanticism’ (Her feelings about Santana and Artie), ‘deception’… This card is quite possibly one of the most direct links to the Tarot that this show actually has, and I can’t for the life of me understand why I never made this connection before. Brittany is often described as vague (lack of clarity), believes in Santa, the stork, and leprechauns, and as for deception, she started Glee club as a spy for Sue, right? One quick “Coach Sylvester didn’t tell me to do this” gets her out of anything.

Sunshine – The Sun (XIX)

“What about that Sunshine girl? I thought you said she could sing.”

“I guess… she didn’t want to hang out with us losers.”

The Sun card is about success, and is actually one of the happiest cards in the Tarot. And who better to exemplify this than Sunshine, someone who escaped the clutches of Vocal Adrenaline.

The more I think about it, the more fitting it is- She escaped New Directions (Who at that point in canon were a hot mess, and still couldn’t win when it really counted), she escaped from Vocal Adrenaline (Who almost made her hate the one thing that she loved in the world). Her success and skill shone so brightly that Rachel tried to snuff her out.

What do we know about Sunshine other than that she’s successful? She was the star of Carmel’s academic decathalon team, she has twitter followers because of her singing, which in the Glee verse is a thing that usually gets you slushied. Sunshine finally resolves her storyline and continues to have optimism and joy for singing, something that no other character has yet done.

The flip side is how lacking of The Sun she feels- Her songs are about how people don’t listen and how she’s on her own, she tries to make friends and gets sent to a crackhouse, she gets into a prestigious group that makes her hate things she loves- Sunshine works hard to get her happy ending.

Key Words: Positive feelings (For singing, which Rachel helped her regain), Innocence (When Rachel sent her to a crack house, what had she done?), Brilliance, Splendor (her singing), Personal Power (How she eventually gets the strength to sing at Nationals), Happiness (her reward).

Jesse – Judgement (XX)

“I traded love for a fourth consecutive National title. It was a bum deal.”

The first thing you need to know about Jesse is that he sold out Rachel.

The second thing you need to know about Jesse is that he came back to seek amends.

Judgement is all about salvaging your past from the mistakes you’ve made. It’s about seeking forgiveness and accepting responsibility. It’s about learning how you should fit in the world and no longer making the mistakes of your youth.

How much simpler and more direct a relation to a card could there be?

Key Words: Restart (his hope for him and Rachel), End of repression (Pushing Rachel along to discovering Shelby), Accepting Past Mistakes (See quote above), Inner Calling (Show Choir, obviously. He tried to make a career out of it).

Singing – The World (XXI)

“By its very definition, Glee is about opening yourself up to joy.”

Singing is what makes people feel whole in Glee. Singing is expressing true self, being who you should be. That makes it the perfect counterpart to The World in Tarot- It’s all about self actualization, of harmony and accomplishment.

Key Words: Integration (RIDE WIT ME), Accomplishment/Success (The number of times singing and this are equated in Glee is STAGGERING), Prospering (Think April and CrossRhodes).

I have spent a long time trying to think of what the minor arcana would be (I briefly entertained Mic Stands for swords thanks to Mash Off, and Rachel's Star Cup from Theatricality for Cups, but idk man)? I'm thinking Microphones for wands, because Singing is how you DO STUFF in Glee, and Wands represent action, after all. But I'm lost on the rest. So... help?
Lemme know what you think!


( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 25th, 2012 04:43 pm (UTC)
I know NOTHING about tarot, so I can't offer any commentary there. I do know that this was fun to read, and I looooove your descriptions for the girls, who are so kickass.


And Kurt does indeed go on a journey when he goes to Dalton. It's the classic Hero's Journey. Where is narceus, she explains it well.

I will summon her.
Jan. 26th, 2012 02:49 am (UTC)
Hi! I don't think we've chatted before. But we should, because Weeds keeps linking me to your stuff and it's basically awesome, so hi *waves*. I haven't thought about the tarot in years so I'd forgotten most of the Major Arcana, but all of this sounds perfect.

The hero's journey thing, which doesn't necessarily contradict with the fool's journey, but pulls more from a Joseph Campbell sort of background (with a fair number of modifications...my education in the monomyth was, um, unconventional), came out of a lengthy conversation about death in Sue Sylvester Shuffle and Dalton as an underworld, not a fairyland. Though it's really both.

This kind of makes more sense if I know how much background you have before I explain it. How much do you know about monomyth/the feminine heroic journey as descent-into-hell (contrast the masculine heroic journey, your standard all-empowered conquering thing, which nobody on Glee really gets for long)? The story of Innana? Seven mes/seven chakras/seven key issues of self-realization?

Also, I love your designation for Sue more than most things.
Jan. 26th, 2012 04:35 am (UTC)
Hi! Nice to meet you.

I understand bits and pieces of the seven chakras, but everything else you have mentioned has gotten a flat what from me. But I like to learn!

I've heard the Dalton is an underworld thing a few times (Most recently on Letters from Titan in that Price for getting out of Lima thing, which is pretty fantastic as well), but I haven't gotten very deep into it yet.

So in other words, feel free to drop some knowledge on me!
Jan. 26th, 2012 05:17 am (UTC)
Knowledge I can do! Yay, story tropes.

So okay. To start with, Joseph Campbell. 'Hero of a Thousand Faces', very famous book from the forties, coined the idea of a monomyth--the basic, fundamental hero's journey, from ancient myth and legend right up through modernity. Basically it boils down into your standard action-adventure story: hero goes on a quest (may or may not involve traveling), conquers many dangers, gets smacked down, has a pit of self-doubt, comes back and wins the day. This is a place where Wikipedia is useful for more details.

So, Joseph Campbell's not the be-all and end-all, and after him, we get the idea that there's two basic takes on the hero's journey: a so-called 'feminine' and a 'masculine' take. They don't always map to gender, but they often do, because of how they deal with power. The 'masculine' heroic journey goes more towards your 'set forth and conquer things, and later learn about shades of gray and you're not all-powerful' story, while the 'feminine' heroic journey generally starts from a place of powerlessness, with a descent into even greater powerlessness, to find inner strength. Starting to sound familiar?

So, Kurt setting off to Dalton, which is already a physical journey (quest!), follows a lot of the formula of a hero being shoved off on their way: McKinley was never safe, he never had power, but he had the illusion of control until Karofsky broke that for him, etc. But the really, really cool part of the way they do Kurt is how they handle the descent into hell.

Kind of the super-classic 'feminine heroic journey' story is the Sumerian myth of Inanna, who was a goddess who literally did have to descend into hell to beg a favor from her sister, who had no reason to give it. So she packed herself up with all her tools and shields and pretty things (every time I watch Kurt putting on the uniform in Special Education, I flash back on this), and started heading down. Only there were seven gates, on the way into hell, and at each one, the gatekeeper (on orders of her sister, who was kind of a bitch, as Sumerian goddesses go) stripped away one of her mes, her symbols of power. This is pretty much the key to this kind of heroic journey: all of the things you rely on get stripped away, one by one, until you reach the very lowest point completely naked of anything but yourself.

This has kind of broadened out, in the intervening millennia, to correspond to seven key issues which may or may not have exactly matched up with Inanna's things in the first place. They do generally match up with the seven chakras, because comparative mythology means that people can do really cool things with mixing different traditions and make it work. In another comment, because this one's getting long.
Jan. 26th, 2012 05:45 am (UTC)
So. In the order they usually go in, we have Fear, Guilt, Shame, Grief, Lies, Illusion, and Earthly Attachments. Lots of stories where the hero goes on a journey like this, they only address one or two. Kurt--well, Kurt is in seven episodes between Special Education and Original Songs. Kurt gets all seven.

He doesn't do them in order, which threw me off for a while, until I realized that just because he doesn't do them in order according to tradition, he does them in absolutely the right order for him. To wit:

Special Education: Shame. Shame is defined as 'the feeling that something you do or something about you will cause you to be excluded from a very important group'. See also: learning to fit into the Warblers. Shame is not really a thing with Kurt, or at least hasn't been since his conversation with his dad in Preggers. Kurt enjoys standing out. If anything, SE is about learning to embrace shame, just a teensy bit--to allow himself to pull back and sit down and fit in, once in a while, rather than forcing himself out to stand alone at all times.

AVGC: Okay, so this one and the next can go either way, but I'm going with fear. Confronting and dealing with fear is generally about recognizing and admitting what you need and being able to go after it. See also: BICO. Fear's never been a huge deal for Kurt, not once he's removed from the source of it, so this one comes early.

Sue Sylvester Shuffle: Attachment, unless we flip and call Kurt's return to McKinley his big deal-with-fear moment. However, I like attachment for this one for one big reason: 'Bills, Bills, Bills'. Which, given that Blaine sings for Kurt during this entire journey? Is a song entirely about giving up on Finn. Kurt's letting go of old attachments that didn't do him any good, gaining self-awareness, etc.

Silly Love Songs: Lies. So, the first three were things that Kurt struggled with sometimes, but not terribly much. SLS and BIOTA are about confronting tools that Kurt uses all the time to get by. At the end of the episode, he's able to plainly just tell Blaine how he feels, instead of edging around it or keeping secrets or just straight-up lying. It's the quintessential 'lies' conflict.

He gets Comeback off, which he probably needs, given all this work, and then

Blame It On The Alcohol: Illusion. All the illusions Kurt had about Blaine kind of fall apart here. A big coping mechanism for Kurt are the illusions he lets himself keep (think how long he went after Finn when it was obviously doomed), and not only can't he and Blaine work until Kurt gets rid of them, Kurt can't really move on himself until he learns to start dealing with the world honestly. So that's here.

And then we get to the really big ones.

First, Sexy: Guilt. Guilt is usually very tied up in sex and sexuality in these sorts of stories, and it fits Sexy to a T. Guilt, as opposed to shame, is defined as "the feeling that something you have done or something about you goes against your own moral code." Now, does Kurt feel like being gay is wrong? No, not at all--but does Kurt feel conflicted about having an active sexuality, has he been made to feel predatory and wrong for a long long time? Hell yes. (So much of Sexy gets so much more ouch when you think that half of Kurt's problem isn't that he's still afraid of Karofsky--it's that he's afraid of ever being Karofsky.) So that's guilt.

Original Songs: The only one left. Grief. And it matters so much that Kurt's last, key issue, the one that he faces to conquer hell and unlock his power, isn't the one about his sexuality. It matters that the defining issue, for Kurt, is the one he's been dealing with since he was eight years old: death, grief, and losing someone he loves. And of course it's in facing and coming to terms with the loss of someone he loves (they even say it's about his mother right in the episode, nobody ever pays attention) that he gets to open himself up to a real relationship with Blaine. You can't do real love if you're still holding yourself back from everyone out of fear of grief.
Jan. 26th, 2012 05:46 am (UTC)
By six hundred characters, they cut me off. At least it was just the conclusion.

The things after that: the fact that Kurt, after 'Blackbird', has stripped away all the false tools and baggages and come into his own power, but he still doesn't get to go back to McKinley until Santana helps open the way in BTW, is pretty classic too. Once you've found your power, you need to actually use it to defeat the monster and clean things up a little before you can go home again.

And then once he is home, he gets to be a unicorn and make magic onstage at the Gershwin and all that good stuff, and Blaine can come too because Kurt was Orpheus even before he knew he had a Eurydice following him out, but that's another myth. And now I really am done spamming your comments with lengthy meta now, really. I can only hope it made sense. :)
Jan. 27th, 2012 05:07 am (UTC)
This is all really fantastic!

I followed your wiki link to get a general outline (And got lost in the potholes... >_>), and then I read this, and it's just amazing. Like, you are the actual best, no lie.

Kurt has had such amazing growth, and he's still changing and growing in Season 3, I can't wait to see what he does next.
Jan. 26th, 2012 09:04 pm (UTC)
So can you do my major work for me now, or...
Jan. 25th, 2012 04:57 pm (UTC)
I am constantly amused at how magical Kurt is, both in the show and in fandom's mind. He really is our Magical Queer, isn't he? His place as a magician is definitely one I'm not surprised by. I once read a (slightly cracky, mostly poking fun at itself) fic where Kurt really was magical, but didn't realize it. Rachel spent the entire time trying to convince everyone that, no, really, Kurt had magical powers, but no one believed her. I think if Glee was even a slightly different sort of surreal show, Kurt and Magic would be a major, major plotline, and I'm sort of always going to be sad that Glee just isn't that sort of show.

It's interesting to me that you labeled Blaine as the High Priestess for two reasons: the Priest (ergo, spiritual) part, and the "ess" (re: feminine) part. Blaine reads to me as a very spiritual, if not particularly religious, individual, and I'm sort of excited to see if Glee ever does anything with that, because I think that could be a very interesting source of conflict for Kurt/Blaine if the writers ever wanted to go in that direction. I also think Blaine is very, very feminine inwardly while outwards appears masculine, in the same way that Kurt is very feminine outwardly but acts ridiculously masculine in other ways. So when people actually acknowledge Blaine's feminine-ess, I just get excited, even if it isn't explicitly mentioned/talked about.

Quinn's maternal-ness is something I find interesting, in that it seems like she turns it on/off whenever she wants. She can be motherly towards Santana and Mercedes, but is decidedly not so towards Rachel (unless she wants to be.)

Artie has always been the leader of the Glee Club, and I'm so glad other people are starting to see it both in the show and off it.

Re: Mercedes, yes, wanting to be loved and be loved in return. My biggest concern for her is that she doesn't fight for anything (pre-Asian F. Post Asian F we see that when she fights for something, it goes badly for her so now I don't know how I feel about that.) She wants the spotlight, but she won't fight to get it. She wants a boyfriend, but she won't ask a guy out.

(This is a problem I have with this show: why are some of these kids so passive? Kurt waits for Blaine to ask him out, Mercedes waits for someone else to ask her to prom--why do they have to wait and be persued? They have such agressive personalities about everything else, why do their social lives have to be different?)

(Also because I get the feeling that had Kurt simply asked Blaine out in SLS, Blaine wouldn't have said no. But because Kurt didn't ask, we had to wait for Blaine to get his head out of his butt and ask Kurt.)
Jan. 25th, 2012 05:06 pm (UTC)
Rachel: confession time, I absolutely hated ever second Rachel Berry was on my screen in season one. It's part of why I did not even start caring about this show until season 2. And I absolutely believe that we are supposed to be on Rachel's side, because she is our protagonist and we love her. That said, I think if I (and by proxy, Kurt) didn't spend so much time hating her in season one, we could not have grown to love her so much in season two. Her growth and development is fabulous and is one of those things that made me stop and think that, no, these jerks are playing the long game, here.

I don't know if I agree with Finn as the Strength card, but I'll go with it because I'm not as familiar with tarot cards as I maybe should be. I think Finn is at his best when he's being a Lancer instead of a leader, a supporter instead of the rock everything happens to.

alkdjf;ajkf Lauren as Justice is the single greatest thing I have ever read in my LIFE oh my God that is perfect. I also agree with Sam, Santana, and Brittany's placements because omg, so much flawlessness.

I think maybe S!1 Puck was the Devil, but I don't see it as much anymore.

I might have more thoughts on this, we'll see. I should probably go back to doing work though.
Jan. 25th, 2012 09:12 pm (UTC)
Re: 2
Oh goodness, S1 Rachel.

On the one hand, I get people saying that Season 1 Rachel was "nicer" than Season 2 Rachel, because it's really easy to not recognize how abrasive she is in Season 1. I started out liking her in Season 1, but Season 2 was when she really grew and became much more likeable (And it's a very good bridge from Season 1 to Season 3, these Rachels are like polar opposites)

Finn was really hard to place, because he's the biggest Lancer support guy in the world (I completely agree!), and most of the Major Arcana are about focusing on yourself, but Strenght was as good as I could get because some of it's traits (Compassion, Compromise, Discipline) tie in really well with playing support. If that makes sense.


I think S1 was the most overtly Devil, but he still struggles with the same issues- it's just that in Season 2, he's more aware of these issues and is trying to fight them. I don't think he's quite finished because his Season 3 plotline was fixating on a family unit, and The Devil is a cautionary tale against fixation, amongst other things, so yeah.
Jan. 25th, 2012 09:50 pm (UTC)
Re: 2
People really think S1 Rachel is "nicer" than S2 Rachel? Seriously. Are we watching the same show? HOW?

Could you explain more about Puck-the-Devil, because I'm really not seeing it. Because Puck's mostly good now! He doesn't throw Kurt in a dumpster, he cries when he sings! He wants to woo Lauren for realzies, and it's the best part of his day! He was willing to get locked in a Port-a-Potty because he loves Glee club! He wants to be a mature, responsible authority figure for both Shelby and Beth, because he loves them!

(also, he has a squirrel on his head).

(also, another thing I am curious about, why is Quinn's "bad girl" look so not okay in Shelby's book as far as being around Beth goes, but Puck's usual bad boy style is a-okay and even attractive? At least as far as Shelby's POV goes, because if Quinn's a bad influence, then holy crap, so is Puck. Boy went to juvie, Shelby. Stop being sexist.)

(also, how does Quinn's brief adventure into punk-hood fit in with the Empress theme?)

Edited at 2012-01-25 09:54 pm (UTC)
Jan. 26th, 2012 12:09 am (UTC)
Re: 2
The most important thing to realize about the Devil card is that it's not bad, per se, so much as... hmm. Okay, let's try it like this.

The Devil is inside all of us. In Tarot, we get the rather (confusing imo) stark contrast to The Lovers card, where they both use much the same imagery. That's because they're similar things- Lovers is about desiring that connection, and the Devil is when that connection becomes a burden almost.

There's all sorts of other little things about the card, but that right there is one piece of the Puck puzzle- his bad ass rep is a burden to him right around Prom Queen, for instance.

It's not so much that HE'S the devil, in the general, "bad person" sense. The Devil isn't really concerned with right and wrong choices, so much as a persistence at something whether it's good for you or not. The Devil is pressuring people into doing things because you want them to. It's having sex with someone who's over emotional because of her kid's injury. But it's also demanding that you be called an "ambadassador" because you're so set on the idea of being a bad ass. Which isn't a bad thing at all.

I'm not saying Puck is a bad person (he really isn't!), or even that he makes bad choices (though he occasionally does). He's just a sort of intense person. He makes the same mistakes over and over again, ever notice that? Like cheating with Finn's girlfriends.

I hope that makes sense.

I read both Quinn's adventure in the bad girl look and Shelby's reaction to it on a commentary of nature and motherhood- She has to look the part of a mother before Shelby will let her anywhere near that role. Her bad girl look was rebelling against everything she was, going somewhere specifically "unnatural" to her. Everyone around her knew it, too.

Shelby is a terrible adult who makes terrible decisions and I am not surprised in the least at her sexism. Then again, she's an adult in Lima. That's sort of par for the course.
Jan. 25th, 2012 09:21 pm (UTC)
Re: 1
I've seen a few other Glee Tarot's floating around, and the one thing they've all agreed on was Kurt as The Magician. ^_^

Blaine as High Priestess was an inspired choice if I do say so myself. I have a feeling that with upcoming episodes like Michael, we'll see a bit more of this dynamic you've been discussing.

I have many strong feels about The Empress card (Well, and the Hanged Man, but Mike was like cookie cutter made for that card) because numerology, so I wasn't too sure who should go there. But I definitely feel like Quinn was the best choice. I agree with the being able to shut it off around Rachel, though- The Power of Madonna set her up to be mothering perfectly, but she didn't say anything.

I have a newfound appreciation for Artie, it's true.

As for Kurt and Mercedes being passive in love, I think that's more a McKinley conditioning thing- they're told time and again that they're the bottom of the social heap and that no one will love them and that Glee club sucks. Of course they're not going to go after who they like- the first time either of them tried, Mercedes busted windows and Kurt got called a fag.

Blaine in SLS probably would have said yes, but for all the wrong reasons.
Jan. 25th, 2012 09:36 pm (UTC)
Re: 1
It also helps that Mercedes spends 1,5 season in love with a gay boy who rejected her in ep3 because of this, I mean... what else can you do but be passive? XD
Jan. 25th, 2012 09:45 pm (UTC)
Re: 1
As for Kurt and Mercedes being passive in love, I think that's more a McKinley conditioning thing- they're told time and again that they're the bottom of the social heap and that no one will love them and that Glee club sucks. Of course they're not going to go after who they like- the first time either of them tried, Mercedes busted windows and Kurt got called a fag.

Oooh, good points, but in both situations neither of them were being exactly clear about what they wanted. Mercedes hangs around Kurt and flirts with him and just assumes they are dating, and when he says they aren't she breaks his window. Kurt flirts and stalks and does a number of viably-creepy things towards Finn, but never asks him out or even really says he likes him (though, to give more credit to Kurt, he did try with I Honestly Love You.) I just feel like if either of them went "Hey! I like you! We should date!" there would be a lot less hurt feelings all around. This is why clear communication is important! (of course, good communicate = less drama, less drama = less interesting, so...we'll take what we can get, I guess?)

Blaine in SLS probably would have said yes, but for all the wrong reasons.

I would have been fine with that. So would Kurt, at that point. :D Nah, just messing with you--narratively, I know why it had to happen that way, but as a viewer I get frustrated because, argh characters, you could solve your problems if you just did x instead of y!

Blaine as High Priestess was an inspired choice if I do say so myself. I have a feeling that with upcoming episodes like Michael, we'll see a bit more of this dynamic you've been discussing.

I'm curious as to why you feel that way about the Michael episode in particular? Like, I'm hoping for Character Development, any character development, Blaine-wise, but I'm interested in why you feel Michael will relate to Blaine's spirituality/femininity?

Yay discussions!
Jan. 25th, 2012 11:56 pm (UTC)
Re: 1
Definitely agree with you that good communication means less drama. I think Glee plays with that to do exactly what it wants- I never expect anyone to say or do anything directly because they've never done that ever in the show. I think it's something in the water in Lima. >_>

The Michael episode has all sorts of things that look like set-up for making Blaine more vulnerable- We have ND sniping at him (AGAIN) with the Eggs Benedict thing (Never change, Puck), choosing between his old home and his new one, and even silly reasons like apparently having scenes with HBIC Santana, which clearly puts Blaine as second fiddle. And of course, for better or worse, especially with Tarot which was developed hundreds of years ago, vulnerability = a very feminine trait.

Other than that, Kurt has his steely HBIC face on too, so we'll be seeing assertive!Kurt, hopefully. Which has the same sort of sordid history with Tarot that femininity and vulnerability have.

So yeah. =/
Jan. 25th, 2012 08:47 pm (UTC)
Self-Bondage (The only person stopping Puck from changing? Puck)… Puck’s got it all.

not only that! Puck willingly lets himself be stopped by people from doing stupid things. (Spike the punch during Prom? Bad Idea, but he has to do it. So, he asks Artie for help. Artie, who is a goodie two shoes. He then starts the plan at the wrong time (Blaine is performing in the flashforward), and boom.
Plan failed.
Puck messed up, but he needed Artie to be part of the plan in order for it to go wrong.

Jan. 25th, 2012 09:08 pm (UTC)
Some of these cards were really easy to pick, and I was surprised by who they were- The Cheerios and Puck.

idk, I could speak volumes about why I find Puck being The Devil to be compelling and narratively justified. Like, his whole thing in Season 3 was fixating on "a family with Beth" like whoa, and... fixating on stuff like that is the very thing The Devil card is cautioning us on not doing.

You should totally draw stuff. :p But only when you have the time to.
Jan. 25th, 2012 09:15 pm (UTC)
whatever, I'm just gonna put it on my list of things that I might wanna do because of reasons.
you should totally help me out tho because there's probably gotta be all kinds of stuff in those cards that I don't know anything about oops
Jan. 25th, 2012 09:27 pm (UTC)
I would definitely like to help make this deck a reality, if only by printing out your wonderful drawings and pasting them onto cardboard. >_> But I am so willing to help explain card details

Jan. 25th, 2012 09:37 pm (UTC)
I feel like we should take this to email land or gdocs or whatever floats your boat


also I'm vaguely certain 'float your boat' is like the dumbest sounding saying in forever.
Jan. 25th, 2012 11:48 pm (UTC)
I do not understand the gdocs very well because I fail at the internet (I can barely handle livejournal comments, lol). But emails is a-okay with me!

I still have a yahoo because I am pathetic, but I also now have a gmail! It is jimcooley44@gmail.com.
Jan. 26th, 2012 08:58 pm (UTC)
Oh my god, losing my shit over this right now.

I have a long-ass day about to start, though, so I can't respond to this now (this is what I do: open a tab and "I'll do it later! :DDD"...)

But god I love this so much. Sue and Tina particularly caught my eye, because woah with Tina and being the master of reinvention (where is Weeds gone, guh, this is what we were discussing after HotS).

And everyone is saying very interesting things in the comments too :D WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN HIDING ALL THIS TIME, MAN, THIS IS THE BEST.

Also your thoughts on microphones are interesting too. I think there is supposed to be a pattern with the numbers that have/don't have microphones used, but I haven't had time to sit there and work it out yet........
Jan. 26th, 2012 09:01 pm (UTC)
also I really like your thoughts on Finn, while I'm at it--especially the idea that he is a supporting force... he has all this 'strength', but it's no good when he's using it all on his own, he can only use it as a way to support or gather support for others (Jean's funeral, Furt, etc etc). Finn is not a leader, etc.
Jan. 27th, 2012 02:32 am (UTC)
Finn is the best brother, and the worst leader.
Jan. 27th, 2012 02:32 am (UTC)
Jan. 27th, 2012 05:04 am (UTC)
Hi you are amazing!

idk, I'm always scared to jump into fandom because thinking thinky thoughts is apparently not allowed, and also everyone is rude when they disagree which is no good.

(Glee fandom is super bad at both of these)

But I figured I might as well, and part of that was the fact that I found tumblr- I figured everyone just Tumblr Savior-ed stuff they didn't like, so it was safe to put thinky stuff up there.

Then I started following more people. That illusion quickly shattered.

But it's too much fun, so Imma keep doing it!

I'm glad that you like my stuff, and I hope when you have more free time you're able to comment more!
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