TO the Schattenspiel TAROT CARDS main page
DEATH , The WHEEL , The FOOL , The Magician, The High Priestess , Lovers , The Sage, The Sacrifice, PAN , The TOWER , The STAR , The Moon, The SUN , Resurrection and The World.


Schattenspiel Tarot

Multimedia Installation
by Linda Dawn Hammond

As it appeared during my MFA thesis installation entitled ...


Imaginary Homelands
(renamed Schattenspiel* Tarot)

A book, Nine Dreams, was placed in the gallery, which related dreams that had occurred during the creative process. The dreams both contributed to and served commentary on the development of ideas which became the Schattenspiel* cards.


* ©Linda Dawn Hammond 1996

The Schattenspiel Installation
Linda Dawn Hammond

In seeking a method to present the work, I found myself drawn back to the story in which Court de Gebelin claimed in 1781, that what we now know as the Tarot had its origins in Egypt. According to Gebelin, a lost Egyptian temple lies beneath the sands between the paws of the Sphinx. One enters an underground chamber, where symbols resembling those of the Major Arcana are found inscribed upon pillars. The neophyte was required to pass between these pillars as part of an initiation rite.

Whether this story can be substantiated or refuted is not of concern. There is much debate as to the true origin of the cards and it is probable that a real answer would be infinitely more mundane. I was attracted to the idea of entering a submerged, secret space where one would encounter the mysteries of the images; intangible, in that they could not be possessed directly, since they would be projections. Yet at one end of the hall the actual cards would be found, laid out on a table as if in preparation for a Tarot reading. A canopy or tent would enclose the table. One would enter from the East to view them. The table displaying the cards would be facing the viewer, as if in preparation for a reading.

In presenting the images as both projected and printed images, the same images then represent what is simultaneously tangible and intangible, material and spiritual-- the Path of Life.

The Tarot exists as an aid and a guide to achieving understanding. Whatever usages people ascribe to them in their own pursuit of the more mundane necessities of life, the cards continue to speak to our unconscious minds, of the eternal truths which are found within their symbols.

I debated substituting the tent for a cave, as the cave holds multiple meanings. Physically, is an ancient refuge from the elements. In myth, it is often considered to be a portal to the underworld . In psychology, the cave is a metaphor for female sexuality. Pan (or Faunus, as he was known by the Romans), frequented the woodlands and hillsides in Scotland and Ireland and caves were often the site of his seductions. I eventually decided upon the tent, for what is a tent if not a cave made of cloth?

I was interested to discover that my proposed presentation already exists as a meditative practice which is used to uncover the secrets of the Tarot. Edwin Steinbrecher 's The Inner Guide Meditation notes: "...this method is to visualize entering a cave- akin to the famous cave of Plato. The way out of the cave is through a passage, led by an animal... One emerges to a scene through which one travels to meet a Tarot archetype..."

In The Republic of Plato, Francis Cornford notes that in Plato's Cave, "The image was probably taken from mysteries held in caves or dark chambers representing the underworld, through which the candidates for initiation were led to the revelation of sacred objects in a blaze of light."

Another method to work with the images was described by Paul Christian:"He simply ranged the Trumps in two files in which one could imagine oneself as a candidate for initiation traversing between them. He chose to present the trumps in ancient Egyptian guise and in the context of an initiation beneath the sphinx and pyramids."

Inquiries regarding current and future exhibitions and purchase orders of this series and others can be made at the following Email Address:

TO the Schattenspiel TAROT CARDS main page
DEATH , The WHEEL , The FOOL , The Magician, The High Priestess , Lovers , The Sage, The Sacrifice, PAN , The TOWER , The STAR , The Moon, The SUN , Resurrection and The World.




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