The Chariot and The Fool

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Not long ago–I can’t remember when because I’m enemies with calendars–Cynthia Lopez and I became models in Theresa Pridemore’s newest artistic creation, The Portland Tarot. In addition to being a wonderful friend and the fantastic graphic designer who developed our film logo, Theresa made this unique Tarot deck amid a million other projects and tasks. For her, there was a labor of love in it. But also, the thrill of really looking deeply and compassionately into the lives and experiences of her models and the symbols and archetypes in the deck were very valuable.

Today on Facebook, this appeared. The Portland Tarot images of Cynthia and Cheryl. Cynthia is The Chariot, sitting on the hood of her floating blue car, flanked by her dog Charlie. Cheryl is The Fool, happily tripping toward a cliff with a bike helmet and a flower.Theresa had put together two images she created at very different times that both are part of The Portland Tarot deck: The Fool and The Chariot. Of course I’ve seen them both online and in my own deck. But to see them together like this made me so happy. [Image description: The Portland Tarot images of Cynthia and Cheryl. Cynthia is The Chariot, sitting on the hood of her floating blue car, flanked by two copies of her dog Charlie. Cheryl is The Fool, happily tripping toward a cliff with a bike helmet and a flower.]


Today, I want to share with you some of the stories printed in the Major Arcana Reading and Interpretation Guide and from The Portland Tarot blog because they are so meaningful in why Theresa chose us as models and in the interesting journeys Cynthia and I are on, some by choice, some by circumstance. Please enjoy. These are pieces of Theresa’s own musings and writings.

“Cynthia is holding an old fashioned phone, downloading the wisdom of the universe and channeling into the world through the power of creative alchemy.

The theme of this card is momentum, mojo, magical movement… effortlessly under way. We move not by the force of our feet, but by the grace of our mind, in tune with the timing of our own soul connection. It’s an oxymoron, to be able to move while sitting still. To drive the car without putting your hands on the wheel. But it happens, and when it does, it’s nothing short of magic.

Since we began our friendship she was always at work on films, but during the year I created this image in particular she had made a major shift in her career. She was expanding, moving to a bigger field. At the time she was stepping into a role as a producer (and mingling her own take on the role with traditional approaches in the film industry), so that is the source of some of the visual elements. She began to step into the flow, making the internal adjustment to let her soul sails catch the fickle winds of the universe. When she agreed to pose for the art, I was elated. She is also a Tarot reader in her own right, and we love to give each other readings over coffee.

Responding to the polarized notions we must sometimes harness to achieve our goals, Cynthia works to co-mingle the contrasting values of mainstream, Hollywood-esque filmmaking with Portland’s indie style. And her wonderful canine companion, Charlie, makes a shadows-and-light cameo appearance to illustrate the instructive, internal conflicts that might arise–howling–to pull us off course.

And one last shout out to Cynthia, who is supporting me so much in creating this deck. She is a major collaborator with me on this project, and is one of the few I turn to when I need a little extra inspiration to see me to the finish line on a card. And she does so much more than that. I have so much gratitude for her believing in that spark in me, and for fanning it with such conviction. I wouldn’t be following my bliss on this project of creating The Portland Tarot if it weren’t for her. Her Chariot energy has helped me to embody my own! And this vehicle isn’t driven by traditional means. Nope. It’s started, steered, and fueled by that pulsing internal combustion engine at the core of you–your own beating heart.

The Fool card is the beginning of the journey in Tarot.

This card traditionally speaks of innocence, light-heartedness, and the free-natured experimentation that comes with youth (and not knowing what you don’t know). You have little fear in taking risks…for better or worse. You might be walking off a cliff, but you wouldn’t see it coming! You’re having too much fun trying new things. Even if you could see that cliff, you still might not care.

Cheryl and I chose The Fool card because, on several recent occasions, it had made an appearance in her life. Fittingly, as Cheryl received a brain injury in a bicycle wreck in 2010, in the image a bike helmet dangles from the light stand propped on her shoulder.

We talked at length about how this difficult change rendered her innocent once again. Not in the doe-eyed way we often mean when we tell other adults they are innocent, but rather by almost putting a hard reset on some parts of her mind. For instance, there is knowledge we accumulate as the years pass—things we take for granted—like how, if you touch a hot stove, it will burn. (Or, in her personal version, how you can’t pull cooked spaghetti out of a boiling pot of water with your bare hands and not pay the price.)

Her change has led to some interesting shifts. She says that after her accident, her sense of humor and ability to laugh at things grew tremendously. She is also much more amenable to risk-taking, which has had a byproduct of enhancing her creative life. She tries more things out with far less abandon than she can recall doing pre-injury.

As is true of the Fool in each of us, new-found innocence presents both challenges and opportunities. Use yours to fearlessly fuel your creativity. Leap toward opportunities that ignite your imagination.”

This, after all, is the essence of “Who Am I To Stop It” and one small part of the inspiration for the title itself.