YOU ARE HERE: / Zharth's Music Log / Week 45 (Major Arcana of the Tarot)

Zharth's Music Log

Week 45: Major Arcana of the Tarot

Preface: I'm a sucker for the symbology of the Tarot deck. It might not seem like something that has much to do with a music log, but I came up with the idea to do a bunch of songs that are in some way related to a few of the Major Arcana in the Tarot. We can't do them all, as there's 22 cards in the Major Arcana (and some of them are hard to find related songs for), but we'll have a good time hitting up a not-so-random seven. Strap in, because I think it'll be good.

Monday (5/26/08): Johnny Winter - Be Careful With A Fool [Johnny Winter, 1969]
Comments: We start with the 0th card in the Major Arcana - The Fool, represented here by this smoking blues from Johnny Winter's debut album. If you have even a passing interest in Tarot, I suggest you spend some time digging up some information - it's endlessly fascinating. The entirety of the Major Arcana itself can be used as a guide to explain "The Journey of the Fool" from beginning to end. "Be careful with a fool, you know someday he may get smart."

Tuesday (5/27/08): Heart - Magic Man [Dreamboat Annie, 1976]
Comments: The first card to follow The Fool in the Major Arcana is The Magician, represented here by Heart's smoking rockout Magic Man. The Magician is popularly depicted as raising one hand to the heavens, and pointing toward the earth with the other. Is he conjuring the powers of both worlds, or is it merely sleight of hand? "Try to understand, he's a magic man, he's got magic hands."

Wednesday (5/28/08): Led Zeppelin - Gallows Pole [Led Zeppelin III, 1970]
Comments: Jumping ahead in the Major Arcana, we come to The Hanged Man, a card with somewhat mysterious interpretations relating to self-sacrifice, inverted perspective, and divine knowledge. The poor victim in Led Zeppelin's version of Gallows Pole, though, won't make out so well, it seems. "Your brother brought me silver, your sister warmed my soul, but now I laugh and pull so hard and see you swingin' on the gallows pole!"

Thursday (5/29/08): Robin Trower - Shame The Devil [For Earth Below, 1975]
Comments: The notorious figure of The Devil graces card number 15 in the Major Arcana, but rather than pure evil and forces of darkness, it symbolizes animal nature, unbridled impulses, and the temptations of the material world. Additionally, there is a subtext of self-bondage, and being chained to self-defeating habits, or simply having an unhealthy level of restraint that can limit enjoyment of life's experiences. "Waiting, just waiting, don't spend your whole life hesitating. Come on, let loose, shame the devil."

Friday (5/30/08): Jimi Hendrix Experience - All Along The Watchtower [Electric Ladyland, 1968]
Comments: Following The Devil is The Tower, which is an exciting card, usually associated with catastrophe. One of the most interesting interpretations I've come across connects The Tower with the demiurge of gnosticism, who was worshipped as the creator of the material world - but was in fact the devil, intent on distracting mankind from divinity through the temptation of material goods. "Businessmen, they drink my wine; plowmen dig my earth. None of them all along the line know what any of it is worth."

Saturday (5/31/08): Ten Years After - Waiting For The Judgement Day [About Time, 1989]
Comments: The Judgement card sits just before the end of the Major Arcana, and depicts, predictably, the final judgement and resurrection of souls in the afterlife. Speaking of resurrection, today's track comes from the late 80's brief reunion of Alvin Lee with Ten Years After. The music has that unmistakable 80's kind of sound, but Alvin Lee manages to make it sound rather good. "Nowhere you can hide, nowhere to run; waiting for the Judgement Day to come."

Sunday (6/01/08): Fleetwood Mac - World Keep On Turning [Fleetwood Mac, 1968]
Comments: This is a compelling acoustic blues which closes off Fleetwood Mac's original self-titled debut, not to be confused with the track World Turning from the Buckingham/Nicks' incarnation of the band's similarly self-titled "debut" from 1975. The World is the final card in the Major Arcana, and can be associated with notions of harmony, completion, and cyclical processes. "I don't look for no worries; worries and troubles come around. The world keep on turning; I got to keep my feet on the ground."