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I suppose before I start, it would make more sense to import everything I've done so far, so it's all in one place. Here goes:

This is more for myself than anything. Beneath the cut are some NERDY OBLIVION TAROT musings. I will spare you the DORKINESS on your Flist. :P Note this is a work in progress. This post HAS BEEN UPDATED as of 3/8!

Of course I would love to do an Elder Scrolls deck someday, but I am THEFAIL at Photoshop/Illustrator except for boring things like book formating and advertisements in print media. And we all know how much progress I made on my Amano tarot deck... perhaps he is the only one who can make that happen :P

Anyway, I thought it would be helpful to me to at least set out what I'd want, knowing what I do about the deck and the symbolism...and what I know about Elder Scrolls lore (hint: not much outside Oblivion and Shivering Isles). For your enjoyment, I've made a table. I'm trying to keep the majors here a healthy mix of the mundane, profane, and sacred; I believe all qualities of the human condition can be expressed through both the divine and the demonic.

The Elder Scrolls Tarot
The Tarot CardThe Oblivion Character/ThemeReason/symbolism
0 The FoolSheogorath is a tempting choiceThe Madgod is without law, without consistency, and without logic. Given the cycle of his and Jyggalag's reign, I believe the 'starting anew' meaning applies here. As an aside, in the original tarocchi game, The Fool card could trump any other card, be it a king, queen, or another major—but it could not win the game. Interesting, no?
1 The MagicianGalerion the Mystic (see Mannimarco as 15 - The Devil)Once a pupil alongside Mannimarco, it became evident early on these two would forge separate but complementary paths: Mannimarco went on to be a powerful, evil necromancer, while Galerion went on to found the Mage's guild, offering the same guidance and wisdom he and the King of Worms were fortunate to have themselves, available to all. Galerion is also a nice fit here because of The Magician's themes of positive action, responsible use of power, and creating change.
2 The High Priestess (Papesse)AlessiaThe founder of Cyrodiil, she freed all non-elves from slavery, and eventually united central Tamriel, forming the setting for Oblivion: Cyrodiil. Said to have had prophetic visions, they all came true in time and she was granted sainthood upon her death. It's interesting that she is one half of the pair of 'spiritual authority' alongside Vivec, but the more I think about it, the more I like it: man & mer; freedom from oppression & the gaining of godhood. Yes, it works very well.
3 The EmpressKynarethThe Mother who cradles and buries us all, Kynareth has no chapel in a proper city in Oblivion; when you find her altar in the Great Forest, her acolytes explain to you that whenever you are outside, you are in Kynareth's chapel; for the people of Tamriel, she created the air, the heavens, and the elements. We are all her children, say the scholars, and it was she who created the void for Nirn's creation. While the Empress is more earthly in her nature (and usually ties to fertility), I think the imagery fits nicely. Just don't piss off any bears.
4 The EmperorUriel Septim is too obvious. Akatosh is a better fit.Akatosh is the chief aedric deity; he is a friggin' fire-breathing dragon, and symbolises those classically masculine traits as The Emperor does: endurance, eternal reign, order (although see Peyrite as 11 - Justice), and structure. I think the RWS Emperor is sort of awkard-looking, like a constipated Sean Connery; this is much more badass.
5 The Hierophant (High Priest) VivecHe becomes all but a god in Morrowind; a prolific poet and hero to the Dunmer people, he expresses perfectly the 'masculine spiritual authority' figure I needed. Thanks LJ friend!
6 The LoversA younger Barenziah, Symmachus, and possibly Eadwyre (or Straw?)Some believe this card is purely about sexytimes and humping. Older cards, especially of the Mediterranean persuasion, depicted the choice of Paris in this card. I believe it is one about choice, being guided by one's emotions vs. logic, and the appropriateness of intimate or sexual feelings.
7 The Chariot This would be a lot easier if there were vehicles of great importance in the game; this card's message about self-assertion and overcoming adversity would shine through. Whereas the next card, 8 - Strength, is about "soft control," this one is all about forcing a hand, or making what is desired appear out of sheer will. Hmm. Coming back to this...
8 Strength* ArghThis is a tough one, and one I see butchered in a lot of decks. The RWS card shows a woman placidly closing a lion's maw; they are connected by a (fragile) leash of vines and flowers. The lemniscate over her head (the same as in 1 - The Magician) tells us she is in a higher state of mind; the secrets of the universe are known to her. "Strength" here does not mean physical fortitude or beefiness; it is about compassion and patience. Hmm...
9 The HermitAny Master Trainer, but I like Tooth-in-the-SeaMost of the master trainers require you to do some special quest to prove your worth, like collecting a lot of a rare item, or possessing the right equipment. What I like about Toothy is that he has very specific conditions you must fulfill to become a Master of Alteration; you have to spend three hours (in the game) with him underwater. The Hermit's lesson, in a way, is one about lessons themselves; what have we learned from our past? Where can we seek further guidance? I believe Toothy's solitary nature fits this card as well. On shore, he has a simple bedroll and burlap sack with some food. That's it.
10 The Wheel of FortuneHermaeus Mora (hear me out, I know he's ugly!)Using Hermaeus Mora for this card removes a lot of the symbolism of the original RWS card, yes. The symbols in said card are chock-full of Golden Dawn (both A.E. Waite and Pamela Colman-Smith were members) symbolism, itself is an amalgamation of Egyptian and Greek occult. However, Hermaeus Mora's plane of Oblivion is scrying the ever-moving tides of fate. When you meet him, he rasps, "Past, present, and future are one to me." Thematically, it fits, but the visuals need a little help; if Herma-Mora came up in a reading, it would take some REAL wordsmithing to explain the "we all have our ups and downs" aspect of this card. Good grief, this god looks like a booger with nasty claws.
11 Justice*Peyrite maybe?A lower Daedric prince of Order, this is probably the most OCD god you will ever meet. Why I believe he works for Justice is in his black-and-white nature—everything has a place in the cosmic order, the rigidity of law and justice work here too. Although Akatosh is also concerned with law and justice, I feel Peyrite's brand is a lot like Talos from The Faerie Queene: untempered, harsh, and cruel. Without compassion, justice is another flavor of chaos.
12 The Hanged ManLucien LachancePoor Lucien. If ever there were a man who turned up in the wrong place at the wrong time, it's him. Even before his unfortunate end, I see him as sharing the martyr and acceptance of fate qualities of this card.
13 DeathMehrunes DagonHe will make another appearance in 16 - The Tower, but by himself here, he absolutely represents the permanence of change, which is often a sort of 'death' or transformation in itself. Interestingly, Dagon also governs 'ambition,' which I suppose could be the Philosopher's Stone of the whole 'Change' aspect of this card.
14 Temperance ARGH. Coming back to this...
15 The DevilMannimarco (maybe)He is but a man, but what a powerful man he is! The King of Worms, a powerful necromancer who eats your soul like a box of DOTS. When you finally confront him, he says some interesting things to you, chiefly, that he believes the assignations of 'good' and 'evil' are arbitrary at best, and are really manifestations of the same thing, the same end. The themes of excess, depravity, temptation, and lust for power are traits he exhibits. I like this choice the more I think about it.
16 The TowerThe Temple of the One (Dragon vs. Goro)Occasionally, when this card comes up, a person will have a negative reaction; it looks like a card of calamity and accidents. Well, maybe, but I think it chiefly symbolizes sudden change and upheaval, not necessarily of the physical kind. Really, there is no one solid meaning for one card; you have to examine the surrounding cards to determine whether a card like this means physical harm ... or winning the lottery! The Temple, and Mehrunes Dagon's little stomping episode seems a fitting image: a brave but fully devoted Martin realizes exactly what is required of him to end the threat of Oblivion...and all of Cyrodiil will never be the same. Thematically, this also ties in nicely with my choice of Mehrunes for 13 - Death.
17 The StarAzuraMore than just the namesake of her own Daedric artifact, I believe the prince Azura (she of the dawn) fits quite well. It's said she is one of the 'good' Daedric princes; while she's not about wish fulfillment in the conventional sense, she definitely embodies the qualities of peacefulness, contemplaton, and even hope.
18 The MoonLady Syl, House DementiaThe twin moons of Nirn are beautiful but if we're going for a more symbolic 'fit', Lady Syl works as the figure for this card: she is suspicious, paranoid, jealous, and only reacts to things based on how she feels. She consults only with her bodyguard; and it probably doesn't help things that her Dark Seducer guard wants her dead and is plotting to kill her, hehe.
19 The Sun Oghma Infinium, maybeI wonder if I can get away with using the Oghma Infinium here. The quest to obtain the book is ... pretty terrible, but it bequeaths quite the gift and resonates with the card's themes of enlightenment, personal growth, and wish fulfillment.
20 Judgement**Julianos"Your weight is true in the scales of Julianos," it says, and you receive a Fortify Intelligence (magic use) buff. The connection here seems logical to me, and I'm sure that's exactly as Jules would want it. Julianos' symbol is a triangle, that mystical shape that represents conveniently anything in a triad: while judgment is usually dyadic, I believe the third part of the scale (and the third side of the triangle), could be truth or temperance...
21 The WorldHrm... a wayshrine? Ayleid well?Many will tell you this is the best card in the deck; it is a wish-fulfillment card, and can denote accomplishment, ease, and when everything comes up [your name]. I can't really think of anything in the game or in the lore that has meaning along this line, except maybe an Ayleid well, or a font in one of the chapels of the Nine. Maybe a wayshrine?
Aces: Wands, Cups, Swords, PentaclesLet's see...

Let's try this again:

Umbra : Ace of Swords

Chalice of Reversal : Ace of Cups

Apotheosis? Maybe? : Ace of Wands

Two-headed Septim? Maybe? : Ace of Pentacles


* I know some decks reverse the positions of Strength and Justice; since I'm basing the symbolism off the RWS deck, I see no reason to flip 'em.
** It is misspelled to you and me, but this is how it's spelled on the cards, usually.



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