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8 of Water, Despair by Ellygator 8 of Water, Despair by Ellygator
(2016), pencil on paper, 5.5"x10.5" backed with digital frame.

The 8s are under the auspices of Mercury and share some of its quicksilvery mental acuity. The cards offer sudden insights, but also share a sense of nervousness and of mental hyper-sensitivity.

The Cups don’t cope very well with this kind of energy. The best scenario to describe the feeling of the card would be those times you wake up at four in the morning and a few minutes later you are thinking about all the problems and worries in your life. The more you think the more awake you get and the more the problems seem to get blown out of all proportion until you feel your mind is spinning apart and you reach a state of total panic, despair and exhaustion. You know that in a few hours you need to be awake for real and go to work, but what’s the point of it when your whole life is basically a mess and in the end you die anyway.

There is a reason why statistically most suicides happen in the early hours just before dawn…

The Rider Waite deck shows us a red-robed figure wearily stepping away from a group of 8 stacked cups into a moonlit landscape of water, hills and rocks. He or she is leaning heavily on a walking stick and seems tired and exhausted. In the Crowley-Harris deck we see a group of 8 cups suspended over blackened putrid waters under a dark and sulfurous sky. Some of the cups have run dry and the half-shriveled up lotus flowers that still hang over two of them cannot supply enough life-giving waters. Some of the cup-handles have broken as well.

For my card I wanted to emphasize the element of Water turned against itself. A sea-turtle is trapped in the mesh of a fishing net. She still fights against the mass of lines dragging her down, but every battle to the surface for breath is getting harder and harder until she'll finally give up in exhaustion and drown. It seemed to be an apt symbol for the idea of despair - the mental baggage you try to take along with you will eventually pull you under and you ask yourself why you even try. It would be so much easier to just give in and not care anymore - to let the deep swallow you up... I incorporated the number 8 for the card in a little tag that's been fixed on the turtle's front flipper.

In a spread the card indicates our mind becomes our worst enemy when it's at war with our emotions. We're trapped in the dark night of the soul where we feel there will be no light and no morning. We have a sense of a deep and profound crisis, that we are powerless with everything stacked against us. We're lost and desperate and we feel that all we can do is to give up. The card asks us to examine what's dragging us down and to try and make changes that will prevent us from sinking to the bottom.

For a relationship-related question the card may indicate that we are choking on poisonous and destructive feelings. What used to be a living and vibrant connection to a partner or friend has become stagnant and dead and is doing everyone more harm than good. If we want to salvage the situation we need to let go of whatever resentment or despair is affecting us and give each other a new chance. If we can't do that it might be better to step away rather than keep hurting everyone by holding on to something that's rotten to the core.

If the card comes up for a business-related question we are trapped in a dead-end project or job and it's eating us up. We either cannot muster any enthusiasm for what we do and just drag ourselves to work, or we feel that we're working on something that's wrong or futile and that's doing others harm while poisoning our own soul. It's time to re-examine your situation and make changes before what you do just swallows you up. Perhaps it's time to hand in your notice and to look for something more rewarding to do.

If the card is uncovered in an adverse or blockage position it could mean that you are giving in to despair and depression and cannot free yourself. Perhaps you just want to wallow in self-pity. It could also mean that you are unwilling to confront your sense of despair that is trying to alert you to the fact that something's going off in your life and that you try to numb it by pretending nothing is wrong, fleeing into mindless activities or dulling it with drugs or other addictive behaviors.

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:iconmagdahlina:
MagdahLina Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2016
I would feel terrible getting this one!
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:iconellygator:
Ellygator Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah, that was a tough one to draw. Looking through reference pics was the worst...
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:iconmagdahlina:
MagdahLina Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2016
The description was very interesting
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:iconellygator:
Ellygator Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you! I think the first part of 2009 after the big business crash was an exercise in that card. I had just gone into business for myself and I really thought I was going to sink. There are times in life where I sometimes feel I'm living a particular card. Sometimes that's awesome, sometimes it hurts...
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:iconmagdahlina:
MagdahLina Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2016
I don't know a lot about Tarot. I read your description and thought it was very well written.
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:iconellygator:
Ellygator Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you! I've been working with various decks for about 20 years now. I don't think it's anything supernatural to it, just a way to illuminate aspects of a decision making process when you have questions about a problem. The cards have served me really well for that.
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:iconsalhunter:
SalHunter Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2016
This has perfectly captured the concept ... terrifying and poignantly relevant to the world today!
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:iconellygator:
Ellygator Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you! I wanted to find a motif that expressed the feeling of inevitability that this card represents, combine it with the element of water and when I found this sad pic that really does make me despair of us as a species, I knew I had my image...

Incidentally I'm on vacation in Florida right now, and we saw happy and healthy turtles sailing these past few days, plus there's a baby nest up on our beach...
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:iconsalhunter:
SalHunter Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2016
Sounds like a lovely holiday! :D
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:iconshelly0905:
Shelly0905 Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2016
Heartbreaking :( but great detail! Looks like a picture :)
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:iconshelly0905:
Shelly0905 Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2016
It's wonderful! So sad but wonderful!
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:iconellygator:
Ellygator Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you! Hard to draw. The net took a long time, but I wanted to get as much detail as possible...
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:iconcybelemoon:
cybelemoon Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
What an amazing card.  Sad but amazingly drawn.
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:iconellygator:
Ellygator Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you, and yes, it was hard to draw. I love marine turtles, and the way dragnets are killing them is just miserable...
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:iconcybelemoon:
cybelemoon Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
I agree on both parts, I've done a few pieces with turtles and they are definitely hard.  And the dragnets kill so many of them and so many other marine life.  
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:iconpearwood:
pearwood Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2016  Hobbyist Photographer
And, unlike us, caught in a web not of its own making.
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:iconellygator:
Ellygator Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Very true. Was very sad to draw this. Even sadder that I could have chosen from so may different ways we're messing up our oceans...
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July 25, 2016
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