Greetings, dear reader! This post is the fourteenth in a series revealing my Heroic Tarot process featuring my award-winning X-Men cards. Today we take a look at cards featuring Toad and Arcade!
The X-Men playing card deck is adorned with images of Marvel’s Merry Mutants. I have created a system combining traditional Minor Arcana meaning with my vast knowledge of X-Men comic book stories. The archetypal roles the X-Men represent bring the energy of the missing Major Arcana to the overall calculation. I reveal the superheroic tales relevant to your path. This dual reading is amplified by the elemental nature of whatever suit is pulled in addition to the numeralogical/feudal court energy contained therein.
One of the interesting aspects of the X-Men cards is that every character gets to be represented four times. However, there are two different characters on the two Joker cards! Each card features antagonists from X-Men mythology: Toad and Arcade. Due to their “bad guy” status, we will be looking at each character as a Shadow Guide.
A Shadow Guide is a spirit teacher that activates our fears in order for us to transcend them. They represent a lesson that we need to learn in order to let go of negativity. A Shadow Guide encourages us to return to the heroic path by activating change in our thoughts and actions.
It is important to note that the Joker in a deck of playing cards is not descended from the the Fool as many Tarot practitioners (including myself) have thought. The Joker was created by a New York poker club as a ‘wild card’ to add zest to the game. That said, it does correspond to the same energetic qualities as the Fool, bearing in mind the figure of the court jester.
Note: I will be referring to each card by their traditional tarot names, although I will provide the equivalent playing card terms under each image.
Above artwork by Jim Lee.
Toad: The Fool
It was obvious from birth that Mortimer Toynbee was a mutant. His hunchbacked form led his parents to leave him to an orphanage where he was tormented and mistreated by the other children. He was shy and had mild learning disabilities (although he was quite intelligent). Years of bullying led to an inferiority complex which meant that Toad became servile to anyone who showed him the slightest bit of attention. Magneto recruited him into his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and used him as his “toady.” His costume resembled that of a court jester complete with collar and bells. Toad has a superhuman leaping ability and has gained additional mutations over time like adhesive saliva and an elongated prehensile tongue. Even after he left the employ of Magneto, he has had a difficult time finding his own direction due to depression. He is currently employed as the janitor of Wolverine’s Jean Grey School.
When Toad appears in a reading, it is time to break free from those who are oppressing you and begin to make your own decisions. The Fool in traditional Tarot means living without fear with an instinctual awareness of your own purpose. All things are possible to the Fool as he represents everything and nothing. He is living in the present moment in a limitless state. When Toad strikes out on his own (and leaves his servitors behind), he represents movement, leaping from one experience to the next.
Artwork by Mark Pacella.
Arcade: The Fool
Artwork by Bob Budiansky.
Don’t let Arcade’s silly clothes fool you. Beneath the bow tie and wide lapels lies the heart of a hitman. Arcade is known for kidnaping superheroes to fight in “Murderworld,” an elaborately designed amusement park filled with death traps. Arcade has no super powers, but does possess genius level intellect regarding technology. Once a superhero escapes his or her death trap, Arcade is defenseless.
Arcade’s rationale for murder is boredom. He has no joy in his own life and therefore plays god with the lives of others. He rolls the dice and randomness strikes. In the Tarot, the Fool has no specific direction either, but is honest and loving to himself and others. Life is a dance of spontaneity and freedom. Arcade has allowed his ego to isolate himself from experience and nothing can sate his ennui. He has lost his innocence and looks to destroy that aspect in others. When this card appears in an X-Men reading, it is time to see who is making our decisions. Have we allowed someone to have power over us? How can we reach greater freedom in our lives?