A Summer Solstice Tarotscope for the Art World

In the northern hemisphere, the summer solstice — June 20 — feels like it’s already here, with record-breaking heat around the world. The past year alone has seen 75% of the world battling extreme heat. And in the southern hemisphere, news has emerged that Antarctica has experienced record-breaking cold last (southern) winter, with perhaps more to come with the new solstice. 

As a desert lover, I feel that extreme heat has a way of purifying, of forcing us to simplify and consider what we truly need in life. And as the heat rolls in, I find myself wanting to let go of anything unnecessary in my creative work so I can focus on the essentials.

For this inaugural tarotscope of Hyperallergic — or Hyperscope, if you will — the theme is downright celestial, starting with a look at the stars. But what is a tarotscope, you might ask? It’s a combination of tarot and astrology, a reading for the collective audience combined with cards for the major astrological signs, grouped by their elemental associations. 

As producer for Five and Nine, a podcast about magic, work, and economic justice, I’ve been publishing tarotscopes in partnership with Ignota Books. I owe both collectives great thanks for helping me cultivate this work. And I’m excited to bring this energy to Hyperallergic’s readership, with a special focus on the arts and creative practice, for each solstice and equinox, to mark the turning of the seasons.

This tarotscope is read using the Mixed Signals Tarot, designed by artist M Eilo. These readings were drawn on a hot hot California afternoon, in this sixth month of the Strength Year (in the tarot system) and fifth month of the Dragon Year (in the East Asian lunar system). 

And it started with an inquiry: What do artists need to know as we enter this red hot 2024 solstice?

Tarot Reading

Gate: The Star

Lock: Temperance

These two cards mark the collective context. Both of these cards are Major Arcana, or archetypal forces shaping our realities. 

The Gate in this spread means an invitation, and the invitation is to gaze upward, literally — the magic of a summer night sky is incomparable — but also figuratively. The Star emerges out of a time of turmoil, and encourages us to embrace the unknown, the mysterious, the stuff that art helps us navigate so skillfully.

The Lock in this spread is a blocker, something to work through. The Temperance card asks us to work through the emotions of 2024, a year more tumultuous than 2023, which was more tumultuous than 2022, and so on. Temperance is a test not simply of emotional composure but of deep perspective. How can we in the arts hold the world’s pain and uncertainty and express it in a way that helps our audiences understand the bigger picture, the longer trajectory?  

The Gate and the Lock are just a beginning. The Key completes this three-card spread. For insight on how to use your Key, or how to move forward through your blocker, follow your elemental sign below. For each element, an additional card is drawn to elaborate on the solution. Read for the elements calling to you now, whether associated with your Sun, rising, or Moon sign, or simply one that speaks to you at this time in your life.

Fire (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius)

Key: Two of Stones (Two of Pentacles)

The Two of Stones is an invitation to juggle your fiery energies with energy that befits a deep understanding of the cyclical nature of time. In this illustration of the Two of Stones (also known as the Two of Pentacles), the sun both rises and sets over a landscape. And that, perhaps, is key to understanding where your fire sign can drive you — for as one sun sets, another is soon to rise. Help prepare the world for what’s coming, even as we watch so much crumbling all around us.

Earth (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn)

Key: Six of Swords

Your talents as an earth sign are in creating order, logic, and meaning, and these are needed more than ever right now. In the tarot, the suit of swords cards often represent the logical mind, but they can also represent traumas, hurts, pains. While this is not a suit for the lighthearted, your grounding energy can help us work through the collective trauma across the world. Lay out your creative implements — in this deck, they’re represented as colored pencils — and use them to guide us along the way. 

Air (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius)

Key: The Empress

The Empress in this deck swirls through the night sky, hands mixing and mingling with the air, the stars, maybe even the Milky Way. With a Gate represented by the Star, your Key is asking you to wield your powerful mental energy toward grappling with the uncertainties this solstice brings. The Empress represents a playful confidence, a power comfortable in the natural elements and willing to work flexibly. Consider how rigid structures might be holding you back from fully expressing your art — and instead embrace a little chaos. 

Water (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces)

Key: Two of Cups

I always think of the Two of Cups as the Minor Arcana version of The Lovers card — a gentle, tender sort of love to match your own tender heart. The Two of Cups here serves as a call to consider how you express your love right now, and how that can fit into your art. More importantly, we’re invited to toast those around you, to welcome in a person or people who you may have been blocking out. The Two of Cups is illustrated as a union of cups, and from that, perhaps, a perspective we all need in a world that seeks to isolate and fragment us.

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