Susan Sanford over at ArtSpark Theatre put together a really interesting Valentine's challenge. It actually involved surface mail! For those who expressed interest in playing, she sent us a small envelope of collage materials including a playing card from the suit of Hearts. I got the Four of Hearts. The assignment was to make a collage with it and then place the card in a public space and photograph it. A gift of love and art to the world.
I was happy to take time to make a collage, more or less limiting myself to the materials in the envelope. (Okay, I added the green star). I was even happier to leave the gift to the universe on a block in Carbondale, IL where daffodils were just starting to break the surface of snowmelt soaked soil. This is just in front of a local food grocery store opened recently in protest of the high cost of food in our food coop. The other businesses in this block are similarly progressive in nature, including one of my favorite haunts, the Longbranch Coffee House.
The Four of Hearts was an interesting card to work with. In the Tarot, it is represented by the Four of Cups and signifies a kind of divine discontent. In the Rider-Waite deck, the card depicts a young man solemnly contemplating three cups before him, yet unaware of the fourth offered from a divine hand behind him. The meaning of the image is that he is too dissatisfied with what he has and therefore too introspective such that he misses the true gift(s) being offered him. He needs a fresh perspective. It is one of my more favorite cards of the Minor Arcana because it offers a message about discontent coming from fixating on certain issues so much that you miss the bigger picture. I frequently caution myself in times of despair to look over my shoulder for the gift I am not seeing.
On this greeting card holiday meant to create anxiety about our status in love and our willingness to mark that with conspicuous consumption, the Four of Hearts/Cups offers an important message. And I think ArtSpark Theatre continues to offer gifts unlooked for. Sanford's challenge effectively spurred me to break away from V-Day cynicism and turn to art as a random gesture of love to the universe and my fellow human (and other) beings. I love my partner and we express that love as often as we can; but there's something deeply soul confirming about turning that love outward to the universe on this particular day.
Thank-you, universe, for your endless gifts and unconditional positive regard. B Mine 4Ever?