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All images are scans of Tarot cards crafted by Bruce Mitchell from many sources
| Lord of the Rings (LOTR) Tarot - Dwarves
Dwarves were short (4½ to 5 feet [1.37 to 1.52 m]), stocky, strong, long-bearded, resistant to cold and fire, and hardier than any other race. Unswerving and proud, Dwarves could not be dominated by evil. They went to war frequently and wielded axes. In dealings, they were fair but not over-generous, honest but secretive. They never forgot a wrong or a debt.
As the children of the god Aulë (he had shaped the mountains), Dwarves were attracted to materials, to the depths of the earth, and to the crafts. They were great miners and craftspeople and worked wonders with stone, metals and jewels. Aulë knew of the great evil of Melkor ('The Prime Dark Lord' before Sauron), so he made the Dwarves stubborn, indomitable and persistent in labour and hardship.
Dwarves fashioned the finest steel and lived in caverns underground. They were deep-delving miners, masons, metal-workers and the most wonderful stone carvers. Their greatest flaws were possessiveness, a tendency towards wrath and gold-lust. Dwarves lived to about 250 years old. They married around age 100, but few Dwarf women were born and many of these did not marry.
Although the Dwarves were an ungainly people without graceful form, they brought forth much beauty. Their mansions had grand halls filled with bright banners, armour, jewelled weapons and fine tapestries. Starlight shone down great light-wells and played upon mirroring pools and sparkling silver fountains. In echoing domes, by the light of crystal lamps, bright gemstones and veins of precious ores might be seen. In walls of jet, polished like glass, dreaming marble forms were visible. Winding stairs or twisting avenues might lead to a tall, fair tower or a court of many-coloured stone. Tunnels led to courtyards and grottos with columns of alabaster, fluted by time and the gentle promptings of Dwarf chisels.
Tarot-wise, the association between Dwarves and the suit of Pentacles and its element Earth are evident. Ace
This depicts the stirring of the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves. Their stone chamber was broken open and they arose and were filled with awe. Durin I was the eldest and most renowned of these. He began the building of Khazad-dûm. As he lived to a very great age and would rise again one day, he was called Durin the Deathless.
This is the land of Eregion, the land of the Elven-smiths in the Second Age of the Sun. Here both Elves and Dwarves traded and thrived. Its chief city, Ost-in-Edhil (Elven) is shown as are the walls of the Dwarven underground complex of Moria or Khazad-dûm. Trade between them flourished for a thousand years.
The Tarot card meaning is financial balance and fluctuating fortunes.
This is the Thousand Caves of Menegroth, which was built by the Dwarves for the Sindar Grey-elves. It was reputed to be the fairest of mansions on Middle-earth, a wonder to the entire world. As the Sindar loved the forests so greatly, the halls and caverns of Menegroth were carved with trees, birds and animals of stone and filled with fountains and lamps of crystal.
The Tarot meaning of this card is success through skill, patronage and contracts - or at least the start of all this through becoming known.
This is Smaug the Golden guarding his hoard of treasure. The dragon stole it from Erebor. Smaug is described as "a most specially greedy, strong and wicked worm".
The card meaning is: financial security and love of material wealth, but with hints of hoarding and miserliness.
When the Dwarves mined too deep beneath the mountains of Khazad-dûm, they released a great demon, one of Morgoth's Balrogs that had managed to flee the War of Wrath. This Balrog came in wrath and slew King Durin VI and later his son King Náin. The Balrog was named Durin's Bane and drove the Dwarves out forever. Khazad-dûm was renamed Moria, which translates to 'Black Pit' or 'Black Chasm'. Durin's people were made a homeless, wandering folk.
The card's meaning is loss of faith and poverty.
Although ravens were particularly associated with the Dwarves as wise counsellors and swift messengers, the thrushes played a vital role in LOTR. Thrushes were the friends and messengers of Dwarves and Men. One bore a message from Thorin Oakenshield to Bard the Bowman in Lake Town about the weakness of the Dragon of Erebor, Smaug. The plundering beast was slain with this knowledge. The thrushes presumably received water and food in return for their message carrying, and so the friendship was mutually beneficial.
The card's meaning concerns gifts given and received.
The Dwarves are hard at work.
The card's Tarot meaning is a period of gestation, of hard work with little apparent reward. Reward will come but on other levels or at a later time.
Thorin and Company aim to reclaim the Lonely Mountain of Erebor from Smaug the dragon. Presumably they are more used to crafting new objects and fighting on the battlefield. Here they are being forced to learn the new skill of fighting a dragon and undergo a more prolonged quest. Also they are more used to mining for treasure rather than recovering a hoard stolen from them.
The card's meaning is new skills, apprenticeship, craftsmanship.
This is Smaug's death. As the dragon terrorises the lake town of Esgaroth, Bard the Bowman shoots it in the breast. Bellowing sulphurous flame, it fell from the sky. Thorin [see Dwarf 8 and King] recovered his stolen treasure.
The Tarot card means pleasure and gain. Thus, Thorin's pleasure from successfully completing the expedition [see Dwarf 8], and gain from reclaiming his rightful inheritance. The gain is more personal (Thorin himself) than familial or collective (the Dwarven race; see Dwarf 10).
This is the greatest of the Dwarf halls in Khazad-dûm (the Mines of Moria). This is a perfect reflection for all Dwarves of their self-worth, skill and vast wealth. The craftspeople here achieved matchless deeds and amassed a grand treasure through mining. It shows off the splendour of their kingdom.
The card meaning concerns family or collective finance and prosperity [versus more individual gain of Dwarf 9].
Perhaps a young Dwarf in the Durin lineage, or of the Glittering Caves/Aglarond.
This is the Dwarf warrior Gimli, son of Glóin (from The Hobbit). He was one of the Companions of the Ring, representing the Dwarves. He became very friendly with Legolas, the Elf Knight.
Dwarven women were bearded. Only one was named by Tolkien: Dís. She was the sister of Thorin. She was also mother of Fíli and Kíli, who valiantly died defending their uncle Thorin at the Battle of Five Armies. Perhaps this is her, resting or meditating atop a giant mushroom whilst the males are out mining or warring.
This is Thorin II, son of Thráin, son of Thrór. Thorin Oakenshield was King of Durin's folk in exile.
This card could also be the resurrection of Durin the Deathless (see Dwarf Ace).
by Bruce Mitchell
by Bruce Mitchell
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