I hope you've all had a lovely weekend, and a happy holiday if you've recently gotten to enjoy one. I'm not usually a fan of Valentine's Day myself, but this card has had me in a particularly romantic mood.
Once again, you'll note, I'm skipping over the somewhat-troublesome five for the time being, in order to get to the simpler six. The five will once more require a multi-person scene, and some extra photo reference that I'm still working out. In the meantime...
The Six of Cups: Pleasure
The four sixes, to quote Aleister Crowley in regards to the Thoth tarot, are "representative of their respective elements at their practical best". When we reach the six of each suit, we have passed through the early, uncertain steps of the ones through threes, hit that intial successful plateau of the four, and then fallen into the trouble and strife of the five. We have passed through that, and found a new kind of harmonious balance. As we pass on to seven, each element begins to have problems within itself, and becomes overexpressed, but in the six, we have everything working the way we want.
The Six of Cups represents Pleasure, and yes, it's certainly the sex card. But the cups are not concerned with simple physical pleasure - the element of water is about the emotional dimension, and the power of the bonds we form with each other. So this card is not just any sex, it's perfect sex. It's the kind of sex that brings you closer to your partner, that deepens and renews the love between you. This card often has connotations of fertility, and kindness and innocence, and I see that as all part of the same idea. The Six of Cups represents sexuality without guilt or shame, the sex that you can feel entirely good about. It is perhaps best imagined as that idealized wedding night sex, on clean white silk sheets.
I've chosen some long-stemmed white wine glasses for this card (well, actually, I bought one glass, then took photos of the light shining off of it at several different angles). Going with a different kind of cup for each card in the set has certainly been additional work, but I'm happy I went with it. Creating the illusion of all that transparency has been tricky, but fun.
Thank you to Jay Powell and Katherine Molina-Powell for their excellent hand modeling work. I was honored to serve as one of the groomsmen for their wedding on a beach in the Dominican Republic a couple of years ago. Jay has been a model in the set already, when he posed as the Prince of Swords many years back. Looking back, I used the exact same natural paper texture for his skin then, and was apparently just as fascinated with Jay's long fingers and interesting, wrinkly joints.
If you'd like to see some behind-the scenes shots of how I posed them, and what's actually happening outside the frame of this card, you can check it out here: https://plus.google.com/photos/113639566912606521037/albums/5923985194245029393?authkey=CMq4mOSqjLyMuwE