About this Project
This project relates tarot cards with American history by taking the original meaning and art of a tarot card and recreating it in a different way while also adding elements of the American history that I chose to involve. There are three events that I chose to research and recreate a tarot card for.
The reason why I decided to do this was because I had originally seen a version of tarot card art in the video game Dragon Age: Inquisition, and that sparked my interest in learning about the cards and what they are used for, along with my idea to create a tarot card like the ones I had seen, and the Apollo program gave me an opportune moment to do exactly that. I didn’t base my art off of the style from DA:I as I had originally desired to, and had instead used the style from the Rider-Waite tarot deck, however I still think that they came out pretty well.
I started my project by researching the topics I wanted to cover, and taking notes from different sources. I decided to do all of the art before the writing sections, so after I created the bibliography, I started on drawing the first tarot card. A lot of time was put into each card as the ideas and line art were slightly difficult to formulate, and it was tough getting started. During the drawing portions, I also drafted a base format for my finished product. The writing also took quite a long time, but it was occasionally fun at some points. I felt like the wording was the most difficult part to come up with and run smoothly. My final product is actually very similar to what I originally had in mind, and it closely follows the original template.
Art: I drew a new tarot card based off of the art from the card I chose, along with some elements inspired by the historical event that I wanted to tie in with the card. I used the context behind the history and used it to help create my new card.
English: I decided to write an informative piece for each event, and explain why I chose to do certain things.
Social Studies: I researched three events regarding American history in the 1900s. They are: the Wall Street Crash of 1929, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and the Moon Landing.
Wall Street Crash of 1929
The Wall Street Crash of 1929 has multiple different names like Black Tuesday, the Great Crash, or the Stock Market Crash of 1929, but is more importantly known for being a major accelerator towards the economic collapse and the 12-year Great Depression (“Stock Market Crash”). Leading up to the crash, during the 1920s, many people started investing into the American stock market, as they believed that doing so was a quick way to get rich (“The Causes and Impacts”). The stock market rapidly expanded; prices rose higher, and there was a swift upward trend in 1927 (“Stock Market Crash”; see also “The Causes and Impacts”).
The market hit its peak on August 1929, but in September and early October, stock prices began to fall within the same year (“The Causes and Impacts”). The crash started on October 24 and occurred over four days. On the first day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average went down by 25 percent and lost an amount of money more than the cost of the first World War— 30 billion dollars of market value, which is equal to 396 billion dollars today (Amadeo). The following few weeks after October 29, the stock market prices could only go upwards, and there was a notable amount of recovery; however, the prices continued downwards as the United States sunk into the Great Depression and in 1932 the stocks were only worth around 20 percent of their original value from 1929’s summer (“Stock Market Crash”).
The crash caused many banks to be shut down nationwide, as many banks had invested much of their clients’ savings into the stock market, so they were forced to close when the stock market crash happened. As people feared the loss of the rest of their savings, many people rushed into the banks to withdraw the money that wasn’t used towards the stock market, and in turn this also caused some banks to shut down. The economy was further damaged due to millions of people losing their savings when the banks closed, and there was much uncertainty about the economic situation and people’s own survival (“Causes and Impacts”). Almost half of America’s banks failed, and unemployment was quickly advancing to 15 million people, or 30 percent of available workers (“Stock Market Crash”).
It took about a decade and a half of America to fully recover from the worst of the crash, with President Franklin D. Roosevelt being a major component of the healing process, as he took measurements of relief and reform. However, it wasn’t until after 1939 that the U.S economy was able to fully revitalize. (“Causes and Impacts”; see also “Stock Market Crash”).
On December 7, 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the naval base near Honolulu in Hawaii, Pearl Harbor. Hundreds of Japanese fighter planes attacked the base at 8 a.m in the morning, and were capable of destroying or damaging many American war machines— 20 naval vessels, with eight being large battleships, and over 300 airplanes. The assault killed 2,403 people including sailors, soldiers, and civilians, along with an additional 1,000 that were wounded. President Franklin D. Roosevelt had requested that Congress declare war upon Japan one day after the attack, and had the United States enter World War II (“Pearl Harbor”).
The relations between U.S and Japan were poor before the attack, but the surprise attack was when the relations hit the climax. Japan invading China in 1937, the alliance that Japan formed with the Axis powers (which included Germany and Italy) in 1940, and in July 1941 Japan’s occupation of French Indochina were all factors towards the United States’ deteriorating relationship with Japan. The U.S placed an embargo on shipments of important war materials to Japan, and by late 1941, the U.S had removed almost all commercial and financial ties with Japan (“Pearl Harbor Attack”).
The bombing that had killed and destroyed much at the base, did not destroy the more important facilities. By the 1940s, battleships weren’t the most important naval vessels, as aircraft carriers had taken that position, and the attack had failed to destroy or damage the Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor. All of the Pacific Fleet carriers were away from the base during the attack, with some back at the mainland, and others distributing planes to troops on Midway and Wake Islands. The assault also allowed the base’s more vital facilities like oil storage depots, repair shops, shipyards, and submarine docks to remain as they were, and because of this, the U.S Navy was able to recover rather quickly (“Pearl Harbor”)
I chose the Death tarot card not only because people did in fact die, but also because the meaning behind the card is endings, beginnings, change, transformation, and transition. The bombing of Pearl Harbor is what caused the U.S to stop being neutral, and partake in World War II. This was a big change because the U.S joined the Allies to fight against the Axis Powers, and help end Hitler’s tyranny.
First Moon Landing
After World War II, another conflict began known as the Cold War, which was fought between the democratic and capitalist United States and the communist Soviet Union. Both sides wanted to prove a superiority of technological advancements, military firepower and their own political-economic system. Alongside this, in the late 1950s, space also became its own arena to compete in (“Space Race”). The space race concluded with the moon landing of the Apollo 11 lunar lander on July 20, 1969, where Neil Armstrong became the first person to set foot on the moon (Dunbar; see also “Space Race”).
The first man-made object to be put into Earth’s orbit was Sputnik, launched by a Soviet R-7 intercontinental ballistic missile on October 4, 1957. This was an unwanted surprise to most Americans, as people believed that space exploration was an extension of the American tradition of exploration, and that it was impertinent that they should not lose too much coverage to the Soviets. The Explorer I, a U.S satellite was launched into space in 1958, but in 1959 the Soviet space program launched Luna 2 which became the first space probe hit the moon, and in April 1961, Yuri Gagarin, traveling in the spacecraft Vostok 1, became the first person to orbit Earth. Although he wasn’t in orbit, Alan Shepard became the first American in space on May 5, (“Space Race”).
Later that May, President John F. Kennedy announced that the U.S would land a man on the moon before the decade ends. After the launch of Apollo 8, the first manned space mission to space, in December 1968, a year later in July 16, the Apollo 11 space mission was undertaken by the astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins, and they successfully landed on the moon on July 20. Armstrong became the first person to walk on the moon, and created the iconic phrase “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind (“Space Race”).”
Although the moon landing was a major part of space history, some believe that it never happened at all and that it was faked. One popular theory is that the landings could not have happened as the Van Allen belts would have given the astronauts a lethal dose of radiation. They were aware of the belts’ existence and were able to launch the Apollo missions during the lowest intensity of the fluctuations. When someone is exposed to about 200 to 1000 rads within a couple hours, they will get radiation sickness, however the astronauts were in the belts for less than two hours and it was estimated that they were only exposed to 18 rads which is hardly enough to give someone radiation sickness. Another thing that frequently gets pointed out is that there are no stars in the backgrounds of the images. While true, it does not mean that the images are faked because the contrast of light and dark is very severe, and it is a common aspect of images taken from space. The surface of the moon reflects the sunlight, and that drowns out the somewhat dim starlight just like car headlights can drown out fainter sources of light. While the human eye can pick out the differences in the light and see the stars, the camera cannot, and that is why there are none seen within the photographs.
I believe The World tarot card best suits the moon landing because the card's meaning is completion, integration, accomplishment, and travel. With the ability to set foot on the moon, the moon landing ended the Space Race, and also opened up new possibilities for space travel and further research of the moon.
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Brigit. “Major Arcana Tarot Card Meanings.” Biddy Tarot, 2018,
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Davis, Scott. “How Do We Know The Moon Landing Really Happened?” The National
Space Centre, 15 June 2017, spacecentre.co.uk/blog-post/know-moon-landing-really-happened/.
Dunbar, Brian. “July 20, 1969: One Giant Leap For Mankind.” NASA, NASA, 19 Feb.
“Pearl Harbor Attack.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 15 Dec.
“Pearl Harbor.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 2009,
“The Space Race.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 2010,