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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Sherlock Holmes Card of the Day: The Final Problem (Trump 20)

The Sherlock Holmes Card of the Day is:
Trump 20 / THE FINAL PROBLEM
(The Last Judgement)


"The Adventure of the Final Problem" is the last of the short stories of Sherlock Holmes from The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The story ends with the apparent death of Sherlock Holmes on May 4, 1891, during a fight with his arch-nemesis Moriarty at Reichenbach Falls. The card depicts a bereft Dr. Watson standing by his friend’s gravestone.

The Holmesian Wisdom for this card is a quote from “The Second Stain”: “Come, friend Watson, the curtain rings up for the last act.”

The association of this event with Judgement (Trump 20 in the Tarot) makes sense when we consider the traditional interpretations of this card, including “renewal, resurrection, ending or beginning” – for, as Holmes readers know, Sherlock is not killed at Reichenbach Falls.

Conan Doyle may have wanted to stop writing about the detective, but his fans expressed such grief, anger, and dismay that the author brought Holmes back to life. The creators of this deck write: “The rapturous reaction experienced by Watson and Mrs. Hudson at the restoration of the great detective perfectly mirrors the sense of renewal at the heart of the Last Judgement card in classic tarot symbolism.”

The guidebook for this deck lists additional Keys for this card, upright: “recapitulation of events or ideas, prophetic vision, forgiveness, adjustment, recovery of that which has been lost sight of, impulse to change your life.” Keys for the reversed card are “simplicity, weakness, stagnation, delay.”

The book that accompanies this deck also provides interpretations for each card under the headings “The Game” and “The Fog.” The former elaborates on the upright keys, while the latter expands on reversed meanings.

Examples from “The Game” for The Final Problem: “changes of direction impinge from all sides. . . New discoveries bring renewal and transformation to your theories. . . The impulse to change or reform your life gets nearer.”

Examples from “The Fog”: “ Forgiveness or adjustments are difficult when you are grudging with your response. . . You reap what you sow. . . Accept what needs to be laid down and make your way without it.”

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