I’ll be honest, I don’t know much about canaries… As a pet bird, much of what I found out about them was related to breeding and pet keeping…And whilst I love the animal allies deck, this card feels a bit out of place to me although that could be because I’m living in the UK and the creator is over in America, maybe it makes more sense over the water… As such, this post is going to be considerably shorter than the rest. If you have ideas and suggestions about how else I could feel into this, please comment!
Anyway, being a bird, the canary is associated with air and flight and freedom and the air suit in tarot is about the mind and communication so I’m going to lean into the idea of the song with this card. In this way, I am reminded of the nightingale card from the wild unknown deck.
According to that font of knowledge that is Wikipedia, Canary originally referred to the island of Gran Canaria on the west coast of Africa, and the group of surrounding islands. Just in case you wanted to unpick that particular chicken and egg scenario.
Canaries are small birds which are apparently very active and very sweet. The males sing beautiful songs and remind us of the healing power of both singing and of music. Speak and sing your truth, use your words to soothe and comfort. Express yourself!
The other canary I’m familiar with is the canary in the coalmine, an advance warning of approaching disaster. Only you know the circumstances of your life, listen to your gut and feel into what the canary has to tell you – is it here to promote healing or to foretell doom?
The symbology of yellow feels important here, not least because otherwise I’m feeling a bit stuck with this card… Yellow is the colour of the sun, of nourishment, of energy and warmth. It is attention grabbing and colour psychology says that it makes us feel hopeful.
But yellow is contrary. It is associated with cowardice in some parts of the world and courage in others. It is used as a symbol of life but was also used as a marker of potential death in WW2 in the yellow stars that Jews were forced to wear. Yellow is said to bring mental clarity but also agitation and anxiety.
This contrariness reflects the difference between the canary that sings for joy and the canary that no longer sings because they have been poisoned in the mine…
And I’m sorry, but for now, that’s all I have on this little yellow bird.. Please comment if you have anything to add!