|[MASTER INDEX] [DATE INDEX] [THREAD INDEX] [SUBJECT INDEX] [AUTHOR INDEX]|
|[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next]|
May 30, 1995 04:35 PM
by Jerry Schueler
Arthur: <Ok, since it is legit to add to the major arcana what are these new archetypes and what energies are they contributing to our consciousness? It is back to my previous post - do these things live or not and if they do how do you know if they are operative in our lives?> First of all, I am not so sure that it is a given that additional trump cards are "legit." I doubt if traditionalists would ever accept them. The number of trump cards (and minor arcana cards too) depends on how you want to structure the universe. If you add cards, then you must also add regions somewhere in the universe. While this is easily done, it is not so easily accepted by the layman - those who read the Tarot cards or those who feel that tradition is important in the significance of symbolism. I feel that it is very legit for the Enochian Tarot, because the Enochian universe has a different structure from the Qabalistic universe. And, I did not make it up, but rather it was given to John Dee by Angels (and who am I to argue with an Angel?). According to HPB, monads that express themselves in our universe cannot skip any of the cosmic planes. So, we must express ourselves on each cosmic plane all the way down to the physical. I intepret this to mean that we have a part of ourselves in each major realm of the invisible universe - and a subtle body suitable for each cosmic plane. These are all "operative in our lives" to some extent. We are more than our physical body. So, we can assume that each Tarot card, or at least each major arcana card, represents both an external realm or deity, and an internal state or energy or force as well. When we look at a Tarot trump, we are looking at the symbols of both an external and an internal state of our being. The Empress is both a goddess and an archetype. The Hanged Man is symbolic of both an external event (the descent of the Silent Watcher or cosmic Christ) and an internal event (the sacrifice of our own spiritual state of bliss in order to take on physical manifestation). The Hierophant is both external Adept and inner divinity. And so on with all of the trump cards. The following is something that I wrote several yers ago on Tarot smbolism which some may find useful. SYMBOLS IN THE TAROT MAJOR ARCANA The Tarot cards were originated long before modern psychology. The designers, whoever they may have been, attempted to preserve key religious, sociological, and psychological processes and relationships, and yet had not the proper words in which to express their ideas. Their language was limited to expressing the experiences of the common man of those times. For example, the notion of ego and the subtle relationships between ego and the subconscious were totally unknown to the common man, and thus no words had been coined to express them. In short, their task was to preserve as well as to disseminate the esoteric ideas realized by the highest mind's of their day, but they had very limited exoteric means in which to work. Their answer to the problem was the use of symbols. H.P. Blavatsky expressed this process when she wrote, "The primative purity of a creed can become soiled; its apostles can degrade and soil it by the inevitable admixture of human element. But its symbolism as the concrete expression of some now lost idea of the founder, will survive forever." (COLLECTED WRITINGS, Vol XIII, page 300). Because the ancients couched their ideas in symbols, they have survived through the centuries. Unfortuneately, the meaning of many of the symbols used has either become lost over the long span of years, or has been changed in subtle ways. This has led to the many discrepancies that exist in the numerous Tarot books available today. Modern authorities each read into the symbols their own biases and views, and in some cases, have deliberately "refined" the cards to better reflect their own ideas. The main symbolism used in the Major Arcana cards are as follows: The Fool. The Marseilles shows the fool as a court jester holding a baton and standing near a cliff. This symbolism suggests silliness, but perhaps a deliberate silliness. The Waite deck (this is the popular name of the deck made famous by A.E. Waite) is more complex. It shows a young wanderer holding a rose and a walking stick, to which a bag is tied, walking off a cliff. A dog romps at his side. This suggests a happy and carefree attitude that could be dangerous. The Golden Dawn deck (this is the deck used by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and was probably created by one of its founders, McGregor Mathers) shows a naked child holding the reins of a wolf while plucking fruit from a tree. This symbolism, probably the most esoteric of any of the cards, suggests that the fool is innocence, and that pure innocence can check animal passions while surviving quite nicely on what nature provides. The Magician or Magus. The Marseilles deck shows a parlor magician going through a magic act of some kind with various `tools of the trade' on a table. This is the popular view of the magician; one who does sleight of hand, and who employs gimickery. The Waite and G.D. decks are a bit more sofisticated. They both show a true magician in robes, with his four traditional weapons: a sword, a wand, a cup, and a pantacle. The High Priestess. The Marseilles deck shows the goddess Junon (Juno), wife of the god Jupiter and a peacock. The more traditional goddess shown most other decks is Isis. The symbols here are lunar and suggest a lunar or occult vision (for example, the intuition as opposed to common sense). The Empress. Most all decks agree that this card is symbolized by a mature woman wearing a crown and seated on a throne. This suggests the feminine side of the psyche, perhaps the anima of Carl Jung, or any strong feminine authority. She is the archetypal mother, the ultimate feminine creator and provider. The Emperor. Most all decks agree that this card is symbolized by a mature man wearing a crown and seated on a throne. This suggests the masculine side of the psyche, perhaps the animus of Carl Jung, or any strong masculine authority. He is the archetypal father, the ultimate masculine creator and provider. The Hierophant. Like the Emperor, this card is usually shown as a mature man wearing a crown and seated on a throne. The Marseilles deck shows the god Jupiter. Some decks show this as the Pope or some other religious leader which clearly distinguishes the difference between the Hierophant and the Emperor; the former is religious while the latter is civil or social. The symbolism here suggests the conscience. The Lovers. The Marseilles deck shows Cupid about to shoot one of his famous arrows into a young couple. All decks show a man and woman together, and the general theme is love. This card suggests the union of opposites, especially masculinity and femininty, anima and animus. Cupid is the symbol of romance, but one that is usually governed more by emotions than by rational thought. The Chariot. Most decks agree that the main symbol of this card is a chariot. Usually a charioteer is also shown. The theme is powerful deliberate motion toward a fixed goal and thus a victory over space. The card symbolism suggests the spiritual impulse which sooner or later will drive man to seek his true nature. Justice or Adjustment. The main symbol for this card is a balance or scale used for measuring weight. The scale is held by a goddess who holds an upright sword. The symbolism represents karma, the law of cause and effect, which seeks a balance or moderation in all things. The Hermit. Almost all decks agree that the symbolism of the Hermit is an older man in a robe holding a staff in one hand and a lamp in the other. The lamp is a symbol of the inner light of truth. The theme here is the wise old sage, the inner guiding light of conscience illumined by the intuition. The Wheel of Fortune. The main symbol of this card is a wheel. The wheel is a symbol for cycles, and the card represents the law of cyclic manifestation. The original symbols of this card were meant to portray the doctrine of reincarnation, as well as other cyclic processes. Strength/Lust. Most cards use the symbol of the lion in this card. The lion as the "king of beasts" is a traditional symbol for strength. Some cards also show a man, while others show a woman, who is controlling the lion in some way. The theme here is controlled strength, or inner resolve that is directed toward a goal. The Hanged Man. The Hanged Man is just that, a man hanging upside down from a wooden scaffle of some kind, ususally in the form of a cross. Most cards show the man with his left leg bent to form a cross with his legs. The cross is the traditional symbol for sacrifice. The theme here is the deliberate undergoing of a selfless sacrifice, usually for the purpose of helping others. Death. Death is symbolized by a human skeleton. Sometimes the skeleton is shown holding a sickle to suggest that death levels all living beings. The theme is the process of death, which is an ending or completion of something that we have known. Death also implies change of some kind, a transformation. Temperance/Art. This card is usually depicted by an angel who is pouring water from one vase into another. The water is the "water of life" and its being poured suggests that a necessary change of some kind is taking place. The card symbols not only imply the skill or ability that is required to `get through' unwanted experiences, but those needed to turn such experiences to your advantage in some way. The Devil. The main symbol here is a devil. The Marseilles deck shows a stereotyped middle-ages Christian concept of Satan complete with horns and a forked tail. The Waite deck is much more refined, showing the stereotyped version of a devilish black magician. Most cards also show a naked man and woman chained to a block. The theme is Black Magick and the card suggest slavery or confinement. The symbolism strongly suggests the wrongness of an overinflated ego. The Lightening Struck Tower. Almost all decks agree on the basic theme of this card. A stone tower is shown being struck by a bolt of lightening with two people falling from the destruction. The card suggests bad karma of all kinds, but especially destruction and ruination. In at least one sense, the card represents the Fall of Man, because the lightening bolt is a symbol of an "act of God" that forces man to fall from his protective tower, itself a symbol of a spiritual environment, into an unprotected mortality. The Star. The main symbol here is a star. One or more stars is shown over the head of a goddess who is pouring water from two vases into a pool. The goddess is usually shown naked, although the Marseilles deck shows her partially clothed. She is Isis, the goddess of nature, and the waters are the Waters of Life. She is shown returning individual water into a collective pool, thus indicating that nothing in life is ever lost. The theme here is one of hope. The Moon. The main symbol here is the moon, and the cards of all decks amplify the lunar theme with various symbols usually associated with the moon. Most cards show two towers with a stream running between them to illustrate the idea of relationships. A scorpion, lobster, crayfish, or scarab, is often included to represent the forces of regeneration. One or two dogs or jackals are often shown to suggest the idea of the subconscious and the underworld. The theme here is the astral world, the realm of illusions and dreams. The Sun. The main symbol of this card is the sun which is almost always shown with extending rays, and sometimes with a face to suggest solar intelligence. The Marseilles deck shows a young couple together under a sun. The Waite deck shows a naked child riding a horse under a sun. The Golden Dawn deck shows two naked children holding hands under a sun. The sun, as the generator of light and heat, is the symbol for life and the forces of conscious creativity. Judgement. Most decks represent Judgement with an angel blowing a horn above a group of people. The heralding of a trumpet call as an act of divine judgement is suggested here. The Waite deck shows people standing in coffin-like boxes which suggest that an after-death judgement is implied. The Golden Dawn card shows people chest-deep in water implying a renewal or regeneration. The Universe. The last card of the Major Arcana includes the symbolism of the four animals of the Apocalypse and of the vision of Ezekiel. These are the bull, the lion, the eagle, and man. A naked woman stands within a circular wreath. In the Marseilles deck, this woman is the fourth animal, but in most decks she stands apart as a central figure. Her symbolism as the mother of the universe is clearly suggested in the Golden Dawn deck where the wreath is a ring of twelve globes which are obviously the twelve constellations of the Zodiac. The symbolism here suggests that this card includes the entire universe: the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual planes of existence. Jerry S.