Originally posted by Noinden
Umm I'm not a Tarot person, so the Major Arcana question was over my head (I started with Ogam, and stuck with it ),
Our cosmology... are polytheistic, and focus on a specific group of shinning ones that "speak to us" .
yes. polytheistic makes sense to me and many others, largely because we see the many varied 'forces' that move us and polytheism is a way of
'naming' the forces, no? The Tarot does this without also making these forces 'deity's, or 'personalities' meant for human worship.
but its essentially the same idea, i think.
a little history: as near as i can tell, the Tarot first made it's debut during the Italian Renaissance (1400-1500 ish) - i'm not too particular
about exact dates, so if others are, feel free to post 'em-. They were a simple set of 'playing' cards made for some Italian Aristo family. Over
the centuries they have been added to, updated, argued over and further symbolically developed, with the newest sets including alchemical and
astrological attributions, that further define the specific 'idea'. Today, there are many thousands of different sets made for many different
reasons, not all of which are based in the same traditions ...
My interest lies in the sets that have clear lineage because they represent development on the very earliest ideas and contain the most information
(hints). So this means: The Golden Dawn sets, A.E Waite's set, the Thoth deck, Paul Foster Case's set, and a number of more recent ones that i am
not aware of.
i use them not as a divinitory tool (tho i do pull random cards here and there), but more as a lesson book... a contextual framework in which to
understand and deal with the many forces that move/are moved by us.
Currently most decks have 78 cards: 22 major arcana and 56 minor arcana. The majors deal with forces larger than humans and the minors deal with human
scale forces. Right there, we can see that the Tarot tells us that 1/3 of what moves us is completely beyond our power to control, while 2/3 is within
If you look closely at the Majors, u see that they are a division of the mighty forces that move us as human animals. Very very briefly we have:
- the now or moment: the fool (0)
-the arch-typical gender expressions: priestess (2), magician (1), empress (3) and emperor (4)
-wisdom (9), strength (8), luck (10), justice (11), teaching (5), love (6), death (13), art/magik (14), hope (17)...
for a total of 22 (which, indecently is the old alchemical number meaning "circle" because 22 is the first whole number that pie (3.14) divides
after a coupla more decades (1 decade into study currently) of thought and experience, i might actually really understand them and sometimes, looking
at how other systems divide these forces can shed light on to my own studies, so:
Do the Druids have a system for dividing these 'major' spirits or forces?
But we tend to see the world not in the 4 "classical elements" but more complex.
the world according to the Tarot is more complex than the four elements also, but like the primary colors (RGB) which can be combined in different
measures to create any color, so the 4 'elements' can be combined in different measures to create any more complex expression and each major has one
or more elemental attributions that help us to understand them.
the emperor = strong earth
the Star (hope) = strong water
the high priestess = strong water
further i am finding it very useful to frame people's personalities in different elemental combination (most humans being a combo of two). If u
begin to really understand these metaphorical definitions u (i) can really see how and why people do or do not work well together.
earth + fire = good: the earth absorbs the energy
fire + air = explosive: not always bad
fire + water = often hiss and spitting or just plain fizzles
a very simplistic (and incomplete) elemental definition:
fire = passion, leadership, performance, inspiration, raw energy : both male and female "the wand"
water = love, memory, subconscious, creativity, deep thinking : female "the cup"
earth = wealth, friends, skill, work, foundation, home, stability : both male and female "the coin"
air = communication, logic, rapid thought, decision making : male "the sword"
can u see how easily it would be to frame human personalities in this context? and like root equations in science (or which there are only a few), the
proper combination can produce almost any human flavor, i think. and so i spend most of my thought here, on the elements, and once better understood,
i should be able to combine (and understand their combinations) better.
the elements can also be framed in terms of skills or tools:the mastery of which brings more capabilities to one's life: i have acquired (learned)
the sword and the cup, am very close the the coin and just stepped on to the path of fire...and i dunno if the wand is within my grasp...