Saturday, October 10, 2009

Understanding Tarot: Intro to the Major Arcana

"The Tarot is a symbolic map of consciousness and an ancient book of wisdom that reveals to us visually and symbolically the creative ideas and states of consciousness that appear in all cultures. The 78 symbols are portraitures and archetypes of inner and outer experiences that are prevalent within human experience....that function as a universal language where an individual's internal and external worlds intersect and attempt to dialogue with each other. In any kind of inner work, whether it be in dreams, meditation, contemplation, guided imagery, or creative visualizations, symbols appear as signposts or keys and they function as containers, revealers or concealors of meaning to enable us "to penetrate into the deeper mysteries of life"".

Angeles Arrien Introduction to The Tarot Handbook with reference in quotes to ML von Franz

Tarot is a complex system which serves as a mirror to us of our internal processes. There are many places to begin in discussing the Tarot including its history, usage and applications; I have chosen to start with a brief description of each of the 22 Major Arcana cards. The 22 cards from The Fool to The Universe depict the Journey of the Soul through a single lifetime including all the many lessons we learn as we move from birth to death before we start the cycle over again in our next life.

The symbol for this blog is the Ouroboros or Serpent eating its tail. This ancient symbol represents cyclicality in the sense of something continuing to re-create itself by returning to its source. The drawing depicts the young child leaning comfortably on the skull, signifying the natural cycle of birth and death. We journey through each lifetime only to die and then be reborn in the next as the cycle continues. The Tarot is a cogent illustration of this process and has been used for self reflection and divination for hundreds of years.
0 The Fool The Walker between the Worlds, Radiance
1 The Magician Communication, Creation, Magic
2 The High Priestess Intuitive, Perception, Oracle
3 The Empress The Great Mother, Nurturer
4 The Emperor Leadership, The Pioneer and Builder
5 The Hierophant Teacher, Counselor, education
6 The Lovers Duality of Relationships, Dark and Light, Unification
7 The Chariot The Principle of Change, movement
8 Justice Adjustment, The law, Karma
9 The Hermit The seeker, introspection, The Crossroads
10 The Wheel of Fortune Abundance, Prosperity, Cycles
11 Strength Courage, Power, fortitude
12 The Hanged One Principle of Letting go, release, surrender
13 Death Transformation, change
14 Temperance or Art Creation, integration, synergy
15 The Devil Temptation, entanglements, what we are "chained" to
16 The Tower Purification, de-structuring, self awareness
17 The Star Hope, vision, healing, self-esteem
18 The Moon Choice, illusion, mutability, truth
19 The Sun Collaboration, Teamwork
20 Aeon or Judgment Understanding, Actualization, Coming to terms with
21 The World/Universe Self Actualization, expansion, Big picture

Next Blog: Personality and Soul Cards. I will also be exploring these individual archetypes in greater details in upcoming blogs.

Drawing circa 1400

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