Most of the following was posted piece meal in AV1, and it is timely for me to pull it all together, so I may as well post it here, I know many are interested.
This article is for interest and use, I am not offering it for self promotion and I don’t want to get involved with readings etc, though I am happy to discuss the Tarot generally.
A few years ago I was approached by a major US publisher, who was interested in my tarot writings and teachings (one of my friends introduced us, she is a published author). In the end copyright issues got in the way as I wanted to over quote Crowley…so it went onto the back burner. Recently I was given a book on Magick and the tarot – interesting – and the alchemical tarot.. both areas I hadn’t really gotten into previously so I am updating my ‘book’, except its still on the back burner and I have way too much to do to bring it to the front of my to-do list.
I have been using the Tarot for 25 years now and about 8 years ago I realised the Tarot was a tool for 'spiritual awakening', or put another way, it was a summary of various esoteric philosophies. I studying yoga in India when all the pieces of this fell together and I was amazed at the strong parallels between yogic philosophy and the Tarot.
Most Tarot books still see the 22 paths as a metaphor for our 'life journey' and usually slip into Jungian philosophy to discuss these paths..
Rather the 22 paths are a summary of the path to enlightenment. Or at least enlightenment as per the yogic/qabalistic/buddhist teachings, which are all essentially man made and 'male' dominated in their concepts...They do however, point to the 'truth', even if they do use 'male' concepts to do so....
I use male and female energies here, as they do, and they describe basic positive/ negative or yin/yang or light/dark concepts....nothing to do with gender in human terms.
I have found that Aleister Crowley’s cards offer one of the best versions of the spiritual tarot, but his book on the subject ‘Thoth Tarot’ is one of the most difficult texts I have encountered, and this is from a man who could write eloquent and approachable stuff when the mood took him. If you don’t know Crowley was a genius then start reading his stuff, forget the Satanist tags, he was just having a laugh at his prudish Victorian peers.
So, do your own research, Don Milo DuQuette’s book ‘Understanding Crowleys Thoth tarot’ is a good aid.
In the meantime I will offer the following by way of introduction:
'God' used to be a woman. Miraculously she bled with the rhythmic cycle of the moon, yet she did not die. She had life giving powers and from her breasts flowed milk to nourish the new life that she created. Eventually our understanding of the Universe grew and we were confronted with a more complicated view of the world.
200 years or so BC, in the age of Pisces, farmers began to realise that although the Earth Brought forth life, the supreme creative energy came from the Sun. Man also realised he had a hand in creation. Having played second fiddle for so long the backlash against women was severe and so traumatized the human race that we are still suffering from it. The sun was now worshipped, and it was believed that it died every night to be reborn again in the east every morning. This belief led to the creation of heaven and hell and gave rise to the belief that when we die we are judged by the Sun god - Osiris.
A new fact of life was created, that life comes from death and much blood was spilled on the earth as human sacrifices ensured the rise of the new sun. A tremendous power was placed in the hands of the priests who inserted themsleves between the people and the gods and implied personal responsibility for the rebirth of the sun.
Towards the end of Aeon of Osiris human blood was replaced by animal blood, which was replaced by wine. By the start of the 20th Century science had confirmed that the sun still shone on the other side of the earth at night. The new formula is one of continuing growth. We, like the sun, do not die; death is an illusion.
The newly crowned and conquering child is Horus, who as The Lord of the new Aeon is called Heru-ra-ha. He is Lord of Light, Love, Liberty and Life. The child god is both male and female and light and dark and to express this duality Heru-ra-ha has two forms; Hoor-pa-kraat is the passive and innocent god of slience and Ra-Hoor-Khuit is the active and violent hawk-headed avenger of the gods. We have to unite the male and female energies to make the 'ascension' to the next aeon.
OK...that same idea in a non tarot format would look something like this...we start with nothing, and to be enlightened we end at nothing...but the latter nothing is complete with experience and knowledge....its hard to grasp and hard to explain....often they use the equation 0=2. where 2 actually means cancelling opposites, so ying /yang, male female etc ..in math terms 0=(+1)+(-1). We cant analyze 'nothing', in the sense of absence of anything..hence this formula...now most philosophies dont stop at 2 points, yogis have 3 gunas, the abhidhamma buddhist texts have? (maybe 56 i forget)...anyway the concept is the same......let me give an analogy..we start with nothing, we are 'enlightened'..we are 'white light'.....we are born.we forget who we are and must become enlightened again...imagine that white light passing through a prism into many different colours...we must blend those colours (facets of ourselves) back into the perfect proportions that create white light again, i.e we become enlightened, we are 'transcended', whatever you want to call it....
The 22 Tarot cards, which each have a path on the tree of life, describe this process from 0 to 0. Or, in tarot terms, from the Fool to the Universe.
My latest thinking on the spiritual meaning behind the 22 cards, and it is a fluid notion I have, it evolves as I learn more, is .
0 (actually 22 in tarot terms) is the fool, innocence, complete faith in the universe
1. the magician has the 4 basic elements at his command in raw format...
2. The High Priestess has 'raw' basic spiritual energy at her command.
3, The empress is mother earth, a place to manifest this story...
4. The emperor provides the rules and physical laws, there must be some order to our world
5. The Hierophant provides the spiritual 'law'
6. The lovers represents male and female energies in their raw format, not yet blended, this is the 'marriage' of these 2 properties.
7. The chariot shows the male and female energies blended for the first time (inside the holy grail) and 'speeding' onwards with the mix
8. Adjustment (not strength, that was a deliberate error introduced by Waite), is a need to balance these energies for the first time.
9. The hermit is a time for introspection and calm after this onrush of new experience.
10. The wheel of fortune is what the universe throws at us into this mix, good and bad luck..
11. Lust (strength) is the first time we offer our 'blend' to the universe (we offer the holy grail, which contains the blood of the angels)
12. the hanged man is now redundant, it is a sacrifice we dont have to make in this age..(although there are deeper meanings to this card also)..
13.Death is the change that we undergo after taking all this on board, we must change in light of our journey so far
4. 'Art' (or temperance) is the next stage to the lovers card, we once agin mix the basic elements of male and female within us..
15.The Devil is all about ego, we must have the direction and will power to put ourselves and our blend into the universe, this is not a passive process.
16. The Tower. all that we thought we knew is destroyed. we realise that we were deluded, we see a new reality based on our journey so far. we lose all sense of out material world..
17.The Star, and realise we are of the stars as well as the earth, we are deeply spiritual beingh to go on,
18. The moon. The path is unknown but we must lose the fear...
19. The Sun, always comes out, it is darkest just before the new dawn.we rejoice in who we really are.
20.The New Aeon, we realise we are both male and female and that our last reality was too male dominated. we are both, this is essential....
21, The universe...we have made it, we are back in the light again, we take our place in the universe...
HOW TO CALCULATE YOUR PERSONAL TAROT CARDS
Personality cards are discovered by looking at the person's birth date.
When I first encountered the idea of personality cards I considered them a little contrived. However, over the years I have come to the belief that they do actually describe a person quite well.
The easiest personality cards to determine are the ones shown on the 'Tarot Wheel' which is Shown below
Simply find your birthday on the wheel and see which of the minor cards it corresponds to. .
So for e.g. January 27 1983. January 27 corresponds to the 5 of Swords (the fifth ring shows Swords and the sixth ring shows the number 5). The outermost rings show a correspondence to the Prince of Swords and the Princess of Swords and the Ace of Swords (that's a lot of swords!)
For a more personal card, with a deeper meaning and relevance, you need to calculate which of the 22 Major Arcana cards represent your birth. To do this simply add up the numbers in your birth date
Take some one born on January 27th 1983 - there are 2 ways to add the numbers up: Add up the individual numbers (the months are scored 1 to 12): January is month 1, the date is 27 (2 + 7) and the year is 1983 (1+9+8+3). So the following sum is generated: 1+2+7+1+9+8+3=31. There are only 22 major cards (the fool is 22), so keep adding until the score is 22 or less. In this case 3+1 = 4, the Emperor (the fourth Major Arcana) is your card. Another way of doing the maths is start with the birth year then add the month and date, then total these numbers. So in the above example 1983+27+1 = 2011 then 2+1+1=4, the Emperor again.
But the answer isn’t always so straightforward! There are two ways in which more than one card can be generated. If the maths work at 18, for example, then The Moon card (the 18th Major Arcana) is indicated, but 1+8=9, which is The Hermit. In this case the higher numbered card is your ‘outer’ card, it describes how you come across to the world, how the world sees you, your talents and your resources. The lower numbered card is your soul card, the deepest sense of who you are, which is usually hidden to the outside world.
Sometimes the two different methods of calculating the numbers give different results. For example if you were born on the 3rd of June 1964 then 3+6+1+9+6+4 = 29 and 2+9=11. But 1964+3+6 = 1973 and 1+9+7+3 = 20. And in both cases, of course, 1+1=2 and 2+0 =2
The meaning behind the cards for someone born on January 27th. The Maths (below) produced one card, the Emperor, which is the soul card. The outer cards of this person are implied by the ‘invisible’ higher numbers generated by the soul card. In this case, 4 has two invisible higher numbers, 22 and 13 because 4 = 2+2 and 4= 1+3. In this example 22 is The Fool and 13 is the Death card. These invisible cards are seen by some authors as symbols for the person’s challenges in life, perhaps as Rachel Pollack calls them, ' teacher cards'. So in this example perhaps the fool is the perfect antidote for the all too serious and rigid Emperor. Or similarly the constant change that is Death is a lesson for the rigid and unchanging Emperor. The invisible card can also describe the way the person comes across to the world, the outer card as in the above examples.
The first ring shows whether the astrological sign is positive or negative in astrological terminology.
The second ring shows the symbols of the astrological signs of the zodiac (same as the ninth ring).
The third ring comprises the so called triplicities of astrology, the Elements.
The fourth ring shows the so called quadruplicities of astrology: Mutable, Fixed and Cardinal.
The fifth ring shows the Tarot suits that represent the elements shown in the third ring.
The sixth ring shows the number of the Tarot card that relates the decans (10° intervals) of the zodiac
The tarot cards part 6 - the outer rings of the tarot wheel described.
The seventh ring shows which planet is within the decans.
The eighth ring shows the calendar dates of the 36 zodiacal decans, which are also the dates representing the individual tarot cards and also one of the personal cards of an individual, based on their date of birth.
The ninth ring shows the astrological sign of the cards.
The tenth ring shows the planet that rules each of the astrological signs of the zodiac.
The eleventh ring shows the planet that is exalted in that zodiacal sign, i.e. a planet which has a stronger influence than usual because it shares certain characteristics with the astrological sign.
The twelfth ring shows which Knight, Queen or Prince (using Crowley terminology) rules which of the minor arcana.
The thirteenth and outermost ring shows which quarter of the zodiac is ruled by each of the Princesses in tandem with the Aces. These are referred to as Quadrants in astrology.
Once you know your tarot card, find out hwere it fits on the tree of life…
This is just a taster.. it really is better to find these things out for yourselves… To explain the whole Tarot and its meanings is litearrly a book full…. Which is where I came in from..
Hope you can understand that lot.. enjoy!