Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Click to enlarge.
One can never know the Tarot completely: it is always coming up with new angles on The Universe, new correspondences and new meanings. I learned a lot while I was designing the deck: in fact I learned just enough to know that you’re never done learning about the thing. 

Lately, while working on the text to go with the new book — if I ever finish it — I’ve had a couple of lightbulbs go on over my head pertaining to the cards. Most of these have been simple enough to post on Facebook, where I offered them with the qualifier that these may not be original thoughts after all, and who knows but that I might have picked them up in some reading, only to have them not quite make it down the coin slot until now.

The latest “flash” concerns cards one through seven when taken all together, and came to me several mornings ago when I was lying in that state of half-sleep and half-waking. 

I suddenly realized how perfectly placed these cards are, how closely they relate to one another, and how the first four cards play out in the latter two. Again, I am certain that this is nothing new, no new pearls of wisdom to be found here — but when the lightbulb finally snaps on over your head, it always brings with it a flash of recognition and satisfaction and a rush of good feeling that you finally “get” it, you finally made the connection.

For The Seer represents the voice of subjective and subconscious knowledge accessible only by those who dare to dive into the Black Water, and swim through its murky depths. Because she is placed where she is, her influence is felt by both The Magician and The Empress, who benefit from and deepen their experience from Her council. On the other hand, The Hierophant represents a completely different sort of wisdom, that of Learning and Tradition — and because he is placed where he is, he has the attention of The Emperor, as well as (possibly undue) influence over the Common People (The Lovers).

Alas, The Hierophant appears all too often in his negative aspect, where he descends into Dogma and Materialism and his limited experience becomes a cage binding him away from true enlightenment — but still the Emperor will listen to him and take his council no matter the circumstance, unless the Empress can make her influence, and thus the extended influence of The Seer — manifest to him. In every case, The Emperor must make a choice (also as evidenced by The Lovers immediately following this sequence) between the two types of thinking.

If he chooses right, his choice will be made manifest in the positive aspect of The Chariot… but if he listens to the constricting and materialist Hierophant, if he makes the wrong choice (as happens all too often) he will become the worst kind of negative force: a man with conviction who under the influence of False Wisdom will apply whatever force is necessary to bend Reality to his will… which can be quite painful if you happen to be The Lovers — one of the aspects of Reality that needs to be bent. 

— Freder