Article courtesy of Lotus Tarot library
Foundations of a Personal Tarot System
For the sake of discussion, I will state that from my point of view the tarot deck is the tool that provides us with an allegorical voyage through life. If we can agree that the trumps are a progression, we can then begin to see the trump cards as being representational of each stage of human existence: beginning with birth, the Fool, through arriving at the ultimate level of freedom from ignorance and liberation from misunderstanding found in the last card of the sequence, The World.
Further, for the sake of discussion, debate, or argument, I postulate that the trumps represent me, the spiritual being on a human journey, not a human on a spiritual journey.
In many modern and post-modern decks the trumps are readily divided into three groups of seven. Each of these groups, septenary, represent the singular and the combined experiences of those seven cards and their impact on the Fool. Thus I call card number 1, The Magician, self-consciousness, but be forewarned, what you think IS, is; what seems to be so, may not be...
I designate the first septenary "coming to an understanding of life". The second I call "learning to comfortably co-exist with the understanding that has been formulated", and the third septenary I will name "the difficulties encountered in maintaining an understanding of life".
The Suits: Their meaning and keywords
Batons/Scepters/Wands: Fire-creativity-making things happen; the ability to use energy to turn possibility into reality. Keywords: vitality, enthusiasm, potential, energy, art, supply/demand, pride, respect, power, assertiveness, determination, forcefulness, male energy, lust, aggression, issues of dominance and control, personal ego, personal identity
Swords: Air-intellect-rational; the ability to conceptualize and to communicate the idea to others. Keywords: logic, communication, concepts, discussion, social connection, education, sophistication, clarity, status, professionalism, objectivity, diplomacy, manipulation, culture, severity, legality, rules of conduct
Cups: Water-emotions; the ability to empathize, the ability to understand the intangible, the spiritual. Keywords: subjective, sentiment, passions, feelings, response, intensity, love, family, comforts, food and drink, moodiness, sensual pleasures, self-indulgence, wanderlust, artistic temperament, dreaminess, dependencies, nurturing
Coins/Pentacles/Disks: Earth-material goods-that which is physical and tangible including the physical body. Keywords: building, gardening, tradition, routine, affiliation, growth, resourcefulness, productivity, industriousness, success, inheritance, opulence, luxury and leisure, security, tradition, luck, greed, business dealings
These cards represent aspects of self, of our individuation and our burgeoning understanding of who we are, how we are, and why we are. They may, depending on the surrounding cards, the spread and the positions, represents others in life or circumstances related to the keywords and definitions of the suit.
Pages and their equivalents, Princesses, Daughters, etc., are the aspect of the suit where the qualities assigned to the suit are experienced without either external influences or inner judgements. This card can be designated child, immature.
Knights and their equivalents, Princes, Sons, etc., are the cards where the qualities of the suit are parlayed into action. These cards can be designated as adolescent or untried young adult.
Queens, Mothers, etc., are the awareness of the qualities of the suit. These cards can be designated as adult with a female point of view.
Kings, Fathers, etc., are the accomplishment and the stability of the qualities of the suit from an adult, masculine point of view.
Numbers, magnitude, and parity
The number cards represent events, circumstances and occurrences that put us in touch with ourselves, give us signposts on how to deal with events, and how to judge and adjust the impact of events.
- balancing and/or polarities/antithesis
- moving on/evolving/limitations
- quality and contentment/integration
- transformation/culmination leading to collapse, ten becomes 1 and the cycle begins again.
The suit of a number card indicates the domain of an event (the area of life it occurs in, or the aspect of one's self it touches on); the rank of a number card indicates the magnitude, the simplicity or complexity, the rigidity or flexibility of the event or occurrence.
We are emotionally and intellectually aware of low-magnitude events, but they do not impose harshly upon us or make incessant demands. Mid-magnitude events remind us that they carry enough impact to have definite implications and demands, but they do not limit or overwhelm; high-magnitude events, on the other hand, completely take over and invade every aspect of life.
The second component of numbers is their parity. Simply put, that is whether they are odd or even: even numbers (in the tarot) are stable, secure, predictable; odd numbers are sensation, disruptive, perilous.
It's in the cards!
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