Reading the Tarot Pips – Part 5: About the Aces

May 28, 2007

The aces deserve just a bit more detail than the other pips, but just a bit. Most works on the tarot will spend more time on the four aces then any other individual set of pip cards, and some now take this to mean that the aces are more important than the other cards. And its this same thought process that leads to the conclusion that the trumps are inherently more important to the deck than the pip or court cards. In reality every card is equally important in the deck, and absent a single card, regardless of which card it is, the entire meaning and form of the deck crumbles. Trump only tarot decks, even though they can sometimes lend further insight into the trump cards, cannot function as a complete tarot deck should. It would be like tearing a random number of pages from a book, and then expecting the information therein to confer the same knowledge as if the book had been read cover to cover.The only reason why the aces need a bit more time than the other pips is because they operate a bit differently than the other pips. In the same way each trump needs a very in depth individual explanation because the trumps operate on a much more unique and individual basis than the pip or court cards.

In the next few sections I’m going to deal with how astrology relates to the tarot pips and Paul Christians deacon method. However the deacon method only covers cards two through ten. The aces are absent. As we will talk about later, in the lower cards a greater purity exists, and as such the deacons hold less power over the card meanings. The greatest purity exists in the ace, and here the purity is absolute, nullifying any deacon that may be assigned to it.

The ace also acts as the connection between the pip cards and the court cards within a suit. Modern card games have taught us to perceive the deck in a way in which the ten naturally leads to the princess. Within the tarot though the actual suit order is king, queen, prince, princess, A, 2,3…10. Whether you want to look at the king as the highest or the king as the lowest card is all a matter of perspective.

I don’t want to get into too much detail about how the court cards connect to the pip cards here, because it would involve a new set of articles detailing the meanings of the court cards in order to fully understand it. To put it simply, the element would begin in the highest realm being represented by the King. Herein it would take on its fiery aspect. It would then move down through the other court cards gaining another aspect of each. The lowest of the four cards, the princess, exists in the heavens above Earth. Each of the four princesses are assigned one of the four quadrants from the North Pole. The aces exist on the earth itself, encompassing the ground beneath the heaven of its princess. Where the princess of a suit ends, the ace begins, and in this way the ace is said to be the throne of its princess (And the princess is sometimes said to be the throne of its ace. Brownie points to anyone who can explain why both sayings are correct, the answer’s hidden in this blog post). And to return to our original idea, the element has moved through the four court cards, gained all four aspects of itself, and is now born into being, represented by the ace which, as we discussed earlier, would represent the absolute beginning of its creation.

And as when we look at the four court cards as being four different aspects of an element (fiery, watery, airy, and earthy), the fifth missing aspect is represented through the ace (spirity). As we discussed earlier, spirit is a combination of the four other elements. One who understands how to read court cards properly would understand that the king of swords is the fiery part of air. In the same way, the ace of swords is the spirity part of air. If you don’t yet understand what all this means, don’t worry. This section is really meant for those who already have an understanding of the court cards.

As discussed above, each princess/ace combination has dominion over one quarter of the Earth. As per Crowley’s rough estimates of the quadrants, the Princess/Ace of wands would have dominion over Asia, Cups over the Pacific ocean, Swords over the Americas, and Coins over Europe and Africa.

Some interpretations of the pips put much greater emphasis on the symbolic nature of what they create than we have yet discussed. For instance the ace of swords is sometimes seen as great power which may be yielded for good or for evil. This is because the ace of swords is literally the seeds of knowledge. In the same way sometimes the ace of coins is interpreted as illusion since it represents the seeds of physicality or the material world, and in some philosophies the material world is seen as illusionary.

This pretty much covers everything that is going to be said about the aces for the remainder of these articles. I spent a lot of time and gave very little information about actually interpreting the aces in the course of a reading, but I think I managed to include some useful information that will help some better understand the aces and study them. The next article is going to be a quick review of basic astrology.


On the origins of the Tarot

May 5, 2007

A lot of people feel the need to give the tarot a mystical beginning. That it came from lost Egyptian knowledge, that it was originally intertwined with Kabbalism, that it contains lost Hindi information, that it came to Europe via the gypsies, that it was invented to transmit occult or witchcraft information, ect.

However the real origins of the tarot have been well researched by archaeologists and historians who have studied the history of playing cards. It may not be known exactly where and when the tarot was created, but we do have a fairly accurate idea of it’s beginning.

In the fourteenth century it was becoming popular for artists to use cards as a medium for their artwork, and several art decks were created in Europe for various aristocrats. Games would soon be adapted to fit these decks. And as printing technology advanced decks of playing cards became accessible to the lower classes.

The first tarot decks appeared in Italy in the early fifteenth century. Although the first decks may have been intended as works of art, it wasn’t long before the cards started being used in a trick taking game similar to bridge. It’s unknown when exactly the cards were first used for divination. There’s no direct evidence of divination in the first few hundred years of the tarot’s life, although cards were a common divinatory device of the time, and speculatively the cards could have been used for divination within just a few years of their creation.

This is the real origin of the tarot. There is no evidence of any other origin, and there is no valid argument that can be made in dispute of this (although, admittedly, my facts weren’t properly checked and there may be a few minor errors here and there).

Many devotees of tarot discover this and instantly lose faith. Some stick their head in the sand and try to make believe that it isn’t true. And some critics use these facts to dispute any validity the tarot may have.

The best argument against this is the one made by Crowley. As a practical tool the tarot works. As a divinatory tool, as a meditative aid, as a means to transmit esoteric knowledge, we get verifiable results from the tarot when it is used properly. As for its origins, it really doesn’t matter where it came from, so long as it works.

But Crowley doesn’t get into how or why tarot works, just that it does and that should end any dispute. To begin with, age and origin isn’t very important when talking about truth. In Christianity, all things originate with God in the beginning, and so it’s common to view anything new as inherently wrong. Unfortunately many people who aren’t Christians, including many who call themselves Pagans, still can’t transcend a Christian perspective of things. Truth is. Age doesn’t make something more true, and youth doesn’t necessarily mean it can’t be true.

Secondly, the tarot is just a medium, like a book. When we look at the origin of the tarot, we’re looking at the origin of the medium itself, not the origin of the occult tarot. Just like a book, anything can be put inside of the tarot. It can be meaningless, it can be a work of art, or it can be an enlightening spiritual work.

Taking this into account, there’s no longer anything that ties one tarot deck to another. At best, we can say that two decks are bound by both being spiritually true. But Crowley’s deck is no more like Waite’s deck than the Bhagavad Gita is like the book of Mormon. So with no common tie other than the medium, each deck has to stand on its own, with its own card meanings, and its own unique divinatory systems.

Yet we know this to be untrue. Different aspects of the truth can be seen in Crowley’s and Waite’s decks, yet the actual meanings of the cards remain the same. The Devil is still the Devil, the Two of Cups is still the Two of Cups, and Lust is the same as Strength. Meanwhile page 15 of the Bhagavad Gita is completely different than page 15 of the book of Mormon. So there has to be something more tying together every tarot deck, or at the very least every true occult tarot.

The common tie between the occult tarot decks is a single definitive deck. I use the term deck here very loosely and usually it is referred to as a book, but once again that term is very loose. This deck is what is sometimes referred to as the Book of Thoth. This is the complete, accurate, and unabridged tarot. Every portion of the deck contains infinite knowledge, but the deck itself cannot be completely transmitted into this world. The deck also transcends language and symbols, and so even if it’s known, it can’t even be properly communicated in this world, and it exists here only in translation.

All occult tarots transcend from this one definitive tarot. The tarots differ because it’s impossible to make a copy of the true Book of Thoth, so they end up as the author’s interpretation of the true Book of Thoth. Crowley interprets certain cards differently than Waite. Sometimes Crowley focuses more on one aspect of a card where as Waite will focus moreso on an entirely different aspect. Sometimes they’re trying to say the exact same thing, just in two completely different ways.

But regardless of whose deck you’re using, the Two of Cups is still the Two of Cups, and the meaning is exactly the same, because both cards are an allusion to the one true Two of Cups that exists inside of the one true deck. And the divantory meaning of the Two of Cups remains the same regardless of the deck when we divine from the source rather than the current interpretation.


Need Help Identifying/Finding this

May 5, 2007

saturn61.jpg

I’ve been trying to find a good statue of Saturn for a long time for an alter. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be any statues of Saturn; Roman, Renaissance, modern, or otherwise. I am aware of several depictions of Cronus out there, and these depictions are often times listed as being Saturn, but the two are different gods.

But while surfing the web today I came across this picture on answers.com. This is almost exactly the sort of thing I’ve been looking for to represent Saturn. I figure that this statue is listed as being Saturn or Father Time (The two are often times confused in mythology), or possibly even Cronus.

However I know nothing else about this statue. The website I got this from just had it included in a gallery of Cronus pictures with no explination as to what was what or where it came from. Any information about this statue would be helpful to me. Things I’m specifically looking for are: What is the official title of the statue? Is it a modern statue? If so, what company makes it? If not, where is the original? Do any companies make replicas? (and the best of all possible answers), do you know any companies that are selling it?

If anyone knows of other statues of Saturn, or statues of Father Time that closely resemble Saturn that might be easier to find then that would be appreciated too.