Guide for Interpretation:

The Tarot Deck is comprised of Seventy Eight Cards:
The Major Arcana consists of Twenty Two numbered Cards referred to as Trumps; and Four Suits, of Fourteen Cards each.  These are called the Minor Arcana, small cards, or numbered cards.



Each Suit represents an element of nature, a direction, a season and a social class; as well as having zodiac and planetary considerations.

Looking at the regular playing card deck simulates the Calendar; with the basic unit a Day; divided into Day and Night; light and dark.  The complete solar Cycle is 365 Days.  The combined values of the deck add up to 364, adding the extra Card, the Joker; brings the total to 365.  There are 13 Luner Months; and each Season has 13 Weeks, represented by the 13 Cards. The Four Suits stand for the Four Seasons.   The Twelve court Cards stand for the 12 Months and are also represented by one of the 12 signs of the Zodiac. The 52 Cards equal the 52 Weeks of the Year.  An interesting numerological note:  If the Thirteen values of the English names (also French) are counted A+C+E+T+W+O  ect. the total is 52.

*The FOOL, (Joker) is the only Major Arcana card in this deck.
It is believed by some that in the "standard" Deck the Knight and the Page were merged into the Jack.  Others see this indicates separate configurations altogether.

SUITS:

Swords (Spades) represent North; Winter; Air/Cosmos; and a sanguine, cheerful, personality. They represent Intellect, Friendship & Influence; and are represented by the Slyph; (an elemental air being) and the Eagle of the Apocalypse. They stand for the upper class and the Nobility and Military.

Pentacles ( Diamonds) represent  East; Spring; Earth/Terra; and have a melancholy personality. They represent Strength, Patience & Matter; and are represented by the Gnome, (an Earth being); and the Bull of the Apocalypse. They stand for the merchant class and the Farmer.

Wands (Clubs) represent South; Summer; Fire/Astral; and have a choleric personality. They represent Passion, Desire & Instinct; and are represented by the Salamander; and the Lion of the Apocalypse. They stand for the working class and the laborer.

Cups (Hearts) represent the West; Fall; Water/Sea; the Zodiac Water Signs: the King-Scorpio, Queen-Pisces, the Jack-Cancer; with a phlegmatic personality. They represent Emotion, Persuasion & Adaptability. ; and are represented by the female water sprite; and the Water Bearer of the Apocalypse. They stand for the Cleric class and the Priest.

ACES:

Having the indivisible value of One; represent the purest form of the suit .All the numbers are contained in the Ace and unfold from it.  It is viewed as the first card in a sequence; representing beginning, and all possibility. Contrarily; all the numbers in the Ace it is also the final card in the sequence, representing fullness and achievement.

COURT CARDS:

The Court Cards generally represent other people; who may influence the question or Querent.

Older, classic  interpretation designates people by their  physical characteristics; particularly hair, eye, and skin color.
Swordsbeing persons with dark hair and brown eyes.
Pentaclespeople with Black hair and Dark eyes and dark skin.
Wandspersons with blond hair & light skin, blue or light eyes.
Cupspeople with light brown or red hair & light or hazel eyes.

In the newer "Jungian" interpretation the Suits represent the personality or character of the person; which is more in tuned with the Zodiac influence.

The KINGS: represent the (fixed) Signs: Leo, Taurus, Aquarius, Scorpio. (stable, persistent, loyal, reliable).Represent Male; Father figure in the family; maturity, or later stage in life.

The QUEENS: represent the (mutable) Signs: Sagittarius, Virgo, Gemini, Pisces. (adaptable, resourceful, changeable). Represent Female; Mother figure in the family; maturity, or later stage in life.

The JACKS: (KNIGHT & PAGE) represent the (cardinal) Signs: Aries, Capricorn, Libra, Cancer. (active, outgoing, initiating, enterprising).
KNIGHT: Represent Male; figure in the family is Son; youth, or early adulthood.
PAGE: Can be either sex; figure in the family is Daughter; youth or childhood.

Swords represent the Air Signs:
the King-Aquarius, the Queen-Gemini, the Jack-Libra.
Pentacles represent the Earth Signs:
the King-Taurus, the Queen-Virgo, the Jack-Capricorn.
Wands represent the Fire Signs:
the King-Leo, the Queen-Sagittarius, the Jack-Aries.
Cups  represent the Water Signs:
the King-Scorpio, the Queen-Pisces, the Jack-Cancer.

The NUMBERED CARDS:

The numbers indicate the stage of the action or enterprise associated with the Suit. From the beginning stages, shown by the Two; to the completion or final stages referenced by  the Ten.

Qualities are also assigned to each of the numbers (pips) from Two to Ten.  This combines with the aspect of the particular Suit to define the nature of the card.  Each number also has an astrological ruler which contributes to understanding it's qualities.
 

Number:          Quality                       Planetary Ruler

  2                    Antithesis                        Mercury/Moon
  3                    Synthesis                        Venus          
  4                    Completion                      Earth/Sun
  5                    Conflict                                 Mars
  6                    Reconciliation              Jupiter
  7                    Limitation                              Saturn
  8                    Expansion                        Uranus
  9                    Integration                       Neptune
10                    Culmination                      Pluto




Major Arcana cards are deemed roads to enlightenment,  They contain the secret knowledge of the "Tree of Life"  and answer the mysteries of the Universe.

The Trumps have a complex system of divisions that interact amongst the cards,  These 21 cards conceptualize the different aspects of an individual's character and personality  and are divided into two initial categories representing the "inner" Self; and the "external";  and the concepts of "Being" and "Becoming".

1-9   Inner Personality (single digits being one's potential, or Being.)

10-21  Outer Personality (double digits symbolized by their choices,  what they have Become.)

The 21 Major Arcana are also considered divided into  three groups of Seven.

In these Three groups: cards marked I-VII , are active, and relate to the aspect of the Spirit.  While cards VII-XIV, are passive relating to the preceding cards; and active with respect to the last Seven; and signify the essence of the Soul.  Cards XV-XXI, are passive and relate to the material world of the Body.

The 21 Major Arcana are similarly interpreted as being divided into Seven groups of Three.

In each group of Three the First element is active. and corresponds to
Spirit
; the Second, is passive in relation to the preceding one, active in sense of the one that follows, and corresponds to the Soul;  the Third element is completely passive, and relates to Body.


The FOOL has no number. 

He is considered to be "outside" the Deck. He can sometimes represent the Querent. Or; he is called Zero; which is nothing.  But is also the sum of everything that has been from the beginning; and stands for the Tree of Life  and Universe itself.


                                                                                          ***
Guide for Interpretation:

The Tarot Deck is comprised of Seventy Eight Cards:
The Major Arcana consists of Twenty Two numbered Cards referred to as Trumps; and Four Suits, of Fourteen Cards each.  These are called the Minor Arcana, small cards, or numbered cards.



Each Suit represents an element of nature, a direction, a season and a social class; as well as having zodiac and planetary considerations.

Looking at the regular playing card deck simulates the Calendar; with the basic unit a Day; divided into Day and Night; light and dark.  The complete solar Cycle is 365 Days.  The combined values of the deck add up to 364, adding the extra Card, the Joker; brings the total to 365.  There are 13 Luner Months; and each Season has 13 Weeks, represented by the 13 Cards. The Four Suits stand for the Four Seasons.   The Twelve court Cards stand for the 12 Months and are also represented by one of the 12 signs of the Zodiac. The 52 Cards equal the 52 Weeks of the Year.  An interesting numerological note:  If the Thirteen values of the English names (also French) are counted A+C+E+T+W+O  ect. the total is 52.

*The FOOL, (Joker) is the only Major Arcana card in this deck.
It is believed by some that in the "standard" Deck the Knight and the Page were merged into the Jack.  Others see this indicates separate configurations altogether.

SUITS:

Swords (Spades) represent North; Winter; Air/Cosmos; and a sanguine, cheerful, personality. They represent Intellect, Friendship & Influence; and are represented by the Slyph; (an elemental air being) and the Eagle of the Apocalypse. They stand for the upper class and the Nobility and Military.

Pentacles ( Diamonds) represent  East; Spring; Earth/Terra; and have a melancholy personality. They represent Strength, Patience & Matter; and are represented by the Gnome, (an Earth being); and the Bull of the Apocalypse. They stand for the merchant class and the Farmer.

Wands (Clubs) represent South; Summer; Fire/Astral; and have a choleric personality. They represent Passion, Desire & Instinct; and are represented by the Salamander; and the Lion of the Apocalypse. They stand for the working class and the laborer.

Cups (Hearts) represent the West; Fall; Water/Sea; the Zodiac Water Signs: the King-Scorpio, Queen-Pisces, the Jack-Cancer; with a phlegmatic personality. They represent Emotion, Persuasion & Adaptability. ; and are represented by the female water sprite; and the Water Bearer of the Apocalypse. They stand for the Cleric class and the Priest.

ACES:

Having the indivisible value of One; represent the purest form of the suit .All the numbers are contained in the Ace and unfold from it.  It is viewed as the first card in a sequence; representing beginning, and all possibility. Contrarily; all the numbers in the Ace it is also the final card in the sequence, representing fullness and achievement.

COURT CARDS:

The Court Cards generally represent other people; who may influence the question or Querent.

Older, classic  interpretation designates people by their  physical characteristics; particularly hair, eye, and skin color.
Swordsbeing persons with dark hair and brown eyes.
Pentaclespeople with Black hair and Dark eyes and dark skin.
Wandspersons with blond hair & light skin, blue or light eyes.
Cupspeople with light brown or red hair & light or hazel eyes.

In the newer "Jungian" interpretation the Suits represent the personality or character of the person; which is more in tuned with the Zodiac influence.

The KINGS: represent the (fixed) Signs: Leo, Taurus, Aquarius, Scorpio. (stable, persistent, loyal, reliable).Represent Male; Father figure in the family; maturity, or later stage in life.

The QUEENS: represent the (mutable) Signs: Sagittarius, Virgo, Gemini, Pisces. (adaptable, resourceful, changeable). Represent Female; Mother figure in the family; maturity, or later stage in life.

The JACKS: (KNIGHT & PAGE) represent the (cardinal) Signs: Aries, Capricorn, Libra, Cancer. (active, outgoing, initiating, enterprising).
KNIGHT: Represent Male; figure in the family is Son; youth, or early adulthood.
PAGE: Can be either sex; figure in the family is Daughter; youth or childhood.

Swords represent the Air Signs:
the King-Aquarius, the Queen-Gemini, the Jack-Libra.
Pentacles represent the Earth Signs:
the King-Taurus, the Queen-Virgo, the Jack-Capricorn.
Wands represent the Fire Signs:
the King-Leo, the Queen-Sagittarius, the Jack-Aries.
Cups  represent the Water Signs:
the King-Scorpio, the Queen-Pisces, the Jack-Cancer.

The NUMBERED CARDS:

The numbers indicate the stage of the action or enterprise associated with the Suit. From the beginning stages, shown by the Two; to the completion or final stages referenced by  the Ten.

Qualities are also assigned to each of the numbers (pips) from Two to Ten.  This combines with the aspect of the particular Suit to define the nature of the card.  Each number also has an astrological ruler which contributes to understanding it's qualities.
 

Number:          Quality                       Planetary Ruler

  2                    Antithesis                        Mercury/Moon
  3                    Synthesis                        Venus          
  4                    Completion                      Earth/Sun
  5                    Conflict                                 Mars
  6                    Reconciliation              Jupiter
  7                    Limitation                              Saturn
  8                    Expansion                        Uranus
  9                    Integration                       Neptune
10                    Culmination                      Pluto




Major Arcana cards are deemed roads to enlightenment,  They contain the secret knowledge of the "Tree of Life"  and answer the mysteries of the Universe.

The Trumps have a complex system of divisions that interact amongst the cards,  These 21 cards conceptualize the different aspects of an individual's character and personality  and are divided into two initial categories representing the "inner" Self; and the "external";  and the concepts of "Being" and "Becoming".

1-9   Inner Personality (single digits being one's potential, or Being.)

10-21  Outer Personality (double digits symbolized by their choices,  what they have Become.)

The 21 Major Arcana are also considered divided into  three groups of Seven.

In these Three groups: cards marked I-VII , are active, and relate to the aspect of the Spirit.  While cards VII-XIV, are passive relating to the preceding cards; and active with respect to the last Seven; and signify the essence of the Soul.  Cards XV-XXI, are passive and relate to the material world of the Body.

The 21 Major Arcana are similarly interpreted as being divided into Seven groups of Three.

In each group of Three the First element is active. and corresponds to
Spirit
; the Second, is passive in relation to the preceding one, active in sense of the one that follows, and corresponds to the Soul;  the Third element is completely passive, and relates to Body.


The FOOL has no number. 

He is considered to be "outside" the Deck. He can sometimes represent the Querent. Or; he is called Zero; which is nothing.  But is also the sum of everything that has been from the beginning; and stands for the Tree of Life  and Universe itself.


                                                                                          ***
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HISTORY

This page was last updated on: 10/17/06

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Summoning Spirit
HISTORY
HISTORY
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Tracing the Tarot:

The Origin of the Tarot Deck is shrouded in mystery. But the esoteric symbolism has been used in the cultures of ancient Samarian and Babylonian cultures; as well as Ancient Egypt.  Using symbols and pictures in divining has evolved into more and more combined and complex complex imagery. 

The evolution has grown from simple symbols on stones, and possibly painted shells and leaves, to more artistic work on bark and then papyrus.  I imagine as the media changed the work grew in complexity and creativity. 

One theory is that the roots are 6000 years old.  That Egyptian priests compiled it in the book of Thoth; the text was called Ta-Ro meaning royal path.  Others point out that the Hindustani word for cards is taru, and is the more likely source.  Some claim that a nomadic group called Rom; migrated throughout Europe from Persia and Eqypt carried their secret traditions from the Book of Thoth and were called Gypsies, a distortion of  "Egypt".  Others even believe the origination was from China or Tibet.

Whether it originated from China, India, Egypt, through ancient alchemy, cabalists, or was the hidden knowledge brought to Europe from Byzantium by Gypsies; are only subject of story and speculation. Whether the "Gypsies "invented" the Tarot; they were responsible for propagating it's popularity.

Tarot is one of the oldest card games making use of a whole world of symbols.  Wood Block and Chinese silk screen printing; helped produce some of the earlier Decks.  They became available with more frequency; though when such printing advanced.

The first actual decks were created by painters for the enjoyment of the very affluent.  The artists' concepts varied the numbers and symbols used. There can be no doubt that the exotic interpretations have been conveyed in an esoteric manner, in more or less secret, throughput the centuries. 

The oldest known decks date from XIV century. With numerous different decks appearing throughout the centuries, only a small number have been preserved.  These early decks were hand painted and extremely expensive, and thus not for broad public.   They were produced per order and for the needs of individual ruling families, Many are names for the Kings for which they were made.

It is usually accepted that the first deck appeared in Germany in 1325.  Although it was not the full Tarot as we understand it. But; a presentation of "hunt" scenes, and Courtesans.  During the course of XIV century several decks originated in France and in Italy.  The earliest being 17 cards having preserved from of the deck produced in 1392 for King Charles VI.    

The oldest  relatively well preserved deck is the one produced for the duke families Visconti-Sforza of Milan, about the middle of XV century, out of which 74 cards have been preserved . Although these decks already feature a recognizable structure of the Tarot, symbolism thereof is connected with the symbols and heraldic signs of the ruling families, and thus they still do not correspond fully with the modern-type Tarot.

The Tarot has always been closely connected with the Zodiac and the planets.  Astrological attributions are very precise, however also allowing establishment of an exceptionally broad range of relations between individual cards. Cabalistic interpretation of the Tarot are also  linked to the value of letters in Hebrew Alphabet, and to interpretation of the Tree of Life creating an  overall picture of relations in the Universe. This interpretation understands in itself a chain of levels of essence, everything in the same being linked by means of magic.

With the influence of the Christian church; The Tarot began to express Christian moiré's and symbolism and mediaeval iconography. The author of each Deck has his own ideal of interpretation of the particular details of the cards expression. 

The complex of the Tarot's symbolism was became a frame of patriarchal relations, derived from the meanings attached to two adjacent cards - the Moon, and the Sun. With the  Moon, the traditional symbol of Great Goddess and Mother, in Pantheistic and other Pagan traditions; became associated with unfavorable connotations.  While the Sun, symbol of male supreme deities, continues to hold the positive meaning. Mediaeval Christian fears of witches are responsible for the negative attachment to the Moon and the Female deities.

Syncretism, visible in every deck, points to the influence of the Templars. Gnostics, cabalists and alchemists, who introduced into the basic Christian iconography of the Major Arcana the astrological and alchemist symbols, as well as pictures of old deities. This is how the Tarot that we know today has been created; which uses language said to encompass the symbolic tradition of the whole Euro-Asian history of Mankind.

It has been proposed that Minor Arcana had existed long before the Trumps.  That the Trumps were added as conveyors of metaphysical realizations not advisable to write down. 

I feel it was all an evolutionary process.  First ; there were simple numbered cards, that existed mainly for the playing of games. These became expanded into the Deck of 52 Cards; which expanded the possibilities for divining. These represented the Gregorian Calendar.  (see Cards: below).

I believe that the Trumps, that formed the Tarot in mediaeval times; were in fact a separate explanatory divining system that became merged into the complete Tarot; making better organization and the addition of more complex symbolic representations.  It is still seen as having the "secrets of the Universe" as found in the "Tree of Life".

However construed;  The Tarot is considered to be a universal language knowing of no boundaries. That those coming from different backgrounds and civilizations; and who , may not speak or read the same language can use the archetypical symbolic language of Tarot. Eliphas Levi maintained it was "the universal key to understand life".


                              The Order of the Golden Dawn that was devoted to ancient occult study, was highly influential in compiling the interpretations and symbolism of the Modern Tarot.  Which have become more or less standardized.   Members of this society: Arthur Edward Waite designed the Cards, which were illustrated by Pamela Smith and published by the Ryder Co. The Waite Deck is now considered the standard for interpretation and Symbolism.  (I use this Deck in my card explanations.)  His golden Dawn rival; Aleister Crowley created the Tarot of Thoth; supporting the theory of Egyptian origin, which I hope to add.

                                                                                          ***
TAROT Revealed:

Some believe that symbolism of the Tarot contain the Secret to the Tree of Life. That through understanding of the Tarot symbolism that one can unravel the Mysteries of the Universe.  Even with a lifetime of study; no one would be able to tell you how to do that.

I will however; tell you the secret that I have discovered; that you may use to develop insight that can help guide your life and discover your destiny.

First; you have to understand what the Tarot will NOT do.  It will not tell you your future.  It will not tell you what decisions to make.  But it will help you to discover these things for yourself.

The problem with people is that we want our Fantasies fulfilled and not our realities.  We want easy solutions to complicated problems.  Quite often we approach life in a state of denial.  Not being able to face of who and what we are; and even to see, let alone evaluate, the circumstances we find ourselves addressing.  Frequently, we see the world through our fears, or as we would like it to be and not as it is.  This makes us reticent in action, or consistently facing disappointment.

You will notice the placement of cards in the various layouts. 
They always include  the past, influences and circumstances.
This is because what you are today is an accumulation of these things. They are still a part of you; along with your present situation. 

If you give yourself a "reading" you will sometimes say  "Well!   I already know that";  and wonder where your answer lies. 

For many years people have come to me for advice.  But in reality they already know what they should do.  They either do not want to accept reality; (in their romance, or lifestyle perhaps); or they are afraid of the uncertainty of taking the necessary steps towards change.  They do not want the responsibility of making a difficult decision alone.  So they want some one else tell them what to do or reassure them; that what they already know they should do, is the right course of action.

What is required to find the solutions to our problems;  is to be able to honestly and openly look at ourselves and our situation;  and to accept the contribution that we have made towards these circumstances.  None of us always want to look at the "whole truth".

Next, we have to address what should be done to alleviate our problems or achieve our goals.  We don't always want to do what we should do, or what needs to be done.  

What the Tarot advises is to really look at where you are.  It aids you in the process of this self-examination.  In reality; we already know the answers to these questions.  But; to find them we must look deep within ourselves.  The Tarot vhallenges is to see the Truth.


This is the SECRET of the Tarot.



                                                                                          ***
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