Tarot cards are more than just a collection images, a game, or a fortune telling device. They are, together and individually, doorways into the human experience. We find themes such as balance, opposing forces, and enlightenment repeating through the cards. Tarot is powerful because it is not just a collection of images but a complete system. The system affects meanings as much as the images. The cards within the deck are in dialogue with each other. We can gain even more wisdom when we eavesdrop on those conversations. There are many ways to do this. One is to study pairings or groupings based on visual similarities.
At the prompting of some Universal inspiration a few years ago, I devised my Daily Tarot Reading Spread. It developed a card at a time and remained at five cards for a while before I added the sixth card, which was designed to leave me with something to think about in connection with the reading.
The Fool’s Journey as 3 X 7 Theory
In my Part Two of Journey Through the Major Arcana, I talked about Rachel Pollack’s presentation (in Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom) of the Major Arcana Trumps as a sequence, or progression, of an individual’s journey to individuation and enlightenment.
The Trumps (minus the Fool, who represents the individual taking the journey) are divided into three lines:
- Cards I-VII are seen as consciousness (the outer concerns of life in society)
- Cards VIII-XIV are seen as subconscious (our inward search to find who we really are)
- Cards XV-XXI are seen as superconscious (development of a spiritual awareness and a release of archetypal energy).
Darkness and light are the duality that is expressed through the Tarot. Where there is one, you will find the other. The darkness is expressed through our unconsciousness and is accessed through our intuitive self (as represented by the High Priestess and the Moon). To truly understand ourselves, we need to move into our deepest core. It is within the line of the superconscious that we develop our spiritual awareness, and open up the archetypal energy of the cards and our lives.
Review by Valerie Sylvester
The first deck most beginning tarot readers encounter when starting out on their tarot journey is the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, (which I’ll refer to as “RWS” after this initial mention). It’s often the “default deck”, the one that people learn the basic meanings of the cards from. It also serves to illustrate many tarot books and websites, and most experienced tarot readers have some familiarity with it, even if they don’t use the deck regularly. Many new Tarot decks are published each year; quite of few of these decks are based in some way upon the RWS deck.