It has been a part of my Tarot end-beginning ritual to interpret the incoming year in terms of the arcanum or trumps. Here, I am using the mini Thoth deck printed by AG Muller back in 1997. The Thoth Tarot is an old friend and was my introduction to the study of the Tarot as a system versus as a divination aid.
Above is the Tarotic equivalent of the coming year 2021. As we have been dealing with the Judgement / Aeon card for 20 solid years the energy is recognizable. The end of the Age is a transition and the effect is destructive, and fragmenting. Crowley believed this was the card of the New age of Horus, which is why the child Horus is shown with his finger to his mouth covering his lips which is saying not all can be told- this advice has been received by all serious metaphysicians since 2000.
Card 21 is The World/Universe and it is the final combination that can be paired with the 20th trump. The pairing says that there is an ending which is superimposed over the entire planet which covers or ushers in the New Age. We are there now.
However there are other messages from Maat/Math in the Tarot Gematria of 2021 which are found in hidden or enclosed combinations. 20-21 hides in the reverse order 12 and 02, i.e. The Hanged Man and the High Priestess.
With this deck the blue tones and the shading of these two trumps point to the subtle level of the energy changes. The Hanged Man speaks of sacrifices human and otherwise and it speaks of reversals- of the plane “above” the Earth’s material level. So like Odin the initiate must make a sacrifice to receive knowledge which AT THIS TIME is being taught or released only on the subtle planes by the High Priestess. The High Priestess is another concept of secrecy as only to those who have made offerings of their time, commitment and devotion- symbolized by the fruits of the Earth at her feet can enter her temple.
The final combination of 2021 in reverse hides 10& 22(Cipher/Zero). The 22nd card is the unnumbered trump. The Wheel of Fortune is the symbol of the limit of evolution in the Cosmos. It is the Revolving Door of incarnation or incarceration – conception; birth; maturity; death which plays over and over- until it doesn’t.
In the forward motion of 20-21 we see 22 & 01, the Fool and the Magus. Are they adversarial energies or one and the none? Zero is hung over The Fool as a symbol to remind of us of the Unborn and Infinite Outside the Cosmic confines. This combination reminds the metaphysician there is an escape hatch as well as a pause button.
Exitus Scaena Sinisterism
Here is the Fool from the Jacques Vieville deck circa 1650. It follows an anonymous Tarot of Paris of unknown date which also faces left. What is important to notice is that there is NO NUMBER on the card as well as the direction the Fool faces. In the Vieville decks the majors bear no titles and the numbering is different than the Marseilles, which is different than the modern RWS Tarot.
The first acknowledged Marseille deck is the Jean Noblet of 1659. The Florney edition does a modern revisioning of the original Vieville deck and goes one step further by presenting 44 cards with a reversed card in the all majors edition turned to “match” Marseille style decks.
Since the Vieville is older, and faces left wii see this style of card as a remnant of an earlier Gnosis now forgotten. Left to us means the Fool is making an exit from space time.
The right facing Fool as shown in the Marseille style editions wii interpret as the Fool entering and/or re-entering the labyrinth of the Cosmos as tabula rasa to walk its circular path of sequential eternal return.
Remember that the Zero or Cipher is a modern addition to this card. Also the Tarot de Vieville is a unique style of Tarot, just as is the Marseille deck. Below is the all majors double version produced by Editions Le Tarot drawn by the late J.C. Florney.
“Have a care, will you? ” An old line from a time of black and white mysteries comes to mind when wii think of the year 20 and 20. The front and the back of it, the Light and its Shadow, Judgment as the 20th Trump or Major Arcana is called in Tarotic notation.
Gabriel’s Horn is being blown. The Dead jump up from the crypt as the Horn and the Prayers of their anxious descendants disturb their long naps. Once again it seems nothing is right with the world.
Judgement as a year doubled is a time of back and forth finger pointing, of accusing and being accused. It literally is like an old “whodunit.” Who is wrong and who is right is all a matter of perspective and how much cake is in your bag!
However, when you bump into someone in the street, “have a care” and say pardon me. Take at least some responsibility for your actions. It is a start – if you want to survive.
Etymology is the mind’s game. The roots of words are effects not the cause of meaning. Language is symbol based and culturally biased. Words are tricky, the banana peels man’s intellect tosses away and later slips on, and the academic labyrinth it fashions only to get trapped in.
Words cannot explain what is found above the mental plane, i.e. free energy. The mental plane in modern occult terminology is called causal. This is an error.
It is consciousness not cognitive brain function which is the Sole Cause. The primordial emanations which predate existence are vibratory, thus deep study in Hermetic Arts requires one convert words into numbers or frequencies.
Revelation renders mankind outside of his fleshly form whether in the dream body or energy double “dumbstruck.” Above the mental plane pictures and image streams are transferred in lieu of words. The words come later and the meaning, if it is to be had at all, must be wrested from ones life experience.
Tarot as used in Hermeticism focuses on the Major Arcana as notarikon. The descriptions of states and conditions on the card’s face is approached as having another interpretation which goes beyond the images shown. Each trump is an Arcana, the holder of a secret or as they say in the East a “terma” or concealed treasure.
Let us dig!
*The word “notarikon” is borrowed Greek language which was derived from the Latin word “notarius” meaning “shorthand writer.” Notarikon is one of three methods used by Kabbalists, the other two are Gematria and Temurah to rearrange words and sentences. These methods were used in order to derive and to hide the esoteric substratum and deeper spiritual meaning of the words in the sacred texts. Notarikon was used in Alchemy.
( *Info sourced from Wikipedia)
When one approaches Tarot not as a divination device but as the Book of Life’s alchemic notations the Marseille deck’s Major Arcana images reveal the greatest amount of symbolic details towards that purpose.
The Twins in card 19 shown in the walled in garden show the Mind-Body relationship. The child with the tail is of course the physical body which shares much with the animal kingdom.
The Wall around the Twins is the Wall of Fiction or the accepted Reality of Phenomena which has to be demolished. It is the symbol of liminal space the time between ‘what was’ and what comes ‘next.’ It represents transition, waiting, and limitation. It may seem a defined space is Paradise or a Garden of Eden but in fact it is a holding cell for both mind and body.
The shining Sun shows the Group Mind as an observer and energy source. The Sun is not confined inside the Garden but shines over a greater space than the walled enclosure.
In order for a student to become an initiate they must destroy their wall. This is a process of work and understanding of their own mental and psychological fictions. A search for beliefs or the seeds which took root and in a sense created each brick or obstacle which limits their potential or greater awareness.
The word “alchemate” is a portmanteau which showed up around 2016 which combines the words “alchemy” to transform and the word “automate” which means to make processes and systems automatic.
An initiate begins or turns on the process of transformation in the limited consciousness of the DAY cycle using affirmations, visualizations and/or energy moving exercises which when faithfully done penetrates to the deeper levels of the subconscious to become automatic in the NIGHT cycle which is show in card 20 or Judgement.
The combination of cards 19 and 20 shows the work of the Day and Night Cycle or the process of alchemating!
The Sun as in Card 20 has transformed from the Group Mind of the masses to the Anima Mundi or Soul of the Earth (equilateral cross on yellow flag is an earth symbol) who blows a trumpet. One can see vestiges of the Twins in a male and female pair who represent here the conscious and subconscious aspects of human awareness . A mysterious central grey-blue figure rises up from a prone position in a coffin or bed, facing the Anima Sola and the revelation of a new heaven and Earth with no wall in sight.
The Santa Muerte Tarot finally arrived from Book Depository in the UK who as always has the best prices! This 2017 Lo Scarabeo deck was drawn by Fabio Listrani.
It came in the standard box which is quite sturdy. The cards are glossy and the stock makes it easy to shuffle them. The colors are vibrant and the scenes are not quite RWS in format.
There is not a one on one correspondence to basic Tarot meanings. As a “concept” deck the subject matter “flavors” the brew so to speak. Therefore the action on the cardface is important not a rote response. The LWB gives a short blurb called Advice of the Dead for each card. It would help to look at each card as you read the notation when working with the deck. It is not for those new to Tarot, no concept deck is.
The opening card for me using this deck is the Knight of Pentacles which is not shown here. The Knights are mounted on dead steeds. The Knight of Pentacles is shown in a lime green hue and has a full sack of burlap slung across his back which indicates he brings lots of information.
The first layout done with the deck was a Pentagram Spread to inquire about the deck itself. This is shown in the first photo. The first card was the 10 of Wands which is a red butterfly.
The butterfly is the form taken by women warriors in the Toltec-Aztec culture. They are of course women who die in childbirth and in battle who transform in Spirit and do not enter into Mictlan or the Underworld. The artist has drawn the butterfly wings of the 10’s in this deck as stylized sternums or breastbones,i.e. the bones which protect the heart. Male warriors return as hummingbirds. The concept of to “die in battle” or “warfare” can be extended in modern times to those who die a violent death.
The colors and the directions are key factors in the Aztec codes used to map the world. There is some variation from Olmec to Mayan to Toltec to Aztec to Mexica but in this deck it appears that Red is the color of the West/Wands; Yellow the color of the East/Sword; Blue the color of the South/Cups. The traditional color of the North or Mictlan is white but since the Land of the Dead is where the scenes take place Green/Pentacles becomes the Earth above, the land of the living which is engaged in a reciprocal relationship with the dead.
Bones are seeds in the Aztec Underworld. After the creation of the Fifth Sun the cosmovision of Mesoamerica says bones were required to repopulate the Earth with human beings. The bones taken from Mictlan were then fed the blood of the Gods in order to bring them and mankind back to fleshy life.
In light of this one can see why the phrase “Memento Vivere” or remember to live appears over the Sugar Skull on the deck box. Just as trees, vegetation and flowers come from seeds so does mankind come from seeds of bone.
The High Priestess card connects to one’s dream life. As the scenario shows she has a key to their understanding. In fact she may have a hand in creating them. Her open book has drawings in it like the Codices of the Aztecs not words. A codex is shown again closed in the 6 of Wands also in my Pentagram Spread.
The High Priestess is one of the few cards in the deck with lit candles. The Magician, Hierophant have candles as does The Queen of Wands. The Hermit of course took his lit lamp with him into the grave. The Five of Wands shows a lit match with an empty candle holder. All of these candle/light cards are part of a larger story of the absence or presence of light as awareness in the dream and death worlds.
So we see a slice of “activity” in the Land of the Dead, a land both North and below our feet. Do not place westernized limits on when to use this deck. It is not just for Halloween or the Days of the Dead. Everyday the two worlds of the Living and the Dead intersect with each death and birth; with every sunrise and sunset.
Working with your Ancestors is not a requirement for this deck. The Dead are the dead. They are simply people who have passed on- not just your kin but every dead man and dead woman. They are not Spirits as the Spirit of a dead man having wings flies away and cannot be confined in the Land of the Dead .