Tarot as Notarikon

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)

Alchemate: Trumps 19 and 20

Statement:  The Work is the demolition of the Wall of Fiction the disciple’s  “Mind-Body” finds Itself trapped in.

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.

 

Alchemate!

Santa Muerte Tarot

 

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.

Butterflies

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.

Colors

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

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.

Candles

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 .

 

20-19 The Coming Year with Cooke’s “New Tarot”

It is the 21st century and John Starr Cooke’s  Aquarian Tarot was created for this time. It was an offering channeled through a makeshift Ouija Board using a silver dollar planchette via a group of star entities who happened to be around circa 1966 just as the heavens were starting to rearrange themselves.  This Tarot has been called the Reverse Tarot and nicknamed the Hippie Tarot by some, though The Motherpeace Tarot really is the true holder of that title.

The Aquarian Tarot was and is a famous  Tarot deck as was its artist John Starr Cooke the man behind the San Francisco Be-In and the Haight Ashbury hippie scene.

Many influences went into the deck some obvious others not. One major influence of Cooke on the Books or Trumps themselves is the art and culture of the Mexican landscape where Cooke lived off and on. His subconscious used symbology  from the Aztec-Mexica paradigm  to illustrate the instructions of the Spirits he and his circle channeled.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Knower is the Old Judgement card, the date of the current millenium or 20. The Doer card is the Old Sun card which occupied the 19th position in the Old Order of the deck.  2019 will yield new knowledge about our Sun or rather we shall learn more about what the Sun is doing.

One can use the 20-19 trump pair as: an insight into “global warming;” an indicator of increased sunspots and/or solar instability; or a predictor of a new superweapon which destroys by fire.

John Starr Cooke was a mysterious man indeed!

The Turning of the Wheel

The tenth card of the Major Arcana is the Wheel of Fortune. The Wheel is sometimes identified with the Wheel of the Year.  In different cultures the concept of a New Year meant  different things and began at different times of the year.

In agricultural or rural areas after the Harvest was  in and the land cleared, the old growing season was over and a new season begun with Mother  Earth getting a well deserved nap under a soon to be snow covered blanket.

For some, the New Year began on November 1st, an old World Cross-Quarter Day.  From All Hallows Eve, through All Soul’s Day on November 2nd was seen as the transition to a clean slate, and all debts had to be settled by then.

The larders were full, the hunting season was underway with meats being skinned, butchered and hung. Sausages were being made as well as cheeses and mead.  The advent of Winter in the Northern Hemisphere was the time to begin the more creative and decorative arts-  spinning, weaving, sewing, tanning hides,  woodturning and carving.  It was a time to teach the babes and with early dark to listen to tales told  by Elders which went on for nights at a time like installments of a soap opera.

The Wheel of Fortune can represent samsara in a Buddhist world view. It is a symbol linked visually to the  face of a clock.   It shows time changing as it did last night from summer to standard time. The Wheel of Fortune  also shows the stages of  human life and of Mother Nature.  Round and round we go, to grow and prune,  to turn and  change, as Time blinks its  Sun and Moon eyes.

 

The Major Arcana and the Hermetic Path

 Many groups and lodges have used the Major Arcana to hold teachings and mark ranks. The Tarot reader on the corner who has not studied any esoteric philosophies nor participated in schools of ceremonial magic will not  know anything about this aspect of Tarot.

Crowley, Mathers, W.E. Butler and many other occultists have left records on the use of the Tarot in ritual but most of these papers do not spend time  speaking about divination but focus on symbolic applications and correspondences.

The Major Arcana  cards themselves can be seen as 22 scenarios or cliches which the student can “enter” via pathworking or journeying techniques according to their degree in order to  increase their knowledge of the astral plane.

The use of the Tarot in this way is but another application of  Hermetic practices in which the Tree of Life is center stage  and  the Tarot is used to denote  paths on the Tree.

 

The Reaper

 Most people see October as the beginning of the Season of the Witch, this is a modern trend in a time when Witches are a bit more tolerated than in the past. However, in Agro-cults this month is the Season of the Reaper. It is Harvest. The whole of Nature ( in places where there are four seasons ) is changing her clothes.

The Tarot card image on the left picks up some of the colors I see in mid- October in the beautiful Hudson Valley of  Upstate New York . The Hudson Valley was  home to the  Mahican/ Mohican and the Wappinger tribes. Fall was their time to hunt.

Traditionally,  the Death card in Marseilles Tarot carries no title but only the number 13 usually in the Roman form of XIII just as the Fool card is a cipher which shows no number only its title.

Many modern folk want to mitigate the meaning of Death. Death is death. His tool, the Scythe is the same instrument farmers use to clear their fields at Harvest, only Death clears the ranks of men. Ripeness of his fruit is not  determined by age, but Death is death.

It is a withering which announces Death’s approach which like “age” may not always be seen on the flesh but is more an unraveling. Death’s scythe can strike the hail and hearty as accident, the old and frail as evident, but Death is death.

Death is a permanent ending to a situation, person or thing. It cannot be revived. It is over and done once the Scythe has been swung. Death has to be accepted. It may take some time as one may cling as the last autumn leaves on the trees before first snow, but Death is death.

The concepts of what happens after Death is not the point of October harvest but is to be found in the pantry of November remembering.

Justice : Card for the Equinox

The perfect card for the Fall Equinox for me is the eighth card in Le Tarot de Marseilles or Justice.  The scales and the sword evoke  a feeling of leaves falling in the Northern Hemisphere and the descent into colder weather as shown by the ermine triangle in Lady Justice’s robe. In the Camoin-Jodorowsky Tarot, Justice is forward facing and wears no veil. She is an observer.

Most Tarot readers forget the different numerical order in the Marseille styled decks. The number 8 is the same figure as the leminscate when turned on its side. It reminds one of eternity or  the eternal return. It is a looped ribbon. Most switch the words eternal and infinite but they are quite different in concept. What is infinite is stretched out endlessly, or without end. What is eternal is enduring as it is repeated over and over. It is phenomena which can be seen, evaluated and weighed on Justice’s scale. What is eternal has a beginning and an ending point which the sword reminds us of in the right hand of the central figure.

More modern minds might see an eternal return as a feedback loop, with a beginning midpoint, and ending; which then rewinds to start over again. “Turn and return”.  The cycle of birth, death and rebirth may have emerged from Northern agro-cults as they observed the life of trees, crops and seasons.

The Roots of Tarot and the Great Arcanum

My readers know by now that I separate divination from fortune telling.  As a divination tool the Majors speak of phenomena, the Royals  of psychological concepts and the Minors of energies. The Tarot is used for divination as it contains  3 parts which are analogous to those of the Great Arcanum of the Hermetic mystery system.  In fact the words TARO and ROTA form part of the formula of the Great Arcanum according to Eliphas Levi in Transcendental Magic.

Tarot in an esoteric sense functions as a language of the Great Work. Language of course is symbolic and when combined with the  imagery becomes a treasure map. The words cartomancy and cartography share the root cart  from Greek χάρτης chartēs, “papyrus, sheet of paper, map;” which  becomes in our modern English card.

The Tarot was introduced  and produced in the time of the Moors in the cities of  Cordoba and Toledo during Spain’s Golden Age.  Cabala with a C refers to  Horsemen,  Knights or Crusaders those who traveled.  In those times one traveled to learn any Occult Art.

The Tarot  as used by  the Travelers, i.e.  chivalric orders of Adepts were landmarks on the territory of both exterior and interior maps,  well before the influence of philosophy and religion which colors Hebrew Kabbalah became the more dominant theme. The language of the earlier Cabala is extant in the Coats of Arms used by the Royal Families of Europe who in Tarot parlance are the Court Cards.

Hence, Spanish Cabala is functionally a geometric or graphic approach much akin to a chess game while Jewish Kabbalah is more the mathematical perspective as evidenced by its Gematria. The African influence on Tarot according to Mouni Sadhu by way of  Professor G.O.B. Mebes of Russia  resides in its color coding.

Hence the three parts of the Great Arcanum are present in the very construction of the Marseilles deck in  the graphic scenarios of the Majors;  the bright coloring of the Honors or Royal Court and the numbering of the Pips or Minor Arcana.

Occult and esoteric correspondences or links are connected to Tarot cards as mnemonic devices  which allow them to pass on pieces of occult knowledge according to the school or group one is associated with from one generation to another.

 

The Court of the Royal Arcana

 

The Royal Arcana

On the Hermetic Path of Tarot one has to learn of the elements. The elements are the components of the physical and the psychological aspects of the human being. How do we go about doing this? We have to enter the Court of the Tarot Deck and salute the Royal Arcana.

Each suit represents an element ( fire, water, air, earth) and each has a ruling hierarchy symbolized by the King, Queen, Knight and Page. In this ranking each element is represented, i.e. all Kings are Fire, each Queen is Water, Knights are air and the Pages Earth.   For example the King of Wands is Fire of Fire while his Queen is Water of Fire. In the Suit of Disks The Knight is Air of Earth, while  The Page of Swords is Earth of Air.

Each court card is a combination of  suit element filtered through  the rank  of the Royal who presents it!

The so called personal attributes of the Royal Arcana are in truth coded  energy patterns. We know the energies themselves have “natures”.  Fire expands, Water contracts, Air moves and Earth supports. By their  natures Fire and Water,  Air and Earth  are in opposition; while Earth and Water,  Air and Fire are complementary. This helps us to read the energies of each Royal Arcana or Court Card and hence the effect it has in any grouping of cards.

The new reader of Tarot is often perplexed as to why the Court cards appear so frequently in readings.  The answer is they  do so to  show the patterns of  energy the Querent is working with.  However, one has to step beyond the lore of coloring and the assignment of human personalities and their traits  as persons around  the client  in fortune telling and move into the realm of divination in the Hermetic system, which views the Royal Arcana  as being both internal and integral  to the client.

The Royal Arcana  is seen as a means to weigh  psychological components. This is the hinge on which the entire process hangs- the alignment and balancing of the candidate’s internal energies.