Belief in the Tarot

Yesterday a friend told me she didn’t believe in the tarot. To be honest, I’m not sure I believe either, though I don’t exactly know what I mean by that. Obviously, I believe the cards exist because I have a few dozen decks. I believe they’ve been around for centuries. I believe that the cards have meanings, though I don’t know if those meanings are intrinsic or if they are simply assigned, especially since the cards themselves as well as their meanings have changed over the centuries. And I believe that they help people focus and perhaps help them delve deeper into their problems.

Beyond that, I’m not sure what there is to believe. Although people think the tarot is for for telling the future, those who study the cards say that’s not their purpose. Although the cards are said to help develop one’s psychic abilities, I have yet to see any evidence of that. I also don’t know if readings truly reflect anything in the past, present, or future, or if people simply read into the cards what they want to see. Nor do I find any deeper understanding of myself because of my card use. It’s possible, I suppose, that I have no hidden depths or even hidden shallows, that what I know is all there is.

This talk of belief and non-belief has made me wonder if it is necessary to believe in the tarot for it to work. If belief is all it takes, then one can use any sort of cards, such as a regular deck of playing cards (which some people do) or even seed packets, for that matter. Though perhaps “seed packets” are not a good example because in a lot of respects, seed packets can tell the future, at least for most people. Those people plant the seeds, and someday the picture on the packet will come true. In my case, I’m lucky to get a few scraggly seedlings.

If one’s own belief doesn’t matter, then it should be possible to learn something from the cards, if only to understand what they symbolize and what they mean to others.

After all (to continue the gardening metaphor) I have no belief in my ability to grow anything, though sometimes seeds do come up, and sometimes bushes I’ve transplanted do bloom, like this native rose.

Regardless of what I believe, I plan to continue learning the tarot. It’s certainly a multi-faceted study if nothing else.

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

When the Clouds Stopped Bursting

It rained most of the night, and when the clouds stopped bursting, they left behind a dark and damp day. The tarot card I picked this morning wasn’t any cheerier — it spoke of strife and quarrels, illness and inner conflicts. Luckily, none of those things seem to have anything to do with me, but today was a good day for huddling under the covers and reading, and the books I got from the library are full of all those things.

When the story I was reading became as dreary as the day, I went online and basked in the light of the computer screen to do more research on the tarot. My latest plan of action is to finish out my tarot year (begun on July 1, 2020) with one-card readings, then go to two-cards for a month, then three-cards for the next month, then four cards . . . well, you get the point. Apparently, a person can use any number of cards for a reading, even using the whole deck, though I can’t imagine trying to make sense of that bit of chaos.

I’d planned to use a specific deck for that second phase, the deck that so far seems the only one to speak to me — if a vague affinity can be called “speaking” — but I haven’t yet finished sampling all the decks. If I continued the way I’ve been going, learning each deck by doing a one-card reading for a month, it would take me another year or two to try out all the traditional 78-card decks I have, and then another year for the specialty decks. Most decks, of course, combine the Major Arcana (the twenty-two cards depicting the human archetypes that show a person’s spiritual evolution into enlightenment) with the Minor Arcana (the court cards and the numbered cards), but I have a few decks that are simply the twenty-two Major Arcana cards, while a palmistry deck seems to be just the Minor Arcana. The Persian tarot has fifty-five cards. The Oracle of the Triad has fifty-seven cards. The Chinese Horoscope has forty-seven. The Book of Destiny deck has thirty-three cards. A cartomancy deck has thirty-two. If that isn’t confusion enough, I also have a Deva Tarot deck that has an additional suit called the Triax, for a total of ninety-three cards.

So many options and possibilities!

That, I think is what keeps me interested in the Tarot — the possibilities. I’m sticking with the traditional decks for now because that’s where I find most of the focus for study, both online and in the books I own, but even there, I find a plethora of possibility. There seems to be a vast array of spreads and layouts, and an even greater number of ways to read each spread.

There are also secret codes and arcane symbols on the cards adding further complexity to readings if one chooses to consider them in order to find deeper meaning. According to one interpreter, he keeps his interpretations of the cards brief because if he gave all the various meanings of the cards, he could fill an encyclopedia. Still, it amuses me that so many of the books accompanying the decks will spend pages describing each of the cards, defining the symbols, explaining the codes, and then, at the end of those pages will give the card’s meaning in a single sentence. I really don’t see the purpose of all those symbols and images and codes if it all just comes down to a few keywords.

But then, I am a neophyte. Maybe ten years from now, when I’ve learned much about the cards, I’ll be able to understand, but for now, not so much. Mostly, this research is a way to play with the cards I inherited from my deceased brother, rather than simply treating them like a curiosity.

And it gives me something to think about on this dreary day.

Besides, you never know — I might actually learn something important from all this research and study and practice.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator

Two-Card Tarot Spread

I’ve been doing a daily one-card tarot reading for the past ten-and-a-half months. I plan to finish out my “tarot” year with the one-card reading, then graduate to a daily two-card reading. To that end, I’ve been researching how to do a two-card reading, but even something as simple as that is as confusing as the rest of the tarot information.

For example, there is no such thing as simply choosing the two cards and laying them out since there are several ways of doing it. A reader can shuffle the cards, deal two cards off the top and lay them side by side. Or a reader can shuffle the deck, cut it, lay the two piles side by side, then turn over the two top cards. Or a reader can shuffle the cards, fan them out, and pick two cards and lay them side by side. The side-by-side layout supposedly gives the two cards more or less an equal strength.

Another possibility is to do one of the above ways of laying out the cards, but instead of side by side, one is dealt beneath the other, which gives the lower card a supporting role.

A third possibility is to shuffle the cards, deal one card upright, then deal a second card sideways over that card to cross it. Or deal one card sideways and deal the crossing card upright. Whichever way, it’s still basically the same thing — the bottom card is your situation or question, and the crossing card shows what is crossing you or challenging you.

As if that weren’t enough, there are all sorts of possibilities for the reading of the cards.

For example, in the side-by-side layout, the cards can show two different possibilities, such as yes and no; if this then that; a valid fear and an invalid fear; perception vs. reality; what you need vs. what you want; what you need to act on and what to leave alone; what you know vs what you need to know; what to banish and what to attract; your strength and your weakness; a mistake you made and what you can learn from it; what you are feeling and what you are thinking.

The top card in an up and down layout can show things like what your situation is or what you need to know and the bottom card can give any extra information that might further explain the top card. (Though it seems as if these would work just as well in a side-by-side layout.)

The crossing cards can show things like what your goal is and what is blocking you; what is blocking you and what the solution is; what your ideal is and what you are settling for; what your situation is and what your obstacle, challenge, or adversary might be; a possible opportunity and what might prevent you from following up on the opportunity; what is happening today and what you need to resolve; your state of mind and what problem you face because of it; how you perceive a situation and what the situation really is.

My first quandary, of course, would be how to lay out the cards. Up until now, I have been shuffling the cards, fanning them and then picking one rather than dealing the card from the top of the deck. I could continue to do that, but since I think I’d like to do a reading choosing one major arcana card with a supplementary minor card, I could also shuffle each stack, lay them side by side, then turn up the top card.

Generally, when a person does a reading, they need to ask the cards a question. Since I have no real desire to know anything in the future (since obviously, I will find out what the future is going to be once I get there), and since I think I’m fairly self-aware (the cards have not told me anything about myself that I didn’t already know), mostly I ask “What do I need to know today?”

So my second quandary is: if I continue asking that same question, how would I know what the second card means? Is it an explanation? Is it a challenge of some sort? Is it showing my fears or something else that could be stopping me from knowing what I need to know? Do I have to figure out ahead of time what the second card could represent, or would I try to figure it out from the card itself?

My third quandary would be how long to do a two-card spread before I continue to a three-card layout. Do I do it for a year as with the one-card or just wait to see how I feel?

I don’t suppose any of this really matters. All I know for sure is that it’s a good thing I have several weeks before I have to make any sort of decision.

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

Tarot — My Next Step

It seems strange to me that although a tarot deck is comprised of 78 cards, almost all the deep studies focus on the Major Arcana (the twenty-two cards depicting the human archetypes that show a person’s spiritual evolution into enlightenment).

The other 58 cards in a tarot deck are classified as the minor arcana. The minor arcana is sometimes divided into two also, with forty cards being called “spot” or “pip” cards, and sixteen being the court cards (what are known as face cards in a normal card deck).

Most books about the tarot speak only of the Major Arcana, giving detailed descriptions of the cards, information about the symbolism on each card, as well as an extensive interpretation. Very little is said of the minor arcana. Even the books that are geared specifically to certain decks, give barely more information than is in the small leaflet included with most decks. Most of those books seem to be fill, devoting much space to a description of each card, which seems redundant. After all, I can see what the card looks like. What I don’t know is what it means.

Because of this, I have compiled my own book of interpretations of the minor arcana gleaned from a variety of sources. Still, the biggest emphasis is on the Major Arcana which leads me to believe that those twenty-two cards are the real power and the rest of the cards are more like helper cards to further develop a theme created by a layout of the Major Arcana.

In fact, there are tarot decks (some of which I have) that only include the Major Arcana, and there are divinatory spreads that only use the Major Arcana.

I am about to graduate from a daily single-card tarot pick to a two-card spread so I can begin learn how to read the cards and to figure out how they influence one another. Oddly, it’s hard to find such information. Most sites or books that talk about the various spreads will say what each card stands for in the spread, but not how to read them. Mostly, they say to rely on your intuition.

The first year of using the decks my brother collected was set aside for single-card readings. The year will be up in less than two months, so I need to figure out the next step in my tarot education. This second year (or at least the first month or two) will be for two-cards so I can begin to get an idea of how they influence one another.

My idea is that since the Major Arcana is . . . well, major, I should choose one card from the Major Arcana to answer my question (which is usually “What do I need to know today?) and then choose a card from the Minor Arcana to further develop the thought in some way.

Another possibility, of course, would be just to use the Major Arcana, but I wonder if that would limit my education too much.

A third possibility would be to forget the easy two- and three-card layouts and go directly to a complicated spread, then spend a week deciphering it. (All the tarot folk say not to do a major spread every day, but how else does one learn?)

I still have a couple of months to decide what to do.

Wait! I just thought of something — I could ask the Tarot what my next step should be!

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

The Magickal Tarot

The tarot deck I am using this month is called The Magickal Tarot, though I’m not sure what makes it magical other than that the cards are supposed to be symbolic representations of the seventy-eight non-physical entities that rule the inner workings of the cosmos. Whatever that means. And anyway, if it’s true that the tarot is a representative of those entities, all tarot decks would be just as magical.

It’s a strange deck, at least to my eyes, with weird artwork. What makes it even stranger is that the artist used an interpretation of symbolism derived from Aleister Crowley’s Book of Thoth, so by all rights, I should have skipped this deck and gone straight to Crowley’s Thoth Tarot Deck, but I chose this deck because it seemed to be an interesting look at the cards. Instead of a single interpretation of each card, he broke it down into three separate sections per card, a moral level, a mental level, and a material level, which I thought would give me a greater understanding of the cards. Unfortunately, he only did this for the Major Arcana (the twenty-two cards depicting human archetypes that show a person’s spiritual evolution into enlightenment).

For the minor arcana (the fifty-two cards that are similar to a regular pack of cards plus an extra face card per suit) he did what everyone else does — gives a simple interpretation.

Even worse, from my point of view, the interpretation of the card in the book is often at odds with the card itself.

For example, today’s card was the ten of cups, which is basically a card of good fortune and success, harmony and fulfillment. And yet the card itself mentions satiety and conflicting elements. The difference could be one of interpretation — after all, the artist didn’t write the book, he only created the cards.

Still, for all the drawbacks, I’ll stick with the deck. Who knows, I might learn something I wouldn’t otherwise know if I had passed on it. Besides, the month will be over soon, and I’ll be able to use a different deck, perhaps one that really does seem magical.

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

Magic!

Aleister Crowley was an early twentieth century occultist and magician who unabashedly did what he wanted, and hence earned the name, “the wickedest man in the world.” I have no idea how wicked he really was, but I do know he thought his work was good because it freed people from earthly rules and opened them to spiritual experiences. He was heavily involved in a secret group called the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and designed a tarot deck that is used to this day. (I somehow ended up with a slew of his decks in three different sizes, but because a couple of the images on the cards creep me out, I haven’t yet used any of those decks.)

Crowley even founded his own religion based on the idea that the key principle of life was the pursuit of each individual’s will. (“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.”)

He was a great proponent of magic, which he defined as, “the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with will.”

And that’s the point I’ve been leading up to.

I find Crowley’s definition of magic provocative because it basically turns art and writing (and even just living) into magic, which of course, we already knew. We take something that doesn’t exist — a story or a painting — and out of our own will, we bring it forth into the world. Truly magical. By this definition, almost anything can be magic — a garden, a family, a friendship. And, again, of course these things are all magic.

We normally think of magic as legerdemain — conjuring tricks — or even something otherworldly, where a person can conjure something into being without trickery and using only his or her mind.

I’d love to have that sort of magic — conjuring something from nothing but the energy around me.

I had to stop there and think. Would I really want that sort of magic? To be honest, I don’t know. I like the sort of every day magic we pretend to understand. (I say “pretend” because does anyone really understand where a story or a piece of art comes from?)

In many respects, this blog is magic. I can write down whatever I am thinking, and potentially, people all over the world can peak into the world I have created.

Because I have willed it, so it is.

Very magical!

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

Esoterical Egyptian Tarot

The tarot deck I am using this month is a collector’s item: the 1980 Enoil Gavat tarot, also known as the Tarocco Esoterico Egiziano (the Esoterical Egyptian Tarot). It’s another large deck, though it’s easier to fan out than the one I used last month, and is packed full of every imaginable tarot-related symbol. Supposedly, there are a few jokes hidden in the cards, most notably the name of the deck, which is the artist’s name, Tavaglione, spelled backward.

The word on the back of the card Opotoim is another backward play on words — mio topo — and is in honor of the movie El Topo, written, directed by, and starring the tarot master Alejandro Jodorowsky. The movie is a 1970 Mexican art film and El Topo in Spanish means “The Mole,” though in Italian Mio Tope means “My Mouse.” Another example of the artist’s sense of humor?

My card pick for today was the page of wands, and the main keyword is “stranger” or “foreigner.” A different interpretation of the page of wands mentions that I have a curious mind. And both those meanings are so apropos of today.

When I stepped outside to check the weather as is my habit, I noticed a U-Haul pulled up to the vacant house next door. Later, when my walk took me past the truck, (see where the curious mind comes in?) I got to talking to the fellow and discovered he’s going to be using the place, and the owner’s help, while turning an old school bus into a traveling home. I told him it sounded fascinating (which of course it does) and asked if he minded if I checked on his progress from time to time. He seemed delighted with the idea, though I got the impression it was more for the safety of his tools and such than bragging rights. The more people out and about, the more cautious nefarious folk tend to be. And he’s right to be concerned. There has been an inordinate amount of theft in the area, though I have heard that the main thief now lives in a different neighborhood.

Thievery isn’t the only problem. People also leave things behind, and that’s just as bad as people taking things — this morning, another neighbor had to clear away someone’s “home” — a sleeping back and other paraphernalia from one of the many homeless here in town. (Compliments of the homeless coalition that brings homeless here from the major cities in Colorado and elsewhere, and if people wash out of the program, they move into our alleys and abandoned houses.)

I don’t really see anything mystical in this particular card showing up on this particular day. After all, the law of averages dictates that at least some of the cards would be spot on.

But it is interesting, nevertheless — both the card and the stranger.

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

Tarot Update

It seems as if this month just started, as if only a couple of days ago I started using a new tarot deck, but in another couple of days, I need to pick a new deck to use during April. Well, I don’t have to use a new deck, but that’s one of the reasons for my picking a card every day and for learning the tarot — to use my deceased brother’s tarot collection.

Although I am getting familiar with the tarot, I still don’t quite see how it fits in my life. It’s supposed to be a way to get to know oneself, and unless I am extremely obtuse, I’m not learning anything I don’t already know. Most people think of the tarot as a way of learning the future, or at least how to decide to go forward into the future, but that also doesn’t seem to fit with my life. Partly, of course, I don’t want to know. And partly, I already know the future, if not in specifics, then in general. If the past is anything to go by, the future will bring good things to my life, and it will bring a lot of not so good things. Either way, the knowing isn’t important — it’s being able to deal with what comes that’s important, and the lessons I’ve learned from grief lessons tell me I’ll find a way to accept whatever happens.

Besides, even if the purpose of the tarot was to learn the future, it’s nothing special. We can all learn what the future holds just by living. I mean, tomorrow is today’s future, and when I wake up tomorrow, I will know what the future holds. To a certain extent, anyway. Sometimes things change drastically from morning until night, witness all the people who woke up fine and ended up with The Bob by the evening.

Still, although a deep psychic connection with the tarot eludes me (perhaps because any psychic powers I might have are rather weak), I am continuing with my studies.

To date, the deck I like the most is this month’s deck, The Tarot of the Stars. It’s larger than most, which was a problem until I figured out how to shuffle them, and they aren’t slick enough to easily fan out, but other than that, they seem to be a quintessential tarot deck, with plenty of symbolism if I ever get into that aspect, as well as a key word to help figure out the meaning.

Today’s card was the magician, which is about knowledge, willpower, ability, eloquence, beginnings. It’s about harnessing the magician’s power to create the world you want. It’s about a lot of other things too, depending on whose interpretation you go by, but this brief interpretation seems to fit this particular card.

I still have a couple of dozen decks to try out to see if they speak to me, but so far, this is the closest. Oddly, it’s also the one I gravitated toward at the beginning when I first unpacked the decks, but since the instruction booklet that came with the deck is in an obscure dialect of Italian, I couldn’t use the cards until I developed my own guidebook. Once I’ve gone through all the decks, once I’ve gone through all the cards (some cards still haven’t shown up in my daily reading, though I’ve been doing this since July), and once I’ve started doing multi-card readings and need something to do on the off days (you’re not supposed to do a daily spread for oneself, though I know why) and need something to do the off days, I might try to translate the book via Word and Google.

Meantime, there are still two more days of enjoying this deck before I have the onerous task of picking a new one.

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

Twelfth Year

I got through the eleventh anniversary of Jeff’s death without a major upsurge of grief, just a feeling of nostalgia and a bit of sadness. For a moment, before I retired for the night, I wanted to cry if for no other reason than a recognition that he is gone, but no tears came. I think I’m cried out, which in itself is ironic because for so many years, it felt as if the tears would never stop.

I once heard a saying that I didn’t understand until after Jeff died: Nothing changes and then everything changes. For years, nothing changed in our lives. It seemed as if we would always be like that — him struggling with dying, me struggling with living. Then he stopped breathing, and in that moment, everything changed.

Well, not everything. One thing has never changed. After all these years, he’s still the person I most want to talk to. We shared so much over the years, it is bewildering to me that we can’t sit down and get caught up. Or stand up and get caught up — looking back, it seems as if we were always standing when we talked. Who better to help me make sense of our lives both before and after his death? I do talk to him, or rather to his picture, though my comments are nothing more than asides, mentioning my day, maybe listing something for which I am grateful, or asking him how he’s doing. It’s hard to have a deep meaningful conversation when it is all one-sided.

I discovered a strange thing this morning. Although I have picked a tarot card to read the first thing every morning, I noticed a blank spot on my tarot journal where yesterday’s card was supposed to be. My morning routine is quite rigid. I do some stretching exercises, make the bed, fold three origami cranes, then shuffle whatever tarot deck I am using, and pick a card. Somehow, after I folded the cranes, I must have become distracted, and spaced out the whole tarot thing.

It’s nothing major, just a weird lapse, but it makes me wonder if subconsciously I blocked it out. After all, the tarot readings are a sort of memorial to my brother, and he loathed Jeff. Or maybe I simply didn’t want to know what the card would say. Either way, it’s unsettling to me — I don’t like forgetting to do things that I thought had become habit. Though, to tell the truth, this sort of forgetting does happen with me.

When I was in my late twenties, I ran a mile every day for years, and then days would go by, and suddenly I’d remember that I’d forgotten to run. One day I stopped running altogether. I simply forgot. It’s the same reason I am adamant about blogging every day — if I don’t blog every day, the days might pass without my ever writing a word. I have forgotten to blog a couple of days, but remembered sometime the late in the evening, so I was able to do my daily stint. Would it matter if I forgot? Probably not, but I do like the discipline of writing something every day, and if I let a day lapse, and then another and another, chances are I won’t be as willing to get back to blogging. (If I do forget to remember to blog one day, don’t worry. It has happened in the past, and will probably happen again, though I do try to remember not to forget.)

But that’s not important. What is important is that today starts my twelfth year of living without the person I thought I’d grow old with. Well, I am growing old; it’s just that I’m growing old alone. I’m mostly okay with that, at least, today I am. Tomorrow might be different.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator

The Tarot of the Stars

The tarot deck I am using this month is a collector’s item: La Porta Celeste — I Tarocchi delle Stelle. The Tarot of the Stars. It was one of the first in my deceased brother’s collection that caught my eye. It’s a beautiful deck, and large — 6″ X 3.5″, and seems as if it’s the sort of deck one would use to do readings. It also seems more mystical than some, since this deck supposedly has its own cabalistic and alchemical system which is unique when compared to western tarot decks. The artist, Giorgio Tavaglione, integrated copious symbolism into his designs, particularly the astronomical information illustrated above each image. The problem with this deck (and the reason I never used it before) is that the book that comes with the deck is written in an archaic Italian dialect, very difficult to translate because it is loaded with magical and alchemical double entendres.

This is from the introduction:

“Tra le piu antiche immagine-peniero, la Spirale e una delle piu profonde e misterose. Nella Spirale vi e il concetto del Lairinto, con la sua entrata e la sua uscita. Nel Labirinto, con la sua entrata e la sua uscita. Nel Labirinto vi e l’idea/senso della Vita, del”evoluzione individual e di tutta la Societa Umna. Dalle inciscioni megalitiche dei Celti a quelle dell’Africa Nera, dalle decorazioni Mayaa e Azteche a quelle Indu, Deva e Asura, sino all doppia spirale Cinese dello Yin-Yang, la Spirale ha expresso ed esprime l’esensione, lEmanazione, la sviluppo nella continuita, ciclica in una Rotazion Creativa. Qesta meravigliosa immagine Cosmica e simbolo del E’quilibrio nello squlibrio dell Ordine all ‘interno del Cambiamento, della Mutaione. Nella Spirale logritmica si ha la permanenza della forma nonsante la crescita assimetrica.”

The following is more or less a translation, via Google and Word:

“The Spiral is one of the most profound and mysterious images. In the Spiral there is the concept of the Labyrinth, with its entry and exit. In the Labyrinth there is the idea / meaning of Life, of the individual evolution and of the whole Human Society. From the megalithic incisions of the Celts to those of Black Africa, from the Mayan and Aztec decorations to the Hindu, Deva and Asura ones, up to the double Chinese spiral of Yin-Yang, the Spiral has expressed and expresses the extension, the Emanation, the development of a continuous cycle of a creative rotation. This is a wonderful cosmic image and symbol of balance within change. The spiral stays formed, notwithstanding its asymmetric growth.”

It would take me forever for me to retype the book and try to translate it, though I might do a bit here and there. This deck is supposed to be similar to Papus, Wirth, and Cagliostro, all of which conform with the scholarship of Eliphas Levi, whoever he is. I do have both a Papus deck and a Cagliostro, which might help. I imagine, if I continue my tarot studies, I’ll eventually be able to figure out some of the symbolism on my own. If not, I can simply use it like I do any tarot deck, referencing my own collected meanings for each card. (I’ve been keeping a notebook where I keep note the meanings of the cards from various sources, sort of a personal key to the tarot.)

Beyond the ludicrousness of including an instructional book that purportedly even modern Italians can’t read, there is another problem: the large cards make them difficult to shuffle, and the matte finish makes it hard to fan out the cards on a table to choose each day’s offering.

It’s still one of my favorite decks, despite all this, mostly because it seems like a quintessential tarot deck. Too bad it’s not going to be one I use frequently, because I have a duplicate deck in case I damaged the cards. Or perhaps I can sell the duplicate; after all, it is a collector’s item.

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God