For the first three decades during which I was assimilating information about Tarot, I avoided the history of the Kabalah. Not only had it seemed too abstruse and foreign, but the teachings had apparently fragmented due to the many forced migrations imposed upon the Jews throughout their history.
In this essay we will examine the most esoteric, interior architecture that connects Tarot to the historical stream of Mystery School teachings passed down and grafted together from most ancient times.
When the Major Arcana is removed from the Tarot, a pack of cards remains that is almost identical to a modern deck of playing cards. Earliest Tarot manuscripts make a clear distinction between the twenty-two Majors (Trumps) and the rest of the cards.
A number of histories have been written to clarify the people and events connected to the founding of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the most familiar of this century's Secret Societies and source of most of the Tarot decks sold today.
Key words for the suit of Wands include energy, will, desire, and charisma. The wand symbol is, at its most primitive, a rough club of wood, sometimes showing sprigs of new green growth emerging from its weathered grain
The suit of Coins, usually symbolized by a solid gold coin, represents first and foremost, your body, health, vigor, and genetic heredity. It can be seen as the capacity to "ground" and relax, attuning to the rhythms of Nature within and without.
In the essay entitled "The Major Arcana"I emphasize that "something happened" to the Tarot in the late 1600s, when a new trend emerged in the images of the Major Arcana. I point to the Marseilles family of decks and the Etteilla Tarots to illustrate my point.
This Arcanum has mutated profoundly throughout its history. Its original image was the Beggar, who appears sound of limb but vacant-minded, raggedly dressed, with feathers in his matted hair (Pierpont MorganBergamo Visconti-Sforza tarocchi, mid-1400s).
The term "esoteric Tarot" defines our approach to the unfolding history of Tarot. Throughout this program, it is the key concept and watchword. So the reader can follow the discussion, I have listed the following characteristics that must be met to qualify a deck as an esoteric Tarot:
Modern Tarot is not a card game. It is a form of divination. As such, modern Tarot does not originate in medieval Italian card games, although they eventually became mediums through which cartomantic divination was done.
The subject of Gnosticism is entirely too large to be dealt with in an essay such as this one. This spiritual path has a history longer than that of Christianity and covers a territory that includes most of western and eastern Europe
This work began in 1970 when I purchased a used deck of the 20th Century Tarot in a book shop in Salem, Oregon. I was a freshman in college. With parents who were both therapists, I instantly recognized that Tarot was a tool with
In the majority of European esoteric Tarots, the suit of Cups refers to the element water. The suit symbol is usually a large drinking cup or communion cup, like the mysterious Grail chalice, occasionally shown pouring forth with holy water or other sacred fluids.