Sunday, December 31, 2006

Tarot Cards

Any of a set of cards used in fortune-telling and in certain card games. Claims have been made for tarot cards' having originated in China, India, orEgypt, but their true origin remains obscure. Tarot cards approximating their present form first appeared in Italy and France in the late 14th century.

Early tarot decks were of several types, each varying in the number of cards. The standard modern tarot deck is based on the Venetian or Piedmontese tarot. It consists of 78 cards divided into two groups: the Major Arcana, which has 22 cards (also known as trumps), and the Minor Arcana, which has 56 cards. The cards of the Major Arcana have pictures representing various forces, characters, virtues, and vices. The 22 cards are numbered from I through XXI, with the Fool being unnumbered. The tarots of the Major Arcana are, in order: I Juggler, or Magician; II Papess, or Female Pope; III Empress; IV Emperor; V Pope; VI Lovers; VII Chariot; VIII Justice; IX Hermit; X Wheel of Fortune; XI Strength, or Fortitude; XII Hanged Man, XIII Death, XIV Temperance; XV Devil; XVI Lightning-Struck Tower; XVII Star; XVIII Moon, XIX Sun; XX Last Judgment; XXI World, or Universe; and the Fool.

The 56 cards of the Minor Arcana are divided into four suits of 14 cards each. The suits, which are comparable to those of modern playing cards, are as follows: wands, batons, or rods (clubs); cups (hearts); swords (spades); and coins, pentacles, or disks (diamonds). Each suit has four court cards (usually named king, queen, knight, and page) and 10 numbered cards. In ascending order, the value progression in each suit is ace to 10, then page (knave, or jack), knight, queen, and king (though the ace is sometimes assigned a high value as in modern playing cards). The standard deck of modern playing cards was historically derived from that of the Minor Arcana (with the elimination of the knight).

At first the tarot was probably used for playing games, though Gypsies may have used it for fortune-telling. From the 18th century, the cards began to take on esoteric associations, as certain European writers connected them to diverse traditions of mysticism, divination, alchemy, and ritual magic. The cards have retained these associations and are now widely used for fortune-telling.

For fortune-telling, each tarot card is ascribed a meaning. The cards of the Major Arcana refer to spiritual matters and important trends in the questioner's life. In the Minor Arcana, wands deal mainly with business matters and career ambitions, cups with love, swords with conflict, and coins with money and material comfort. The tarot deck is shuffled by the questioner, and then the fortune-teller lays out a few of the cards (either selected at random by the questioner or dealt off the top of the shuffled deck) in a special pattern called a “spread.” The meaning of any card is modified according to whether or not it is upside down, its position in the spread, and the meaning of adjacent cards.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Chariot Tarot Card

The charioteer in this card is a young man whose face bears the unmistakable countenance of determination, focus, and ambition. He is related to the Fool in that he is anxious for new experiences and for adventure, yet he differs from the Fool because he is focused and has a clear goal in mind. He represents youthful passion, potency, the desire to succeed and accomplish great goals, without the naiveté of the Fool. His canopy is covered with stars and his uniform suggests celestial power and spiritual assistance because of the crescent moons on his epaulets and the stars in his crown. The Chariot indicates not only the pursuit, but the nearly assured success of the driver's ambition through the exercise of a focused and determined will. The duality of this ambition is represented by the sphinxes at the front of the vehicle. The black sphinx is negative aspect of an over ambitious desire to reach a goal at any cost. The white sphinx is the positive aspect of this same desire. Does the Chariot indicate a need to embrace a goal and pursue it with vigor? Or does he suggest that perhaps your determination is excessive and possibly detrimental to the health of other aspects of your life? How does this image reflect your inner and outer circumstances?

A struggle or conflict, yet strong potential for triumph over adversity

The Chariot stands for the great leap forward. It shows that we can detach ourselves from our familiar surroundings and go our own way. In doing so, the desire for freedom, ambition, the search for paradise lost, or simply our own need for recognition are driving forces. The Chariot is the only Tarot card that shows the departure to be full of confidence and joy. In all other cases, parting is shown to be characterized by feelings of heaviness and fear. Here, however, is a vigorous, undaunted push forward, initiative, and a great willingness to take risks. The card shows a vast amount of skill (steering the chariot), but also inexperience (entering an unknown world). It must therefore be additionally understood as a warning not to overestimate one's own powers and act too self-confidently and euphorically. Instead, we should, in good time, gain the insight that we still have much to learn.

De Zegewagen staat voor een flinke sprong voorwaarts. Hij geeft aan dat we ons uit onze vertrouwde omgeving losmaken en een eigen weg inslaan. Dit is de enige tarotkaart waarbij het vertrek vol vreugde plaatsvindt, het gaat hier dan ook om een goede stap vooruit. Toch moeten we oppassen onze krachten niet te overschatten. In ons werk duidt deze kaart op het streven naar succes en op het vlak van bewustzijn staat De Zegewagen voor een nieuw, maar toch al sterk zelfbewustzijn, en voor het opbouwen van een eigen wereldbeeld en een doortastende manier van problemen aanpakken. Vaak gaat het er hierom om de kloof tussen denken en voelen te overwinnen. In persoonlijke relaties kan de kaart op het begin van een nieuwe relatie wijzen, of dat er door een bestaande relatie een fris windje waait.

Thursday, January 01, 2004

Death Tarot Card

The Death card is probably the most feared and misunderstood of all the cards in the Tarot deck. In general, people tend to take the meaning of this card far too literally and fear that the indication is for the death of either themselves or others. Relax! The card of Death can be one of the most fruitful and positive cards in the deck. Death is a symbol of the ending of some phase or aspect of our lives that may bring about the beginning of something far more valuable and important. If we encounter this card in a reading it may be an indication that we need to learn to let go of unhealthy attachments in our lives to pave the way to a fuller, more fulfilled life of deeper meaning and significance. The Death card is a card of change, a card of transition. We are transformed by the death of old ways of thinking and by releasing ourselves from clinging attachments that restrain our further growth. The Death card represents the clearing of the old to usher in the new and therefore should be welcomed as a positive, cleansing, transformative force in our lives. "Unless the seed should fall to the ground and die, it shall never bring forth fruit" should be the guiding spirit under which this card is understood. The death and clearing away of limiting factors can open the door to a wider, more satisfying experience of life. What changes are you experiencing? What phase of life is passing away to open you to a richer experience? Or, more actively, what can you do to bring about positive change in your life? Notice, the sun is setting in the distance. Or is it rising?

Death means parting, the great letting go, the end. It then also prepares the way for the new, for that which is to come. However, the card itself first presents us with the end. This can be positive when it relates to a long wished for, liberating ending, yet it is also natural that we have our most painful experiences with the theme of this card. In contrast to the 10 of Swords, which indicates the random and thereby premature ending, this card always stands for the natural end. This means that it is time to let go of something. The Death card is unjustly one of the most feared. The eternal embellishers, who do not understand it, read the card only to be the proclamation of something new and want to deny us the deep experience of parting and the related life-accepting experiences. "We have separated living from dying and the interval between them is fear" says Krishnamurti, and: "You cannot live without dying."

De Dood betekent afscheid, het loslaten van iets. Dit kan een bevrijdend einde zijn, maar kan ook met pijnlijke ervaringen gepaard gaan. Ten onrechte behoort De Dood tot een van de meest gevreesde kaarten. Krishnamurti zei: "We hebben leven van sterven gescheiden en de interval tussen beide is vrees. Men kan niet leven zonder te sterven." Deze kaart dringt erop aan dat we afscheid van iets moeten nemen en ons innerlijk leeg moeten maken voor het nieuwe dat op ons wacht. Op het niveau van bewustzijn duidt De Dood op het einde van een ontwikkelingsproces zodat we nu onze oude levensbeschouwing prijs zullen moeten geven. Het gaat hierbij om instellingen en overtuigingen die niet wezenlijk van onszelf zijn maar ooit zonder nadenken zijn overgenomen. Op het vlak van persoonlijke relaties duidt deze kaart eveneens op een afscheid, we zouden moeten proberen onze metgezel te danken voor de gezamenlijk doorgebrachte tijd.