Monday, July 23, 2012

mysterious july

A double reading for July, 2012, an unusual month of clouds and gloom.

The sky, Ouranos, above, made of air and carrying the moisture; The earth, Gaiea, mysterious and beautiful, with the fire deep inside, is the three cards below.

The air of mystery is apparent in the first card, the six diamonds, since it's the karma card symbolizing repayment of debts, or some other discharge of material obligation. I have no debts, although I might soon be looking at paying higher rents than I anticipated.

The six may be related to the shock and awe of the tower, a dramatic and sometimes traumatic event that shakes and often re-shapes one's world view. The event might be external or internal.

The ace of clubs means learning and studying, acquiring new knowledge or wanting to seek it. It's almost never a bad card to get.

Robert Camp says the eight clubs, "is the card of mental power, the ability to focus one's mind on a goal or objective and see it through to a successful conclusion...It bestows the power to overcome all problems by focusing one's thoughts...

"The Eight of Clubs" is one of three "fixed" cards. When it appears, we have the opportunity to fix our mind on certain goals and objectives...Out of that focus and concentration, success is assured."

Earth's reading reveals itself as a rapidly-unfolding sequence of events with the nine clubs, which Robert Camp says means "completion of plans or ideas," also saying that "it will signal a time when some ideas, ways of thinking, or communicating, or some personal plans of yours are ready to end.

"If you choose to resist this ending," Camp continues, "you will experience great disappointment by attempting to hold on to things, ideas, or plans that are no longer useful or helpful to you."

The nine clubs sometimes is indicative of a time when deep, mystical states of mind may occur, and the vehicle for such experiences might be symbolized by the moon card, as it is simply the "land of dreams," or place where each of us goes when we dream.

As with any other reading, the trump cards play larger parts than the others, and there are two here, one in each line.

Quotes from Robert Camp are from his book "Destiny Cards," (1998).

Photo and images on cards ©2012 by catboxer a.k.a. Dave B. Click on the image for a larger view.

Monday, July 02, 2012

tarot demystified

Despite the persistence of a stubborn mythology which asserts that tarot cards are very ancient, having originated prior to the birth of Christianity, the fact is they were invented in the luxury-loving courts of the dukes of Milan and Ferrara, in northern Italy between 1440 and 1450. Stewart Kaplan's Encyclopedia of Tarot, V. II, pages 3-6 provides copies of the documentation that establishes this beyond dispute.

Twenty-two picture cards, the 21 trump cards and the Fool, plus four additional court cards were added to the already-existing 52-card playing-card deck for purposes of playing a game called "trionfi" (triumphs) (Ron Decker  et. al., "A Wicked Pack of Cards", pages 27-28), which spread quickly, gained universal popularity, and soon became known as "tarocchi."

The 78-card standard tarot or tarocchi deck is thus closely related to but distinct from regular playing cards, and was invented for the purpose of gaming.

The game appears to have begun with the production of sumptuous, hand-colored and gilded trionfi decks painted for the high nobility by accomplished artisans. The great majority of the very early surviving cards are of this de luxe variety, but most of a single, mass-produced tarot deck has also survived in scattered pieces, and it provides evidence that the game was popular among all social classes of Renaissance Italians.  Dating from before 1500, this commoners' pack was printed from woodblocks and colored using stencils. Unlike the little masterpieces painted for the dukes of Ferrara and the Visconti and Sforza families of Milan, it's atrociously ugly (but historically priceless), and reproduced in full in Kaplan's Encyclopedia of Tarot, Volume II, p. 272-74.

Playing cards predate tarot cards, having entered Europe in about 1365 from the Islamic world, in essentially the same form we use today -- four suits, each consisting of 10 numeral cards and 3 court cards.

The current understanding of the history of tarot cards and playing cards rejects all ancient Egyptian, Cabalistic, and other occult associations with tarot as misperceptions or deliberate fictions.