The Major Arcana

Tarot became increasingly popular beginning in 1910, with the publication of the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot, which took the step of including symbolic images related to divinatory meanings on the numeric cards. (Arthur Edward Waite had been an early member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn). In the 20th century, a huge number of different decks were created, some traditional, some vastly different. Thanks, in part, to marketing by the publisher U.S. Games Systems, the Rider-Waite-Smith deck has been extremely popular in the English-speaking world beginning in the 1970s.

 

The Major Arcana

The fool is an interesting card, it is a key of 0 and yet a key of 22 as well. There are 22 cards to the Major Arcana, starting with number 1-21..the number 22 would seem to be missing if we just called it 0. The 0 key, represents the god force, the force before entering into manifestation, but in the same right, this card completes the cycle as number 22. Life continues on and on in a cycle and the number 22 is an ancient symbol for a circle representing god and infinity, because a circle has no starting point or end. The Fool represents the Super conscious in which he has yet one more step ahead of him, symbolic of the fact that we never come to our limit in potential.

The bright sun over head represents the life energy that is forever rising. The mountains in the distance, even though bleak and cold rising high in the sky bring forth water when the sun melts the peaks, bringing life and nourishment to the ones below. His bag represents the memories of the past, with the eagle on it representing an awaked view towards aspirations. The white rose in his hand represents the pure desire and untainted goals, while the dog at his feet is symbolic of the lower incarnations that are elevated by evolution.

 


 

The magician represents the conscious mind. With focus on an idea or goal, the conscious mind sets into action these ideas and brings them forth to the material world. The magicians hands are stretched forth, one to the sky holding a wand, and the other pointing to the ground below. This is suggestive that as is "as above, so below". The table in front of him has all the tools to make this possible. The wand, cup, sword, and pentacle, which are representative of all the suits to the tarot cards. The mage has an undergarment of pure white, showing his pure wisdom and is held shut by the serpent around his waist. The outer garment is red, symbolic of desire and passion, which has no belt holding it shut so it can be removed if necessary. The flowers in the garden represent things as well. The red roses are symbolic of desires, and the white lilies represent pure thought, untainted by desire. This card is under the vibration of the number 1.

 


 

This card represents the subconscious mind. It is the balancing force between pairs. The pillars to her sides represent the opposites, light and dark, and she sits in the middle of them, impartial to one or the other. The curtain behind her connects the pairs. The letters on the pillars are B and J. The B is symbolic of the number 2 falling as the second letter in the alphabet. The letter J is the 10th letter in the alphabet, in numerology, this is reduced to 1. So on the pillars we have the numbers 1 and 2. This is symbolic of male and female, the two opposites. The Priestess is holding a scroll of universal and personal knowledge, but only part of it is showing, because god has more yet to reveal. The High Priestess is the link, the conscious mind formulates ideas and the subconscious sets them into action in a fashion of order, represented by the block on which she sits. This card falls under the vibration of the number 2.

 


 

The Empress card is another aspect of the subconscious, but unlike The High Priestess being memory. The Empress or number 3 responds to this memory which evolves in creativity and imagination. It is within this energy that conscious and the subconscious bring forth manifestation. The plant life in the card represents the cultivation within the subconscious. The stream in the background falling into the pool is symbolic of the joining of the conscious and the subconscious. The stars on her crown represent the 12 signs of the zodiac, indicating that time...brings desires into manifestation. This card falls under the vibration of the number 3.

 


 

The Emperor card rules over the conscious elements set into the material world. The Emperor is an older, wiser version of the Magician, his knowledge at handling affairs in a systematic way has given him the seat on the thrown. He is holding the world in his left hand and a T square in his right. The world is represented in numerology by the number 4 which is also this cards vibration. The T square is used in building and design, for mathematics and planning. This card represent the fashion in which things are done, a system to bringing things forth and manifest. Starting with one, two, three, then finally four, which is the building number, putting all things together.

 


 

The Hierophant represents our inner being, the teacher, and intuition. Intuition is a collection of all of the facts from the conscious mind, sent to the subconscious which in turn looks at the information and acts upon it sending it back to the conscious. True intuition is based upon reason and a collection of the facts. The crown at the top of the head has 5 points representing the 5 senses. Likewise it has 3 levels representing the 3 levels of mind, conscious, subconscious and super conscious. The grey background is symbolic of wisdom, for grey is a mixture of black and white and is the balance of the 2 forces. The keys at the feet are representing the key to super conscious, for in the union of the conscious and subconscious, enlightenment is achieved. This card fall under the vibration of the number 5.

 


 

The Lovers card is symbolic of relationships and partners. This is the union of opposites but compatible things. The man and woman standing across from each other are naked, showing their differences. The man is standing looking to the woman, while she in turn is looking up at the angel above. The angel here is symbolic of the super-conscious. The man representing the conscious mind and the female representing the subconscious mind, and in this order... conscious, subconscious, superconscious..we must follow to reach the source of our power and draw on it to gain insight and inspiration. The tree behind the man represents the zodiac signs being twelve in number and the tree behind the woman represents the tree of wisdom, with the serpent representing the kundalini force risen to the highest point. It is only here that we can draw off the wisdom attainable to us, for if it remains coiled and low, our senses are bound to just the material. This card falls under the vibration of the number 6.

 


 

The Chariot card is 7th in the series of the Major Arcana. The chariot driver controls the chariot with no reins or other harnesses, he expresses his will to control the functions and direction of the positive and negative forces representing the white and black sphinxes. This card is symbolic of the soul and the physical shell. The cart is enclosed and represents speech, for in speech we enclose ideas an set them into motion. Vocabulary can also serve as a protective unit by the power of words that strike home to the souls of others. The square on his breast plate is symbolic of order and control over the material world. This card falls under the vibration of the number 7.

 


 

The Strength cards represents the control over material forces. The lion is a symbol of the fire within or the kundalini force that sits coiled within us at the base of the spine. The woman is symbolic of the subconscious, which controls vital functions without the need of conscious thought. She controls the lion with a gentle spiritual touch rather than from brute force. This card falls under the vibration of the number 8.

 


 

He has mastered all elements of the past key numbers and stands on top of the mountain of attainment. The snowy peaks is symbolic of his isolation because his wisdom sets him apart from the rest. In this position, he holds his lantern to light the way for the rest to follow his path to enlightenment, for knowledge is meaningless unless we turn and show others what we have learned. The lantern light is 2 triangles, one face up and the other face down. As is above, so below. A triangle only holds 180 degrees, but the combination of 2 triangles equals 360 degrees. A circle has 360 degrees and is the symbol of the creator, endless. 360 degrees and 180 degrees both vibrate at a number 9, the vibration of this cards.

 


 

This card represents the grasp on the personna by understanding who you really are. When this happens you will never be without material possessions. The number 10 represents a new cycle meaning that the number 10=1 in numerology. The humanoid figure with the jackal head represents the evolution of man with its ears just over the center of the wheel. This represents that intuition and that inner voice allow man to rise to higher levels. The sphinx at the top of the wheel represents the ideal that we all try to strive for, the completed cycle balancing both male and female characteristics in perfect control. The figures in the corner represent the fixed signs of the zodiac.

 


 

Balancing the wrongs of the past and setting them correct. Just as in the laws of karma there is a cause and effect to each and every action that we do. The sword is held high in the right hand to symbolize the action of correcting wrongs and holding the balance of justice, also symbolizes the cutting out of negative thoughts.

 


 

The Hanged Man represents reversal of view. The significance of this card is that everything isn¹t as it appears to be on the surface. The man appears to be hanging but in fact he is in perfect control and balanced and centered within himself. He sees all of the others with there problems and the err in there ways and yet they look at him as though he is upside down, when in fact, he has perfect vision.

 


 

This card represents transformation and rebirth of the consciousness into higher planes. The death skeleton comes to all as shown in the picture, child father, mother, king and priest. Death has no care for station in this material plane and all suffer the same fate in the end. Numerologically, this card is a 13/4. There were 12 disciples and Christ was the 13th. The white horse that is well tamed, symbolic of pure desires and the submissiveness to the cycles of life.

 


 

The angel in the picture above is perfectly balancing and combining the two qualities of male and female, or positive and negative. The angel stands with one foot on the earth and one within the water at foot. This is also a perfect balance of the conscious and the subconscious mind. The red wings are symbolic of the fiery desires of the spirit to learn on a higher level of consciousness and the mountains in the background represent wisdom. The triangle is the higher knowledge that is acquired through introspection as the will to learn and understand can cause within us great doubt, but by following truth, we can select a path that leads us to the wisdom we so desire.

 


 

The devil card represents blindness and misconception. The black background is the lack of light or understanding. The 2 humans, male and female are loosely bound to the stone pillar. They could easily remove their bindings, but stay there by will. The pillar that they are chained to is half of a square, representing the half truths that they bind themselves to. The torch that the devil is holding is pointing down, and the flame is eating at the torch in a wasteful way, not giving off any light.

 


 

This card is symbolic of the jolt of actual understanding. Lightning, feared by the primitive is the opposite to an enlightened one, using its power for his own uses. So with this, we can look at the card and understand that the man and woman, conscious and subconscious are knocked from the top of the tower by the light of true knowledge or understanding. The crown is symbolic of the mind or the place of power and thought.

 


 

The woman in this card represents the subconscious mind gathering knowledge from the universal subconscious and pouring it over humanity. The right leg that supports her weight is bent in a 90degree angle suggesting that all will be learned if you search in the right places, with her foot resting in the pool of knowledge. The left hand pours the waters over the land and it disburses into 5 separate streams representing the 5 natural senses of man.

 


 

The moon card represents the evolution of spirit. The shell fish is symbolic of life emerging from the water of creation and starting on the path of return to the creator. The path is narrow and long representing the trials and the length of time that evolution takes. The path has its ups and downs and is not completed right away, but a slow process of learning and focus. The 32 tongues of fire falling from the moon are symbolic of the 32 paths to the tree of life. The dogs are symbolic of mans nature, one is trained, and the other is wild, the positive and negative forces that we must control to complete our time here.

 


 

The Sun is the giver of life, nothing can live without the suns warmth and beams of light. Trees and plants convert the suns energy into oxygen for us to breath, and warm the oceans to bring rain to feed the land. It remains fixed and unchanging, and it shines its light for all, good and bad. It is truly neutral, and this is a lesson for us to understand. The four flowers are symbolic of the manifestation of earth and that love for all things must be achieved without bias.

 


 

This card represents the understanding of spiritual things, when we have achieved this, our conscious is ready to bond with the universal consciousness. We are one with the creator and understand the relationship between god and all of humanity. The coffins are dark and void of light and truth when they are closed. But here they are shown open and light of the angel above trumpeting the truth of the universal consciousness.

 


 

This card represents the continuance and never-ending cycle of life. The four figures in the corners of the card represent the 4 fixed zodiac signs that represent that the laws of the universe remain unchanged and orderly. The wreath surrounding the woman is symbolic of a zero which is the symbol of god and from which all things emerge.

The Lesser Arcana

The Lesser Arcana cards consist of 56 cards broken down into 4 different suits. The wands, the cups, the swords and the pentacles. Each of these suits consist of cards numbered from Ace (number 1) to 10, followed by four court cards. These cards hold lesser vibrations than those of the Major Arcana.

Each of the numbered suit cards follow vibrations similar to its number in relation to numerology. Understanding that these numbers convey the special meaning to these cards, so does the suit of the card portray different aspects of life. To understand the we have to look at the number 4. There are 4 suits to the cards and these represent the 4 esoteric formulas for manifestation on the material plane.


Below are each of the 4 suits - how they correspond to our 'playing cards' - their element - what they symbolize.

 

The Suit of Wands - Clubs - Fire - Creative

The realm of spirit - represents ideas, they are the primary seed or original idea and the primary element of growth. When we see wands in a reading, they point to ideas, ambition and growth. So when this is understood, we apply the number of the card to this understanding in a reading.


 

The Suit of Cups - Hearts - Water - Emotions

The realm of mental - this is the next step towards manifesting the idea. It is the link to the next step in the order of things. When we see the Cups in a reading, they point to desires and feelings, that inner experience that only we are aware of and may not show as outward manifestation.


 

The Suit of Swords - Spades - Air - Intellect

The realm of astral - represents the action. The focused intent to bring forth manifestation. Often times the swords indicate struggles as it is difficult to bring an idea into reality. When we see the suit of swords in a reading, they point to action and struggle before the final outcome.


 

The Suit of Pentacles - Diamonds - Earth

Realm of the physical or material, element of earth) represents the actual outcome of the matter. It is true manifestation into the material plane, the product of ones labors. When we see the suit of pentacles in a reading, they point to realization, and manifestation.

 


 


 


 

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