Last week I was in Lisbon for the International Tarot Month. What a wonderful event, with speakers from Portugal but also Brazil, and along with my own participation for the U.S., Lisa de St. Croix. Even as I was teaching I was learning, and now that I’m back I wanted to bring some of the exciting ideas to my Tarot on The Hudson Class. And even though most of you reading this cannot attend, I thought the ideas might be interesting.
This is actually a big travel year for me. In July I go to Brazil for a week of Tarot with Arto Tudjarian, Mary Greer, Marcus Katz, and Tali Goodwin. Then, much closer to home (six miles from my house!), there’s the Omega Institute, again with Mary Greer, plus this year, Caitlin Matthews, Robert Place, and Joanna Powell-Colbert (www.eomega.org). Then in October it’s off to London, Amsterdam, and several appearances in Germany!
THE LISBON WORKSHOP
For this gathering we will be looking at some ideas about Tarot inspired by my trip to Lisbon, and how to apply them in our readings. Here are some possibilities. We probably won’t do them all, but that just means it gives us something to look forward to for next time.
1. What is the real relationship between the higher and lower numbers of the Major Arcana? From numerology, or the concept of personal life cards we know that, for example, 18, the Moon, “reduces” to 9, the Hermit (1+8=9). But how do we work with this dynamic in readings, or in considering our life or year cards? If we get the Moon in a reading does it automatically invoke the Hermit? Is it different if they both appear? Does the Hermit call forth the Moon in the same way the Moon evokes the Hermit? Or is there a subtle difference?
2. Readings are usually individual, for one person, at a particular moment. But is it possible there is always a larger context, belonging to the times we all live in? I’ve been thinking how the last century, 1900 to 1999, was the century of the Sun, card 19. On the one hand, science made great advances, and on a simple level electric light brought the sun to the night. But it also was the century of nuclear fire, the energy which actually powers the sun. Now we are in the century of 20__, the century of Judgement. What will this be like? How might it lurk behind all our readings, whether card 20 shows up or not? Let’s bring Judgement cards from different decks (it’s called Awakening in the Shining Tribe deck) and we’ll look at them together to see if we come up with some sense of this card’s messages for the century—and the readings we do.
3. Here is a very interesting idea I encountered from a Portuguese astrologer: the three outer planets, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, all represent large archetypal energies, based partly on their positions, but also on the mythological associations of the names they were given. And yet, she told us, these energies, which she emphasized are not physical, could not actually manifest in our psychic world until the physical planets were discovered by astronomers. If I understood her, it was not just that people were not aware of these energies in their lives, the energies actually were not active. So what does this tell us about the power of Tarot images, and how they work in our lives?
4. Here is a grouping I call the Three Sisters: Destiny Divination Desire. What is the actual function of divination in this group? Does divination simply report destiny, or does it in some way allow desire to transform destined events (or maybe just give us a fighting chance)?
5. Some may remember the biographies we did of the Magician and High Priestess (remember how the Magician was a carnival huckster until he met a woman lion tamer?). In Lisbon I decided to look at the life of the Empress.
a. What is her empire? 3 of Cups
b. How did she come to rule it? 9 of Wands
c. What is her relationship to the Emperor? Queen of Wands
d. What will she do to protect it? 9 of Cups
So how does this strike you? What do you think of her life secrets? If time permits, we will lay this out and discuss it (and I will see how it compares to what the Lisbon folks came up with).