One of the more interesting aspects of traditional Judaism is the concept of blessings for almost every occasion. There are blessings for waking up in the morning, for washing hands, for eating various foods, for doing or seeing something for the first time…
It may sound excessive, or tedious, or even a bit silly—and I have to admit I’ve never tried keeping track and saying them all, but it’s way to make ordinary life sacred. My father once spent some time with a Hasidic family in Jerusalem, and I remember him talking about the blessings throughout the day as a wonderful experience.
(At least one of the blessings that men say in the morning is controversial. This is the line “Blessed are You, God, king of the universe, who has not made me a woman.” In an attempt to remove this from its seeming extreme misogyny, some modern Orthodox Jews maintain it’s said out of respect to women. That is, to be a woman is an exalted state, and men are grateful that they do not have to live up to such a standard.
Nice idea—as long as they don’t pretend this was the original meaning—but I prefer the more radical approach of the Reconstructionist prayer book: “Blessed are you, the Imageless, who has made me in your image.”
In my book The Forest of Souls: A Walk Through the Tarot, I wrote how this paradox inspired my one sentence description of the Tarot: “78 images that are gateways to the Imageless.”)
A couple of years ago it struck me that it might be nice to come up with a series of blessings to say when specific Major Arcana cards come up in a Tarot spread. The idea is to make each one reflective in some way of the particular card. Here are my Blessings For the Major Arcana. Cards are from the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot deck, unless otherwise indicated.
Fool—Blessed are you, Ignorant One, who leads us forward, in brightness and joy.
Magician—Blessed are you, source of all light, who surrounds us in roses and lilies.
High Priestess—Blessed are you, Silent One, who sits in the doorway of secrets.
Empress—Blessed are you, Mother of Passion, who brings life to the dirt and joy to our bodies.
Emperor—Blessed are you, Planner and Architect, who designs the four corners.
Hierophant—Blessed are you, Holder of Mysteries, who shows us and teaches us.
Lovers (The Shining Tribe Tarot)—Blessed are you, Chooser of Passion, who brings us to life.
Chariot—Blessed are you, Master of Questions, who opens the way.
Strength—Blessed are you, Gentle One, who opens and closes the mouth of the lion.
Hermit—Blessed are you, Lonely One, who shines light from the mountain.
Wheel of Fortune (Visconti-Sforza Tarot)—Blessed are you, Blindfolded Angel, who turns the seasons of life.
Justice—Blessed are you, Weigher of Hearts, who balances Above and Below.
Hanged Man—Blessed are you, Tree of the World, who turns us around.
Death—Blessed are you, Bright Hand of Darkness, the end of beginnings.
Temperance—Blessed are you, Balancer, who flows and combines.
Devil—Blessed are you, Shadow of Morning, who stands guard in the doorway.
Tower (Crowley/Harris Thoth Tarot)—Blessed are you, Destroyer, who speaks to us in fire and light.
Star—Blessed are you, Naked and Empty, who pours out the waters.
Moon—Blessed are you, Shining Face, who makes the wolves speak, and the waters surge and fall back.
Sun—Blessed are you, Fire of Life, who delights in flowers and children.
Judgment—Blessed are you, Voice of the Trumpet, who raises and summons us.
World (Shining Tribe)—Blessed are you, Dancer of Wisdom, who reveals our true home.