Blessings for the Major Arcana

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.

Published in: on September 18, 2009 at 5:20 am  Comments (12)  

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12 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Awesome post 😀

    I once spent a period of my life saying blessings. It really helped me see the Joy come through my every day life. Connecting the 22 Trumps with blessings is an awesome idea.

    Chariot—Blessed are you, Master of Questions, who opens the way.

    The Chariot blessing is really interesting. What is the connection with the Chariot and Questions? I’ll be musing over that one all day 🙂

    • My connection of the chariot with questions is really to do with the sphinxes on many decks, and the idea of Oedipus as the answerer of the sphinx’s mysterious riddle.
      thanks for your interest, Douglas.

      • Hi Rachel

        That’s awesome 🙂 .

        I can’t believe I didn’t consider the sphinx’s riddle as a possibility. What a beautiful connection!

        Sometimes it’s easy for me to lose sight – events that help me to reconnect, like this post, are wonderful surprises 😀

  2. Greetings, Rachel!

    Thank you for the wonderful blessings for the cards. I will be using them and passing them on. I’m doing a Tarot Meditation group and they would be wonderful to weave in.

    Celtic Spirituality also has this focus on blessings for every occassion … for the lighting of the morning fire, for seeing the sun in the morning, for milking the cow, for greetings and departures, for smooring the fire. I think the pagan practices meshed with the Christian ones and a belief in the sacredness of nature, of trees, of animals, of all flowed into the practice.

    So great that you are bloggin regularly! It is hard to keep up. I got my blog up in July and was posting regularly for a couple of months, but the busy start up of May has kept me away. Lots of things to say, just finding the time to get it up is the challenge!

    Be well,

  3. […] Pollack, Tarot Wisdom Woman, is my greatest Tarot inspiration and this morning she has a wonderful post on her (newly active) blog about Blessings in the Jewish Tradition.  She then ends with wonderful blessings for each of Marjor Arcana cards.  Here is the one for […]

  4. Rachel –

    What wonderful Blessings! A very real way to put the Tarot to work in our lives.

  5. What a wonderful way to add meaning to our lives, tarot and what we find sacred. I will be making sure to discuss this tomorrow in our chat. It will add another layer to our discussion! So glad to be able to read your words.

  6. Thank you for sharing these beautiful blessings, Rachel. What a wonderful way to acknowledge the sacredness and power of the major arcana cards.

  7. Thank you Rachel for sharing this!
    The blessings are nice, these days people often rush through their days. This way you stand still and focus, even if it’s for one minute.

  8. Thank you for sharing these very beautiful and profound blessings, Rachel. Glad to see you back blogging.

  9. […] Pollack, Tarot Wisdom Woman, is my greatest Tarot inspiration and this morning she has a wonderful post on her (newly active) blog about Blessings in the Jewish Tradition.  She then ends with wonderful blessings for each of Marjor Arcana cards.  Here is the one for […]

  10. Interesting

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