TOTH–Tarot On The Hudson, my occasional class here in Rhinebeck, will be meeting on Feb. 12. The date, the birthday of Abraham Lincoln (not to mention Charles Darwin on exactly the same day), inspired some thoughts on Tarot and Emancipation.

I know that most people reading this live too far to come for an afternoon, but I thought people might enjoy seeing the description.

February 12 is Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. Lincoln was our 16th president, and of course card 16 is the Tower, the image of destruction but also liberation. Lincoln led the country through a true Tower time, and so we might look at readings for when things are blowing up around people, either in their personal lives, or in the greater world.

We also think of Lincoln as The Great Emancipator, who liberated the slaves in his Emancipation Proclamation. Many people turn to the Tarot when they feel trapped, enslaved, stuck in a bad situation. We often see the Devil as the image of such slavery, and it is interesting that the Devil, card 15, precedes the Tower. Might card 17, the Star, be an image of emancipation? Maybe the entire line, from 15 to 21, shows us the path, and process, of liberation. (Something else to think about—Charles Darwin was born on the same exact day as Lincoln.)

In terms of readings, how can we use the cards to help liberate/emancipate ourselves or others from disastrous or painful situations? What kind of spreads can we develop for emancipation? What do we do with the images and ideas and information that come up in the cards?

Hopefully no one will be facing any situation right now where they feel enslaved, but try to think of some time in your past, or in the life of people you know, where such a reading/method could be valuable.

And how might the cards have helped Abraham Lincoln if he’d been able to consult a good Tarot reader? Just as Tarot author James Rickleff used to do readings for characters in fairy tales and fiction, so we will do a reading for Honest Abe (with some lucky person getting to act out the part of the Tower president).

PLUS—Our usual round robin of questions, deck sharing, experiences and issues from the world of Tarot. Please think of what you’d like to ask, share, exhibit.

And a BONUS—Many of you will remember our readings to discover the secret histories of the people in the cards. In the past we looked at how the Magician became a powerful magus, and what are the High Priestess’s secret teachings. Now it’s the Empress’s turn. We’ll look at her early days, her marriage to the Emperor, what it’s like to rule an empire.

Published in: on January 26, 2012 at 9:11 pm  Comments (8)  

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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Brings me to think about moving there. I appreciate the Abe L / Chuck D perspective.

  2. I do like the description, thank you!

    I think divination emancipates very simply by letting in different ways of seeing. Again and again, I’ll go to Yi asking ‘what approach to take to x?’, knowing I have to choose either a or b, and get introduced to possibilities c through z. Just so long as I leave even a crack of possibility-space in the question, the reading will lever it open.

    Is creating a spread in tarot a little like finding a question for the Yijing, do you think?

  3. A super blog! Thanks for this Rachael. A great discussion point to use in my next class. Like the idea of The Star acting as the great emancipator. Love stretching my mind with your Wisdom Readings.

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  7. Hi Rachel,
    I’d love to hear how that Lincoln reading went.
    And did you know that I did a reading for Abe Lincoln, which appears in my book, Tarot: Get the Whole Story, with a spread I created called “The Failure’s Alchemy Spread.” And amazingly, one of the cards that turned up in that reading was (you guessed it!) the Tower card!

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