WHAT IS THE TAROT FOR? Montreal Edition, Part 2

This is a follow-up to, you guessed it, Part 1. Looking at the list, I realize I did not exactly get halfway. So–there might turn out to be a part 3!

Teaching tool. The Tarot has been used to create pictorial versions of complex ideas and information, from Graeco-Roman Gods and Goddesses, to human anatomy, to quantum physics, to both astrology and astronomy. The idea of visual expression of big ideas has always captivated people. Many people will know the beautifully drawn 15th century Tarot de Mantegna, not in fact a Tarot deck at all, but a set of teaching cards expressing the spiritual and philosophical ideas of the Renaissance.

A symbolic representation of complex doctrines, especially magical and occult. After readings, this is probably the most famous use of the cards, as a fairly strict representation of what is called Western Kabbalah (or Qabbala). Historically, this began relatively late, in the 19th century (though we should not rule out secret or unknown traditions going back much further)

Linked to this use is the idea of the cards as a Memory Palace, that is, a pictorial structure that aids the mind to contain and classify vast amounts of information. Every card becomes a physical representation of places and lines on the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, precise astrological attributions, gods, angels, demons, and other powers, alchemical processes, magical operations, and much more. The idea of a Memory Palace–which began in the Renaissance, the same time as the Tarot–might seem like a vast exercise in cataloging information, but is really much more. For one thing, the structure is used in rituals and meditations. Even more, if one way to think of God is All-Knowing, then the more humans can know the more we can become like God.

As part of its magical traditions, the Tarot is used to speak to spirits–angels–gods–demons–fairies–orishas–loas, and other non-human intelligences.

The Tarot can help in magical actions to summon such beings. And–just as important–to release them, and send them back to their own realms and dimensions. During this whole process the Tarot can be used as a kind of psychic, magical shield to protect us.

At the same time, we can use the Tarot as part of a ritual to open us to a particular energy. Once, at Delphi in Greece, I led a ritual I called The Opening To Apollo, inviting the god of prophecy, music, and poetry to enter us. For me, at least, this had very powerful results. The Tarot was a major part of focusing our energy for this opening.

The Tarot can be used to speak to the dead, most famously at Samhain/Halloween. People have also used the Tarot both to summon dead spirits, and then release them.

We can also use the Tarot to talk to the varied energies of our own souls. Both the Ancient Egyptians and the Jews (as well as many others) have taught that we do not have one soul but several, operating at different levels. In Jewish tradition one of our souls is said to come to us on Friday night, for the Sabbath, and then leave again Saturday night (don’t worry, there are two others to carry us through the week). One year I did a reading every Friday night, and then another every Saturday night, the same questions for fifty-two weeks, all addressed to this third soul that spent all week away from me.

The Tarot can be used to open gates to other worlds or dimensions, to navigate through these realms, then return, and close the gates.

Returning to the more mundane, the Tarot can be used to spy on people. This is essentially what we are doing when we ask the cards, “Is my partner having an affair?” Many people refuse to do such readings on ethical grounds. But suppose you were a private detective who used Tarot as one of your tools? And if detectives can ethically try to find out if someone’s partner is having an affair why not a Tarot reader?

An even more questionable practice than spying is using the cards to manipulate people. This is akin to scamming people, for the reader interprets the cards to get a desired effect–no matter which cards turn up in the reading.

People have used the Tarot to look for lost objects (I’ve tried this, without a great deal of success).

Magic tricks that are done with ordinary playing cards can also be done with Tarot cards. This can give the tricks a symbolic, even spiritual level.

Tarot cards can be used in telepathic experiments. Playing cards are often used for this. One person looks at a card and another person tries to guess what suit it is. Because Tarot cards carry a powerful symbolic meaning they might greatly increase the chances of telepathic contact. (As far as I know, the experiments done at Duke University and other places never seemed to consider the importance of meaning in telepathic transmission.)

Here we will pause and save the rest for Part 3.

Published in: on October 10, 2018 at 4:26 am  Leave a Comment  

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