“To the student of the tarot, the images represent the learning of the process of evolution. To any other person, they are pictures and nothing more. “– Ra
Symbolism in the tarot
A brief look at the symbols in the tarot cards and their historic derivatives
Symbols are a language.
Prior to the written word most cultures used images and sound to relate.
They are the primordial expressions of truth, the uninhibited language.
A language that allows the left and right brain to come together in union to experience life fully; consciousness communicating in its fundamental unadulterated essence – language of the soul.
reminds me of the Rishis
With symbols a sweet balance of the left and right hemispheres, a yin and yang communication between the two spheres is aroused;. giving us the ability to understand ourselves and the universe in a more holistic way.
The tarot (symbolism) therefore brings us back into this union, back into the pure consciousness, it is a bridge.
I’m feeling the dual in nondual here
When we begin to familiarise ourselves with these symbols we can create a harmonious balance in the mind, we can step into the archetypes (for the self development aspect) and also allow them to give us intuitive insights (the divination aspect).
Both are relative (one without the other is only a half of the truth) and available to us; interdependent and integral to our evolution as a species.
Let’s look at The Lovers tarot card for example….
If two people come together and use words to communicate the experience or desire, there will be a number of different interpretations and the two may spend hrs ruminating over the concepts and meanings – workshopping their ideals around personal references and mores.
However, if the two place themselves in an atmosphere of candlelight, rose petals and sunflowers, with Beethoven’s Symphony #5 playing in the background, and stare into each other’s eyes (as expressed in The Lovers card), with this universal language they are more likely to feel lovely and see and appreciate each other’s beauty…. Speaking from the soul… and who knows what could happen next.
We see these symbols being used in alchemy, the hermetic teaching and the kabbalah.
However, if we go back a bit in time we can see that these symbols are universal symbols and therefore have no historical source; are from the mysterious source of the universe . Also, many were used in ancient Eastern culture (perhaps in different ways); we can therefore see a connection between the East and the West.
We can see how symbols are derivative from the unknown source of all.
What exactly is the tarot – the truth
Like love, the Tarot and its origins are pervaded by mystery, both historically and by its very quintessence, or its essential nature, as it where.
I like to draw love hearts, in the mirror and the shower glass, each day as i go about my morning ritual so the symbol stays present in my psyche throughout the day’s challenges
Stick to the topic Megsie – Tarot truth
It is like a deep river of life, of which the current of many esoteric disciplines and philosophies are flowing to, through and from. The streams of astrology, numerology, the Kabbalah, alchemy, Hermetics and theosophical geometrical systems ripple through the Tarot like a fish takes to water; naturally, necessarily.
We see also Buddhist and Yogic principles circling though like wild rips in an ocean of wonder. I can hear Einstein’s famous attribution resounding right now “It’s all relative.”
It’s the ageless wisdom, undefinable and untraceable.
Somewhat Toaish in nature:
The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named is not the eternal name
The nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth
The named is the mother of myriad thing
-Tao Te Ching
The Tarot is a deck of cards containing symbols that help to guide us along the process of life. They are used for prophesying the future, understanding the past and tapping into the present energies or consciousness of a situation or person.
They are also used as a personal growth tool, as they depict the journey of the soul in the human body. They have a deep symbolic aptitude that has the capacity to transform our lives as we move along the process of evolution.
It’s often referred to as the fools Journey
In particular the Major Arcana, 22 cards (of the 78 – the Minor Arcana are 56 in total) layout the stages of our psychic (mind) development and the evolution of our soul (spiritual).
With the first 14 being the process of development from child to adult, alongside spiritual development. and the last being the deeper spiritual growth of the adept or awakened one. The first or last card The Fool (0) is the spirit, or the soul (the person) on the journey of life.
Each major arcana card can both be seen as a guide for this evolutionary process or offer divination guidance. Yet, as we deepen our relationship with the tarot we see both are one and the same, or that one may be intrinsic to the other.
Etymology of the Tarot
There is much debate about the etymology of the word Tarot, as no evidence (written documentation) has come forth . This is the nature of the Tarot.
Yet, here I will show some etymological hypothesis of the origins of the the word Tarot by taking a look at some of its possible sources – drawing from a common sense approach to history and linguistics.
Tarot comes from the Italian word trionfi, used in the fifteenth century to describe the twenty-two trump cards according to historians. Many esoteric scholars however have profited that it comes from Tah Ro – ‘road to evolution’ from Egyptian studied.
From latin: “tota” meaning “total” and “rota” meaning “revolving wheel.”
from “Tah Ro” meaning the royal road to evolution Egyptian.
Tar Rosh Egyptian – Science of Mercury (hermetic)
Tarot” descends from “Torah”, Hebrew law.
from Taraha (Arabic), which means “he rejected, put aside”
Tara – Goddess – generative force of the universe (of creation)
meaning secret Major – great. Meaning great secret. It seems rather mysterious (there’s that word again) that a mere card game of the fifteenth century would enter royalty
In relation to Tarot refers to a combination of Gnosticism, Alchemy, Astrology and Christian Cabala that came together in the Renaissance, then percolated through the esoteric lodges of 18th century France.
What is its purpose
The Tarot or the book of truth, is a depiction (however mysterious) of the laws of nature or the generative process of creation and life. It uses symbols often from the ancient traditions to express the journey of life.
The Tarot is a system for raising consciousness or self mastery.
The scholars verses the secret societies
There is much debate about its original esoteric purpose with some scholars believing it was first used for divination and others as a guide for the development (in particular spiritual) of the human experience – or the development of the human consciousness within secret societies. And also for ritual purposes. And all are true and all are equally important and connected.
Most Western historians protest that the cards were used as playing cards only, arriving in Italy from Eastern (specifically Persian) countries and have nothing to do with the occult and/or were not used as divination at all.
beyond all else, what must be considered here is the symbolism used in the cards. It is understood that the symbolism itself is the most important relatable element (of focus) – for both the divination purposes and for the individual’s developmental objective – that are venerably attributed to the cards. It cannot be overseen when we consider the history of the tarot.
Another interesting aspect to keep in mind is the particularly European and sometimes Neoplatonic atmosphere of the iconography used in the cards, which often leads historians to the belief that they are specific to European culture.
I mean, although I will not go into the herstory of this, we must faction in here the influences of the East on the, Hermetic, Platonian, Socratean and other typically European dialogues that are associated with the tarot and allow some common sense to come forward.
In our modern era it is used mostly for divination but is also understood to be a guide for self development.
Carl Jung has had a major influence on bringing the tarot into the field of psycho-development as he understood it’s symbolism in relation to the psyche and our potentiality; therefore, bringing it back into the mainstream.
Hence, it has become a household name and often a household guide.
However, usually one that is not taken too seriously, not understood and is more commonly used as a light-hearted oracle for prosperity and love guidance.
As a side issue, I suggest it be noted that many of the male figures in the current tarot depiction were originally of female gender – symbolic of course – that is, pointing to certain archetypal attributes.
This could indicate an Egyptian context in alignment with the Isis Teachings.
Where did the Tarot Come from
The most common thread in the academic, as well as the mainstream of the internet, seems to have a strong leaning towards the Tarot originating out of the blue by artists and aristocrats in Italy for pleasure – to play cards.
This comes from books and essays written by modern Western historians most recently, the Italian scholar Andrea Vitali in his study in the mid 1980’s.
However, It is suggested by some tarot scholars (mostly informed by the works of Eliphas Levi – French occultist of the 19th century, who studied the links between the Kabbalah and the tarot) that the Tarot is derived from the Kabbalah. I do see strong correlations and truths in this theorem.
It is sometimes said that the correlation between the word Torah (the Jewish texts used in the Kabbalah) has an undeniable relationship with the word Tarot. Note: Kabbalah (from Hebrew, literally meaning “parallel/corresponding,” or “received tradition) is an ancient esoteric discipline of mystical Judaism.
Another insight was given by Jean Baptiste Pitois (occultist and author of the late 1800’s), which accounts that the Tarot is a derivative of the the Sages of ancient Egypt under the tutelage of Hermes Trismegistus (Greek) or Thoth (Egyptian) – which nobody seems able to evidence as human or deity.