In the collective perception we traditionally associate the Tarot cards to prediction. We look for a fortune-teller anytime we feel we would like to know what is about to happen in our near future and we are not aware that the original purpose of the Tarot was different than the one we know and we think of today.
The Major Arcana were initially meant for initiates who wanted to have a guide through which they could look at the way we observe the world and the inner state of consciousness which manifests the situations and events we experience.
The Tarot cards are 78 and they are composed of the Major and the minor Arcana, where the term Arcanum refers to a mysterious or specialized knowledge, language, or information, a deep hidden wisdom that only those who are open to know can understand.
The word Arcanum comes from the term ARK, originally used in the Latin translation of the Biblical story of Noah from the Hebrew tebah, which means “chest, box, case” or “hull, body”. While the word ark can be translated as boat, as we can read in the Bible, the term tebah originally used does not, but it designates a container that protects something sacred, an arcane knowledge that is reserved to those who are prepared beforehand to use it. And, as it signifies chest, it could even express the truth that we deeply hold in our innermost heart.
The journey through the Tarot is the journey of each of us to self-awareness. It is all about an inner journey, which commences from a dissatisfaction coming from the outer world, heading us towards a shift of perception of the world itself.
Everything starts when at a certain point in life we say to ourselves: “There must be more than this”. In this very moment the journey begins, as we start to look beyond the appearance of the material world to find a deeper significance that can fulfil us and give us a meaning.
The raising up of this question through our mind marks the beginning of our quest for the truth, which is to find out whether there is a connection between everything that happens, the world and the Universe (YOU-niverse).
This is the beginning of what, in the ancient times, it used to be called the path of Initiation, which described the process of revealing the Spiritual nature of the human being, the deep connection existing between the one and the whole, between each particle of our body and the greater mind/field of consciousness of the universe, nowadays called Quantum Vacuum in Quantum Physics.
Therefore, each Tarot card illustrates the different stages of this journey of consciousness starting from the Magician/Bateleur, the potential initiate at a point of crisis seeking for a deeper meaning to life, to the Fool, the one who has awakened to the greater truth, to the soul energy within.
The Magician is depicted as a male because it represents the active principle within us. It is the 1, the inner rising fiery WILL looking for knowledge and understanding. It is the beginning and the centre point in the spiral from which everything emanates and starts its movement. For this reason he holds the baton in his left hand, associated to the right hemisphere – reflecting capacity of panoramic awareness, empathy and analogical reason, vigilance and openness to uncertainty coming from the mysteriousness of the universe – while the forefinger of his right arm, associated to the left hemisphere of the brain, points at the centre of the cross of Antioch in the coin, which stands as a symbol of the work that has to be undertaken at the material/physical level to change the foundations/concepts of the world we experience.
The wand represents Spirit ready to IN-FORM matter and it also reflects the potential to order and command, which is going to come from the right hemisphere of our brain and, through the heart, move towards the left brain. The process will take quite a bit of time as the cross of Antioch symbolizes that our ideas of God and man’s relation to God must undergo a great change and face a lot of inner opposition before we can start to be transcended and that we realize that Spirit, soul and body are one.
The table in front of the Bateleur could be seen as an altar. The table is a place where we eat physical food, but on the esoteric level can be interpreted as our mental and spiritual nourishment, the key element that can offer us the possibility to see the truth we are looking for. In the ancient symbolism, when a table is spread, the door to Spirit is open and there is an invitation to come in. So the Magician, because of the crisis he is facing, is opening the inner door to Spirit to find clarity.
The sword and the cup on the table symbolize the mind and the heart. We can connect spirit and matter if we allow the spiritual energy to flow through the heart and the mind into the physical manifestation. “Think with the heart and feel with the mind” because within the love essence of the heart there is divine wisdom and within the wisdom essence of the mind lies divine love.
The key to the Bateleur is that he has to work with life situations, as they really are in order to understand what is true or untrue within himself. This is why in the very beginning of the spiritual journey we are confronted with all the problems to be solved.
The Magician wears a pair of black shoes, which recall the alchemical black work, defined as Nigredo, in which Saturn, the Lord of Time, the symbol of Chaos, triggers the inner fire to activate the process of putrefaction and decomposition in order to destroy the old nature and outer form to transmute them into a new state of being and give birth to a totally new fruit, which is self-knowledge. Matter has to be stripped of its appearances in order to arrive at the centre, which contains the inner potential and power – in fact, at this stage matter is not yet aware of itself, of the fact that it is in-formed by the Spiritual force.
In a soul-based Tarot reading we look at the question from a higher point of view in order to uplift the person’s inner process to a higher level. The aim is to see the symbolic in the situation that the person is facing in relation to his/her own journey to reveal the Arcanum. Each card will hold a sacred message (ark) that the law of synchronicity is delivering to that person. We cannot predict because, if we did, we would limit the potential solutions that could come out of it. What the soul-based Tarot reading can offer is to assist the person to find their own inner answers, which they hold inside themselves, and help them become aware of the world they create and of the potential they hold within. It is a deep inner process of inner awakening and transmutation, which can be started, or initiated, only if we are prepared to do so.
1 The Magician + 22 The Fool = 23/5 Key to the Sun (the Soul)
The key of the inner journey is to uplift the lower mind of man to the Higher mind of Spirit and see creation in everything there is. The Fool is the awakened Bateleur at one with it all. The Fool has gone beyond worrying for everything, he has realized that nothing has any value unless we understand it for the love alone. The Fool has reached this stage without suffering his destiny, but by digesting and uplifting it to the Divine Source – he has become the witness of the manifestation of Spirit into matter. He is the builder of the new world that is made up of the potential of being a completely open conduit though which the higher light can be expressed in matter.
For information and enquiries about the Esoteric Tarot courses please visit the section Events/Courses.