The Tarot is an instrument of creativity. Many see it is as a divination tool. The Church once called it ‘Devils Picture Book,’ and they were half right. It is a picture book, although we must cast doubt if the Devil has anything to do with its creation. I am confident if Lucifer exists, he prefers: – Pistols, machine guns, cruelty, tyrants, and politicians to paint accurate images of his work. It seems to me, the seventy-eight symbols printed on cardboard are less dangerous than a daily Big Mac.
I purchased my first Tarot in 1972 from The Atlantis Book Shop (Link Here). My memory seems to point me toward a price of £1:50 for the Rider Waite Smith Deck (R.W.S). I do remember the lady in the shop had a beautiful smile and was surprised when I asked her for a particular deck. I know why selected the R.W.S Tarot. A young teacher at my preparatory school introduced me to the cards! From that moment onward the young Ian Timothy was hooked. I liked his company; we were both loners. I smoked licorice paper rolled cigarettes because he rolled his smokes in the dark brown papers. Mr. Kent junior introduced me to tobacco and Tarot, odd lessons for a thirteen-year-old to be taught at an expensive boarding school.
For forty-five years the Rider Waite Smith and since 1995 Morgan Greer decks are the only Tarot which makes sense or resonate with my psyche. When Pamela Coleman Smith drew the R.W.S deck, she produced a series of seventy-eight cards which have never been matched. There is a lifetime of meditation in the symbolism. Many have attempted to copy or reinterpret her masterpiece, most fail. Morgan Greer comes close, although like all facsimiles there are great errors in the symbolism.
I digress: There is now a third deck on my list, this one is a modern and insightful interpretation of Pamela’s deck. Superb in both design and quality, it is ’The Parallel Worlds Tarot’ By Astrid Amadori. The imagery is right up to date and contains sufficient depth of symbolism, to guide a student toward a compelling meditation. Astrid knows her Tarot and is obviously a student of the deeper meanings of the symbolism. She indicates to ‘Adepts’ that she possesses a more in-depth understanding of the purpose of the Rider Waite Smith deck. The way she does this is hidden in plain sight.
As many members of our community and visitors have an interest in the Tarot, I thought spending three days reviewing this deck may be interesting to our readers. The deck is present in a sturdy box, which lifts to reveal the cards. The rear of each card has two humming birds painted on a blue background. The pictorial symbolism is well defined and easy to read. The ‘instruction booklet’ is well presented, and I assume useful to anyone who wishes to use it. It is of no interest to me, and it stays where it belongs in the box.
I will review one card today and one tomorrow, and write an appraisal of the deck on Wednesday.
Today’s card is The Three of Swords – The Lord of Sorrow
The symbolism of the Tarot has deeper meanings than at casual glance. The three’s are cards of understanding, and therefore this card is asking us to understand ‘something.’ Swords represent the alchemical element of Air. To many people the alchemical element of air represents thoughts. We can expand some more Air is theories, intellect, sometimes spiritual intelligence.
One character sits on the gravestone; he has no respect for the memory of those have died. He looks down at the grieving character in front of the stone.Therefore he has no respect or feelings for those in sorrow. Blood pours down from the pierced heart and produces a sunset. The heart is pierced by three swords. On a superficial level, the imagery indicates hurt, pain, or an emotional tragedy.
On a deeper level, we see the heart penetrated by three swords. The swords represent thoughts, and if thoughts penetrate our emotions (heart, love, the blood of life) what could we understand from the symbolism? The suggestion is: When there is no respect for life, and if we do not care about the words we speak; we will cause unimaginable emotional pain. We should understand the darkness of our actions arise from the mind. Now, if the card is used for meditational purposes, its symbolism asks you to understand how your thoughts, turned into actions or words affect and damage other people.
The man of no respect has no understanding of this, the mourner cannot see it, because of his grief. Viewing the symbolism of the card may resonate with an attitude with requires changing. It may resonate with the suffering you feel at the moment. In this instance, the card indicates removing the cause of the pain on an intellectual level will turn the situation around. Whether inflictor or victim, removal of the swords will stop the flow of the blood of life (freedom and love). On yet another level the card indicates allowing the head to rule the heart, in other words: Intellectual understanding is an excellent way to deal with emotional issues.
The three’s represent understanding. We see three swords; the message is a need to have an intellectual understanding of the pain we cause to others. Or rational thoughts can be used powerfully to overcome sorrow or grief. Once the mediation is over, there is a final question, the most important of all: It is ‘How is this meditation relevant to me? And what can I understand about myself from this meditation?
Life is a flow of many situations, ideas, and experiences. When the idea of symbolic meditation came to a ‘magician’, he alchemically transformed his life. The Devil’s Picture Book? Well, we all have our demons, we lose so much when we intentionally use our mind (for instance revenge) to hurt another. One card, so many ideas, many meditations. The message is clear when a person learns to understand their daily actions. Life (freedom and love) is enhanced and what could be better than this objective?
Tomorrow we will consider the Two of Swords.
See you soon.