After a couple of recent conversations with what I can only think of as "traditional tarot snobs" (which is not necessarily a bad thing, it was just painfully obvious that I was talking to a wall), I decided to revisit my opinion of the Waite-Smith deck (if only because the traditionalists damn it so vehemently). … Continue reading Why Waite? Why Now?
In keeping with my previous post about perceived weaknesses in the Waite-Smith deck, I want to talk about a telling example that fully demonstrates the questionable wisdom of Waite's and Smith's departure from their Golden Dawn roots: the Sixes of the Minor Arcana. In the Qabalistic system of the Golden Dawn (later adapted by Aleister … Continue reading What About Those Sixes?
In 1967, Donovan Leitch recorded a song titled "There Is A Mountain" that reflects at least obliquely on the philosophical detours (and occasional dead-ends) we encounter when attempting to abstract the objective nature of reality to suit our personal belief system. It features the refrain "First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, … Continue reading The Mountain
As the result of an ongoing Facebook discussion, I've been solidifying my opinion of the tarot Eights as an expression of anxiety. This appears clearly in two of the RWS cards but is less obvious in the other two. Although I'm not well-versed in it, my understanding is that conventional numerology treats Eight as a "power" number, and in exoteric tarot … Continue reading The Eights and Anxiety
This is the fourth and last of my "storyboard" studies of the RWS minor cards. The title comes from the old TV show "Bowling for Dollars" and plays off the bizarre impression created by the central image on the Ace of Pentacles. It is tempting to think of the suit of Pentacles (Coins or Disks in other decks) … Continue reading The “Bowling for Dollars” RWS Storyboard
This is the third of my "storyboard" examinations of the Minor Arcana cards of the Waite-Smith (aka RWS) tarot. The suit of Swords is unquestionably the least encouraging of the set since any light it emits is muted and often fades into gloom, so the title of this post may be somewhat optimistic. Swords encompass the realm … Continue reading The “Light and Shadow” RWS Storyboard
If you've been following my "RWS storyboard" posts and have read any of my example readings, you're already aware that I make extensive use of metaphor and analogy when interpreting the minor cards of the tarot, often bringing in shared cultural, social, historical and literary references. The Thoth tarot, my mainstay for many years, offered … Continue reading Tarot Euphemisms: A Work-in-Progress
Sagittarius is described in the literature of astrology as a high-minded philosophical and religious sign (along with its associated 9th-House placement in the "natural" zodiac, although traditional astrologers tell us signs and houses have nothing to do with one another); it is the province of academics and clerics and the most abstract and "temperate" of … Continue reading The Sagittarian Conundrum
This is the second in a series of "storyboard" studies of the Minor Arcana cards of the Waite-Smith deck, this time examining the Wands. The quote in the title originated in Roman times, although modern readers will connect it more readily to the story of rapacious corporate greed portrayed in the book and movie of … Continue reading The “Barbarians at the Gate” RWS Storyboard
The "boy-meets-girl" fairy-tale is one of the oldest (and perhaps now most irrelevant) cliches in the annals of romantic storytelling. It struck me that the RWS suit of Cups offers an almost pitch-perfect "storyboard" for the ups-and-downs often associated with these narratives, with a few added wrinkles to make it interesting. In this essay I … Continue reading The “Boy-Meets-Girl” RWS Storyboard