To those who have shopped for Tarot decks, the amount of decks available is often confusing and astounding. The meanings are often similar, but there are subtle differences that may help you pick out the deck that you think will give you the most power in your divination.
For instance, the Primary Deck I use is the Qabalistic Thoth Deck Tarot, as I am a avid Qabalist. This makes sense, for the Thoth Deck is a many layered deck of Arcana (Arcana means secrets or mystery) .
But if my clients ask about sexual relationships, I often switch to a Tantric Deck, which is Erotic Tarot by Manara. For this goes deeply into relationships and the Tantric philosophy. However, it may be to sexually explicit for the puritanical, who would faint upon viewing the Tantric Temples in India, let alone viewed in full color paste board; they may need to put their head into a sack and breathe deeply.
However badly the flesh-o-phobes faint, I have found the Manara cards are exceptional in their accuracy when seeking relationship divination. Being of Tantric Yoga training, this is only natural.
The Tarot of the Old Path, refers to the art of Wiccan, or Witchcraft out of England. For those who are not too bound up mentally by Christian propaganda, Witchcraft, is from the old English word Witch, which basically means "a woman with her wits about her", or Wise Woman, which to a misogynist, would be a burnable offense.
Eight consulting witches compiled this deck-Margot Adler, Lois Bourne, Patricia Crowther, Janet and Stewart Farrar, Aislinn Lester, Pauline Newbery and Kim Tracey, and of course, all coordinated by the author, Howard Rodway (and others he acknowledges) to form an attractive and accurate deck for divination by those who prefer a more Earth-wise deck Art form. This deck is published by AGMuller & Cie, Switzerland, but is easy to find in the US.
I think it would be an interesting and informative experience to compare these cards, along with many others and their interpretations with the Thoth Deck Tarot, so that you may see the subtle but effective differences and know that Divination can be done with any deck if one "Above all things, Know Thyself". I heard that readings are most accurate if the reader "likes" the deck, but I have found this not to be true to me.
Those of us whose Inner and Outer Self, share the same brain, can pick up a deck of playing cards and divine from them. So it isn't just really about the cards, it is about the Reader. If the reader doesn't feel comfortable with a deck, their own emotions will interfere with the reading and it will fail to be accurate. Thus, as an aid to better Divination world wide, I thought it would be fun to compare cards, and their definitions as supplied by the authors of said decks.
However, I won't compare the Manara-Erotic Tarot, with the others, this go around, as they are erotic art and would cause hyperventilation to those who think that a human body demeans their spirit. If enough people wish this comparison, I shall bravely do so.....because to me, the Human being is the Most Sacred of Places, and a joy to behold. The Spirit wouldn't make a human body alive, if it didn't love it. Human sexuality is in the "image of God" and must never be something of shame and fear. But then I am not a Puritan, so be that as it may:
Those who have faithfully read my blog know that the human being is our Great Work, and not something at all abhorrent to the Divine whose only True Marriage is the Hermetic Marriage of the One She and the One He. But I stray, so tomorrow, I will start the blog by comparing the Fool of the Thoth Deck with the Fool card of the Tarot of the Old Path.
Key 6, The Lovers is attributed to Gemini in the suit of Air, in the Tarot of the Old Path and Gemini in Mercury, in the Thoth Deck Tarot.
The Scene is all benevolence in the Tarot of the Old Path (refer to past blog for authors and artist] even the spirit shinning down from the Sun, is a benevolent one with the sign of Akasha (Higher Astral Realms or Ether that surrounds us all) on it's breast.There is a Tree of Life symbol on this card that bears seven fruits. The Seven Auric Spheres of Akashic energy (The Human Aura) that surrounds us comes to mind, as the dove of the soul is flying out of that Tree.
The Loving couple, together hold a white lily, which means innocence in the language of flowers. A love garland of flowers is in her hair, and the forget-me-nots are a symbol of true love. Orange blooms imply purity and the gathered Blue Bells suggest constancy. On The Tarot of the Old Path, these lovers share an uncomplicated sexual love, as it is innocent and unconditional.
The Thoth Deck Qabalistic Tarot Key (Atu) 6, is more complex in it's Arcane imagery. Each of these symbols in itself double, forming a divergent series of repeated marriages (As in the Art Card key 14) and some form of Hermaphrodite. Crowley saw much more than Human love in this card. Here, Gemini (the Twins) is ruled by Mercury, The corresponding Hebrew letter is Zain, meaning Sword; Thus, an arch of Swords is shown beneath which the Royal wedding takes place. In the intellectual world, the Sword represents analysis or division.
Since it is the first Thoth Deck card where more than one figure is presented, it is usually considered the Story of Creation, of which the Tarot of the Old Path card seems to carry through. However, Crowley thought that this Key 6 should be called the Brothers, after the legend of Cain and Able (and Gemini). I would recommend that one reads the Book of Thoth, by Crowley, in order to understand his view point.
Therefore, on the Thoth Deck Tarot card are depicted Cain and Able, Cain Dark and with the Hammer of Thor in his right hand which he used to slay his brother Able, and his left hand is held open as a sign of innocence. At Cain's right hand side, is his Mother Eve, entwined by a serpent whose hood is spread behind her head in the Old Card but in the new card is shown the Orphic Egg entwined with serpent, while she wears royal regalia.
The King represents the Sun and the Woman is the Moon, and the Divine Fire above the Abyss is shown as cupid; implying that this card is no only more than Human love but the love of the dualities of equal and opposite Twins in a single person; The anima and animus willfully united in pursuit of Divine Love. Thus, this is a marriage of the inner sun and moon, or the light and dark side of each of us. Hence, the Brothers is well described as it points toward a deeper inner secret of Osiris and Seth.
Here also, we may compare the Sun as self-conscious and the Moon as sub-conscious, both being aspects of the One Life breath (Spirit), each working through half of the body. When these two aspects are married by right perspectives, and discernment, there are no blockages to the flow of an outpouring of cosmic vital energy and/or Life Force, aiding in the application of magic. This would be called "the Knowledge of Good and Evil".
No matter the interpretation differences of these cards, both have the same esoteric meaning which is that of the union of manifest opposites under the Divine Love of the Supernal (Upper Triangle of the Tree of Life) through Binah.
Crowley's card stress the union of the "alchemical marriage" of the component parts of the seeker, a very active process for the self control and will , Mercury as the Hermit, directs this union of opposites with his hands held in blessing over the couple. Hence, this is not as passive as some cards would suggest. Here the Ego is subordinated to the Divine Will or One Principle, thus requiring an annihilation (Cain slaying Able) followed by a synthesis or reintegration in a new way. Thus, the Lovers card is also called the Disposing Intelligence by Paul Foster Case. One may not understand the annihilation that happens when two become one, so let us try a little experiment. Take a Red Crayon, and a Blue Crayon, then combine their colors on a piece of paper. Purple is the new color produce, where as, red and blue seem to have disappeared. This is a representation, no matter how crude, of the annihilation of the individual in a Hermetic marriage of the inner Anima (Latin for Spirit describing the divine feminine) and Animus (Latin for: Soul, describing the Divine Masculine). Here, individual King - Reason and Queen-Imagination, become One Solitary Hermetic Mind.
IN BOTH DECKS: WHEN THE KEY 6- THE LOVERS IS THROWN DURING A DIVINATION:
The Thoth Deck and Tarot of the Old Path both have reverse meanings, In the Tarot of the Old Path the card must be upside down in the spread; in the Thoth Deck the accompanying cards supply the "ill-defined" or reverse.
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