Celeste Hylton-James Period 6 Moraski January 9, 2011

Traveling Through the Symbolism of Tarot I decided to research and analyze the symbolic nature of the Tarot cards. A presentation on the complexities of this method of divination is a simpler than my last project since the main function of the Tarot cards is supplied by the pictures that are on each individual card. In my presentation, I will explain to the class the basic history and origins, the process, and the main cards. Tarot cards are quite interesting to me. I love art, and admire symbolic illustrations, so Tarot cards fall perfectly in that alleyway. I have found that pictures can speak more than words written in a book and images that we see can be another kind of universal language. Mediocre symbols of the everyday life can have much influence over the human psyche and the symbols can transcend language barriers. Explaining to my classmates the symbolic attributes of the deck would not only explain Tarot cards themselves, but also cover the many symbols that lay inconspicuously in our environment. Another reason why I chose Tarot cards as my main topic is because tarot cards are the standard game cards that everyone plays.

For a very long time I assumed that tarot cards were completely different from the cards I used to play with friends everyday at lunch, until I realized the shocking similarity they both had. In fact, tarot cards are playing cards and have always been. I received readings from people who have used tarot cards and they explained to me how it was done in the occult sense. They described tarot readings as a game of examination depicting information by using pictures, placements, and numbers so the reader can interpret the message. I know publishers and artists have altered the original appearance of the tarot cards used in the 15th century and have made the Arcana look eccentric even creating specific themes for the deck. These decks are loosely based on the original images. However the most identifiable deck is the Rider-Waite deck, which is why I chose it for my visual example. These cards were created in the early twentieth century. Most books describe the cards in this deck and it holds more symbolic representation. The Rider-Waite deck technically looks the closest to the standard gaming cards. That is another reason why I chose to use the Rider-Waite deck as an example in my presentation. I already knew that the Minor Arcana resembled the standard gaming cards more than the Major Arcana drastically, however I will not dive deep into that because just explaining the suits would be enough to understand the basic symbol information that is needed to give you an idea about the symbolism in the cards and the system it was organized to follow.

I started my research by borrowing a book from a friend of mine. This was titled Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom by Rachel Pollack. Immediately with in the first chapter, I was able to get a taste of the massive information that was suggested. It gave vast amounts of information on the Rider-Waite deck. It is so good, that I used the books layout to determine the order of the subjects that were to be covered in the presentation. I read the book and typed out some questions that I had concocted that I wanted to answer myself like, how did Tarot cards turn into some tool of the occult and what was the origin? I continued to read on in the book, and the book right away answered the question. According to Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom, the first set tarot cards were originally made by an artist by the name of Bonifacio Bembo for the Visconti family of Milan (Pollack 3). These pictures comprise the classic deck for an Italian game called ‘Tarocchi.” This game was intended to be comprised of fourteen cards each, plus twenty-two cards showing different scenes. These twenty-two images are described to be a record of medieval social types. Also the Tarot cards, was to be seen as a kind of path, a way of personal growth through understanding ourselves and life. Weeks afterword I used the school’s computer to research more information about the symbolic nature of the Tarot. I used Google search engine, and came across an excerpt from the author Gerald Schueler that explored

I wanted to present a clean presentation to break modern stereotypes and explain the complex tool used for divination. Numerical symbolism is so a pattern in the Tarot cards and can be used to correspond with each other to create a message. . rebirth. and Page function the same way. the mother and the self. The Knight represents action and the Page is the student. saw the images as “descended from the archetypes of transformation” (Schueler. Some analyst focused on more areas than others. Supposedly a deck published by a tarot reader named Etteilla. Researching for this project was not hard. Predicting information through Tarot is likely to “indicate the likelihood of specific events to happen” (Beyerl 1 of 6). even when the reader gets the card reserved (a reserved card or a card drawn upside means the energy is flipped). and I often fell in a sea of gaudy words that sounded like nothing even after reading it more than more time. Egyptian symbols and themes are very noticeable. The King. In fact.Celeste Hylton-James Period 6 Moraski January 9. Another article that I came across with at school’s library through the Google search engine is excerpts from the Introduction to Symbols and Magick of Tarot by Paul Beyerl. According to the Swiss psychologist. I was only surprised by the article explaining Carl Jung’s examination. titled the ‘Book of Thoth” is heavily based on Egyptian mythology. Tarot contains symbols representing other important archetypes of transformative processes such as the hero. The King is the symbol of social responsible and power. Paul Beyerl characterized the tarot cards fortune-telling ability similarly to Rachel Pollack’s analyzation. There is no number one in the card system so the Ace acts as a basic root of the complete suit. Number two represents union and six means communication. the numbers represent different situations. In spite of the fact that the Minor Arcana is separated by four different suits their numbers are what connects them. The article also describes Tarot predictions are as if casting straws or throwing a coin. He mentions how Egyptian symbolism was incorporated in the Rider-Waite deck. Referring back to Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom. It has been nicknamed as the Egyptian Gypsies Tarot. These similarities remain. I will explain all of them in detail in the power point so I will not describe from three to nine. 2011 the many psychological symbolism of the Tarot deck. like in the cards the Wheel of Fortune and the Emperor. inside the Rider-Waite Tarot deck. Carl Jung. The Queen is the ‘deep appreciation’ in the suit. 1 of 13). Knight. Queen. the sacrifice. but incorporating all of the information into something focused was a different story. In my power point.

CA: Weiser Books. . 2011 Works Cited A. Eileen. New York. 2007. PDF file. San Francisco. 2007. 1979. Unknown. CA: Newcastle Publishing. Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom. Tarot: A New Handbook for the Apprentice.Celeste Hylton-James Period 6 Moraski January 9. Arlene. Waite. Print. The Pictorial Key to the Tarot. Murine Press. Print. 2005. Pollack. Schueler. Paul. Unknown: The Hermit's Grove. PDF Tognetti. Bereyl. 2003. N. Print. NY: Alpha Books. Rachel. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Tarot. Symbols and Magick of Tarot.E. Chaos and the Psychological Symbolism of the Tarot. pag. Conolly. Gerald.

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