Fairy Lights Tarot.

Apparently I like fairy-themed Tarots. Who knew.

This is my second fairy-fantasy deck (Shadowscapes being the first). I don’t even really know why I bought these, other than the packaging intrigued me, and I’d been going through new-deck withdrawal.

This is a weird deck. Don’t get me wrong – I like it. But it’s weird.

What’s most fascinating about it is that the 78 cards are made from 39 paintings. That is, Lucia Mattioli – the creator of this deck – painted 39 pictures, and then chopped ’em all in half to make 78 cards. There was nothing printed on the tuckbox to suggest this – if it weren’t for my search through aeclectic’s forum archives, I might never have known (well, the LWB suggests as much, but it’s not elaborated upon) – and I can’t make rhyme or reason out of many of the pairings. I suspect that the Mattioli might have drawn two cards at random, and then made the paintings. Whatever the case, the result is a thought-provoking exercise in card pairings (I cheated, by the way, and looked up the matches. I didn’t do the work of actually sorting the cards out and puzzling them together).

The result, in my opinion, is a sort of mixed bag. Some of the pairs sit side-by-side to make truly enchanting art. Some, on the other hand, feel somewhat forced. Either way, though, it’s a brilliant and novel idea. On an individual basis, each card is surreal and beautifully rendered. Some are stranger than I really like, but hey, who am I to say what is and isn’t strange in the Otherworld of the Fae.

I haven’t read too much with these cards yet, but the few I’ve done have been good. The physical cards are typical Lo Scarabeo cards in size and stock, decently made but nothing exceptional. As I mentioned, I was drawn to the tuckbox, which pictures 7 of Wands on the front and 7 of Cups (I think?) on the back, but outside of my own peculiar tastes, there’s nothing special about the packaging, either. The pips are all illustrated, and you can detect some RWS influence here and there, but overall they are original. In some cases, the picture seems to suggest something totally different than the traditional RWS, and often the suit symbols are absent, so you must rely on the numbers and words on the borders to know which cards you’re looking at. The box does specify that these are “intuitive” cards, so evocative art that is not tied to any tradition is kind of the point.

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Truthfully, it’s not really a surprise that fairy decks attract me. Of course, the fluffy pretty girls with butterfly wings playing on flowers isn’t really what I’m talking about. Sure, the Shadowscapes appears on the surface to be something like that, but it’s much deeper once you get to know it (and anyways, the art in that deck is so truly spectacular that I don’t even care). I wouldn’t call the Shadowscapes dark, though. The Fairy Lights, on the other hand, can be pretty dark (in particular, compare the Hanged Man from each deck, and you’ll see what I mean). While it isn’t necessarily how I would picture Faerie and its inhabitants, it certainly can’t be said that this deck skimps on the more PG side of fairydom.

Fairy lore from any culture fascinates me, and the piece of me that believes in magic also believes that maybe fairies are lurking on planes just outside my field of vision. I believe in the existence of Faerie as a realm. So yes, I do kind of like to see how some artists capture this place, and this folk, on Tarot cards. There are a lot of fairy Tarots out there, but when the rare one comes along that really catches my eye, I have a hard time resisting the temptation.

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Sorry about the lack of photos in this post. I’m in a transitional stage in my life now which has prevented me from connecting my camera to a computer in a long while, but if (hopefully when) I can take and upload some pictures, I’ll update this post with them. I figured my output in recent months has been so sparse that I ought to publish with or without photos.

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New Year, New Me, etc. etc. etc.

Happy February.

Yes, this blog is still alive. No, I am not likely going to post any more often than I have been.

My life over the last year has been wild. In a good way, overall, but wild nonetheless. I am the same man I’ve always been, and yet I live a different life. I do miss writing on here and many other things from my life a year ago, but while I’m sorry this blog has to collect some dust, I wouldn’t go back.

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I still am a Tarot person, although my primary attentions have been drawn away from it, and from divination in general. We’re more than a month into 2019, and I haven’t even laid down a spread yet(!). However, I have drawn a single card as I asked an important question (probably about a week or so ago). I am a musician, and a large portion of my focus over the past year has been on developing myself as such with the help of my partner. So, I asked my trusty Wirth majors, how do I approach taking my next steps in this endeavor?

It’s worth noting that, while I love what I do more than I could anything else, and while my gut and my heart tell me that it’s what I’m supposed to do, my head refuses to let go of some stubborn notions. In other words, I’m afraid.

There is a Tarot spread called the Celtic Cross (have you heard of it?), and it generates much confusion and frustration among the online Tarot community, in no small part because of the ambiguity of spots like the “hopes or fears” card in the spread. I read once (in 78 Degrees of Wisdom) that the card in this spot is better read as the “hopes AND fears” card, because the thing we hope for most desperately is often the thing of which we are most afraid. They are one and the same. I thought this was profound, and I have been feeling this paradox very strongly in my own hopes and fears lately.

Well, the card that I pulled was the Fool. The first (and so far, only) card I’ve pulled in 2019. Even without the context of my query, this is a coincidence dripping with symbolic implications. But I’ll skip past all that. My first instinct upon seeing this card was this: Just do it. Make the jump. It’s all you can do. Begin the next chapter. Of course, that’s easier said than done, and then there’s the sticky matter of my second-guess: What if it’s telling me that I’m acting the Fool? What if I’m being an idiot?

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Better stay positive, I suppose. Better to try and fail than lie on my deathbed regretting missed opportunities. The reality is a bit more complex, of course, but all the same…

~~~

Speaking of music and Tarot, the other thing my partner and I have been experimenting with is correspondences. You know, like occult stuff, but with music theory (an occult doctrine in its own right, really). It’s been difficult, but I think we finally came onto something promising not long ago.

Numbers are the key to everything, apparently. 7 and 12 in particular, as well as 3 and 4 insofar as they add and multiply to make 7 and 12.

7 and 12 have always been holy numbers. They are also very important to music theory. 7 notes in a scale, 7 church modes. 12 keys, 12 chromatic notes. Also, I might add (and this one is really cool, if you ask me), Afro-Cuban ternary rhythms are built upon 7 beats of a 12/8 count (jazz, blues, and lots of pop music uses these rhythms that sound duple but feel triple – 4 and 3).

Now all this stuff about Pythagoras and his theories about harmony and numbers makes sense. And those crafty Greeks were looking at the sky the whole time, too; 7 planets moving against the backdrop of 12 constellations.

Why did it take so long for me to see this?

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Anyways, based on the Tarot-astrological correspondences of the Golden Dawn (as I learned them in Tyson’s Portable Magic), you can map music theory onto the Tarot (really its mapped onto astrology, but hey, why reinvent the wheel when the wheel’s already fitted to the Tarot?).

To sum it up:

The 12 keys correspond to the 12 signs of the zodiac (starting with C – Aries – the Emperor). The 7 degrees of the scale correspond to the 7 planets (in the key of C, the Magician, who is Mercury, would be the 3rd scale degree, or E).

Finally, the remaining 3 cards of the Major Arcana (which correspond to Air, Water, and Fire) could be the three notes in a triad…

I don’t know, this really as far as we got before we fell asleep that night. It’s a good start to go on, though, and can conceivably be continued into the Minor Arcana.*

We also haven’t yet worked out the practical application of these correspondences, but I imagine it’ll have something to do with sorting the cards into appropriate categories, and then selecting from these categories at random to kick-start the songwriting process. Also, Tarot-Music correspondences can become a fun way to memorize new charts. A ii-V-I jazz progression in G becomes High Priestess – Tower – Sun in Strength, for example (yes, I realize how convoluted this probably sounds to someone less nerdy than me).

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Number association doesn’t have to be the only way to use Tarot to write music. The intuitive approach to divination can work for inspiration, too. What story do these pictures tell? How would you tell that story using music? Be prepared for things to get weird; that’s how magic happens.

In fact, I’ve always believed that music and the Tarot are supposed to be connected, although I’ve long struggled with figuring out how. I still don’t really know how to put words to it, but I am beginning to understand the bigger picture, at least in my own life.

Welp. I think that’ll wrap it up for this update. I realize it was kind of long-winded, verging on stream-of-consciousness, but hey, I haven’t written in so long. Until next time…

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*At some point, I will write all the correspondences we come up with down, and then share it here (maybe). While I’m here, I will say that, considering how obvious these connections seem to me now that I’ve figured it out, there’s a good chance someone else has already done this. If you’ve seen it, point me in that direction, please.

The Perfect Deck For Me.

It’s a question that I think every Tarot enthusiast ponders. I also think it’s elusive answer is why so many of us fall into the collector’s trap. As for me, I’ve come to believe that the only Tarot that is truly perfect will be the deck I make for myself (someday…).

In the meantime, though, I do have my favorite reading decks. I keep a copy of the RWS in my guitar case at all times, because this deck is the easiest for me to read on the fly, for myself or for others. I also tend to keep a set of Wirth majors close by, as well, in case I want to consult an abridged deck for bigger-picture type queries.

At home, though, I recently decided that my favorite reading deck – the deck I keep out on the shelf for easy access – is one I would have least expected when I bought it a couple years ago: the Deviant Moon Tarot.

I don’t know. I’ve come to greatly appreciate the twisted juxtaposition of originality with tradition that these cards represent. I’ve said it before: this Tarot grows on me more every time I use it. The lavish companion text is a huge factor in its favor, as well (at least for home use – I wouldn’t drag this tome with me on vacation). The insight this book offers when I consult it in conjunction with the cards is incredible.

Finally, the physical deck itself is a perfect specimen of what I think a Tarot should feel like in my hands. They are large but not overly so, and are smooth for easy shuffling without being slippery or glossy.

Of course, my favorite cards are liable to change at any given moment, but I’ve given the matter of my go-to deck a great deal of thought, and I kept returning to the Deviant Moon. For now, at least, it feels right.

Building My Collection.

It’s been probably about half a year since I’ve obtained a new Tarot deck. That’s insane, considering how many decks I’d racked up in the two years prior (it averaged out at about two decks per month, which is insane in itself considering how much trepidation I experienced when I first started massing a proper collection).

There are a couple reasons for this. First and foremost is the simple fact that my expendable income has become much less expendable, and I’ve had to exercise prudence when making fiscal decisions. I love Tarot cards, but there are more pressing matters, and, well, what can you do. Such is life.

But, to be honest, my collection has filled out nicely, and it really doesn’t need any more. With the most recent addition of the Sola-Busca, I felt like I had reached a new level, if you will, and my desire for expansion sort of plateaued. I have not since had the thought that I needed a deck to fill a spot in my collection. Every now and then I come across a deck that I think would round things out nicely, and I do have a casual wishlist in the back of my mind* – and some days, I think about buying a new deck just because I kind of miss the excitement of cracking open a fresh pack of cards – but overall I feel satisfied with my Tarot library.

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As it turns out, collecting is as much an aspect of my Tarot hobby as reading and writing about the cards.** I do not collect randomly. I had a general scheme from the moment my first Tarot deck became three (because my second and third were purchased simultaneously) – Rider (1), Marseilles (2), and Thoth (3). These three are considered the “classics” in the greater Tarot community, and they formed the pillars that hold up the structure of my collection. With the addition of my next deck, the Wildwood, I completed the four-sided foundation upon which my entire collection would be constructed.

My four pillars remain the same, but I’ve taken to considering them in broader terms than the specific decks which started them. There is plenty of overlap, and many of my Tarot decks span multiple categories. I like this, and the result is that my collection takes on the shape of a spiderweb in my mind, spun across the four pillars. There are many sub-categories (like fantasy-themed or art decks, for example) that tie the original pillars together in interesting ways.

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I wrote a post a while back on the (very) broad categorizations I’d come up with for methods of divination with Tarot cards. These methods actually mirror the pillars of my collection.

  1. What started with the Rider has pretty much remained the Rider. Because this deck is so prevalent today, it is basically its own category. Rider clones and Rider-inspired decks all go here. Most prominent are the Radiant and Universal Waite decks, and of course the Mini Rider. Least is the Hobbit Tarot, which is only a Rider in structure (With Strength as 8 and Justice as 11) and in divinatory definitions. The spectrum in between includes the Mystical Tarot, the Aquarian, and the Shadowscapes. I generally will also include any packs with illustrated small cards in this category, as well, and decks that are best divined with “intuitively,” as I defined it in the above-linked post (I generally link “intuitive” reading with illustrated small cards). In this case, decks like the Sun and Moon, the Deviant Moon, the Medieval Scapini, Dame Fortune’s Wheel, the Mary-El, the Wildwood, and the Sola Busca all fit the bill, although for many of these, this isn’t the primary category.
  2. The broadened version of the Marseille category includes Pip cards and historical decks, used mainly for what I like to call “cartomantic” divinatory approaches.*** The Universal Burdel and the Conver Ben-Dov, as well as the miniature pack of Conver Majors, are the standards for this category. Other decks which fit easily here are the Book of Thoth Etteilla and the Visconti-Sforza. Though the pips are illustrated and it was created in modern times, Dame Fortune’s Wheel fits best in this section, as does the Medieval Scapini. Structure-wise, the Deviant Moon fits here more than in the previous category, too, although its imagery defies categorization (I struggle with placing the Deviant Moon more than any other Tarot). Oswald Wirth‘s deck did not include a Minor Arcana, but it is so clearly based on the Marseille that I would also place both versions of his cards here in a pinch. Finally, as a historical deck, the Sola-Busca can go here, too.
  3. The Thoth category has expanded to include all occult decks, most especially those based in the tradition of the Golden Dawn. The Thoth (and the pocket version thereof) is of course the basis of this category. The Hermetic Tarot and the Sun and Moon fit nicely here, as well. Technically, I would consider placing the strictest renditions of the Rider-Waite (that is, the Universal and the Mini) decks here, because Waite and Smith were one-time members of the Golden Dawn, and their Tarot incorporates some of the GD’s teachings, but because those have their own category, I hesitate to do so. Oswald Wirth and Etteilla decks are occult, too, so they also can be considered in this section (I’m more inclined to place Wirth here and leave Etteilla in the previous section, personally). And lastly, because of the myriad occult details so deftly executed by the artist (including, but not limited to, symbols from the GD, Wirth, and Etteilla), the Medieval Scapini fits here, as well.
  4. What began with the Wildwood has become “Un-categorizable” or “Non-traditional.” I’m pretty sure everything in this section has been mentioned in the previous sections, but if it shows up here, this is where I truly consider it to belong (excepting Etteilla, who I believe might go better in category #2). This category includes the Mary-El, the Sola Busca, the Deviant Moon, the Etteilla, and the Hobbit Tarot. I would almost place the Medieval Scapini here, but don’t because rather than defy categorization, it actually spans all three of the others more or less equally (the artist behind the Mary-El, on the other hand, claims to have been influenced by the Thoth, Marseilles, and Rider, but her cards are so incredibly original that they absolutely belong here). The decks here do not fit a mainstream tradition, and many of them are modern enough to have not yet stood the test of time like the Thoth or the Rider have. But I like having all of them in my collection, and I like having a “catch-all” category to round things out. Though I am a traditionalist at heart, if my collection focused only on the Big Three many beautiful and important cards would be left out.

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I acknowledge that all this is quite a lot of reading without much in the way of substantial Tarot content, and for that I apologize. I’m trying my damnedest to keep this blog active, though, and while it largely consists of the fluff of a collector showing off, this post does serve the purpose of illustrating just how I actually think about the collecting aspect of my hobby. I don’t know if anyone cares, but I figured I’d share, anyway.

In case you do care to know what exactly is in my collection, and the above list is as confusing to you as it looks to me (like I said, it’s a spiderweb), as of this writing I have 24 Tarot decks (technically, I have 21 complete packs, and three Majors-only packs). You can find a more straightforward list of them here, and each is linked to my initial thoughts upon obtaining (many of those thoughts are a bit outdated for me now, but I haven’t yet mustered the motivation to revise my reviews).

To wrap this post up, I want to say this: I collect the Tarot with intent. I do indeed focus on the Big Three as the foundation, but it would perhaps be more accurate to sum my aims in collecting thus: I want my collection to be useful from a scholarly perspective, and so have collected primarily renditions of Tarots that are historically significant or influential (as an amateur with limited funds, these are all reproductions from mainstream brand names, of course). At the same time, however, my collection is personalized to suit my tastes, and the cards I select appeal to my aesthetics and my philosophies. Therefore, I think it is safe to say that my collection is a well-rounded blend of established Tarot tradition,**** with a bit of my own peculiar interests as a student of this tradition. It is a collection designed around both the theory and practice of Tarot, spanning past and present, with an eye for the future.

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*Right now, I’ve got the Liber T: Tarot of Stars Eternal on my mind, as well as an Egyptian Tarot and a Marseilles that isn’t based on Conver or Burdel’s cards (Probably a Jean Noblet). I don’t doubt that eventually some of these cards will end up being reviewed on this blog.

**I’m hesitant to call divination and other spiritual work a “hobby”, but I certainly do that stuff, too. A hobby to me is confined to a more mundane realm of consciousness than divination, and so collecting, reading books, and writing this blog are all aspects of that. Of course, casual parlor-trick “fortune-telling” treads the divination line, but remains more or less in the realm of hobby to me, because it’s more of an entertainment than spiritual exercise. But now I’m just getting nit-picky.

***Though they are not Tarots, I consider my decks of regular playing cards (of which I have four or five) as a part of this category, as well. I might talk a bit about them if I ever get bored enough. Consider yourself warned.

****A healthy dose of Tarot tradition should be a part any serious collection (IMHO).

The Turning Wheel of Terror-Joy.

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From the Mary-El Tarot

I’ve been thinking a lot about this card lately. I feel quietly detached from my problems (and my joys, for that matter) when I consider my life in its terms.

The Wheel rules all things (in this world). We are bound to it, tethered to its ups and downs as time rolls along.

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Fortune can seem a fickle lady

I would say the motto of Dame Fortuna is “What goes up, must come down,” and of course, vice-versa. Perhaps even better would be “Everything comes full-circle.”

To some extent, I see this as a card of reaping what is sown, especially in a cosmic, karmic sense, but that is a bit misleading. Karma implies a degree of personal responsibility. The Wheel turns for everyone, though, whether they work to fulfill their karmic duty (dharma, if I’m not mistaken) or not.*

 

It’s the unfortunate truth: to live is to suffer, and sometimes, no matter how good you are, you have to endure the crushing weight of the bottom of the Wheel. It happens. But you are also guaranteed some time at the top, too, and the message of the Wheel is that, though times seem tough, bad luck can’t last forever.

Joseph Campbell called the mythic cyclical concept the “turning wheel of terror-joy”, to which we are all bound.** It’s life, plain and simple. We all have spells of good and poor fortune. We all have our ups and downs. It never stops turning.

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Riddles in the Dark
– the Hobbit Tarot

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As the 10th card in the Major Arcana, the Wheel of Fortune is located very near the middle. It’s almost as if it’s the axis about which everything else in the pack revolves. If you subscribe to the Fool’s Journey interpretation of the cards, this is roughly the point when the Fool leaves the light of day behind and begins his great tribulation. In this sense, the Wheel suggests a critical turning point in one’s life.

When the Wheel of Fortune turns up in my readings, I generally take it as a positive omen. Most folks agree that this card usually portends good fortune. Given the ups and downs of its actual implications, though, it is wise to check what the cards around it have to say before you assume Lady Fortune is about to smile upon you.

This card tends to put things in perspective for me, and that’s the ultimate lesson I take from it, regardless of whether it brings good or bad news. It admonishes me not to take my good luck for granted, and to take my bad luck with faith and humility.

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The Wheel is an apt metaphor for Time. It’s a fairly popular cosmological motif the world over. Our universe appears to be ruled by cycles. The seasons revolve, the heavens rotate, and history repeats itself. In the RWS, the Wheel of Fortune foreshadows the World with its distinctive imagery. The World represents enlightened consciousness attained at the end of the journey. The Wheel of Fortune offers a glimpse from the halfway point. To see the whole thing, you need to take a step or two back.*** It is a grand perspective, and it’s a good perspective to keep in mind if you’re playing the long game. Ultimately, all it takes to get from the bottom to the top is time.****

The Wheel can also be considered a metaphor for the whole Tarot deck, and not just the single card within. It’s a symbol that requires you to consider ideas like fortune and fate, which are questions all diviners must face eventually.

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*I think the actual “reap-what-you-sow” card is probably Judgement, or possibly Justice. I haven’t written much about either of those cards yet, though, so we’ll see what I come up with when the time comes to really dig into them. The Wheel of Fortune is karmic more in the sense that, until your soul attains unity with Brahman, you are stuck on the ever-turning wheel of birth, death, and reincarnation.

**See Joseph Campbell’s The Masks of God series, particularly Creative Mythology, page 405. Interestingly, the chapter in which it appears focuses more on motifs associated with the Hanged Man than the Wheel of Fortune.

***I do not think it is mere coincidence that the Wheel of Fortune follows the Hermit in the Major Arcana.

****The main difference between the Wheel and the World is that the individual is on the outside looking in (or the rim) in the former and in the center (or the hub) in the latter, where the spinning has ceased to have effect, and unity with all is achieved. Seen in this light, the goal should actually not be to climb to the top (from which you are doomed to fall back down again, like Sisyphus’ boulder), but to remove yourself from the oscillation altogether. Again, these ideas are examined in great detail in Campbell’s Creative Mythology in the sub-chapter about the turning Wheel of Terror-Joy (and it is the morbidly entertaining juxtaposition of “terror” and “joy” that won the spot as the title of this post).

Etteilla v. Waite, Concluded.

I began this series about two years ago. It’s almost as old as the blog itself, and I have to say, it’s kind of odd to be wrapping it up after all this time. It is also a relief, because to be honest, this series presented more than its fair share of problems, and was incredibly tough to work through at times. The time has finally come to set it to rest.

At the start, my goal was to compare and contrast my pack of Etteilla cards (the Book of Thoth Etteilla Tarot from Lo Scarabeo) with the vastly more popular Rider-Waite-Smith pack. The reason was simple: I didn’t know a thing about Etteilla or his cards, which was a problem because the cards are very different from anything else I had used. This problem was compounded by the fact that I could not (and still can’t) find any written material that elaborated on the intended meanings or patterns of these cards. On the other hand, I knew much more about Waite’s cards, and I figured that I could perhaps suss out some underlying structural cohesion through comparison.

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As I progressed, I realized that this method also had its problems. First of all, anything I came up with would not necessarily be true. Everything was based on my interpretations of the art, and nothing more. Now, I knew this going in, but it seemed that the further I went, the more I had to stretch, and at the end I have to admit that I still know almost nothing objectively about these cards, despite having come up with a neat story to tell with them.

That story is the mythic structure of Creation, Preservation, and Destruction (or the “Creation Myth” for brevity), which is a nice counterpoint to the Hero’s Journey myth of the RWS. I like this very much, but I have nothing in the way of written evidence supporting this theory.

The other problem didn’t become apparent to me until I learned a bit more about the deck itself. As I mentioned, this pack is called the Book of Thoth, and it is in fact quite far removed from Etteilla’s original cards. It is based on (how closely, I don’t know) what is known as the Grande Etteilla III, which was not created by Etteilla but by one of his students in 1800s, a few years after Etteilla’s death. The Grande Etteilla II remains an absolute enigma, while Etteilla’s own Tarot cards, the Grande Etteilla I, are available to purchase only by those with a larger purse than I currently possess. Pictures of this deck are hard to come by, so I can’t say one way or the other how faithful my cards are to Etteilla’s original plan (the Major Arcana especially; the Minors are different at least in that Etteilla’s had astrological symbolism on them, which these lack). So for all intents and purposes, my series did little, if anything, towards deciphering Etteilla’s mysteries; it was rather an exercise in familiarizing myself with an odd pack of cards that may or may not be much like his. I just don’t know.

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During the course of composing this series, I did learn quite a bit about Waite’s cards and their historical context, but overall my personal interpretations (that is, the Hero’s Journey) remain more or less the same.* Waite’s ideas in this regard were never recorded, so insofar as the pictures of either deck depict mythic themes, I suppose my interpretations of Etteilla are as valid as Waite. In this sense, it doesn’t really matter what Etteilla intended for his cards.

I have learned a bit about Etteilla’s role in the history of the Tarot’s development, as well, but I think that may have to wait for its own post, because it ultimately has no bearing on this series.

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Because it did take me so long to compose, this series probably seems disjointed in some places or redundant in others to a passing reader. I did my best to read through previous posts as I wrote new ones, but my thinking changed over time as I learned more, and sometimes it was difficult to keep things straight. When I started, I was only writing what I wished I could read when learning about these cards.** It evolved from basic comparison to a rather more in-depth look at what the pictures on these cards were telling me. I never lost sight of my goal for comparison, though, and every single card I examined came with a counterpart from another deck (usually the RWS, but not always). The counterparts were not always easy to select. In doing so, however, I made some interesting discoveries about many of the cards from traditional decks that I probably would not have encountered had I not tried to match them with Etteilla’s cards.

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It is the unexpected revelations about traditional cards and the interesting story that I think the Etteilla cards tell that I found to be the most valuable things I took away from this series. The Book of Thoth Etteilla deck itself did not end up making much more sense to me in terms of divination, like I’d hoped. I do continue to find these cards fascinating, but they are more of a curiosity for my collection than anything I would regularly use.

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I think that’s all I have to say in conclusion for the Etteilla v. Waite series. Before I sign off, though, I’ll put an index here for convenient navigation for anyone who’s interested in going back through. Despite the issues I’ve run into along the way, I hope this series was interesting and informative to anyone who, like me, is confounded by these strange cards.

Part I: Introduction
Part II: The First Eight Cards
Part III: Cards Nine through Fifteen
Part IV: Sixteen through Twenty-One and the Fool
Part V: Chaos, Light, and Plants
Part VI: Sky, Man & Beast, and Stars
Part VII: Birds & Fish, and Rest
Part VIII: Justice, Temperance, Force, and Prudence
Part IX: High Priest, Devil, and Magician
Part X: Last Judgement, Death, Monk, and Struck Temple
Part XI: Wheel of Fortune, African Despot, and the Fool

And finally, for a real throwback, my initial thoughts upon first using these cards can be found here.

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*These are largely based on Tarot and the Journey of the Hero, an excellent book by Hajo Banzhaf, and one I can’t recommend heartily enough to those whose interest in the Tarot stems from an interest in mythology or Jungian psychology.

**This is actually the motivation behind much of what I write on this blog.

The Juggler Index.

 

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From the Mary-El Tarot

My favorite Tarot card has always been the Hermit, even before I knew what the Tarot was. The picture of the cloaked man holding a lantern atop a mountain has had a strong hold on my imagination since I first saw it in the liner notes of Led Zeppelin IV.

I must admit, it may be only because of the combination of the fantasy mystic/magic element with the allure of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll that places the Hermit above others in my eyes, although my endless contemplation of the card and its secrets has certainly helped cement it in its place of high esteem for me.

But upon opening my first deck of Tarot cards, I was also immediately drawn to the Magician. Again, this has wizard fantasy written all over it, and after I spent some time thinking about it, I realized that he is almost like the Hermit in a different guise. Much musing on this matter led me to write this post: The Wise Man and the Trickster.

Eventually, I got around to really exploring the Hermit in-depth, and once I was finished, I felt compelled to give the Magician a similar treatment. The resulting series was much more difficult for me than that of the Hermit, and I found myself focusing on some strange and possibly confusing or abstract things. Nonetheless, I think the series is an adequate representation of my interpretation of this card.

I – From Juggler to Magician
II – The Juggler
III – The Magician
IV – The Magician, continued
V – The Magus
VI – The Magus, continued
VII – The Lemniscate

I wrapped the series up with a look at some of my favorite versions of the Magician in my collection, which can be found here.

Finally, for the sake of completeness, I’ve compiled a list of other posts which share some fascinating and important connections to the Magician.

The High Priestess
The Devil (the Trickster)
The Three Magi
The Fool’s Journey
The Suits and their Elements

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