Justice — Is There Any?
The subtitle for this section of my post is borrowed from the chapter on Justice in Sallie Nichols’ Jung and Tarot: An Archetypal Journey.
I’ve had a lot of trouble with this particular card in my study, and I’m not sure why. It’s not as if I’ve never given the Justice card a lot of thought before. But during the past week, I’ve been skirting around the Justice card as if it were anathema to me. I thought that didn’t make much sense. It makes even less sense when I consider that as a person with Sun in Libra, I’ve often identified with the Justice card as an archetype representing me to a great degree.
Fairness and Justice have always been important to me, and they’ve been factors in my life at every turn, sometimes as ideals or aspirations, sometimes as great disappointments. And maybe that’s where my difficulty comes in. We search and search for Justice in certain matters, in our world. Yet I’m sure we don’t always find it, and more recently I wonder if we always should. (more…)
If you’re new to Tarot, you might wonder why the Justice and Strength cards are numbered differently from one Tarot deck to another.
In the older Tarot de Marseille decks, Justice is VIII and Strength is XI (and the Fool, by the way, has no number at all, while the Death card has a number — XIII — but no title).
In some modern decks, Justice is XI and Strength is VIII.
No one really knows how the original Tarot majors were ordered, or if they were ordered at all. In some of the oldest known Tarot decks the major arcana had no numbers. (more…)
The Hierophant: Seeking Perfection in the Great Imperfect
The traditional title of The Hierophant is The Pope, and in the Tarot de Marseille this card provides a masculine contrast or polarization with card II The Papess, or female pope. In modern Tarot decks these two cards’ titles have changed to, most commonly, The High Priestess and The Hierophant.
The Hierophant is frequently interpreted as a religious, spiritual, or ethical authority figure or mentor, as the inner voice or conscience, or as form, ritual, and ceremony. He is sometimes seen as a bridge to the divine. In Tarot interpretations that view traditional religion as negative, The Hierophant is often given a more patriarchal or authoritative tone, sometimes quite harshly so, and in some interpretations that attempt to see the more positive aspects of this archetype, religion or spirituality may not be mentioned at all. The reasons for both extremes are probably that so many people have had difficult experiences with religion and that so many people disagree about religion.
In the Tarot of Transformation this card is titled “Spiritual Leaders.” In neo-pagan based decks, it’s sometimes the High Priest.
It is the path of spirit in the earthly plane.
Some have said that about the Tarot as a whole.
One could say The Hierophant represents all the ways in which we endeavor, through known forms, sacred images, ritual, dogma, or ceremony — through structure that is very often a metaphor — to keep ourselves on the correct path toward deity or the unknown. The meaning will vary depending on what the individual considers the correct path. (more…)
How do they rule?
The King cards in the Tarot sometimes represent wisdom or mastery, and at other times a completion or culmination, the state of having achieved a zenith or post-zenith position in some area of life. A King can also mean carrying something to such a point of completion and expertise that one can go to the next level, perhaps go public with it, share one’s expertise, or achieve an expanded status beyond the personal. Whatever the King has achieved or gained, it’s not just for personal use or our own eyes anymore. The King may also be a person who’s considered an authority, or a professional, such as a doctor or lawyer. The King may be venerated as a sage. In relationship to one’s life as a whole they can indicate the past, age, retirement, ancestry, one’s family roots, or the roots of one’s profession or vocation.
I believe it’s important when considering the King cards to think about what a king is literally. Tarot is meant to be a system of symbols, not a literal representation of life, so we have to get to the symbolic meaning of the card in the context of a reading. That can be done with Tarot much the same way we work with dream images, through associations. What better way to begin to understand what the Kings can mean symbolically than to understand what a king is in reality? (more…)
I’ve decided to begin an in-depth Tarot study in 2009, not of any particular deck, but of the 22 major arcana and the 14 levels of minor arcana — Aces through 10s, Pages, Knights, Queens, Kings — using several decks. I’ve been using Tarot, mostly for personal insight, for 20 plus years, so this will be a different journey than it would’ve been as a beginner. Tarot is something that one never really finishes learning. It’s as multifaceted as a string of diamonds, and continues to sparkle for me after all these years. I’m nurturing a new interest in Carl Jung and his methods and writings, so that will be a side focus of this study, since Tarot archetypes relate so well to his work.
At first I planned to go through these individual cards and groups of four cards in order, first The Fool through The World, and then the four Aces through the four Kings. But then I thought I could also turn this into a comparative reading for my year ahead. I removed all but one suit and the majors from a deck, shuffled the remaining cards, then drew a card for each one- to two-week period, which may stretch out into longer periods if life interferes. I’m not going to rigidly adhere to a schedule, so interested parties will have to be patient sometimes waiting for the next Tarot Study post.
The four Kings will be the first focus of my study.
My process will be flexible and will include studying the cards from up to about 9 favorite decks. I may change which decks I use in the course of the study. I have some decks that I haven’t yet used very much, such as the Golden Tarot by Kat Black, which I’ve had for a few years but have sadly neglected since purchasing it, and my more recently acquired Haindl Tarot by Hermann Haindl, as well as the Motherpeace Tarot by Karen Vogel and Vicki Noble. I’ll journal sometimes about the cards (in my personal journal, not necessarily to share here), I’ll also read about them, meditate with them, and do a little sketching and painting, since I hope to create my own deck eventually, for my personal use. (I’m not sure how much artwork I’ll share here either.)
Please note that what I share here won’t be everything, and the pattern may vary from post to post, depending on my time and what I get out of the particular card. Some posts will describe cards, others will be more about what I’ve learned from books, from thinking about the concepts involved, and so forth. If there’s something you’d like to see more of, feel free to let me know, but I can make no promises because of the time involved and the fact that I plan to take this as it goes and, again, be as flexible with myself as possible so I’ll keep up the study and not feel too constrained. My goal is to post something every week up to every few weeks regarding this Tarot study. What that something will be, I won’t know until I post it.
I have my new weekly calendar set up to chart my way through this study, in pencil (smile). I plan to blog more about Tarot anyway, whether as a part of this study or not, since Tarot was the main focus of this blog when I started it, and has become a strong focus for me once again.
Post updated March 17, 2009
Copyright © 2009 Barbara W. Klaser. All rights reserved.
2009 Tarot Study Index