“A prisoner devoid of books, had he only a Tarot of which he knew how to make use, could in a few years acquire a universal science, and converse with an unequalled doctrine and inexhaustible eloquence. The oracles of the Tarot give answers as exact as mathematics, and measured as the harmonies of nature. By the aid of these signs and their infinite combinations, it is possible to arrive at the natural and mathematical revelation of all secrets of nature.“ - Eliphas Levi
Tarot is a path of spiritual enlightenment and self-knowledge.
Through its regular (even daily) practise one can gain in-depth
knowledge into the nature of the self and the personality.
I find tarot very powerful for shadow work and highlighting the hidden
unconscious behaviour of the personality.
It is also useful to use different types of decks and even to use them
together as each one has a different approach and focus.
Each one of the cards of the Major Arcana is an archetype and also an alchemical process.
The minor arcana of the Mysteries of Mary tarot show the alchemical processes
at work in the many stories of Mary and how they apply to our daily lives.
They elaborate and expand on the archetypes of the Major Arcana and how they play out
in the emotional, mental, physical and spiritual aspects of our lives as witnessed
and seen in the powerful religious stories and folklore. (Of course, this is dependent
on our understanding of religion as a representation of human consciousness and
not as a literal event only. It is also important to understand that these two concepts
do not cancel each other out. In other words, you can understand religion
as a literal event as well as a divine reflection of the consciousness of humanity;
to me the marriage of both these two ways of understanding are the most powerful)
Each one of the tarot cards can be related to a chakra, musical tone, a colour, an archetype, an element, a season, a sacred geometrical shape on the flower of life,
a myth, a fairy tale, a path on the Tree of Life and more.
Working with the tarot as a path or yoga, one can marry the Eastern path of yoga with the Western path of alchemy in a true tantric practise.
*yoga means yoke or bridging the two opposites;
*tantric means a marriage of the opposites.
The focus of any spiritual path is unity.
Unity on different levels of our being and consciousness.
The greatest challenge of the spiritual path (or the path of living with conscious awareness)
is to live with the tension of the opposites.
This means that we have to live with the acceptance of what we are experiencing
and what is the perceived reality in the present moment as opposed
to what we desire and would like to have in our lives.
The journey to make these two meet is probably one of the first initiations
and steps on the path.
Working with the imagery of the tarot cards our subconscious knowledge and
understanding is invoked and awakened. So much of what we know and experience
is non-verbal and imagery is not limited by language and its interpretation.
There is that well-known saying 'a picture is worth a thousand words'.
By contemplating a picture and what it evokes in us, is a key
turning in a closed door and letting the light of vision in.
|Our Lady the Tree of Life|
from the Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck
Each Major Arcana card is an archetypal picture and it has a corresponding
planet, chakra, house ets. Each one is a key that opens the inner chamber of hidden meaning of each energy centre.
There are many different interpretations and metaphors for the different systems and at different times we need different approaches. Various schools of thought apply different correspondences
and it is up to you to find one that works for you and that you can relate to.
This is not meant to be dogma and to be blindly accepted because 'teacher said so'.
I have found that my perception and understanding changes along with my own
evolution and what made sense a year ago no longer applies. It is in one's
highest interest to allow these changes to take place and to follow the whispers
of the Inner Beloved rather than someone else's teachings.
But we still respect all systems because they are valid and as true as one's own
personal reality. All paths lead home.
In the Mysteries of Mary tarot deck I used the metaphor of Mary. My own journey
of learning to understand the deep and spiritual attraction within myself to Mary whom I had
only known in a Christian context, and uncovering her bigger story, combined with my
life long practise of tarot as yoga, led to this deck. Since its creation I have come to
understand and am learning more each day, of its powerful alchemical properties.
The path of Mary is a complex one.
She has been called by the Time magazine in 1991 as the world's 'first feminist'.
National Geographic have had her on its front cover twice the past two years.
Her name evokes horror and awe and devotion in various groups.
The Mary tarot deck is a path which marries devotion (bhakty) and wisdom (jnana). The more you work with it as a spiritual practice, with contemplation, meditation, journaling,
visioning and visualisation, the more doors are unlocked.
The system of correlation below is one of many. This is the one that corresponds to the
Kabbalah Tree of Life as well as the Flower of Life.
I also work with a 12 house colour system which I put together many years ago
as a healing tool. For now I will focus on this alchemical correlation and its
correspondences and how it can be of help to you.
In this layout we are looking at the alchemical properties of the planets
and their relationship to the chakra.
These seven keys are akin to seven tones.
Put these seven cards in sequence next to each other and see the
The crown chakra (sahasrara)
Planet : Mercury
I MARIA PROPHETISSA (The Magician)
The third eye chakra (ajna)
Binah and Hokhmah
Planet : Moon
II MARIA SOPHIA (The High Priestess)
The throat chakra (visuddhi)
Gevurah and Hesed
Planet : Venus
III MARIA NATURANS (The Empress)
The heart chakra (anahata)
Planet : Sun
XIX THE SUN
The solar plexus (Manipura)
XVI THE WHEEL
The sacral chakra ( Svadisthana)
XVI THE MAGDALEN (The Tower)
XXI HEAVEN ON EARTH (The World)
The root chakra governs our lower body, extends down into the legs and
feet. It seems a bit upside down that the highest tarot arcana corresponds
to the root chakra (the seemingly 'lowest' chakra). This is part of the hidden key.
In Shakti tantra yoga it is understood that the kundalini lies coiled up in the
root chakra. The kundalini is symbolised by a snake because of its serpentine
movements up the shushumna or the spinal cord. This is an energy that
moves in the meridians (nadi). The shushumna has two vertical columns, the ida
and pingala, seen as masculine and feminine and through a process of
energetic transformations and unfoldment, the shakty and shiva energies
move up and down, through locks and granthis, and finally unite
in the crown chakra and merge with unity consciousness.
Have you noticed how Mary is often depicted with her foot on the serpent?
The explanation given is usually that she crushes the head of the serpent (evil)
but I read it as she is master of the serpentine energy and 'rides' its energy
in the same way that Quan Yin rides the dragon. This potent energy inherent
in all beings, can be applied for good or harm - it is like a sword of light in our hands.
I found this image on Pinterest.
Quan Yin riding the dragon on the waters of consciousness
One can use this knowledge in various ways. It is of value to understand
the idea of chakras and how they relate to the energetic body
as well as the emotional and mental bodies.
The habitual thoughts that we hold onto, as well as those
unconscious ones, directly affect our emotional state, our mental health
as well as the health of the physical body.
There are many teachers of metaphysical healing that write
extensively on this topic.
Working with a tarot deck on a regular basis is a powerful
path to self-knowledge and healing. It is one way of putting the
power firmly back into your own hands.
As with any field of expertise, it takes time and hours of practise.
It also takes commitment and dedication to learn to understand
a path properly and not to just skim over the surface.
Next I will continue with the other chakras.