Tarotgram – Chrysomallus/Liebig Trading Card

The illustration was taken from a trading card issued by the Liebig Extract of Meat Company. The cards were published beginning in the 19th century, though this one may be from the early twentieth century. It depicts the source story of Aries the ram. It represents Chrysomallus, the flying ram that rescued two children and provided the Golden Fleece. Aries can therefore embody protection, rescue and wealth. The Three of Wands, we’ve noted, is influenced by Aries. Its focus on commerce and trade (sea trade in the RWS illustration) may invoke the story of Jason and the Golden Fleece, which also touches upon Mars (the fleece was kept in a grove sacred to him) the Sun (Chrysomallus was descended from the Sun God), and Binah (the “mother” symbol of the qabala—Hera figures prominently in the Golden Fleece story). All of which are influences upon the Three of Wands.

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The Six of Pentacles – A One Page Guide

That one of the strengths of tarot is its strong storytelling ability may have something to do with a foundation in mankind’s oldest and most important myths and stories. In the Six of Pentacles it appears as if the rich man weighs the worthiness of the beggars before giving them charity. A century after the publication of the RWS deck, we as viewers may interpret this as an act of a very ill-natured type of charity. But the incorporation of the scales may have a different purpose. Taurus represents the Vernal equinox, the beginning of the life cycle in the agrarian age. Libra was the other end: the Autumnal equinox. This is why Venus is sometimes represented alongside both the bull and scales. The generosity of the Earth and agriculture then should be the main theme; but does our merchant portray that? We can trace the words of the divinatory meanings to their influences, but it is not certain that the message is entirely satisfactory today.

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Link: The Comfort of Divination

An interesting opinion/analysis article regarding divination appears on the web today from the Reporter Magazine of the Rochester Institute of Technology. Karina Le approaches astrology and tarot from a health and wellness viewpoint. The analysis of astrology relates the spatial positioning of the constellations and planets (astrology) as a metaphor of our relationship to the universe. Tarot, it is said, helps people “open up” about what they’re going through. The conclusion is that “the real magic in divination” is the experience of “expanding one’s horizons and thinking more deeply in the introspection of self, and the way we handle our lives.”

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Tarotgram – It’s a Summer Solstice Celebration!

It’s a Summer Solstice Celebration! Colman Smith may have been inspired by and picked up some of the attributes of the three dancers from the story of Cancer, a giant crab who guarded Poseidon’s daughters, the sea nymphs. With this being a water sign, the three dancers celebrate what appears to be a burgeoning, no doubt well irrigated crop with a cup of wine or two. It symbolizes all that is beautiful and kind about agriculture. We should recall that the first astrologers, the Egyptians, depended on the annual flooding of the Nile which began in the southern part of Egypt around early to mid June. More here.

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The Eight of Cups – A One Page Guide

The Eight of Cups is one of those cards in which Waite has only slight differences in divinatory meanings versus the Golden Dawn. The differences are in the illustration. Instead of Pisces and Jupiter, the main element is instead the full Moon eclipsing the Sun. The Romans, in their panoply of gods, assigned Diana three aspects, goddess of the Moon, the huntress, and the queen of the underworld. They nicknamed her “trivia” or “three roads.” She was the goddess of forks-in-the-road! Waite and Colman Smith use this as a metaphor to portray the action of the divinatory meaning. The character deserts the cups of an enterprise or previous concern; i.e., he came to a fork in the road, and after, no longer travels the original road. The card is full of “dualities”—harvest and planting, death and rebirth, male and female, Sun and Moon, old path and new path—which seem to mimic the dual nature of the divinatory meanings. Thus, the Eight of Cups is a collection of reflected images, none exactly the same as the original. It occurs to me that if we understand the illustration correctly, the proper reading of this card is more than “the decline of a matter” in importance, as Waite put it. It is actually advice to avoid the consequences of whatever the “decline” was. The occurrence may be infrequent but not rare (as suggested by the solar eclipse). And the advice is that the best path to be on during or after that decline is “the road less traveled.”

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