Tarot Wheel 2.0.0 beta – the RWS Spin

Those familiar with version 1.0 of the wheel may recall that version was focused on the Golden Dawn. This is version 2.0 (beta). I have redone everything, and consider it appropriate as an RWS “spin.” I have replaced the descriptions taken from the Book T with excerpts of the divinatory meanings from The Pictorial Key to the Tarot. I’ve kept the Golden Dawn’s esoteric names for the minors.

The main reason for the update, actually, was to move the “source” document out of Microsoft Visio. It is now a scalable vector graphic (.svg). As such, free and open software such as InkScape can work equally well to edit the source document as proprietary software such as Adobe Illustrator. The Tarot Wheel carries the most liberal of the Creative Commons licenses (attribution type) expressly because I hope to see others pick it up and customize it. It would make a splendid platform as a “Little White Book” for a new deck. In addition to the finished wheel, I am making a completely “empty” one, i.e., no text, no colors, just shapes, available as well.

I hope that this will help those new to tarot, especially. If you’re in RWS land, i.e., the Waite-Smith tarot and other decks derived from it, you may find it of use.

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Quick-And-Dirty “When?” Divination With the Wheel

We as readers know one of the trickiest tasks in Tarot is answering a “when?” question. This provides an astrology based “quick and dirty” method that I’ve seen at several sites. I have used it myself and had some success. It may not be a full substitute for more complicated methods. This simple method also serves a demonstration of the uses that the Tarot Wheel can be put to. Thus, I’ve decided that this might be a useful post as the first one following its “1.0” release. The simple method we’ll describe here starts with a version of the wheel without coloring. We’ll open a paint program and color-fill the shapes for the cards drawn. Once we’ve filled in our card shapes, we locate the most important card(s) drawn, and we’ll also look for “concentrations” of colors (colored shapes on top or next to each other). We then read the associated dates and/or durations. Voilà! We now have a rough time period or idea of the duration in answer to the “when?” question. This has actually worked for me more than once. I’ll detail that experience. I’ll also describe in this post a more complicated method for calculating dates, though that one doesn’t utilize the Wheel. Bottom line, though, is that the main point of this exercise is to let everyone know that the Wheel is for customizing!

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Release Candidate: Tarot/Zodiac Wheel

The final wheel is just about done, but there are two areas which need proofreading. Therefore we have a near-final or “release candidate” to share with anyone who has the time for it. I had to manually enter tool tips (the little labels that float when you hover with your mouse over a shape). Unfortunately, there’s no way to import them from the external data file. So anyone who can look that over has my appreciation. Secondly, I created documentation for anyone who wants to edit the originals with Visio. Anyone who has time to look that over has my appreciation too.

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The Wheel of Fortune as “Meta-Card”

As a “meta-card,” the Wheel of Fortune is a tarot-card-about-tarot-cards. As the bearer of many symbols of divination, the card itself symbolizes fortune telling. As a “map compass” it provides context for the other cards in the drawing. At least that is my contention. I have created an exercise using a variation of the Zodiac Wheel (soon to be finished, I promise!) to illustrate. The Wheel of Fortune, Rota Fortunae, is the Wheel of the Zodiac. We trace its history as a symbol of the celestial spheres, and as a medieval metaphor–not just as a metaphor for the ups and downs of life, but as an exhortation to live a good life, in hopes of a better afterlife. What it boils down to, for those that read tarot is this: I see it as a cue to the reader to modify the overall message conveyed by the divinatory meanings of the other cards. The call is to make sure “the bottom line” is of a dual or mixed nature, up and down, sweet and sour. I think that when the Wheel of Fortune tarot card appears, it advises that whatever the outcome of the other cards, be it wealth, love, or whatever, it is a sign that very seldom will the soul (or querent, for that matter) be wholly happy or wholly unhappy with the outcome.

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Zodiac Tarot Wheel “Beta” 2

This provides “beta” 2 of a Zodiac wheel containing the planetary, elemental and qabalistic symbols, their Tarot “assignments,” and the divinatory meanings assigned them. I posted the first version here last week. It is now updated, and nearly done. As previously mentioned, I used the Golden Dawn’s set of meanings both because they are a major source for the Waite Colman Smith deck, and because they are not bound by copyright. The latter is important because if it’s useful to me, it’s useful to others, and this means anything I put together as part of this project can be “sharable.” It’s meant to be something that all people interested in Tarot can print at home, learn from, adapt for themselves, and distribute as is (with attribution) or with their own improvements under their own license preference. The primary improvements for “beta” 2 have been to improve legibility, and to enable easy editing of an external Excel file to replace all the text that you see inside the graphic with your own text.

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The Wheel and the Mise-en-scène

Two days ago we posted the first version of a Zodiac Wheel with tarot, astrological, qabalistic and elemental divinatory meanings based upon writings of the Golden Dawn. Today we will take twelve of the minor arcana—those in the center of each deccan, having an exalted and failed (opposite of exalted) planet indicated—and see what visual links we can find between their position within the graphic and Colman Smith’s designs. The purpose of such an exploration is to be a better reader. At the end of the day, we can list every symbol, count every esoteric number, chart every symbol on every card… but still not properly relate that information to the querent’s question. But if we ask instead “how did the Golden Dawn, Waite, Crowley and everyone after them compose the divinatory meanings which for the most case we still follow today?, we may understand many cards’ meanings better. And we will hopefully be able to recognize the astrological, qabalistic or elemental traits that contributed to those meanings so as to better relate an answer that the querent can understand. I also hope that with comments and suggestions from all who view the wheel chart we can improve it. It’s a work in progress.

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