There are a lot of tarot decks out there. But first and foremost has to be the old Tarot of Marseilles. This deck’s influence is really significant. Many other Tarot cards’ symbolism is based on these old designs. And in my opinion the Marseilles cards are also the ugliest of the Tarot cards. The images are stiff and blocky. Whoever drew these crude things was no artist. However, the stiff and awkward nature of the cards is probably due to the rigid symbolic structure of the cards. Unlike a lot of prettier modern Tarot cards, the entire image on the Marseilles card served a purpose. The Rider-Waite deck is a beautiful deck filled with its own style of symbolism, but in trying to improve on the Marseilles deck, it also loses something in the translation.
In my previous posting, I wrote about using a “split perspective” to look for meaning in the Tarot cards. Usually, the top half of the card represents a spiritual or mental condition, and the bottom half symbolizes the physical result of this condition. This works with the Tarot of Marseilles, but not with modern cards that don’t follow the symbolic structure of the Marseilles deck. Lets consider the three celestial cards, the Star, the Moon and the Sun from the split perspective.
In the Star card, the stars in the top half are literally the heavens, the universe. The bottom half is a woman pouring water into a pond. This card symbolizes the harmony between the spirit above and the person below, between the individual and the Universe. When our thoughts and goals are in harmony with the universe, then there is serenity and clearness of purpose in life. Pouring water into the pond symbolizes creativity and inspiration gained from having unity with the Universe.
The Moon card symbolizes something all together different. The moon is not the physical moon, but is a metaphor for passivity and negativity. It is a state of mind that dwells in darkness. The bottom half of the Moon card shows the same two characters again as in the previous cards (Devil, Lightening Struck Tower), but now they take the form of hounds baying at the moon. The dogs represent humanity as devolved, lost souls. Unlike the Devil Card where the two bottom characters still retained elements of their humanity, now all traces of humanity are gone. In the Devil card our Ego was our biggest enemy. Now even the ego is stripped away. What is left is a state of emptiness. An emptiness similar to that experienced by people have lost their sense of self, who are overwhelmed by outside forces. Looking at the bottom half of the Moon card, instead of dogs, imagine people lost in self-destructive behavior like crime, abuse, and addictions.
The Sun card is the opposite of the Moon card. The Sun represents blazing positive energy. It is a state of mind full of self-confidence, of belief in our self. Our ego is in charge, but in a healthy way. With the power of our positive mindset, we will attract to our lives what we desire. The Sun card’s bottom half once again shows the same two characters, but now they are fully realized as human. They have achieved their potential.
Using this system of interpretation, it is possible to also see the Law of Attraction demonstrated in the Tarot. Is the Law of Attraction an intentional element of the original Tarot? It was not called that centuries ago, but the occult idea of “as is above, so it is below” was always a core concept of occult thought. Our state of mind will become manifest in reality. The Tarot shows different states of mind, and their consequences.