Written by Luckky*
Paradise, judgment day and the devil himself are not just biblical tropes we see sensationalized in our blockbuster movies today. These are highly ancient concepts that predate even the Bible itself. However, when we look at the idea of perennial knowledge, the notion that truth is cyclical and returns to humankind generation after generation, we can trace some of these ideas more to their Christian, Hebraic, or even Egyptian roots. But instead, for this moment we will fast forward from the 42 laws of Ma'at and the tales of the resurrected god Osiris and jump straight to the pop spirituality of the day known as Tarot.
Tarot cards have hit the mainstream in a way that has never been seen since their inception in the 15th century. So let's look deeper into the original 22 trump cards known as the Major Arcana; a book without pages that has been pondered over and meditated upon in occultism and the social sciences.
It is true that the Major Arcana has gone through various iterations since history records their first appearance. Developed under myth, mystery and rumor, however the tarot camp to be it has left a landmark impression on society and is instantly regarded as woowoo voodoo or a cheap parlor trick. But it is with the Italian aristocrats of the mid millennium that we see it begin to gain in popularity and become associated with a multitude of card games in both Italy and France. So let's stop and think of the social and religious climate of the day. The Jewish community of southern Italy had been persecuted for centuries and under threat of death, many had to flee or convert to Christianity to survive. Is it possible that the Jewish sages embedded their most precious treasures from their sacred texts, the Torah (notice the spelling), in the ciphers of the decadent images of the tarot? Could this afford them the secrecy to study and share the mysteries of the Kabbalah while seeming to play a popular card game?
If you know anything about Hebraic Kabbalah you know it is inherently a messianic world view of creation and the cosmos. So as we go through the most modern cannon the tarot as illustrated by Pamale Coleman Smith, a British Black artist and author who died in 1951 we can uncover some of the mystical gems that transcend religion, cultures, and time itself. Keep in mind this will be merely a glance through a glass dimly as not even a college course could not encapsulate the totality of truth condensed in these colored cards.
Let's first look at The Fool, card zero. Typically associated with the first letter of the Jewish aleph-bet, both signify primordial potentiality and order born out of chaos. Just as in the days of creation, the first awareness of the I AM, the 22 letters are said to have described all of creation from colliding quasars to cuttlefish, choirs of angels and childlike Adam in Eden. That is right, The Fool card represents Adam in Eden. Formed from the dust and animated by the charge of life, Adam rested in a paradise setting, innocent, naïve and searching for meaning in the undifferentiated millue of spirit, consciousness and form. Adam Kadmon was chaos incarnate. In and of himself the purpose of all things. The realization of a living intelligence enshrined in the shrubbery divine as a golden child, the center of the universe.
Next we see Adam as the enlightened Magician in the second arcana with fresh downloads from the Most High. Represented by the number 1, that penetrating magick stick from which all of the other numbers are born. As the magician is given access and authority over the 4 classical elements of creation and access to the 4 worlds of emanation we can parallel Adam who uses no intermediary other than his powerful pronunciations of the 22 letters to the granddaddy God. He now has been given the mandate to ascribe names to the animals, to describe his world, created just for him, down to the detail. God assures him that what his son calls each animal by name so shall He also call the animals in perfect agreement, as below, so above. On to the Goddess within...
The High Priestess is that very electric charge that enlivened the first soul. Ruach ha Kodesh in Hebrew, the "holy wind" or breath of life bequeathed from father to son, hidden within, both as wise and as wild as a woman. Upon removal from the womb of the man, though he be the first formed, she would be the first born, as Eve the Empress of the third arcana. Eve would become the template of the quintessential fertility goddess. Giving birth through biology to the multitudes, undoubtedly in doubles, neigh, octuplets perhaps. All owing her gratitude, allegiance and service, the empress represents the highest hopes for this first evolved and perfected human.
Consider the beauty of this boundless book. Benevolent in its own way, the tarot describes the lives of the world as one. Just as the 22 letters can be used to describe the most fantastic features of space-time in both elegant arithmetic and parable, the tarot holds the story of a God-Goddess-Human creature that the Shema so hardly describes. This tri fold entity, I AM as illustrated in the spelling of the tetragrammaton allows for permutation and further contemplation. We are allowed to shuffle, reorder or and combine cards to describe our inner selves in detail. So let's see what can be revealed when we shuffle the deck...
If we combine specific trump cards we can get even more comprehensive storylines that outline a messianic point of view as well as other nuggets of gnosis. For instance if we combine The World, The Fool and The Magician we get a more complete view of the original androgynous nature and role of Adam Kadmon as a complete and liberated individual free to create and conjure. By adding The Lovers and The Devil it’s revealed that Adam sought true love and intimacy from a companion of his own likeness, and how this star crossed seduction led to a schism of human bondage and fear. As a result of the forbidden fruit the first instance of holy fear is recorded, and as promised, wisdom and all its terrors descended along with the weight of mortal “skins”, pubescence, procreation and mortality.
The Emperor and Hierophant can be used to illume many tales such as those of Moses and Aaron. One awarded the royal authority of a lost prince, much like Joseph, The Emperor is the owner of the race who through trial and tribulation directed the fate of his people. The Hierophant holds the written Word of God as a divine channel authored by the observations of the passive Feminine, an echo of the High Priestess, distilled from the 42 laws of Ma’at. The Goddess again as the Holy ghost in the machine.
The Lovers is one of those timeless truths, returning through endless winters of uncertainty. Though the imagery is of two Instagram hot bodies repleat with the Trees of Knowledge and of Life this page can be used to share more tales of Genesis such as that of Abram and Sarai. Chosen vessels of lineage that made the ultimate choice of devotion. Who too would be transformed and renamed. The Chariot is a shining war device such as the Ark of the Covenant wielded by King David, or even Elijah or some other blockbusting prophet of the Tanakh.
Not only can The Strength trump tell of Daniel's fierce loyalty as the lions licked him as on of their own, but many women of righteousness embody this indomitable maven such as Sarah - the geriatric maiden with a womb restored then to laugh in the face of God. Hagar who’s desperate faith to save her bastardized son brought forth water from a stone. Esther who’s raw beauty and social wiles proved a check, mate and match in a cunning gambit that saved her people throughout the nations. Rahab the whore turned spy like Mata Hari, Jael who slaughtered Sisera like a Maccabee, and Rebecca who knew every hair and every inch of a man which to wrench forth a blessing.
Conversely, this page can highlight women like Delilah, who could open the tight lips of a lion heart and fleece the feline mane of mighty Sampson. And Jezebel who’s tyrannical mouth would be her undoing, in the end devoured by dogs. Her arch enemy, Elijah on Carmel can be The Hermit. Really a catch all card for the prophets and sages including Noah on Ararat, Moses on Siani, Amos and such. This mountain top moment also hints to the enigmatic Enoch who knew the stars, the angels by name.
That great cosmic view was shared by Ezekiel in The Wheel of Fortune and his vision of the celestial Merkabah and only added to by the lullaby of Jacobs’ lucid dream of a ladder while upon a pillow stone.
Justice is of course highly Solomonic, who was said to have wisest ever, more so than if he had eaten the forbidden fruit himself, known to have subdued and subjugated criminal demons. But is this image of a man? Once again the androgynous face is an innuendo of a wo(mb)man. With the scales, Ma’at of Africa, to Makeda, Queen of Sheba, the one true love of the sovereign. She searched for an equal in her own majesty, humbled only in the court of Shlomo himself. The muse of the Song of Songs... What whispers here beneath the billowing robe and behind the veil of the pillars? A rumor that he would slice a child in half for a razor sharp fairness in fact sired his own secret prince.
In next Neptunian card, The Hanged Man we see an incubating genius and Davidic heir. descended through an unconquered Ethiopian line, leading to king Menelik, the forefather of Ras Tafari. Remember, this suspended saint is the pure blue blooded Magician, as we see in his blue blouse and blood red legs of lineage and golden shoes to boot. Yes we can teach about Isaac as the sacrificial lamb and this can be Joseph in the ern or imprisoned, divining dreams and one day to become Pharaoh. The African connection is palpable and should be explored as Joseph, Moses and Jesus are each Egyptian educated, groomed and styled. We are further reminded of the Mark of Cain, a salvific stamp to protect the progeny of the first people. The son who was to be his brother Able’s keeper yet slew him only to be spared from Justice, from Death. Here we can speak of Noah and the Nephilim, the curse of Ham, and the ongoing theme stretching thousands of years of brothers as rivals. Cain and Abel, Esau and Jacob, Lucifer and Logos.. But more of this soon in part two.
This is only a cursory view. Each of the arcana are rich with the ineffable mysteries of an omniscient deity. The remaining cards continue to outline a messianic mission for the redemption of a fallen race. Tikkun olam, Adam is commissioned with the new task to work the earth with the salt of sweat as his bread and blood as his wine. He must heal this world, one incarnation at a time. The spirit of Adam transcends the tales of old Torah into a new testimony. A Soul of toil, tender and technology. Join me in the second part of this article as I examine the leftover pages of the tarot and reinterpret some already visited. As the wheel of fortune spins and we return to a foretold paradise we are tempted again for by the appetite insatiable, this time for the flaming fruit of life.