Mad in Pursuit Notebook

Thoth deck Tarot

Tarot Cards: Shuffling the Deck

October 13, 2018. Fall weather is late this year and I need that brisk air to take on challenging indoor projects. Now it's mid-October and I'm still dithering. Years ago, I designed a deck of cards as a generator of inspiration. Shall I do that again? Hmm, it was a huge undertaking... fun while it lasted, but... Maybe now that I'm more attuned to traditional arts, I should take another look at Tarot cards. I had a Tarot reading at a party once. Fascinating. While it didn't "tell my fortune" (I'm too skeptical), it did fire up my brain in a new way.

Me being me, I had a book on my shelf -- The Tarot Handbook: Practical Applications of Ancient Visual Symbols by Angeles Arrien, as well as an unopened Thoth Tarot Deck designed by magician Aleister Crowley. And in my Kindle library I discovered P.D. Ouspensky's The Symbolism of the Tarot: Philosophy of Occultism in Pictures and Numbers.

Doesn't take long to realize there is no definitive Tarot deck and no definitive interpretation. This isn't Catholicism. While the spirit behind the deck of cards as a divination tool might have ancient roots and medieval developments, the modern Tarot deck is basically an innovation of late-18th and 19th-century occultists and esotericists. It is whatever you need it to be.

On YouTube, there is a video of Vincent Pitisci speaking at the Theosophical Society -- Genius of the Tarot: Breaking Open the Mystery. After years of doing Tarot readings and pondering the mystery of how they "worked" for people, he came to the conclusion that it has little to do with the supernatural or paranormal. It is a creative thinking tool. Once you map out your issue (identifying as many elements of it as possible), adding the random stimulus of Tarot cards allows the brain to make connections in fresh ways. Cognitive scientists refer to this as "conceptual blending." Aha! Like so many tools, it involves finding that quiet space in your mind, a space to throw open new doors and shine lights in dark corners.

To paraphrase Shakespeare, the answers, then, are not in the stars but in ourselves.


HEADLONG: Over the Edge in Pakistan and China (2018) Traveler's tale of a 1992 adventure. A poorly planned roadtrip takes long-time lovers Susan and Jim to forbidden places and lost times. Kindle only.

THE SUDDEN SILENCE: A Tale of Suspense and Found Treasure (2015) Thailand: lovers of ancient treasure tangle with international black markets. Delia Rivera pulls Martin Moon back into the game and their quest turns deadly. In paperback and Kindle editions.

TRIBE OF THE BREAKAWAY BEADS: Book of Exits and Fresh Starts (2011) Time after time, Mary asks herself: Do I go or do I stay? She finds her power in her ancestors: Smart women turn discontent into action. An illustrated memoir in paperback and Kindle editions.

PASSION AND PERIL ON THE SILK ROAD: A Thriller in Pakistan and China (2008) The twin forces of revenge and redemption drive Nellie MacKenzie and Taylor Jackson on a crazed adventure into the heart of Central Asia. They grapple with issues of ethics, trust, rage, and bitter heartbreak -- as well as the intrigue of the international antiquities trade. In paperback and Kindle editions.



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All pages in this website by Susan Barrett Price are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. [The snowstorm image at the top of this page came from Wikipedia, under a Creative Commons license.]