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Teresa Caro, Reading Tarot Cards Revealed .pdf



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Título: Reading Tarot Cards Revealed™ PDF, eBook by Teresa Caro « ✔Truth & Facts ✔Real Results ✔Real Experiences ✔FAQ ~ ✘Reviews ✘Opinions ✘Scams
Autor: Tarot Cards Reader's Guide

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Reading Tarot Cards Revealed

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Reading Tarot Cards Revealed
Table of Contents
Preface .......................................................................................................................................................... 5
Introduction .................................................................................................................................................. 6
The Veil and its Symbols ............................................................................................................................... 7
Trumps Major (Greater Arcana) ................................................................................................................. 10
The Four Suits (Lesser Arcana) .................................................................................................................... 17
History Of Tarot........................................................................................................................................... 18
The Secret Tradition Behind Tarot .............................................................................................................. 26
The Trumps Major and Their Inner Symbolism .......................................................................................... 30
The Magician ........................................................................................................................................... 30
The High Priestess ................................................................................................................................... 31
The Empress ............................................................................................................................................ 32
The Emperor ........................................................................................................................................... 33
The Hierophant ....................................................................................................................................... 34
The Lovers ............................................................................................................................................... 35
The Chariot.............................................................................................................................................. 36
Strength, or Fortitude ............................................................................................................................. 37
The Hermit .............................................................................................................................................. 38
Wheel of Fortune .................................................................................................................................... 39
Justice...................................................................................................................................................... 40
The Hanged Man ..................................................................................................................................... 41
Death....................................................................................................................................................... 42
Temperance ............................................................................................................................................ 43
The Devil ................................................................................................................................................. 44
The Tower ............................................................................................................................................... 45

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The Star ................................................................................................................................................... 46
The Moon ................................................................................................................................................ 47
The Sun ................................................................................................................................................... 48
The Last Judgment .................................................................................................................................. 49
The Fool................................................................................................................................................... 50
The World ............................................................................................................................................... 51
Conclusion as to the Greater Keys .............................................................................................................. 52
Distinction between the Greater and Lesser Arcana .................................................................................. 53
The Lesser Arcana and Their Meanings ...................................................................................................... 55
King of Wands ......................................................................................................................................... 55
Queen of Wands ..................................................................................................................................... 55
Knight of Wands ...................................................................................................................................... 56
Page of Wands ........................................................................................................................................ 56
Ten of Wands .......................................................................................................................................... 56
Nine of Wands......................................................................................................................................... 57
Eight of Wands ........................................................................................................................................ 57
Seven of Wands ...................................................................................................................................... 57
Six of Wands............................................................................................................................................ 58
Five of Wands.......................................................................................................................................... 58
Four of Wands ......................................................................................................................................... 58
Three of Wands ....................................................................................................................................... 59
Two of Wands ......................................................................................................................................... 59
Ace of Wands .......................................................................................................................................... 59
King of Cups ............................................................................................................................................ 60
Queen of Cups......................................................................................................................................... 60

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Knight of Cups ......................................................................................................................................... 60
Page of Cups............................................................................................................................................ 61
Ten of Cups ............................................................................................................................................. 61
Nine of Cups ............................................................................................................................................ 61
Eight of Cups ........................................................................................................................................... 62
Seven of Cups .......................................................................................................................................... 62
Six of Cups ............................................................................................................................................... 62
Five of Cups ............................................................................................................................................. 63
Four of Cups ............................................................................................................................................ 63
Three of Cups .......................................................................................................................................... 63
Two of Cups............................................................................................................................................. 64
Ace of Cups ............................................................................................................................................. 64
King of Swords......................................................................................................................................... 64
Queen of Swords..................................................................................................................................... 65
Knight of Swords ..................................................................................................................................... 65
Page of Swords........................................................................................................................................ 65
Ten of Swords ......................................................................................................................................... 66
Nine of Swords ........................................................................................................................................ 66
Eight of Swords ....................................................................................................................................... 66
Seven of Swords ...................................................................................................................................... 67
Six of Swords ........................................................................................................................................... 67
Five of Swords ......................................................................................................................................... 67
Four of Swords ........................................................................................................................................ 68
Three of Swords ...................................................................................................................................... 68
Two of Swords......................................................................................................................................... 68

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Ace of Swords.......................................................................................................................................... 69
King of Pentacles ..................................................................................................................................... 69
Queen of Pentacles ................................................................................................................................. 69
Knight of Pentacles ................................................................................................................................. 70
Page of Pentacles .................................................................................................................................... 70
Ten of Pentacles ...................................................................................................................................... 70
Nine of Pentacles .................................................................................................................................... 71
Eight of Pentacles.................................................................................................................................... 71
Seven of Pentacles .................................................................................................................................. 71
Six of Pentacles ....................................................................................................................................... 72
Five of Pentacles ..................................................................................................................................... 72
Four of Pentacles .................................................................................................................................... 72
Three of Pentacles .................................................................................................................................. 73
Two of Pentacles ..................................................................................................................................... 73
Ace of Pentacles ...................................................................................................................................... 73
Additional Meanings Of The Lesser Arcana ................................................................................................ 74
The Recurrence of Cards in Dealing ............................................................................................................ 78
In the Natural Position ............................................................................................................................ 78
Reversed ................................................................................................................................................. 78
The Art of Tarot Divination ......................................................................................................................... 80
AN ANCIENT CELTIC METHOD OF DIVINATION....................................................................................... 80
AN ALTERNATIVE METHOD OF READING THE TAROT CARDS ................................................................. 83
NOTES ON THE PRACTICE OF DIVINATION.............................................................................................. 85
THE METHOD OF READING BY MEANS OF THIRTY-FIVE CARDS ............................................................. 86

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Preface
IT seems rather of necessity than predilection in the sense of apologia that I should put on record in
the first place a plain statement of my personal position, as one who for many years of literary life
has been, subject to his spiritual and other limitations, an exponent of the higher mystic schools. It
will be thought that I am acting strangely in concerning myself at this day with what appears at first
sight and simply a well-known method of fortune-telling. Now, the opinions of Mr. Smith, even in
the literary reviews, are of no importance unless they happen to agree with our own, but in order to
sanctify this doctrine we must take care that our opinions, and the subjects out of which they arise,
are concerned only with the highest. Yet it is just this which may seem doubtful, in the present
instance, not only to Mr. Smith, whom I respect within the proper measures of detachment, but to
some of more real consequence, seeing that their dedications are mine. To these and to any I would
say that after the most illuminated Frater Christian Rosy Cross had beheld the Chemical Marriage in
the Secret Palace of Transmutation, his story breaks off abruptly, with an intimation that he
expected next morning to be door-keeper. After the same manner, it happens more often than
might seem likely that those who have seen the King of Heaven through the most clearest veils of
the sacraments are those who assume thereafter the humblest offices of all about the House of God.
By such simple devices also are the Adepts and Great Masters in the secret orders distinguished
from the cohort of Neophytes as servi servorum mysterii. So also, or in a way which is not entirely
unlike, we meet with the Tarot cards at the outermost gates--amidst the fritterings and débris of the
so-called occult arts, about which no one in their senses has suffered the smallest deception; and yet
these cards belong in themselves to another region, for they contain a very high symbolism, which is
interpreted according to the Laws of Grace rather than by the pretexts and intuitions of that which
passes for divination. The fact that the wisdom of God is foolishness with men does not create a
presumption that the foolishness of this world makes in any sense for Divine Wisdom; so neither
the scholars in the ordinary classes nor the pedagogues in the seats of the mighty will be quick to
perceive the likelihood or even the possibility of this proposition. The subject has been in the hands
of cartomancists as part of the stock-in-trade of their industry; I do not seek to persuade any one
outside my own circles that this is of much or of no consequence; but on the historical and
interpretative sides it has not fared better; it has been there in the hands of exponents who have
brought it into utter contempt for those people who possess philosophical insight or faculties for
the appreciation of evidence. It is time that it should be rescued, and this I propose to undertake
once and for all, that I may have done with the side issues which distract from the term. As poetry is
the most beautiful expression of the things that are of all most beautiful, so is symbolism the most
catholic expression in concealment of things that are most profound in the Sanctuary and that have
not been declared outside it with the same fulness by means of the spoken word. The justification of
the rule of silence is no part of my present concern, but I have put on record elsewhere, and quite
recently, what it is possible to say on this subject.

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Introduction
The little treatise which follows is divided into three parts, in the first of which I have dealt with the
antiquities of the subject and a few things that arise from and connect therewith. It should be
understood that it is not put forward as a contribution to the history of playing cards, about which I
know and care nothing; it is a consideration dedicated and addressed to a certain school of
occultism, more especially in France, as to the source and centre of all the phantasmagoria which has
entered into expression during the last fifty years under the pretence of considering Tarot cards
historically. In the second part, I have dealt with the symbolism according to some of its higher
aspects, and this also serves to introduce the complete and rectified Tarot, which is available
separately, in the form of coloured cards, the designs of which are added to the present text in black
and white. They have been prepared under my supervision-in respect of the attributions and
meanings-by a lady who has high claims as an artist. Regarding the divinatory part, by which my
thesis is terminated, I consider it personally as a fact in the history of the Tarot - as such, I have
drawn, from all published sources, a harmony of the meanings which have been attached to the
various cards, and I have given prominence to one method of working that has not been published
previously; having the merit of simplicity, while it is also of universal application, it may be held to
replace the cumbrous and involved systems of the larger hand-books.

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The Veil and its Symbols
THE pathology of the poet says that "the undevout astronomer is mad"; the pathology of the very
plain man says that genius is mad; and between these extremes, which stand for ten thousand
analogous excesses, the sovereign reason takes the part of a moderator and does what it can. I do
not think that there is a pathology of the occult dedications, but about their extravagances no one
can question, and it is not less difficult than thankless to act as a moderator regarding them.
Moreover, the pathology, if it existed, would probably be an empiricism rather than a diagnosis, and
would offer no criterion. Now, occultism is not like mystic faculty, and it very seldom works in
harmony either with business aptitude in the things of ordinary life or with a knowledge of the
canons of evidence in its own sphere. I know that for the high art of ribaldry there are few things
more dull than the criticism which maintains that a thesis is untrue, and cannot understand that it is
decorative. I know also that after long dealing with doubtful doctrine or with difficult research it is
always refreshing, in the domain of this art, to meet with what is obviously of fraud or at least of
complete unreason. But the aspects of history, as seen through the lens of occultism, are not as a
rule decorative, and have few gifts of refreshment to heal the lacerations which they inflict on the
logical understanding. It almost requires a Frater Sapiens dominabitur astris in the Fellowship of the
Rosy Cross to have the patience which is not lost amidst clouds of folly when the consideration of
the Tarot is undertaken in accordance with the higher law of symbolism. The true Tarot is
symbolism; it speaks no other language and offers no other signs. Given the inward meaning of its
emblems, they do become a kind of alphabet which is capable of indefinite combinations and makes
true sense in all. On the highest plane it offers a key to the Mysteries, in a manner which is not
arbitrary and has not been read in, But the wrong symbolical stories have been told concerning it,
and the wrong history has been given in every published work which so far has dealt with the
subject. It has been intimated by two or three writers that, at least in respect of the meanings, this is
unavoidably the case, because few are acquainted with them, while these few hold by transmission
under pledges and cannot betray their trust. The suggestion is fantastic on the surface for there
seems a certain anti-climax in the proposition that a particular interpretation of fortune-telling--l'art
de tirer les cartes--can be reserved for Sons of the Doctrine. The fact remains, notwithstanding, that
a Secret Tradition exists regarding the Tarot, and as there is always the possibility that some minor
arcana of the Mysteries may be made public with a flourish of trumpets, it will be as well to go
before the event and to warn those who are curious in such matters that any revelation will contain
only a third part of the earth and sea and a third part of the stars of heaven in respect of the
symbolism. This is for the simple reason that neither in root-matter nor in development has more
been put into writing, so that much will remain to be said after any pretended unveiling. The
guardians of certain temples of initiation who keep watch over mysteries of this order have therefore
no cause for alarm.
In my preface to The Tarot of the Bohemians, which, rather by an accident of things, has recently
come to be re-issued after a long period, I have said what was then possible or seemed most
necessary. The present work is designed more especially--as I have intimated--to introduce a
rectified set of the cards themselves and to tell the unadorned truth concerning them, so far as this is

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possible in the outer circles. As regards the sequence of greater symbols, their ultimate and highest
meaning lies deeper than the common language of picture or hieroglyph. This will be understood by
those who have received some part of the Secret Tradition. As regards the verbal meanings allocated
here to the more important Trump Cards, they are designed to set aside the follies and impostures
of past attributions, to put those who have the gift of insight on the right track, and to take care,
within the limits of my possibilities, that they are the truth so far as they go.
It is regrettable in several respects that I must confess to certain reservations, but there is a question
of honour at issue. Furthermore, between the follies on the one side of those who know nothing of
the tradition, yet are in their own opinion the exponents of something called occult science and
philosophy, and on the other side between the make-believe of a few writers who have received part
of the tradition and think that it constitutes a legal title to scatter dust in the eyes of the world
without, I feel that the time has come to say what it is possible to say, so that the effect of current
charlatanism and unintelligence may be reduced to a minimum.
We shall see in due course that the history of Tarot cards is largely of a negative kind, and that, when
the issues are cleared by the dissipation of reveries and gratuitous speculations expressed in the
terms of certitude, there is in fact no history prior to the fourteenth century. The deception and selfdeception regarding their origin in Egypt, India or China put a lying spirit into the mouths of the
first expositors, and the later occult writers have done little more than reproduce the first false
testimony in the good faith of an intelligence unawakened to the issues of research. As it so
happens, all expositions have worked within a very narrow range, and owe, comparatively speaking,
little to the inventive faculty. One brilliant opportunity has at least been missed, for it has not so far
occurred to any one that the Tarot might perhaps have done duty and even originated as a secret
symbolical language of the Albigensian sects. I commend this suggestion to the lineal descendants in
the spirit of Gabriele Rossetti and Eugène Aroux, to Mr. Harold Bayley as another New Light on
the Renaissance, and as a taper at least in the darkness which, with great respect, might be
serviceable to the zealous and all-searching mind of Mrs. Cooper-Oakley. Think only what the
supposed testimony of watermarks on paper might gain from the Tarot card of the Pope or
Hierophant, in connexion with the notion of a secret Albigensian patriarch, of which Mr. Bayley has
found in these same watermarks so much material to his purpose. Think only for a moment about
the card of the High Priestess as representing the Albigensian church itself; and think of the Tower
struck by Lightning as typifying the desired destruction of Papal Rome, the city on the seven hills,
with the pontiff and his temporal power cast down from the spiritual edifice when it is riven by the
wrath of God. The possibilities are so numerous and persuasive that they almost deceive in their
expression one of the elect who has invented them. But there is more even than this, though I
scarcely dare to cite it. When the time came for the Tarot cards to be the subject of their first formal
explanation, the archaeologist Court de Gebelin reproduced some of their most important emblems,
and--if I may so term it--the codex which he used has served--by means of his engraved plates-as a
basis of reference for many sets that have been issued subsequently. The figures are very primitive
and differ as such from the cards of Etteilla, the Marseilles Tarot, and others still current in France. I
am not a good judge in such matters, but the fact that every one of the Trumps Major might have

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answered for watermark purposes is shewn by the cases which I have quoted and by one most
remarkable example of the Ace of Cups.
I should call it an eucharistic emblem after the manner of a ciborium, but this does not signify at the
moment. The point is that Mr. Harold Bayley gives six analogous devices in his New Light on the
Renaissance, being watermarks on paper of the seventeenth century, which he claims to be of
Albigensian origin and to represent sacramental and Graal emblems. Had he only heard of the
Tarot, had he known that these cards of divination, cards of fortune, cards of all vagrant arts, were
perhaps current at the period in the South of France, I think that his enchanting but all too fantastic
hypothesis might have dilated still more largely in the atmosphere of his dream. We should no doubt
have had a vision of Christian Gnosticism, Manichæanism, and all that he understands by pure
primitive Gospel, shining behind the pictures.

I do not look through such glasses, and I can only commend the subject to his attention at a later
period; it is mentioned here that I may introduce with an unheard-of wonder the marvels of arbitrary
speculation as to the history of the cards.
With reference to their form and number, it should scarcely be necessary to enumerate them, for
they must be almost commonly familiar, but as it is precarious to assume anything, and as there are
also other reasons, I will tabulate them briefly as follows:--

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Reading Tarot Cards Revealed
Trumps Major (Greater Arcana)
1. The Magus, Magician, or juggler, the caster of the dice and mountebank, in the world of vulgar
trickery. This is the colportage interpretation, and it has the same correspondence with the real
symbolical meaning that the use of the Tarot in fortune-telling has with its mystic construction
according to the secret science of symbolism. I should add that many independent students of the
subject, following their own lights, have produced individual sequences of meaning in respect of the
Trumps Major, and their lights are sometimes suggestive, but they are not the true lights. For
example, Éliphas Lévi says that the Magus signifies that unity which is the mother of numbers;
others say that it is the Divine Unity; and one of the latest French commentators considers that in its
general sense it is the will.
2. The High Priestess, the Pope Joan, or Female Pontiff; early expositors have sought to term this
card the Mother, or Pope's Wife, which is opposed to the symbolism. It is sometimes held to
represent the Divine Law and the Gnosis, in which case the Priestess corresponds to the idea of the
Shekinah. She is the Secret Tradition and the higher sense of the instituted Mysteries.
3. The Empress, who is sometimes represented with full face, while her correspondence, the
Emperor, is in profile. As there has been some tendency to ascribe a symbolical significance to this
distinction, it seems desirable to say that it carries no inner meaning. The Empress has been
connected with the ideas of universal fecundity and in a general sense with activity.
4. The Emperor, by imputation the spouse of the former. He is occasionally represented as wearing,
in addition to his personal insignia, the stars or ribbons of some order of chivalry. I mention this to
shew that the cards are a medley of old and new emblems. Those who insist upon the evidence of
the one may deal, if they can, with the other. No effectual argument for the antiquity of a particular
design can be drawn from the fact that it incorporates old material; but there is also none which can
be based on sporadic novelties, the intervention of which may signify only the unintelligent hand of
an editor or of a late draughtsman.
5. The High Priest or Hierophant, called also Spiritual Father, and more commonly and obviously
the Pope. It seems even to have been named the Abbot, and then its correspondence, the High
Priestess, was the Abbess or Mother of the Convent. Both are arbitrary names. The insignia of the
figures are papal, and in such case the High Priestess is and can be only the Church, to whom Pope
and priests are married by the spiritual rite of ordination. I think, however, that in its primitive form
this card did not represent the Roman Pontiff.
6. The Lovers or Marriage. This symbol has undergone many variations, as might be expected from
its subject. In the eighteenth century form, by which it first became known to the world of
archæological research, it is really a card of married life, shewing father and mother, with their child
placed between them; and the pagan Cupid above, in the act of flying his shaft, is, of course, a
misapplied emblem. The Cupid is of love beginning rather than of love in its fulness, guarding the

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fruit thereof. The card is said to have been entitled Simulacyum fidei, the symbol of conjugal faith,
for which the rainbow as a sign of the covenant would have been a more appropriate concomitant.
The figures are also held to have signified Truth, Honour and Love, but I suspect that this was, so to
speak, the gloss of a commentator moralizing. It has these, but it has other and higher aspects.
7. The Chariot. This is represented in some extant codices as being drawn by two sphinxes, and the
device is in consonance with the symbolism, but it must not be supposed that such was its original
form; the variation was invented to support a particular historical hypothesis. In the eighteenth
century white horses were yoked to the car. As regards its usual name, the lesser stands for the
greater; it is really the King in his triumph, typifying, however, the victory which creates kingship as
its natural consequence and not the vested royalty of the fourth card. M. Court de Gebelin said that
it was Osiris Triumphing, the conquering sun in spring-time having vanquished the obstacles of
winter. We know now that Osiris rising from the dead is not represented by such obvious
symbolism. Other animals than horses have also been used to draw the currus triumphalis, as, for
example, a lion and a leopard.
8. Fortitude. This is one of the cardinal virtues, of which I shall speak later. The female figure is
usually represented as closing the mouth of a lion. In the earlier form which is printed by Court de
Gebelin, she is obviously opening it. The first alternative is better symbolically, but either is an
instance of strength in its conventional understanding, and conveys the idea of mastery. It has been
said that the figure represents organic force, moral force and the principle of all force.
9. The Hermit, as he is termed in common parlance, stands next on the list; he is also the Capuchin,
and in more philosophical language the Sage. He is said to be in search of that Truth which is
located far off in the sequence, and of justice which has preceded him on the way. But this is a card
of attainment, as we shall see later, rather than a card of quest. It is said also that his lantern contains
the Light of Occult Science and that his staff is a Magic Wand. These interpretations are comparable
in every respect to the divinatory and fortune-telling meanings with which I shall have to deal in
their turn. The diabolism of both is that they are true after their own manner, but that they miss all
the high things to which the Greater Arcana should be allocated. It is as if a man who knows in his
heart that all roads lead to the heights, and that God is at the great height of all, should choose the
way of perdition or the way of folly as the path of his own attainment. Éliphas Lévi has allocated
this card to Prudence, but in so doing he has been actuated by the wish to fill a gap which would
otherwise occur in the symbolism. The four cardinal virtues are necessary to an idealogical sequence
like the Trumps Major, but they must not be taken only in that first sense which exists for the use
and consolation of him who in these days of halfpenny journalism is called the man in the street. In
their proper understanding they are the correlatives of the counsels of perfection when these have
been similarly re-expressed, and they read as follows: (a) Transcendental justice, the counterequilibrium of the scales, when they have been overweighted so that they dip heavily on the side of
God. The corresponding counsel is to use loaded dice when you play for high stakes with Diabolus.
The axiom is Aut Deus, aut nihil. (b) Divine Ecstacy, as a counterpoise to something called
Temperance, the sign of which is, I believe, the extinction of lights in the tavern. The corresponding

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counsel is to drink only of new wine in the Kingdom of the Father, because God is all in all. The
axiom is that man being a reasonable being must get intoxicated with God; the imputed case in point
is Spinoza. (c) The state of Royal Fortitude, which is the state of a Tower of Ivory and a House of
Gold, but it is God and not the man who has become Turris fortitudinis a facie inimici, and out of
that House the enemy has been cast. The corresponding counsel is that a man must not spare
himself even in the presence of death, but he must be certain that his sacrifice shall be-of any open
course-the best that will ensure his end. The axiom is that the strength which is raised to such a
degree that a man dares lose himself shall shew him how God is found, and as to such refuge--dare
therefore and learn. (d) Prudence is the economy which follows the line of least resistance, that the
soul may get back whence it came. It is a doctrine of divine parsimony and conservation of energy,
because of the stress, the terror and the manifest impertinences of this life. The corresponding
counsel is that true prudence is concerned with the one thing needful, and the axiom is: Waste not,
want not. The conclusion of the whole matter is a business proposition founded on the law of
exchange: You cannot help getting what you seek in respect of the things that are Divine: it is the
law of supply and demand. I have mentioned these few matters at this point for two simple reasons:
(a) because in proportion to the impartiality of the mind it seems sometimes more difficult to
determine whether it is vice or vulgarity which lays waste the present world more piteously; (b)
because in order to remedy the imperfections of the old notions it is highly needful, on occasion, to
empty terms and phrases of their accepted significance, that they may receive a new and more
adequate meaning.
10. The Wheel of Fortune. There is a current Manual of Cartomancy which has obtained a
considerable vogue in England, and amidst a great scattermeal of curious things to no purpose has
intersected a few serious subjects. In its last and largest edition it treats in one section of the Tarot;
which--if I interpret the author rightly--it regards from beginning to end as the Wheel of Fortune,
this expression being understood in my own sense. I have no objection to such an inclusive though
conventional description; it obtains in all the worlds, and I wonder that it has not been adopted
previously as the most appropriate name on the side of common fortune-telling. It is also the title of
one of the Trumps Major--that indeed of our concern at the moment, as my sub-title shews. Of
recent years this has suffered many fantastic presentations and one hypothetical reconstruction
which is suggestive in its symbolism. The wheel has seven radii; in the eighteenth century the
ascending and descending animals were really of nondescript character, one of them having a human
head. At the summit was another monster with the body of an indeterminate beast, wings on
shoulders and a crown on head. It carried two wands in its claws. These are replaced in the
reconstruction by a Hermanubis rising with the wheel, a Sphinx couchant at the summit and a
Typhon on the descending side. Here is another instance of an invention in support of a hypothesis;
but if the latter be set aside the grouping is symbolically correct and can pass as such.
11. Justice. That the Tarot, though it is of all reasonable antiquity, is not of time immemorial, is
shewn by this card, which could have been presented in a much more archaic manner. Those,
however, who have gifts of discernment in matters of this kind will not need to be told that age is in
no sense of the essence of the consideration; the Rite of Closing the Lodge in the Third Craft Grade

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of Masonry may belong to the late eighteenth century, but the fact signifies nothing; it is still the
summary of all the instituted and official Mysteries. The female figure of the eleventh card is said to
be Astræa, who personified the same virtue and is represented by the same symbols. This goddess
notwithstanding, and notwithstanding the vulgarian Cupid, the Tarot is not of Roman mythology, or
of Greek either. Its presentation of justice is supposed to be one of the four cardinal virtues
included in the sequence of Greater Arcana; but, as it so happens, the fourth emblem is wanting, and
it became necessary for the commentators to discover it at all costs. They did what it was possible to
do, and yet the laws of research have never succeeded in extricating the missing Persephone under
the form of Prudence. Court de Gebelin attempted to solve the difficulty by a tour de force, and
believed that he had extracted what he wanted from the symbol of the Hanged Man--wherein he
deceived himself. The Tarot has, therefore, its justice, its Temperance also and its Fortitude, but-owing to a curious omission--it does not offer us any type of Prudence, though it may be admitted
that, in some respects, the isolation of the Hermit, pursuing a solitary path by the light of his own
lamp, gives, to those who can receive it, a certain high counsel in respect of the via prudentiæ.
12. The Hanged Man. This is the symbol which is supposed to represent Prudence, and Éliphas Lévi
says, in his most shallow and plausible manner, that it is the adept bound by his engagements. The
figure of a man is suspended head-downwards from a gibbet, to which he is attached by a rope
about one of his ankles. The arms are bound behind him, and one leg is crossed over the other.
According to another, and indeed the prevailing interpretation, he signifies sacrifice, but all current
meanings attributed to this card are cartomancists' intuitions, apart from any real value on the
symbolical side. The fortune-tellers of the eighteenth century who circulated Tarots, depict a semifeminine youth in jerkin, poised erect on one foot and loosely attached to a short stake driven into
the ground.
13. Death. The method of presentation is almost invariable, and embodies a bourgeois form of
symbolism. The scene is the field of life, and amidst ordinary rank vegetation there are living arms
and heads protruding from the ground. One of the heads is crowned, and a skeleton with a great
scythe is in the act of mowing it. The transparent and unescapable meaning is death, but the
alternatives allocated to the symbol are change and transformation. Other heads have been swept
from their place previously, but it is, in its current and patent meaning, more especially a card of the
death of Kings. In the exotic sense it has been said to signify the ascent of the spirit in the divine
spheres, creation and destruction, perpetual movement, and so forth.
14. Temperance. The winged figure of a female--who, in opposition to all doctrine concerning the
hierarchy of angels, is usually allocated to this order of ministering spirits--is pouring liquid from one
pitcher to another. In his last work on the Tarot, Dr. Papus abandons the traditional form and
depicts a woman wearing an Egyptian head-dress. The first thing which seems clear on the surface is
that the entire symbol has no especial connexion with Temperance, and the fact that this designation
has always obtained for the card offers a very obvious instance of a meaning behind meaning, which
is the title in chief to consideration in respect of the Tarot as a whole.

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15. The Devil. In the eighteenth century this card seems to have been rather a symbol of merely
animal impudicity. Except for a fantastic head-dress, the chief figure is entirely naked; it has bat-like
wings, and the hands and feet are represented by the claws of a bird. In the right hand there is a
sceptre terminating in a sign which has been thought to represent fire. The figure as a whole is not
particularly evil; it has no tail, and the commentators who have said that the claws are those of a
harpy have spoken at random. There is no better ground for the alternative suggestion that they are
eagle's claws. Attached, by a cord depending from their collars, to the pedestal on which the figure is
mounted, are two small demons, presumably male and female. These are tailed, but not winged.
Since 1856 the influence of Éliphas Lévi and his doctrine of occultism has changed the face of this
card, and it now appears as a pseudo-Baphometic figure with the head of a goat and a great torch
between the horns; it is seated instead of erect, and in place of the generative organs there is the
Hermetic caduceus. In Le Tarot Divinatoire of Papus the small demons are replaced by naked
human beings, male and female ' who are yoked only to each other. The author may be felicitated on
this improved symbolism.
16. The Tower struck by Lightning. Its alternative titles are: Castle of Plutus, God's House and the
Tower of Babel. In the last case, the figures falling therefrom are held to be Nimrod and his
minister. It is assuredly a card of confusion, and the design corresponds, broadly speaking, to any of
the designations except Maison Dieu, unless we are to understand that the House of God has been
abandoned and the veil of the temple rent. It is a little surprising that the device has not so far been
allocated to the destruction Of Solomon's Temple, when the lightning would symbolize the fire and
sword with which that edifice was visited by the King of the Chaldees.
17. The Star, Dog-Star, or Sirius, also called fantastically the Star of the Magi. Grouped about it are
seven minor luminaries, and beneath it is a naked female figure, with her left knee upon the earth
and her right foot upon the water. She is in the act of pouring fluids from two vessels. A bird is
perched on a tree near her; for this a butterfly on a rose has been substituted in some later cards. So
also the Star has been called that of Hope. This is one of the cards which Court de Gebelin
describes as wholly Egyptian-that is to say, in his own reverie.
18. The Moon. Some eighteenth-century cards shew the luminary on its waning side; in the debased
edition of Etteilla, it is the moon at night in her plenitude, set in a heaven of stars; of recent years
the moon is shewn on the side of her increase. In nearly all presentations she is shining brightly and
shedding the moisture of fertilizing dew in great drops. Beneath there are two towers, between
which a path winds to the verge of the horizon. Two dogs, or alternatively a wolf and dog, are
baying at the moon, and in the foreground there is water, through which a crayfish moves towards
the land.
19. The Sun. The luminary is distinguished in older cards by chief rays that are waved and salient
alternately and by secondary salient rays. It appears to shed its influence on earth not only by light
and heat, but--like the moon--by drops of dew. Court de Gebelin termed these tears of gold and of
pearl, just as he identified the lunar dew with the tears of Isis. Beneath the dog-star there is a wall
suggesting an enclosure-as it might be, a walled garden-wherein are two children, either naked or

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lightly clothed, facing a water, and gambolling, or running hand in hand. Éliphas Lévi says that these
are sometimes replaced by a spinner unwinding destinies, and otherwise by a much better symbol-a
naked child mounted on a white horse and displaying a scarlet standard.
20. The Last judgment. I have spoken of this symbol already, the form of which is essentially
invariable, even in the Etteilla set. An angel sounds his trumpet per sepulchra regionum, and the
dead arise. It matters little that Etteilla omits the angel, or that Dr. Papus substitutes a ridiculous
figure, which is, however, in consonance with the general motive of that Tarot set which
accompanies his latest work. Before rejecting the transparent interpretation of the symbolism which
is conveyed by the name of the card and by the picture which it presents to the eye, we should feel
very sure of our ground. On the surface, at least, it is and can be only the resurrection of that triad-father, mother, child-whom we have met with already in the eighth card. M. Bourgeat hazards the
suggestion that esoterically it is the symbol of evolution--of which it carries none of the signs.
Others say that it signifies renewal, which is obvious enough; that it is the triad of human life; that it
is the "generative force of the earth... and eternal life." Court de Gebelin makes himself impossible
as usual, and points out that if the grave-stones were removed it could be accepted as a symbol of
creation.
21--which, however, in most of the arrangements is the cipher card, number nothing--The Fool,
Mate, or Unwise Man. Court de Gebelin places it at the head of the whole series as the zero or
negative which is presupposed by numeration, and as this is a simpler so also it is a better
arrangement. It has been abandoned because in later times the cards have been attributed to the
letters of the Hebrew alphabet, and there has been apparently some difficulty about allocating the
zero symbol satisfactorily in a sequence of letters all of which signify numbers. In the present
reference of the card to the letter Shin, which corresponds to 200, the difficulty or the unreason
remains. The truth is that the real arrangement of the cards has never transpired. The Fool carries a
wallet; he is looking over his shoulder and does not know that he is on the brink of a precipice; but a
dog or other animal--some call it a tiger--is attacking him from behind, and he is hurried to his
destruction unawares. Etteilla has given a justifiable variation of this card--as generally understood-in the form of a court jester, with cap, bells and motley garb. The other descriptions say that the
wallet contains the bearer's follies and vices, which seems bourgeois and arbitrary.
22. The World, the Universe, or Time. The four living creatures of the Apocalypse and Ezekiel's
vision, attributed to the evangelists in Christian symbolism, are grouped about an elliptic garland, as
if it were a chain of flowers intended to symbolize all sensible things; within this garland there is the
figure of a woman, whom the wind has girt about the loins with a light scarf, and this is all her
vesture. She is in the act of dancing, and has a wand in either hand. It is eloquent as an image of the
swirl of the sensitive life, of joy attained in the body, of the soul's intoxication in the earthly paradise,
but still guarded by the Divine Watchers, as if by the powers and the graces of the Holy Name,
Tetragammaton, JVHV--those four ineffable letters which are sometimes attributed to the mystical
beasts. Éliphas Lévi calls the garland a crown, and reports that the figure represents Truth. Dr.
Papus connects it with the Absolute and the realization of the Great Work; for yet others it is a

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Reading Tarot Cards Revealed
symbol of humanity and the eternal reward of a life that has been spent well. It should be noted that
in the four quarters of the garland there are four flowers distinctively marked. According to P.
Christian, the garland should be formed of roses, and this is the kind of chain which Éliphas Lévi
says is less easily broken than a chain of iron. Perhaps by antithesis, but for the same reason, the iron
crown of Peter may he more lightly on the heads of sovereign pontiffs than the crown of gold on
kings.

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Reading Tarot Cards Revealed

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