The Sky is a Hazy Shade of Winter

Out of work early, and chilling whilst husband plays Disgaia3. The plans for tonight are Sherlock Holmes and then a bad B-movie marathon.

I’ve been dreaming very intensely the last few nights. It keeps opening things up for me to write about or ponder. A lot of my dreams would seem very boring if I told them in their entirety, for a lot of times I’m just having coffee or flying kites or flying myself and talking with old friends. Spidermonkey, Princess Stephy, my Reader, all about similar things… something in my subconscious is trying to connect dots for me, and I’m missing it.

My new friend from art class is probably putting together a SoulCollage group. I’m super excited about that. I need mixed media discovery right now. While I’m not about using tarot for divination, tarot card history has always interested me. Even the card games they were intended to be for have odd little meanings. Carl Jung points out that we have emotional responses from archetypal depictions based on our relation to those archetypes within ourselves. Christian mysticism always references symbolism and intense images to teach. This is part of what I’m wishing to explore. I am constantly waiting for revelation from YHWH and trying to give myself new ways to hear that voice. I think they’re also an interesting choice, because in a sense I have some fear attached to them.

By this I mean that when you say “Tarot” I immediately think of divination, which is not my purpose in using the medium. Also, for a long time, I felt like using that medium to explore archetypes would open me up to some sort of “dark portal” to the occult. I know nothing is evil in and of itself, but the social stigma within religious communities is large; if you are using tarot you using divination which is bad. This was debunked the second I started to study the history of Tarot. Tarot were first and foremost playing cards, which did not begin to be used for divination until 350 years after their inception.

As a matter of fact, the original images (once images started to be used for the Trump set, what is known now as “Major Arcana”) were fashioned after Christian didactic symbols (didactic meaning used for instruction) around the time of the Black Plague.  So, spiritual symbols used for teaching and meditation become playing cards, and then become occult symbols?

The transition to this new symbolism  is explained rather well by tarotpedia:

The later 18th century saw an even more portentous development of Tarot, well beyond its use to play cards. Fortune-telling with playing cards had developed from their use as a randomizing device to pick a page in a book of fortunes in the 1500s, through the use of special fortune-telling decks in the 1600s, and finally to the point of regular decks being given symbolic meaning in the 1700s. A few scattered indications of this appear earlier in the century, but the first book on cartomancy was published in 1770. It was written by Etteilla, the world’s first professional cartomancer, who became one of the founders of occult Tarot. In the 1780s he and two other French writers developed much of the occult lore and fortune-telling methods that would reinvent Tarot in the late 1800s.

These three writers changed Tarot forever. Neither knowing nor caring much about Tarot’s 350-year history, its original and common use as a game, or the intended meaning of its allegorical cycle, they interpreted the images freely. They used the twenty-two trumps as signs designating the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. These newly-minted correspondences made the Tarot deck into a novel emblem system for Cabalistic magic and mysticism. The two esoteric uses, Cabala and divination, became permanently attached to Tarot. The authors of this newly invented Tarot also wrote up a detailed fantasy about Tarot’s origin and history, involving Egyptian initiations, Jewish mystics, and vagabond Gypsies. These fictional histories were intended to validate the correspondences the occultists had devised, by appeal to alleged ancient wisdom and secret traditions.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to methodically exploring my personal symbolism. Our church is reading through Galatians, which is perfect timing, really.

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