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Integrating Other Symbolic Systems with Tarot

Written by: Ginger Red Hawk
Published on: July 8, 2011
Category: Tarot

tarot cards

Many people have tried to work out correspondences between astrology and the tarot-and then someone else comes along, disagrees with them, and works out a new scheme, which also has its advantages and its drawbacks. Jessica and Nancy believe that the court cards can sensibly be assigned zodiac connections, but not the rest of the cards.

Some people prefer to leave astrological connections out of their interpretations altogether. Whatever system you decide to use works best if it is just what works well for you--what fits well in your understanding of how both systems work. And you needn't add anything like this if you are more comfortable (and therefore more accurate) in simply reading the symbols on the cards without reference to other divination or philosophical systems.

Numerology assigns universal meanings to numbers. Briefly, they are:
1 Beginnings
2 Duality
3 Creativity
4 Foundation
5 Change
6 Balance
7 Awareness
8 Power
9 Humanitarianism

These numbers can be incorporated into a reading by adding the keyword for the number into the symbolic picture. For example, all of the fours represent some kind of foundation, whether it is emotional, spiritual, mental or worldly. Or, all of the five represent some kind of change.

James Wanless, PhD, creator of the Voyager Tarot, believes the Minor Arcana cards share the same energy of the Major Arcana cards of the same number. For example, he sees all sevens as bearing the same general energy as Major Arcana VII, the Chariot, with each Minor Arcana representing a facet of the Chariot. Do you see a correspondence?

As a brief exercise, line up your Minors by number to see if there's a connection between them for you.

Making Sense of Things
In some card decks, both specific tarot decks and other oracles, certain correspondences-astrology, numerology, kabbala, alchemy, and other-have been built into the symbolism of the cards. In such a case, learning the designer's system may seem to help with reading the cards, but if it doesn't resonate with our own perception of the symbolism, then it causes internal conflict and confusion. This, obviously, is not good.

The important thing is to discover what works best for you, what makes sense to you and, importantly, what makes sense to the person you are reading for, the querent. There is no use in tossing a lot of technical terms at a querent if it just confuses him. In the final analysis, we are looking for information and insight. Usually, the more clearly and directly we convey that information, the more useful it is. Whether we are doing divination or counseling, clear communication between reader and cards, reader and querent, and querent and cards is the essential need. Anything that gets in the way of that is not helpful. Remember the KISS principle: Keep it simple, sweetie!