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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Shadow of Samhain: Secrets of the Tarot

And now, at long last, the final installment of The Shadow of Samhain, The Vault of Horror's exclusive October (more or less) folklore series. Closing things out is none other than my esteemed colleague and cohort, the one and only Captain Cruella, who has done us the honor of putting a little something together on her love of the mystic art of Tarot card reading. So read on, and thanks to everyone for following along with the Shadow of Samhain all these weeks...

Did you know that Tarot cards were originally just a game? Just a regular game, and there were all different sets--in fact, that's also where traditional playing cards come from. It was Aleister Crowley who created the major and minor arcana, and it became more about using it for divinatory purposes. I also think the Italians were the ones who helped sort of make them into an instrument for divining or predicting the future.

I have a ton of Tarot cards--five decks, in fact. And I've used them quite a bit. There are all different ways to lay them out and read them. I use the standard way, which is the cross shape which covers the past, present and future. And the other cards along the sides represent different meanings.

There's the major arcana, which are the face cards; and the lesser arcana, which are the numbers in each suit. They all have a different meaning and different purpose. Some of the cards I have, the Crowley ones for example, have very specific photos that help you to remember what they mean. For instance, if the head is upright, it means something entirely different than if the cards are flipped on the opposite side.

People play up the cards to be far more sinister than they are. For instance, the Death card doesn't really mean death. The Death card means change. The death of something--something ending, and something new beginning. The worst card you can get is the Tower card. The Tower card means ultimate destruction.

I am a recovering pagan, and that's how I originally got into them. I started reading them about 1995 or so. In the beginning, it was curiosity; and after that, it was more that I got really serious about it, because I felt that the things I was reading in the cards were coming true. I found it to be accurate. But maybe it's just me, I tend to make things happen--self-fulfilling prophecies, you might say.


* For more of the good Captain, check out her brand new website, Cruella's Crypt...

4 comments:

james1511 said...

"It was Aleister Crowley who created the major and minor arcana, and it became more about using it for divinatory purposes."

Wrong. Crowley's Thoth deck does change some of the traditional attributions to suit his particular philosophy, but the use of tarot as a divinatory tool predates Crowley's tarot by at least a century and a half; Etteilla issued the first purely divinatory (i.e. not intended for ordinary card games) Tarot around 1790, and though the actual terms major and minor arcana apparently weren't coined until around 1870 it seems he'd already made the division between the trumps and suit cards.

B-Sol said...

This is fascinating stuff, James! I do believe the Captain was not entirely sure of the accuracy of this little bit of history, but I'll leave it for her to respond if she so chooses...

Captain said...

Ah.. thanks for the info James. I stand corrected! Damn wickipedia.

B-Sol said...

Serves you right for using Wikipedia as a source! I would *never* do such a thing....Ahem... Yeah. That's the ticket.

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