The Power of Tarot
Hello and welcome back! This week we will explore the Old English Tarot by Maggie Kneen. It is a fascinating deck with images faithfully styled after archived artwork of the period. I love how the pictures on these cards depict the everyday activities and objects of life in medieval England. They draw us in instantly. We find the musical instruments, fashion, footwear, kitchen utensils, and architecture of the period in the suits, along with lovely ornate borders. Kneen used the Luttrell Psalter, a medieval manuscript dating from the 14th century, currently housed in the British Museum as her source.
She believes that “the Tarot is a guide to the possibilities in our lives but we must fill in the details” ourselves. She suggests that we focus on the present moment, keeping in mind our knowledge from the past and hopes for the future, to create the reality that we want.
Let’s take a stroll through the English countryside and allow the imagery and characters we meet along the way to provide insight into our questions.
The Fool takes off into the unknown but what he is doing is far from foolish. He is changing his destiny by stepping into a space of boldness, coupled with humility. He carries little with him. He is in danger, it’s true, but manages through intuition and awareness to not step into the precipice that is before him. His clothes symbolize the red of physical vitality, the deep blue of the subconscious and emotional realms. With laser-like focus, he is able to ignore the “yapping dog” of his fears and others’ opinions of him, although they claw his feet and seek to impede him. He wears a jester’s hat and is armed with humor and a sense of play. He may have escaped the confines of a castle and is headed toward his greatest good, regardless of how it seems to others.
Ask: How can I follow my own truest destiny today? How can I hear and consider the opinions of others without letting them drown out my own desires and dreams? Where do I want to go today, this week, this month, this year, this decade of my life?
King of Swords
The King of Swords sits regally on his throne, defending the outskirts of his kingdom. His fisted hand betrays the alertness and tension within. His face, however, is serene and his “battle” is the battle of wit and mental clarity. The masked faces on his shoulders tell us that he sees issues from all sides and is aware of everything. His sword is unsheathed and he is ready for the challenge.
Ask: What mental, physical, or environmental actions can I take to enhance my mental clarity today? What issues in my life currently require objectivity and the long view?
The Magician stands at his work table, his tools are spread before him. He is in higher consciousness and the gaze of his expression is trance-like. Although his dress is plain, his red-colored shoes ground him to the earth, even as he soars through other realms. His work requires skill, precision, and creativity. It is a sacred ceremony of channeling universal consciousness to create something of earthly usefulness. The gothic hinges on his work table suggest the sublime territory he travels through for what he creates but the grass under his feet reveals he firmly has his feet on the ground.
Ask: How can I bring more of Spirit down to earth through my work today?
The Chariot driver is on a trajectory. Sword in hand, he is ready to do battle with obstacles along the way. The two horses pulling his rig wear bridles of red and blue. The red bridled horse represents his energy and drive, coming from the root chakra of the body. The blue bridled horse relates to the force of emotion and intuition and they work together in tandem to get the charioteer where he has willed himself to go. The masked faces on his shoulders show us that he sees distractions along the way, but ignores them. His expression is resolute and determined and he looks straight ahead to his goal.
Ask: How can I use my will and determination to get where I want to go today?
Four of Coins
A grand and elegant castle stands on a hill. In front is a humble cart with bushels of lavender being transported by oxen. The four is not a card of abundance in this suit of Coins (pentacles). It, however, is not a card of lack, either. The steady and slow motion of the oxen will reap the whole harvest cumulatively day by day. It is a card of worth and value growing slowly and solidly over time. The flora and fauna of the card’s border shows the fruitfulness of patience and persistence.
Ask: How can patience and reliability work for me today as I move toward my ultimate goals?
The Temperance angel wears a dark brown dress. Its floor-length gown is beautiful in its subtleness. Her beauty dawns on us only later as we continue to gaze. She carries two earthen pots and is mixing the fluids of balance and reason through alchemy. Her headband is the green of sustainability. She is an earth angel, though her wings are white with idealism. She emanates peace.
Ask: How can I sustain what is valuable in my life through balance and modesty? How can I change the mix of the activities in my life today to begin to achieve this?
Our Temperance Angel has now transformed into a nude beauty kneeling by a river. Her loveliness is exposed and her flowing brown hair falls freely over her shoulders. Her sensuality and loveliness is now fully revealed. Her balance and temperance has paid off and there is a bird in both bushes surrounding her. She empties both of the earthen vessels into a flowing river and we get the feeling that she now owns the entire landscape of her life. It is a card which promises that we will achieve what we most highly desire in our lives.
Ask: How do I see my greatest good? What does it look like, taste like, feel like? What can I do today to get there?
Good to meet you along the path today of The Old English Tarot. Thanks for joining me!
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