Friday, February 5, 2010
Translating the Lover's Path (Part I)
So we saw in my last post that my deck is the Kris Waldherr creation called The Lover's Path, a particularly aesthetically pleasing collection of images and meanings. Since most people are more familiar with the Ryder-Waite or other more conventional tarot decks, I would like to spend some time introducing the cards of the Lover's Path here. As we discuss the cards, and you see the images, I hope that you will find the magic in them as I have.
Traditionally, there are four suits in the tarot, representing each of the four elements: Fire, Air, Water, and Earth.
Water, the element of emotion, is represented in both decks by Cups (also sometimes called Chalices). Water is ruled by the moon, and just as the sea is pulled by the power of the moon, our lives are pulled by our feelings. Our emotions sweep us along, sometimes calm, sometimes stormy, always sustaining us, giving life a richness beyond jewels.
In the Ryder-Waite deck, the next suit is usually called Wands, and represents Fire, symbolized by the powerful sun. In the Lover's Path, this suit is called Staves. The electrical force embodied within the suit of staves is as powerful as fire, and as expansive as the sun's life-affirming energy, leading us along a path of action or change, and teaching us how to take charge of our lives.
Air is typically seen as swords, although here we see Arrows. Just as fire burns us to take action in our lives, the arrows prick our consciousness into awakening. Arrows suggest the incisive forces of the intellect, and cause us to reflect and be introspective. They focus the fiery energy of the staves and help us to understand life in all its complexities. Arrows represent transformative possibilities.
And finally, Earth, the material element, is called Pentacles by Ryder-Waite, and Coins here in the Lover's Path. Coins represent the best the world can offer us, by assimilating the lessons of the three previous suits. Coins suggest practical measures for creating stability in our daily lives. Coins are associate with the earth, whose most precious metal is gold. The earth is necessary for our very existence. It is integral to our survival. Our religious beliefs tie us to the earth in many concrete ways. The gold of the coins suggests the forces of prosperity created along the path of manifestation. We can only attend to these powerful forces once our personal needs are fulfilled, thus allowing us to create heaven on earth.
Every path must begin somewhere, and the Lover's Path begins with the stories of the Major arcana cards. The twenty-two cards in the major arcana tell a story of progressive life lessons, each an important archetypal experience. The lessons on each card come from emotional states and experiences, which togehter represent the hidden geography of the heart. By reading the Major arcana, we can discern the twisting and turning paths of life's journey.
The journey begins here with the Innocence Card (Card (0) and ends with Triumph at Card XXI. The major arcana cards share the love stories of twenty-two famous couples, each of them affiliated with a particular major arcana card. These pairs have been carefully chosen from the most inspiring legends, myths, and historical events in history, and the stories provide mystical illustration of the emotional principles associated with each card.
When major arcana cards appear in a given reading, they can represent recurrent life themes and important transitions at hand. They are the most powerful cards in the Tarot deck, and represent great energies and powers. They suggest that there is much more to a given situation than meets the eye, and signals to the querent that he or she must look deeper, beneath the superficial responses to the question at hand.
The power of this particular deck will be revealed as we examine the images, symbolism, and signficance of each card in turn. And you do not have to be a Lover to appreciate the wisdom in its message.
Please join me for future installments of Translating the Lover's Path. It will be an exciting journey. I promise.