A Metaphysical Reading of the Tarot Suits

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews A Metaphysical Reading of the Tarot Suits by TeenyTinyTarot.

This anonymous pamphlet was included gratis with an order of cards from the TeenyTinyTarot website. It seems to be composed as more mystical “bait” to reorient those whose interest in Tarot has originally consisted of vulgar divination. Most of it is dedicated to an identification of the four lesser suits with the parts of the soul, using accessible generic language, without e.g. the technical jargon of qabalistic psychology. It is illustrated with parallel images from the CBD Tarot de Marsaille and the RWS (“Rider-Waite Style”) decks.

For me, the most interesting content was a couple of paragraph-long quotes (one on the Fool and the other on the Sun) from the anonymous (but of different authorship from the pamphlet) Meditations on the Tarot. The present author offers a disclaimer that “the Anonymous Author of Meditations on the Tarot cannot be appealed to as the authority for (or even the primary inspiration behind) this approach to the tarot suits,” but the AAoMotT is evidently taken here as a chief authority on the tarot generally, and is also quoted as applying the formula of Tetragrammaton to the four suits, after the manner that is familiar to modern Hermetic occultists, and consistent with the exposition earlier in the pamphlet.

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  1. Thanks for this review and for the second one on Platonism, Christianity, and the Tarot of Marseille.

    My relationship with “Meditations on the Tarot” is complex–I would never have had occasion to become acquainted with the Tarot had someone not given me this book. And my delight with the book, I must admit, is almost boundless… At the same time, part of what I like about it is that it articulates many of the ideas, insights, and experiences that had on my own, over the years, as a student of Plato and Plotinus (in dialogue with Kant, et al) and as a disciple (for lack of a better word) of various nondual teachings. So while, on the one hand, I am not afraid to leave the reservation if I disagree with the anonymous author of MOTT–on the other hand, I must give credit where credit is due (i.e. I would not be meditating on the Tarot, per se, if it were not for this book). Also, while my exposure to Kabbalah is relatively superficial, even now, at the time I was writing that pamphlet, I was almost totally thinking in Platonic terms, not Kabbalistic terms, per se. But I have since learned a bit more about Kabbalah, including, for example, that many people reverse the order of cups and swords (as they are thought to correspond to the four Kabbalistic worlds). MOTT is somewhat ambiguous on this score, but a good case can be made for thinking that our anonymous author would have also reversed the order. I’m not sure where I picked up (what I now know to be) the “Golden Dawn” ordering, but still find it more intuitive (inasmuch as “heart” and “intelligence” are so closely related – as indicated in the other pamphlet with reference to Martin Lings).

    On another note, while I do quote MOTT on The Hanged Man and The Sun, the paragraph on “the pilgrimage of the Fool” is my own–for what it’s worth! :wink:

    Thanks again for your feedback. Feel free to leave a ping-back on the TTT blog (follow the link below).

    TeenyTinyTarot

  2. By the by, you’re welcome to also post about that to #announce which is for Community Announcements, such as new goods and services, among other things.

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