Tarot – the Final Solution
The Origin of the Tarot
Ever since its conception in ancient Mesopotamia, the origins of the tarot have been shrouded in mystery. Only in the early part of the late 1800s was its amazing story unveiled by the Count de Gabegie, a French hairdresser otherwise known as Ellessia – a reversal of the letters of his Christian name, Aisselle.
One day, whilst strolling along the Folies Bergère, he saw a lady playing with some brightly coloured cards, and immediately recognised the figures thereon as a secret code encapsulating the lost grimoire of Hermes Trismegistus, the great and powerful mage of Pre-Deluge Egypt.
This revelation came to Ellessia in the form of anamnesis; he experienced himself as a slave in a vast hall or temple, walking slowly behind a priest who was clad in white vestments and swinging a censer of sweet frankincense. They were progressing between a double row of monoliths on which were depicted the very same figures as those on the cards – painted in identical colours!
Ellessia later calculated that all of the writings of Hermes the Twice-Great, or Tot as he was known to the Romans, which ran into tens of thousands of pages, was encoded in the twenty-two cards of the major arcana, which was an encyclopedia containing everything, including the Hebrew alphabet, astrology, kabala, mathematics, mythology, alchemy, amphibology and every other discipline and historical event in both the known and unknown world.
From Ellessia’s findings, historians have calculated that the tarot was carried on the backs of the camels of those nomadic tribes who later became known as Romanies or Gypsies, along the Silk Road from ancient Mesopotamia to all over Europe.
Personal approaches to clients
In regards to client interactions, I feel that it is vital for the reader to establish an atmosphere of complete control during the reading; this ensures that the reader’s psychic focus is not contaminated by the client’s more pedestrian energies. To this end, I strongly encourage clients to address me as ma’am or sir at all times, and to speak only when spoken to. For troubled clients whose energies are particularly distracting, I offer a supplementary ‘cleansing ritual’ service at additional charge, which ensures the accuracy and reliability of their reading. Additionally, to safeguard the integrity of the reading, I avoid any and all physical contact with the client. Clients are never permitted to shuffle, touch, or even point at the tarot deck.
It is my belief that appearances are one of the single-most important aspects of a successful client reading. A properly mystical appearance of both reader and reading space sets the correct tone and eases any doubt from the mind of the client. When performing a reading, I wear ALL of my jewelry as well as bright purple scarves and a tin-foil hat. This last element is unconventional, I admit, but I find it draws an appropriately awed reaction from most clients. I perform all client readings in a windowless room (my basement), illuminated only with candles, with all doors firmly shut and locked to prevent airflow which might disrupt psychic energies.
Lastly, my clients are strongly encouraged to share all personal information pertaining to the reading in as much detail as possible, even if doing so makes them uncomfortable: no pain, no gain, I like to say in these situations.
The Major Arcana
And so we come to the Major Arcana, the very anchor of the tarot deck, that which gives it meaning and depth. What would a tarot deck be without the Major Arcana? It would be the Minor Arcana. There are 22 Major Arcana cards, numbered from 1 (The Magician) to 21 (The World/Universe) with an unnumbered card called The Fool. The ordering of the cards doesn’t really matter as tarot cards are shuffled before use anyway. They contain symbols which prod at the deepest recesses of our brain. This prodding is known as a reading.
When the lovely Jane Seymour, playing Solitaire (the character, not the game) in the 1973 James Bond film, Live and Let Die, laid out Death, The Lovers and the Fool upon the table, the audience would already have been familiar with these symbols, as tarot cards date to a while before 1973. In fact, their mamluk origins can be traced to somewhere near modern-day Dubai. Yet they have changed dramatically over the centuries. In the past, Strength in the Minchiate (the word derives from the Latin word “mentula”, meaning penis) was a lady trying to toss a Doric column. Nowadays, for example, in the Power Animals Tarot, Strength is what looks like a chameleon. So we can see how the images seamlessly evolve. Some of the Major Arcana images can be quite strong. If it is felt that a querent might be frightened by any of the darker cards, it is quite alright to remove them. I myself often remove Temperance (which, in The Tarot of the Hidden Folk is a comely fairy) to avoid unnecessary shocks.
Some people read only with the Major Arcana, and a perfectly satisfactory reading can, in fact, be given with them. Stuart Kaplan (Encyclopedia of Tarot Vol I) gives an excellent 56 card spread – in the shape of an arrow – which can be used for a thorough Majors only reading that can give advice and answers to even the most anguished of questions.
The Minor Arcana
The Minor cards are very important. There are more of them than there are of any of the other kinds of cards in the deck, which just shows their importance. In most decks you can look at the pictures on them and that will tell you what they mean, if you forget. You need to be really skillful if you want to use the decks around the place that don’t have pictures on the minor cards.
Some of the Minor cards are people cards or court cards, and all you see on them is a person. Some readers think that they represent people who look like the ones in the cards. That can’t work if you are reading in Asia where everyone has black hair or in Africa where everyone has black skins as well, so I have made up my own meanings for them. I will not share my own meanings here because they are a secret and I do not want them all over the internet.
The whole thing about Tarot is that it is about secrets. Tarot readers have secret knowledge that other people don’t have. And we use that secret knowledge to find out other people’s hidden secrets every single day. I don’t want to tell you my court card secrets.
Basically, the cards run from Ace to Ten just like playing cards and have kings and queens, but Tarot has split the jacks up into knights and pages. The suits are named differently, too, hearts, clubs, spades and diamonds are pentacles, cups, swords and wands.
Each and every card has its own meanings which you have to learn.
My approach to using reversals
The use of reversals within the sphere of tarot reading is a practice that has been sanctioned by both time and usage. Since the first tarot reader placed a card upside down and, rather than immediately correcting the alignment, noticed that ‘Le Bateleur’ seemed in danger of dropping his ball, cards have been reversed with impunity. This, I believe, gives an added facet to each card. Indeed it adds a further 78 meanings to the 78 already inherent in the upright tarot deck, thus effectively doubling both the number of cards in the deck and the amount of learning the novice must undertake.
Those that choose not to use reversals, it must be said, do so out of sheer laziness and by doing so throw scorn and opprobrium upon a long established tarot tradition. However those brave souls that undertake to learn the added range of meanings will, in my opinion, find themselves well rewarded for their time and effort. This is because, and I believe this has been amply proven, the reversed cards give insights into what is called the ‘shadow side’. The purpose of the reversed cards is to look into the very soul of the reading, and the act of reversal is a magical gesture that breaks the barriers between the worlds allowing the meaning of the cards to slip easily into that other realm of darkness where all one’s fears and desires are born.
Because of this one must take care and precautions when dealing with reversed cards, for it is there that the demons that wait in the unseen wings of every tarot reading are most likely to dwell. When they see the upturned card they are wont to dash forward and attach themselves to the darkness unleashed by the magical act of reversal. The spirit or demon will then dwell within that card and though it can be used to learn true things to the benefit of the reader it must be also treated with delicate caution as it will wish to attach itself to the reader and can, if the reader is slovenly or incautious, peel itself from its temporary pasteboard home and enter the aura of the reader themselves, becoming a parasite upon their life force and leading them, eventually, to hell. Once a demon has attached itself to a person it latches on and can be very difficult to remove. However a demon that has merely made its home in a carelessly reversed card can be shifted through the usual cleansing rituals, though care must always be taken to remove it from the vicinity of both the cards or the reader, and for this I believe that a cup of salt water, a silver spoon and a flushing toilet prove the most efficacious.
These warnings aside it is my true and abiding belief that the study and use of reversed cards is well worth the work and the danger involved. I would encourage anyone to at least attempt to seek meaning in the most carelessly placed trump although it goes without saying that precautions must always be taken.
My experience of using The Tarot
It has been my experience while using Tarot that there is always this sort of buzz in my ear. The harder my clients concentrate the more intense it becomes. It doesn’t hurt, quite the contrary it is soothing and helps me find the true meaning of the cards. In my opinion this buzz is what allows contact with the spirit world. I cast a protective circle before each reading because, in my opinion, reversed cards can bring about demonic possession. I once had a dream after reading Tarot that a huge nothing, all gray and spherical, was consuming all of the cards. It started with the minors and was on The World when I woke up. I turned on the TV and “An Inconvenient Truth” was on. So, I knew that we were all going to be stranded on a few scattered desert islands that would eventually sink. Then I was watching a documentary about Dec 2012 and I had just finished watching one about Maya pyramids, all while shuffling my deck. The Tower popped out just volunteered. That’s when I decided to sell all my possessions, quit my job and read cards in a stall on the market square. There was no alien contact, it was all in the card. I only accept payment for my reading with silver coins or postage stamps. Paper money and credit cards distort my readings; all that ever come up is pentacles! I had another dream where the Emperor and the Empress were rolling in the hay. I saw Cupid shoot them both with love arrows and they had a baby that looked just like the Sun card. The baby came out of the womb and spun a giant wheel… I woke up and pulled a card, nine of wands… I knew at that time that I was a Tarot Master and all I needed was a certificate to prove it.
My feelings about intuitive and standard interpretation.
I think that reading with standard interpretations is a bit like reading poetry with a dictionary. You look up every word and by the time you are finished you have forgotten what the sentence was – which is no bad thing, as tarot is not about sentences or about making sense. Learning a book of meanings off by heart saves a great deal of thinking time when reading, and is especially valuable to those needing to do many readings in a short space of time in order to make a living. But I feel that the difference between standard interpretations and intuitive ones is like the difference between barren sterility and blossoming pregnancy. When looking at the high priestess card, for instance, I find it far more fruitful and revealing to dive psychically into the folds of her gown to discover the fragrant secrets she has hidden within it than to think rationally about the differences between the two pillars that trap her in her card. So much more that is concealed can be divined from what cannot be seen. Anything could be hidden within the card, and I feel it is more appropriate to use intuition to find the very deepest meanings that can be shaken from every single grain of sand on every single card. Of course, this process is time consuming, and such readings may involve an extra charge to the querent. The extra benefits they gain from this more thorough approach well justify the price, and I feel that readers wishing to make a living from tarot will find this method far more rewarding than one using traditional meanings.
Other ways I use the cards
As sacred tools, the very idea of using the Tarot for such mundane and workaday purposes as I have seen my less ethical counterparts employ is to profane the cards. Divination and soothsaying, that field of gypsies and charlatans, is best reserved for tea leaves and playing cards. Likewise, solitaire and other card games, not to mention using the Tarot for such plebeian endeavours as creative writing and similar, to say nothing of such unspeakable practices as using individual cards for bookmarks, coasters, or desecrating them by tampering with the artwork, is not an appropriate use of such a tremendous gift as the Tarot. It makes a mockery of its wondrous power, and devalues it for all true believers.
Rather, the Tarot is best employed to tap into one’s higher consciousness. Whether through deeply spiritual and in-depth readings for oneself or others for whom the palm has been appropriately crossed with silver, or through meditation in an effort to astrally enter the realm of the Tarot, this is the sort of calling for which the Tarot is best suited.
When meditating with the aid of the cards, I find my path eased significantly as I leave these earthly trappings behind and become one with the Aether, with my Spirit Self. I feel myself physically leave this too solid flesh behind, and float in a dreamlike world peopled by hairy bestial Devils, bearded Emperors, angels and knights and visionary cups visited by doves of the Holy Spirit. I drift through pastoral landscapes with oaken staves, visit gardens where golden coins grow on the vines, and follow boats carrying the one true heir across the water guarded by swords. It is in this world that I am complete. This is the true purpose of Tarot.
How the cards have contributed to my personal development
It all began for me when my tarot not only became an extension of me – I allowed them to be me! What to have for breakfast one day? The Eight of Wands told me I had to be swift, and being so self-disciplined, I simply allowed myself a cup of tea, knowing the hunger pains would soon dissipate!
Housework, what should I do first. Draw a card and see what my deck thinks is the most important and should be done with haste. I must confess that when I drew the Hanged Man reversed on this subject I really didn’t know what to do. It wanted me to get on with things, but did I do the ironing or make the beds? It was quite a dilemma for a short while. I had to sit and pull cards until I eventually got to one that made sense to my predicament. It was the Nine of Cups, the wish card. I wished for a cup of tea so put the kettle on while I decided what to do next. I do so love how the tarot fits into my life!
I always sleep with at least two cards under my pillow, and they visit my subconscious being with messages during the night. I do so treasure these gifts! Other taroists I know who aren’t up to my own high reading standard are quite envious of me, but I give them a gift of a personal reading and tell them that everything comes to those who wait.
Since using the cards for my personal development, I feel like I know everything there is to know about my life and some others’ I’ve read for as well. So much so that I’ve told my clients that I can give them a 100% accurate reading. The cards know all and never lie.
This is just a couple of my many, many, experiences. I just don’t see how I can develope much more, after living the tarot as I have.
My existential, religious or philosophical views regarding the Tarot
The Fool is a Tarot card, and I am the Fool, therefore I am a Tarot card. I always offer this philosophical advice–based on Immanuel Kant’s a posteriori knowledge–to my querents after readings. As a believer in Tarot and one’s ability to become one with the cards, I have a responsibility to foster the growth of my querents empirical studies.
I became The Fool through reading Tarot cards and it is my hope to pass this wisdom onto others. How did I become The Fool? I simply believed in myself and sought out the Ancestral Path that needed to be taken at an early age. The reason babies cry is often due to the fact that have not yet acquired any Tarot knowledge. There are many steps that can be taken to ensure that babies are raised the Tarot way, and are presented with various opportunities to become one with Tarot, and the spiritual direction that they follow. I feel that we must teach them that Tarot cards not simply pieces of paper, but actual living and breathing creatures. Tarot cards are like faeries spreading their wings in the metaphysical realm; they always know what we are thinking and will always steer us in the right direction.
Tarot is the gateway to the seat of true divinity. I have always known that this is key to the next phase of human spirituality. Exploration of Tarot has allowed me to transcend the narrow boundaries of my traditional religious upbringing and has enhanced my spiritual journey, which I would not be on if it wasn’t for reading and experiencing The Fool’s Journey.
Correlation to other esoteric scientific or psychological viewpoints
I am convinced a broad knowledge of neighbouring scientific subjects is a key requirement for a Tarot reader.
Tarot is at the center of most esoteric, psychological and occult sciences, because you will recognize elements from all of them there. In my personal practice, I mainly combine it with Siberian Tantra Yoga, and often with astrology and alchemy. All of these are transformational arts like Tarot. Tarot can clarify your daily horoscope and even help you change your birth sign if applied with care. For example, daily meditations on the High Priestess card will set you 2 signs back, i.e. change your sign from Virgo to Cancer!
I do not use Black Magick often, but the liberal use of seals and symbols from old Grimoires will add spice to any reading, and enforce the client complies with my advice, which I like to pass on as an order. Knowledge of Alchemy and Magick is also vital for all the times you need to break a curse.
Because of some theories that Tarot originates from alien sources, I have tried to connect it with extraterrestrial energies, but in vain. I only add this here for completeness.
Very important is medicine. I have acquired lots of certificates proving me to be a nutritional consultant, acupuncture expert, and am qualified to apply short-time anaesthesia. All of these services can be combined with a Tarot reading for an extra fee for the benefit of the querent, as health is one of the most important topics to read on. Also, my medical diagnoses are spot-on most of the time and OTC medications make good giveaways after the reading.
Love to you all, Aisselle