WE are now in a position to handle the Tarot as a means of divination.
But before we attempt to read it, we must settle how to arrange the cards upon the table.
To know the meaning of the earls is only the first step in the art of cartomancy; to know how to arrange them is still more important. As a fact, the astronomical data should not be lost sight of, and the Tarot ought only to be used to represent the revolutions of the stars, the source of future events; but that is the realm of Astrology, and we must confine ourselves to that of telling fortunes by the Tarot cards, and their combinations depend a little upon chance.
We shall, however, give as many reliable elements in this study as possible. We need only look back to the commencement of the third part (Key to the Applications of the Tarot), to see that the human life passes through the four great periods of--
If the student is not interested in Human Life, and simply wishes to see the evolution of an event, it will also pass through four great evolutions--
Childhood. Youth. Maturity. Old Age.
Commencement. Apogee. Decline. Fall.
We must then first determine, in our arrangement of the cards, four points facing each other in pairs, upon which we can afterwards place the cards which are to reveal the future to us.
This, therefore, is our first point: the determination of the four places which the cards will occupy.
Fall Old Age
We must notice that the disposition of the points goes from left to right. This is seen by the order of the numbers, whilst the symbols are read from right to left.
The Human Life or the Event moves in three very distinct periods--
The Past. The Present. The Future.
Which gives us a new figure as follows--
The Inquirer is found in the Centre. The arrangement of the triangle follows that of the figures and not of the symbols.
However, since four points are not enough to reproduce the movement of the sun exactly, we take, for important readings of the Tarot, twelve points which correspond with the twelve months of the year. The figure already obtained will, at any rate, serve as a means of consulting the Tarot upon small events. But we can also get the following figure, which we must remember for the arrangement of our cards when we wish to inquire about great events or the course of a lifetime.
This figure, which is very important and should be carefully studied, is composed of three circles.
1. An outside circle, formed of twelve houses, filled by the minor arcana. The houses are arranged from left to right; this is shown by the numbers.
2. A second intermediate circle, composed of four houses, arranged from right to left.
3. A central circle, formed by the triangle, and containing a house at each point, giving three houses in the circle.
The last three houses and the four preceding ones will he filled by the major arcana. The Inquirer will be in the centre of the figure.
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The pathology of the poet says that the undevout astronomer is mad the pathology of the very plain man says that the genius is mad and between these extremes, which stand for ten thousand analogous excesses, the sovereign reason takes the part of a moderator and does what it can. I do not think that there is a pathology of the occult dedications, but about their extravagances no one can question, and it is not less difficult than thankless to act as a moderator regarding them.