The Last Judgment

In the Visconti-Sforza card a bearded figure looks down with a drawn sword, flanked by two angels blowing trumpets. Below them three figures emerge from a tomb. The Gary Yale Visconti-Sforza card has just the two angels, one with a bannered trumpet, the other with banner only, but four figures rise from a tomb below. The von Bartsch card includes the bearded figure with drawn sword above the two trumpeting angels, and he is also crowned. Two figures rise from the grave. On the Gringonneur card...

Strength

On the Visconti-Sforza card a rough looking man, with flying scarf, holds a club on high in a threatening fashion. At his feet is a lion. They both appear to be threatening the same person or object off the card. At first sight it looks as if the man is belabouring the lion but on closer examination this seems not to be the case. On the Gringonneur card we have a maiden with an angular nimbus similar to Temperance and Justice and the World in this set , standing beside a column which is...

The Emperor

Justice Tarot Card Black And White

We have a number of extant hand-painted cards of the Emperor. The Visconti-Sforza Emperor sits with a sceptre in his right hand and an orb in his left. On his head is an ornate hat bearing the imperial eagle. The Gary-Yale Emperor sits facing us on a raised throne. He is similarly accoutred, and attended by four pages, one of whom, at lower right, kneels bearing a crown. The Brera-Brambilla card is similar but without the pages. The same basic features are found on the otherwise stylistically...

The Fool

Rosenwald Tarot Fool

The Visconti-Sforza Fool has the appearance of an ill-cared for idiot. He stands in rags, his bare feet show through holes in his stockings, and seven feathers are stuck in his hair. His ill-shaven face has a blank look, and over his shoulder he carries a long club. In die Gringonneur cards the Fool has more the aspect of a clown, with a widely grinning vacuous face. He has a pointed cap with asses' ears and is arrayed in a form of motley, though bare legged. He plays with a string of balls or...

Tarot Ritual and Divination

Ritual is a much misunderstood term, conjuring images both glamourous and sinister of cowled or naked figures performing unmentionable rites in unspeakable places. This is an indication of the power of the popular novelist's image making faculty to impose entirely erroneous ideas onto those who know no better. Ritual is undoubtedly a powerful technique, as is all group work that involves the controlled use of the creative imagination. We have already described the technique of Pathworking or...

The Star

Gringonneur Tarot

The Visconti-Sforza Star shows a maiden with a star-patterned cloak over her robe, holding up an eight-pointed star. On the Rosenthal Visconti-Sforza card she is crowned, as also on the Victoria amp Albert Museum card. The d'Este card shows two bearded men looking up toward a central eight-pointed star, pointing to it. One of them holds a chart or text. The Rothschild uncut sheet shows three figures under the star, holding up a crown between them. One of the men seems to be a king, another a...

Tarot Trump Imagery

In the survey of Tarot Trump design that follows we have made a number of assumptions in the interest of clarity. 1. We have used the Marseilles Tarot sequence, because this has become the generally accepted standard. There are other orders possible which we discuss in the next chapter. 2. We have chosen as headings the Trump titles which are most widely accepted or at least understood by students of the esoteric Tarot. 3. We have used a line drawn Marseilles design for reference as this is the...

The Evolution of the Tarot

Oswald Wirth Tarot

The Tarot is a structured system of magical images. The date and place of its origin is not precisely known but the historical evidence points to some little time before a.d. 1450. Some have claimed a greater antiquity for it, with roots in ancient Egypt, but although, as archetypcal images, many of the figures may well have correspondences in remote antiquity, the particular characteristics of the Tarot system indicate that it is an artefact of the Renaissance period, grafted on to the newly...

Tarot Pathworking

Tree Life Kabbalah Tarot

Practical work with the archetypes of the Tarot is essentially a matter of using the imagination. It may well be that first efforts are barren or subjective, or appear to be. Persistent use will sooner or later demonstrate that through the use of the imagination, a new sense of perception is being developed, that opens upon an objective world or worlds other than the physical. There are various means of training and using the imagination in this way but essentially they embody the same process....

The Language of the Tarot Images in Pattern and Sequence

A conceptual structure that will serve as a starting point for us to appreciate the magical dynamics of the Tarot can be found in the design of the Marseilles Trump of the World. That is, a dancing figure within a wreath, with one of the four kerubic emblems at each corner of the card. These kerubic emblems represent the Elemental powers that are unfolded in the suit cards. The attributions run as follows Man or Ox or The Trumps are represented by the central figure. Thus we can take a first...