Tarot Life Book 11: Your Keys to Freedom

Tarot Life is a revolutionary way to change your life though the power of Tarot. In a series of 12 magical exercises, wi

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Tarot Life Book 11: Your Keys to Freedom

Table of contents :
Authors Note:
Copyright
WHAT OUR STUDENTS SAY
About the Authors
Introduction
The Key
MASSIVE SPOILER ALERT
The Ladder of Stars
The Tarot Keys
The Tarot Keys to Freedom
The Key-Maker
Creating 78 Keys
Conclusion
Bibliography
Websites & Resources
Kindle Tarot Books & Series
Also in Print and Kindle

Citation preview

TAROT LIFE BOOK 11 Your Keys to Freedom

Authors Note: This is Month 11 of our 12-booklet Tarot Life series; you will require the previous Months 1-10 booklets to follow the sequence over the year. Most of the exercises in each booklet may be carried out as stand-alone pieces of self-discovery or re-purposed for use in daily, personal or client readings.

By Tali Goodwin & Marcus Katz

You are free to: Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material The licensor cannot revoke these freedoms as long as you follow the license terms.

Contents WHAT OUR STUDENTS SAY … About the Authors Contents Introduction The Key Chapter 1:

MASSIVE SPOILER ALERT

Chapter 2:

The Ladder of Stars

Chapter 3:

The Tarot Keys to Freedom

Chapter 4:

Creating 78 Keys

Conclusion Bibliography Websites & Resources Kindle Tarot Books & Series

Introduction Keymaker: [Shows a key on a chain] It's a very special key meant only for The One. Will you bring it to him? Ghost: What does it unlock? Keymaker: The future. Enter the Matrix, 2003. We recommend that unless you have already worked through all the previous 10 books, you do NOT read through this booklet, in preview or by purchase, until you worked through the 10 month experience to date. We warn you there is a MASSIVE SPOILER ahead, and we would ask you that you do not share it on any Facebook or social media group until as many people as possible have concluded the first year’s run of Tarot Life between 2013-2014. Once the “cat is out of the bag” it won’t matter, as everyone will then know what this series of books leads to, and that will be made explicit in our marketing – however, in the meantime, let’s keep it between us, those who have actually lived the Tarot Life to now! In this series of Kickstart books of Tarosophy teaching, we take a break from our other tarot books, such as the reference work of Tarot Flip, the seventy-eight innovative Tarot methods in Tarot Twist, and the spiritual considerations of Tarot Inspire, to offer a unique practice of our work.

You are about to change your life with Tarot, and whether you are a newcomer to tarot or experienced reader, you are about to do something totally new. In using what we call a Gated Spread – a linked sequence of tarot readings whose questions are determined by the results of real-world activities – you are going to fundamentally alter the way you experience your life. We have combined here the wisdom of the Tarot with years of practical testing and the latest research in psychology and the biology of willpower, belief, habit and other aspects of our being. This series is designed to be experienced a month at a time, and in the sequence given, although there are many methods you will learn that can be used simply by themselves, for yourself or others. You can start at any time, although New Year; your Birthday; or the Spring Equinox are all powerful starting times. This series is accompanied by a private Facebook group for discussion and questions about your experiences as you make this journey. We look forwards to your engagement of tarot with your life – it is about to become a truly Tarot Life. Before you begin, you may wish to join our Tarosophy Tarot Association Facebook group if you have any questions about Tarot, and you can also download our free keyword guide to all 78 tarot cards and 12 standard spreads from our site: www.mytarotcardmeanings.com The private Facebook group for Tarot Life students is given at the end of this booklet and at the conclusion of all booklets in the series.

Marcus Katz, The Tarosophist & Tali Goodwin, TaliTarot

The Key Trinity: Where are you going? The Keymaker: Another way. Always another way. The Matrix Reloaded, 2003. As we revealed in the previous booklet, a Tarot Life is a constructed narrative matched to recognized patterns, archetypes, events and situations – which, in its construction, turns our fate into destiny. So, over these ten books to date, we have become story-tellers of our own life, enriching our experience, deepening our understanding and developing our wisdom, through the Tarot. This is Tarosophy – the ‘triumph of living wisdom’ (Tarot + Sophia) expressed in tarot life.

MASSIVE SPOILER ALERT We now come to the big reveal, the final twist of our process – and the one which depends most truly on all that you have done so far. However, we will not yet share this with you, as these first pages go on the Kindle ‘preview’ section and we do not want to spoil the twist for other readers! If you are reading this in preview, ahead of reaching this stage, we warn you that there are MASSIVE SPOILERS ahead. Furthermore, if we can ask readers to not mention the specific task of this present title, which will be made clear in the next chapter, that will add to the impact of this work to those following in our wake! We will first provide a stand-alone method to use Tarot for the “Ladder of Set and Horus”, as this eleventh stage of twelve corresponds with the Star card (Aquarius) in the Tarot sequence. The Star equates with Sothis, a Star/Goddess in Ancient Egyptian mythology, and we visualize a “ladder” held up by the deities Set and Horus, to attain that Star. This image is then used as a spread by which we can formulate our vision.

As we have reached the penultimate stage of Tarot Life, we should know that all life is a spiral, and that in fact, at this point, just before we complete our present work, we must take opportunity to visualize our next goal, our next ambition, our next project. This new “star” that we set before us (pun intended) is perhaps more clearly visible at this late stage, because we can contemplate all that we have learnt in the attainment of our present Tarot Life, all that we would change, correct, improve, do better, develop, etc. So we take a moment, if you will, to create a new vision.

The Ladder of Stars At Gate 9 we located our Union card, and Gate 10 provided us our Cascade card. In this method, we return to Gate 1, carrying these two cards, where we charted our destiny path, but now we can create our vision ladder – a ladder to the Star of our own future. We can take our fate and turn it into our destiny. 1. Take out the Star card from your deck - if this was your Union or Cascade card, take out instead the High Priestess or Hierophant as revealer cards in its places. Place it somewhere where you can see it, with a space below it to arrange at least 5-6 pairs of cards. 2. Shuffle your deck considering your experience in Tarot Life to now, and how that has informed your knowledge of the “invisible knots that bind the universe”. In what way do you feel “guided” throughout life? When have you felt close to “being connected”? When has something happened that has revealed your part in a bigger cosmic story? 3. Now turn the deck face-up and go through and carefully locate your Union Card and your Cascade Card. Take the card directly underneath each one, laying them side by side, the card underneath your Union card to the left, and the card underneath your Cascade card to the right.

If either of the cards underneath are actually your Union or Cascade card (i.e. they are together in the deck, next to each other) then this signifies an immediate conclusion to the method, and you should leave at least one lunar month before repeating it. 4. Lay this pair of cards out a few spaces below your Star card. They represent the first rung of a ladder, leading up to that Star. There will be about 5-6 rungs to your ladder in this method, so leave a gap for further pairs between this first pair and the Star above. 5. Consider the two cards as paired together to direct you on an activity that must be taken to align yourself with your destiny. Here we are building our own destiny, rather than simply charting it as we did in the first gate – we have come a long way! All the experiences mapping tarot to life you have practiced over the last ten months should now be turned on its head, so you should be able to easily see what actions these two cards suggest to you. This will also now be showing you how much this experience over the whole of Tarot Life will apply to your tarot card readings for other people. You have condensed a lifetime of readings and feedback into a year of your own life! 6. When you have carried out the action(s) signified by these first two cards, repeat the process (do not return the cards to the deck) and create another rung. You can aim to complete 5-6 rungs across a lunar month (28 days) by which time you should feel as if you are connecting to a powerful current sweeping you, with your own co-creation, towards your destiny.

The creative process given in this Tarot Life book may also be undertaken at the same time for maximum effect. Often, people who engage in the “process” we are about to reveal, find strange things happening in their life anyway, as they come to implicitly live a “tarot life”. We have simply reverse engineered the process to present it to you over a year, and now you are going to see why …

The Tarot Keys The Tarot Keys to Freedom The Keymaker: I've been waiting for you. Matrix Reloaded, 2003 Tarot cards are often called Arcana, ‘secrets’, or ‘Keys’, such as in the Golden Dawn tarot reading technique called “Opening the Key”. We might wonder at this gate what the “keys” are for – which doors, puzzles, locks, gates do they open? We answer that the keys open our soul – our divine relationship to the universe, which emerges in what we call “everyday life”. In the turning of a card, in the turning of a key in a car engine, in the turning of the vast wheels of the galaxies beyond imagination, the divine relationship is being expressed, in a never-ending creation. So in this penultimate gate, we give a massive twist to your work, and show where our gates have brought us – you are going to create our own Tarot Deck; your own Keys to Freedom. All the experiences you have been led through over the previous eleven months have been not only to encounter various aspects of your relationship to the divine, but also to create a living journal, a notebook, a sketch pad, of a complete tarot deck – YOUR tarot deck.

Do not be concerned if you feel you have no creative or artistic ability; the aim here is to create a set of Keys, not a fully publishable tarot deck! You will learn with us now how to create your deck, and who knows, in the future you may meet an artist who can realize the designs for you, or you may find a way of self-publishing your own work and sharing it with others. In the following sections, we will take you through the process of creating your deck from all the previous gates. If you cannot recall your previous experiences in detail, simply get creative, and fill in the blanks. If you come up with a better idea than we suggest, particularly one from your personal work during these last ten months, then always go with YOUR idea. We will give suggestions, but your gates will lead to your keys, and your keys alone. We cannot now be prescriptive, as it is your experience that will make for a unique and individual “deck”. In the final book 12, we will then show you several ways in which you may use these keys to provide deep readings for your spiritual life; and of course, you may choose to use your own newly-created deck to repeat the entire TAROT LIFE series, refining your deck in a second version. Finally, even if you do not produce a set of all 78 cards, you should work with whatever aspects of this exercise you can, to get the most out the final gate; as ever, it is the process which is important, the results may not be obvious.

The Key-Maker Creating 78 Keys The Keymaker: Only the One can open the door. And only during that window can that door be opened. Niobe: How do *you* know all this? The Keymaker: I know because I *must* know. It is my purpose. It is the reason I am here. The same reason we are *all* here. The Matrix Reloaded, 2003. In the following fourteen stages, we will take you through the process of creating your own draft tarot deck from your experience of Tarot Life these last ten months. The stages are provided in a suggested order of completion, but consider them cyclic and generic; you may find yourself returning to some stages several times in the overall process. The rule is to trust your own experience above any suggestions at this point of the overall Tarot Life process. We would recommend that you find a notebook with 78 blank pages – with perhaps other pages for general notes and sketches. Then take 78 blank pieces of paper, separately, or cardboard, cardsized (or buy several blank card decks available online) on which you can write (or sketch) the “draft cards”. You may replace these often as you go through and refine the deck, so make sure you have spares.

It is these 78 pieces, whether they end up as simple text descriptions, cartoons, stick-figure sketches, collages, or a mixture, that will become your final working deck for the last stage of Tarot Life, book 12: Depths of Divinity. If you do not complete your draft deck, or wish to skip this stage entirely (in terms of completing a deck, you should at the very least work through the design process in your imagination) then you can use any other deck for Book 12. The important thing is to engage with the process in some way, which will consolidate your experience of the last ten months, even if it does not produce a draft deck. Step 1: THEME In the first Gate, we discovered our Destiny Card; a card corresponding to the astrological Decan in which we were born during the year. As this card provides a symbol of life’s challenges, solutions and our ultimate realization, we use it to shape the “theme” of our deck. Whilst not every deck will have a clear theme; the Waite-Smith deck for example has an overall air of medieval theatre, whilst the Zombie Tarot is themed on zombies, consider starting with a theme for your deck. The theme is not necessarily the style, by the way – in the Zombie Tarot, the style is of 1950’s infomercials and adverts, giving the whole deck a surreal and disturbing edge. So, take your destiny card and look at it, taking particular notice of any symbols that could dictate a theme – or use the keywords or correspondences to the card to suggest an overall theme. Here are some suggested questions to ask yourself;

1. Is your deck going to be dark/light? 2. Is it themed in some particular place? 3. Is it themed in some particular time? 4. Is any symbol on the Destiny card used in virtually every deck? So for example, if your Destiny card was the 5 of Wands, your theme could be ‘chaos’ or ‘practice’. This could lead you to decide that your deck is going to be called the “Chaos Deck” or the “Deck of Practice”. In the latter case, you might decide that each of the cards would picture someone practicing something appropriate for that card – that would actually be an entirely novel deck! Or, you might go with the 5 staves; the deck could be called the “Deck of Five Staves” and the theme would be jousting – or a medieval town; again, a deck themed on a Joust would be entirely new, as far as we know. In this way, you can allow your destiny to shape your deck, and hence, your keys to freedom. If you do not feel so strongly about your theme, go through your notes of the entire Tarot Life process, and consider if another theme emerged; were you actually concerned about something else throughout most of the process? This is where journaling, or a good memory, becomes useful; you may now see in review that you were often worried about time, for example, in completing a stage, or in other areas of your life. In which case, time could be the theme of your deck; the Tarot of Time, the Timeless Tarot, the Tarot of Clocks, even the “Deck of Rushing Hours” etc.

If you truly have no idea on a theme, play a game we use on some of our courses, and take a book at random, and find the first verb (action/doing word) in it, and then another book, and take the first noun (object, thing) you find. Put them together to create a title for your deck, which should also indicate a theme. As a couple of examples chosen just now: 1. The Walking Soul deck. [We get the idea this would involve a symbol for the soul, for example, a spiritual figure, depicted on a journey in every card. It would follow the deck would be quite abstract and ethereal in style]. 2. The Helpful Angel Tarot Deck. [This one would be pretty straightforward, it could have an Angel depicted in the top half of every card, trying to “help” an everyday person depicted in a situation in the bottom half of the card. It could be quite an amusing deck, as the figure(s) in the bottom half of the deck would be blissfully unaware of the Angel above. Sometimes we guess the Angel would have a very exasperated expression or posture]. Finally, for the theme – again, do not be concerned about your own artistic or creative ability; work through this process as if you had no limits on your imagination, and a team of thousands of creative people waiting to turn your notes into reality.

Step 2: Reversals and Shadows in Your Deck

In Month 2, we learnt that every day is a reading, and every event an image. We were teaching you back then to start to see life and tarot (tarot life) as one and the same; you will now see how this teaching was developed across the gates that followed, culminating in the previous gate. We then saw that each card could depict a block, and categorized these blocks to particular mechanisms of behavior as given by Gurdjieff as “buffers”. The main mechanism you experienced should now be used as the manner in which you will treat REVERSALS in your new personal deck. That is to say, if your main mechanism to block your experience was “Suppression”, each of the cards in your deck should be designed to show some element of suppression, so it can be read as such if it appears reversed in a reading. You can do this most simply by having one item in each card as “upside-down” so it appears right-way-up when the card is reversed. Or you can place something in a mirror – or even have half of the card in reverse, or able to be read so in a reading; like Zach Wong’s brilliant “Revelations” Tarot. As we keep saying – DO NOT HOLD BACK in your design because of any perceived limitations in your own artistic ability. This is presently a deck in draft, a sketch of a deck, a dream deck, and an imaginary deck. You can do with it everything and anything you want.

If you wish, you can simply consider how you would read each card as manifesting that mechanism should it appear reversed in a reading – start to make notes for your own LWB (Little White Book) to accompany your new deck. You will now see too how those “blocks” in Tarot Life 2 give ways of considering the cards when they are reversed.

Step 3: Court Cards & Suits In Month 3, we saw how each Court Card could be used to indicate decision-making; the absolute measure of activity and motivation in the world. When you now look back at those Court Card descriptions, start to get a sense of how they would be best depicted within the theme of your deck. If we were going with the Joust example, we could perhaps see the Court Cards as a panel of judges in the Joust itself, arbiters of good conduct, like a court. In fact, as we picture that in our heads, we might see them all as if in an Arthurian mythic film, or book illustration, all lined up in a row with a medieval canopy overhead. It is a sunny day, there is the smell of life and roast hog, and a lute playing somewhere as the clash of swords and wooden batons float from the practice field. Don’t limit your imagination to one sense when designing your deck!

So, we could put the Court Cards as one entire scene, and then “cut” each personage out to make an individual card. When those 16 cards are arranged in Suit and Rank order in a long line, they would form the entire tableau as one seamless image. How cool would that be? Again, a first for a deck – now imagine something equally interested for your Court Cards within your overall theme! If any stage of this process does not immediately fit for you, leave it and return to it later, when you have completed a few of the other stages. There is no single right way of doing a deck! You might also want to consider the description of the four suits given in Book 2 and throughout the Tarot Life series, and start to consider how these four aspects of existence can be divided within your chosen theme for the deck.

Stage 4: Activity on the Cards Take a look now at the way in which the Minor Cards also suggest decisions in Book 3. Your own cards can be designed to show activity which suggests these decisions. If you had a “numerology” theme, for example, and were working on the 6 of Swords, in Book 3 we see the decision-making aspect of that card is to “stick to your guns”. We could then show the 6 Swords as being bayonets, fastened to guns, glued or bound together – a literal symbolic representation of “stick to your guns”. As our theme in this case is numerology, we could show the guns forming the figure 6 in some way, or being carried by 6 people each with a number on their back, etc.

In the jousting example, the activity would be perhaps a person carrying 6 Swords to the jousting field, ignoring all the buskers, stalls and entertainment either side of him in the faire. That would show him focused on the task – being in the right place at the right time (we should perhaps then decide to show a Knight waiting patiently for him at the end of the aisle of stalls) – and so on.

Stage 5: The Aces and the Structure of the Minors In Book 4, we considered the Kabbalistic structure of the Tarot, and you may choose to use this in your own deck design. Consider how the sets of Twos, Threes, Fours, etc., in each of the suits shows a progression. How might you show this in your own deck? If we give another new example, suppose our Destiny card had been the 4 of Pentacles, and we had decided that as that card showed our destiny as tending towards ‘conservation’, as a better way of putting grasping or hoarding! We had then decided that our deck indeed should be conservation-themed, in our personal case, for the habitat of the rain-forest, as that is something in which we had an interest.

So, we would want to show the progressive stages of the rainforest in each of the numbers of the Minors. We might decide that the Pentacles were going to be trees, and the Cups, rivers; the wands would be animals and the swords would be mankind. In each suit, we would then sketch out concepts from the Ace - the first appearance of a seedling in the Pentacles, as a tree) to the Ten – a full Forest, brimming with life, but perhaps overly so, with some trees (ten in total) being logged and piled in the front of the image. That would start the whole cycle again, and also we could put on the Ten of Swords an image of ten axes or chainsaws, packed away at the end of a day, with the ten logs in the background … By playing with ideas across all four suits and along ten stages of creation, we can soon build within our theme a powerful deck of Minors, which symbolically will resonate with any question asked of them – for everything is a creative process that can be modeled in this manner.

Stage 6: Connecting the Cards Together (Flow) In Book 4, we also consider the “flow” of the cards, and this is now the experience you can draw upon to decide how your own cards in your own deck will flow together. First, connect again to the Aces – how do they appear in your minds’ eye when you read the description in Book 4, re-connect to your experience, and then consider your theme? What music do you hear, what sounds, what feeling? How would that appear in your deck?

Then consider how these Aces pour into and through the rest of the Minors all the way into the Ten, and how that energy then kickstarts itself or returns to the source of the Ace in an eternal creation. Is that how it feels? Or does it feel like a plummet, or a swirling chaos of noise feeding back on itself? This feeling of flow will dictate how your cards work together, so take time to connect to it and then review your previous notes for your deck and add any comments as to how you would want them pictured to capture this flow.

Stage 7: Refining the Court Cards In Book 5, we returned to the Court Cards so you can refine your images at this stage. Take another look at the keywords for the Court card suits and ranks: Ranks Pages: Crystallizing, Absorbing, Counterbalancing Knights: Active, Manifesting Queens: Receptive, Fermenting, Transmitting, Enduring Kings: Swift, Violent, Transient, Rushing Suits Pentacles/Earth: Practical Sense Swords/Air: Mentality (Thinking) Cups/Water: Flexibility (Emotions) Wands/Fire: Dynamic Energy (Imagination)

You can now integrate these energies into your personal deck by picturing these forces as backgrounds, or within the scene of your Court Cards in some other manner. As an example, back to our Jousting Deck, we could give every Court Card a dress, tunic, robe or other item of clothing that embodied these energies. So the Queen of Cups would be pictured having something embodying “fermenting flexibility”! Hmmm … perhaps rather than dress or clothing, how about jewelry? I would give her a pendant or brooch that had a snake with an egg in the middle of it; that would capture that slightly brooding and even oracular nature of the Queen of Cups. It is also a very alchemical symbol, now I think of it. We would then repeat this for the other court cards, refining their personality, dress and activity – even their facial expression or body language – as we go along. So the Page of Wands, “dynamic crystallizing” I would have wearing a ring that somehow captured sunlight. Don’t forget - as we will keep saying - keep your imagination limitless, this is your dream deck! Also now re-consider your secret missions in that Gate; how does this now inform the activity of your various Court Card images? We have been training you for this design task for almost a year now – you should find it easier than you ever imagined!

A final thought at this stage is to lay out the opposites of the Court Cards, as given in Month 5; refine them further in these complementary pairs. If I had the Page of Wands wearing a ring absorbing sunlight, the King of Cups (see table in Book 5) may need an open chalice in which sunlight is being reflected, or which seems to glow of its own accord. It is neat when you lay out a deck’s Court Cards in a zodiacal circle, and see the patterns that a designer and/or artist have woven into them according to that layout.

Stage 8: Individual Cards There are several cards that require individual thought – in fact, all of them, but we will mention several specifics. As we saw in Tarot Life book 6, the Hermit card represents our “Way”. So when designing your deck, consider how you see someone who embodies your ideal spiritual path; what would they be doing, how would they look? They can be male or female, young or old – there are many ways of being a Hermit. The concept of service should also be present in this image; how did you show service in your experience of gate 6 – in what way would you picture this idea? As with all these considerations and exercises, we are gently reprogramming your brain to appreciate tarot totally differently. When you now look at any Hermit figure – or any other card from any deck – we trust you will be appreciating the image in a new way. You may have more empathy with the designer and artist of the deck, as you will have experienced what they experience in creating these images. This in turn will make you a far more flexible and powerful tarot card reader.

Now consider in turn the following cards – how will you have them designed in your deck? Death – What do you consider about Death as a result of your experiences in Tarot Life? How would you picture this? Fool – What is Freedom to you? What exists outside of every experience? What is beyond? Blasted Tower – What did you experience when you were surprised or shocked by something in Tarot Life? What image came to mind? Hierophant – When you experienced breakthroughs understanding, how will you now create an image of this?

of

And so on …

Stage 9: The Cards Ask Questions In Gate 6, we also presented questions applying to each card. Go back now and refine your cards to ensure they carry a sense of these questions. This stage may take a little more time, as the questions can be worked into the design in quite subtle ways. Also consider how other decks use images to provoke a question, even one as simple as “what is happening in this picture?”

Can you make some of the images in your deck provoke questions? In our own Tarot of Everlasting Day, our Hanged Man (Union Deck) provokes many questions – why is it not a hanged man, why is the angel going up to the ark, what is the angel turning to look upon, why is the angel carrying his own wings, what is falling from the sky … this ambiguity makes the card far more evocative and engaging, and opens it up to many interpretations for study and within a tarot card reading.

Stage 10: Giving Your Cards a Voice We now consider what we learnt in Tarot Life book 7, and you will see that we gave each court card a voice, to ask two questions. Can you now go back through your own conception of the Court Cards and hear them asking the relevant two questions from book 7? If they don’t seem to fit, either ignore them, if you are happy with your Court Card anyway, or tweak the Court Card figure in some way to sit better with someone who would ask those questions. To hear the right tonality, speed, pitch, volume of the voice of your Court Cards is a powerful method of “hearing” their message. When you look at your Court cards, in your own or any deck, you should hear them speaking as they would – communicating their message in the reading.

You may also wish to apply your experience of regrets and recognitions to the Court Cards. Do they now seem like the sort of characters who would indeed have such regrets and recognitions? Do not apply this stage until you have fleshed out your Court Cards enough so that you can at least imagine what the card images would look like.

Stage 11: Checking the Minors This stage should be done towards the end of your creative process, and derives from book 8. In that book you will now see that we ensured you experienced all of the Minors in full, so that when you got to this stage, you would have a full set. Go back now through your Minor card designs and refine them further with your experiences from “dying to yourself” against each card. Do the designs you have decided upon map to the real-world experiences you encountered in that month or so? If not, tweak and refine again, and keep smoothing the whole set of images until they map to your experience, and keep to the design structure of the earlier gates (i.e. Ace to Ten, Suits, etc.)

Stage 12: Checking the Correspondences

Again, you can safely skip any or all stages of this book and simply go and design your own deck from scratch, based on your experience. If that is your calling, go for it! Otherwise, we provide these stages as optional suggestions – our worst fear is that we produce “cookie-cutter” decks all of the same structure and pattern. Although of course, we do have a reasonable model in place; 78 cards, 4 suits, etc. Some people have re-jigged that model; adding a fifth element of spirit, playing with the number of Court Cards, changing “Hierophant” to “Faith”, or any number of changes and innovations. We do encourage you to use your experience and create your own innovations, within this process. So now go through the 12 Major Arcana that correspond to the zodiacal sequence we have given throughout this experience (and as given in the table in Book 9) and see if they fit this zodiacal sequence, and are a good picture together of your experiences throughout all twelve stages (including this one and the next, when you get to it). You can also now go back through your almost complete deck and check that the cards work with regard to the Solar/Lunar pairings you may have experienced in Book 10. When you lay out your draft cards in zodiacal pairs that you experienced during the “Riding the Currents” optional exercise, do they fit what happened or can you tweak them even more?

Stage 13: Unifying Your Deck

At this stage, which should be done towards the end of your creation process, consider your Unity card and message, which you discovered in Book 9. The Unity card should carry that message clearly, and your own experience and response to that message. It should be considered your “signature” card and most personal card in the deck – many creators do actually feel as if one card is particularly significant to them in their own deck. If, for example, your Unity card was the 9 of Pentacles; “Your path of unity is to escape the need for security via money and to engage in a simpler way of living”, then you should concentrate on designing the image (given what you have already done) to embody your concept of ‘a simpler way of living’. When you discovered your Unity card, recall how you responded to it, whether it made sense or otherwise, and embody all of that in the design of the image. If we use the example given earlier of the Ecology Deck, and our 9 of Pentacles was already sketched out as being a wooded area, but with a clearing in it, in which 9 trees grew in a circle, then we could add some notion of “simple living” into that design. Perhaps we could have the trees bending in towards the centre, forming a shelter, in which sat a figure by a fire? We would show that there were berries, animals, and other essentials available within reach of the glade, so the figure was entirely self-sufficient. In fact, as we designed the card, we might show sunlight shafts making 9 circles on the forest floor, in each of which were “9 essentials” of simple living … and so on. We can create whatever we want – it’s our card!

Now take that Unity card and pair it with every other card in your deck, and see if it casts a final light on their designs. You can engage in a final smoothing out (unification) process, to align the cards as a whole – find anything that sticks out too much like a sore thumb, or other card images that are too weak and need highlighting in some way or another. The aim is to have a “level” deck, like having a sound mixing desk and bringing all the cards to a harmonious sounding final piece of work.

Stage 14: Completing/Cascading Your Deck In the same way that the Unity card is your own personal signature and something that ties together the theme of your deck, the cascade card (from the previous Book 10, last month) should be the “cover card” or “headline” card of your deck. Together, the unity and cascade cards should be the ones most often shown as representing your deck; perhaps on the front and back of the box (imaginary at the moment!) of your complete deck. Take a look at the cascade card and re-shape it in terms of your experience of the previous month. Make something in it stand out as the magical and unique representation of your whole Tarot Life experience.

If our Cascade Card was the Blasted Tower, as we mentioned the strange synchronicity in Book 10, then we might add to the design a whole number of TV screens, instead of the windows of the Tower, all showing the image of the Blasted Tower, each of which of course would have screens showing images … in an infinite regress. This might symbolize that everything is interconnected, and every “shock” or “surprise” that happens, is reflected in a greater story. Sometimes, we can develop symbols and only later we realize their deep significance! That is one of the joys of developing your own concept deck; you may surprise out of yourself the deeper layers of symbol and interpretation. And this will be reflected in your readings, even when using all those tarot decks designed by other people. You should now be able to initiate your deck by comparing your finished Unity card and Cascade card, the overall theme of your deck, and imagine how it would look on the shelf of a bookshop, on your reading table, or in a publisher’s catalogue. You are done – you have created, from 10 month’s preparation and experience, your own deck, your own Keys to Freedom. In the conclusion of Tarot Life, next month, book 12, we will take those Keys (or any other deck if you decide to skip this stage), to dive into the depths of divinity, where we finish this journey together.

Bibliography Waite, A. E. Pictorial Key to the Tarot. London: Rider, 1974