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Table of contents :
About the Authors
What is the Tarot?
What Are The Top 10 Wrong Ideas About Tarot?
The Tarot & Creativity
The Garden of Creation: Gate 1 Garden Plan
Garden of Creation: Gate 2 Stepping Stones
Garden of Creation: Gate 3 Talking Fountain
Garden of Creation: Gate 4 Labyrinth
THE GARDEN OF CREATION: Gated Spread Book 5 Explore Your Creativity
By Tali Goodwin & Marcus Katz Copyright © Tali Goodwin & Marcus Katz, 2013 Published by Forge Press, Keswick All rights reserved.
WHAT OUR STUDENTS SAY … I am extremely thankful for these exercises. I feel like I could spend years contemplating these results and still not get to the bottom of the insight I have gained. C.C. This exercise as well as the others have spoken volumes. Thank you for sharing this experience with us. R. G. Incredible knowledge so easily shared … This has been a journey in which I have learned a lot of new things and feel very satisfied. L. J. Very moving and effective. I cannot wait for the next gates! Y. I suddenly realized I have been dreaming like crazy since I started these exercises! Very intuitive stuff about my situation, and about my Tarot! L.
We have used real-life examples and authentic feedback throughout this series, anonymously, from our students in Tarot-Town. We thank them for their engagement with these experiences over the years.
About the Authors “You know, the Tarot is a Blank Bible – for everyone to fill in.” Goodwin to Katz, Typical Conversation. Tali Goodwin is the co-author of award-winning and #1 best-selling Tarot books, including Around the Tarot in 78 Days, Tarot Face to Face, and Learning Lenormand. She is also a leading Tarot researcher and is credited with the discovery of A. E. Waite’s second tarot deck, kept secret for a century, published as Abiding in the Sanctuary. She has also uncovered and published the Original Lenormand deck, and with co-author Derek Bain, the original Golden Dawn Tarot images in A New Dawn for Tarot. Her research into the life of Pamela Colman-Smith with new photographs will be published as The Secrets of the Waite-Smith Tarot by Llewellyn Worldwide in Spring 2014. She is co-Director of Tarosophy Tarot Associations (Worldwide) and organizes the international tarot conventions, TarotCon. Marcus Katz is author of the ground-breaking Tarot book and teaching system, Tarosophy, and is the co-founder of Tarosophy Tarot Associations (Worldwide). In addition to Tarot books with Tali Goodwin, he is the author of The Magister, an 11-volume opus on the Western Esoteric Initiatory System, The Magician’s Kabbalah, and the forthcoming Path of the Seasons. He teaches students privately in the Crucible Club, available by application.
Contents WHAT OUR STUDENTS SAY … About the Authors Contents Preface What is the Tarot? What Are The Top 10 Wrong Ideas About Tarot? The Tarot & Creativity Chapter 1:
Conclusion Bibliography Websites & Resources Kindle Tarot Books & Series
Preface The business of making up stories has been going on a long time. Alexander Steele (ed.) Writing Fiction, p. 2 You are about to go on a journey and experience magical creativity. Grab a Tarot deck, and we are good to go! The purpose of Gated Spreads is to overturn the common use of Tarot cards as a means of “telling” the future, or providing a brief insight into our life and motivations – and hence our future possibilities. The teaching of Tarosophy encourages the use of Tarot as a divine language; one which connects us to the deeper world underneath the apparent one which we often take for granted. A gated spread requires you to take action in your life, from which change emerges naturally. This is not the empty promise of a feelgood self-help book, but a call to action – your action – to change your life through Tarot. Our Gated Spread experiences have been offered for several years to the public, and now for the first time we provide them in handy self-study packages on Kindle. In each of these individual books, you can experience shamanism, relationship and romance insight, creativity, alchemy, and even delve into your ancestry, all using just a tarot deck.
We have also ensured that this is not a book of fictional examples that sound too good to be true. Our books are based only on real-life testing and the actual experience of real people like you, encountering magick often for the first time. We have taught these methods and ran workshops and gated spread weeks for many years, and have hundreds of experiences which have constantly shaped what you are about to experience for yourself. This book is ideal for first time users of Tarot or the experienced reader who is looking to activate the tarot in their life. We have ensured that you are given the necessary instructions and clarifications (from our previous teaching and feedback given by students) to experience true magick in your time using this book. Before you begin, you may wish to join our free Facebook group if you have any questions about Tarot, and also download our free keyword guide to tarot cards and standard spreads from our site: www.mytarotcardmeanings.com
What is the Tarot? The tarot as most commonly recognized is a family of card decks, most often 78 cards divided into four suits of 14 cards (10 numbered cards and 4 Court cards for each suit) and 22 Major cards. There are presently about 1,000 different decks in print or circulation, and many more out-of-print, rare and collectable decks. Although it can be proven that the tarot was developed in the early 15th century, a lot of books still suggest that it was used by the “ancient ...” and then provide lists of the unproven, non-factual ideas which results in a conflation of tarot and those very ideas. The earliest names for the tarot are Italian. Originally the cards were called carte da trionfi (cards of the triumphs), but around 1530 A.D. (about 100 years after the origin of the cards) the word tarocchi began to be used to distinguish the tarot cards from a new game of triumphs or trumps then being played with ordinary playing cards. You are actually seeing in the cards some direct examples of the triumphs – the procession of floats common at festivals in Italy at the time – particularly in such cards as The Chariot and the Court cards. There is even a Christian tarot in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London; the cards were used to depict virtues, the liberal arts and sciences, and other aspirational notions from their earliest development. In fact, it could be said that the cards were originally educational or self-development tools, although that could also be debatable.
There is no evidence that the tarot were used by gypsies, originated in Egypt or were used for divination prior to the 1700s, despite popular occult lore that the cards have embodied ‘ancient teaching’ from time immemorial. It was not until a pseudo-connection between the Hebrew letters and the tarot was published in 1781 – by Comte de Mellet, in Antoine Court de Gebélin’s Le Monde Primitif – that esoteric interest began to appropriate the cards to embody occult teaching. The earliest list of the 22 cards which have become known as the Major Arcana is given in a sermon against their use by a monk writing in Latin around 1450-1470 A.D. This sermon is sometimes called the Steele Sermon as it belongs to the collection of Robert Steele. [This above section which we think is so important to teach is repeated in each booklet in this series, and is an extract from Tarosophy, by Marcus Katz].
Which Tarot Deck is Best for This Gated Spread? Our students have used a range of decks for this experience, and of course the standard Waite-Smith is a favorite. However, students have used these decks with particularly good results: The Dragon Tarot The Tarot of the Silicon Dawn The Waite-Smith Tarot
As every deck tends to follow the “Hero’s Journey” (in fact, the Fool’s journey) in its structure, this particular gated spread experience is suited to any tarot deck – perhaps choose one that you are not used to, or really don’t like – or love! The only deck that won’t work for this is one which doesn’t interest you or cause any passion – this is a creative exercise!
What Are The Top 10 Wrong Ideas About Tarot? There are many wrong ideas about the tarot that seem to be popular. We would like to present quickly some common myths about tarot that you may have heard already, and change your view!
1. The tarot did not originate from Egypt, the gypsies, the Templars, Atlantis or a secret order. 2. You do not need to be gifted or given your first tarot deck – you can simply buy a deck for yourself. 3. You do not have to keep your tarot in a silk bag or bag of any particular color. 4. You can let other people touch your cards if you choose. 5. There are no real ‘rules’ in tarot, but some generally agreed good ideas. 6. The keywords for cards are not set in stone; they can be modified depending on the deck, the reading and the question. However, there are basic concepts specific to each card in the deck, which form a basic language. 7. The cards are not evil – no more than any art or printed material is “evil”.
8. You do not have to be intuitive or gifted in some special way – you can learn, and develop your tarot skills in any way. 9. The ‘ancient Celtic Cross’ spread has not been used for centuries, and it is not particularly ancient and it is not Celtic. 10. There is no single right way to read tarot – we encourage every reader to discover their own unique voice.
The Tarot & Creativity This method of using Tarot is completely unique and is here applied to our ability to create stories from images – and our own lives. Over the course of about a week, you can use these gated spreads to create a story, novel, poem, or narrative. In doing so, you’ll also be learning how to read tarot as a creative process, and read your own life as a hero’s journey – or heroine’s! The experience also comes with a twist at the end – as should any good story, perhaps – when you see that you can now use the skills learnt in the first few days to divine your life. We recommend you work through this experience slowly, and in sequence, to get the most out of the final few days. These experiences are carefully constructed, and have been tweaked over years of student experiences. Whilst they are deceptively simple on the surface, they can be radical in actual practice. The aim of the exercise is to explore, develop and change through creativity our own awareness of our life as a journey. This is why we refer to Tarosophy as “Tarot to engage life, not escape it”. We hope you will find this method entirely revolutionary and useful to you in your personal life as well as a method to teach your own students, friends who are Tarot readers, or clients with whom you use Tarot.
The Garden of Creation: Gate 1 Garden Plan
Illustration. Forking Paths. This is the first gate of our Garden of Creation experience, and is called “Garden Plan”. The concept of gated spreads is that they are designed to a fundamental pattern – archetypal – and linked together in a series so that each spread depends on the one before it. Not only that, but each spread requires an act of creation before progressing to the next spread. In this way, a spread may not make sense unless you have accomplished the task of the previous gates – this is why the technique is called a “gated spread”.
For this particular spread, we are teaching Tarot to encourage your imagination and creativity, whilst also allowing you to unconsciously learn new methods of approaching the skills of Tarot reading. In this case, we will be installing through our work and exercises the skills of pattern-recognition, connection-making and narrative – leading to the intuitive leaps so much part of the Tarot reader’s repertoire.
The Garden Walk
Illustration: Garden Gate So in this first day we start with a simple spread but an unusual technique – those who have been on other Gated Spread experiences will be used to weird approaches by now! We are going to create a new imaginative piece each by the end of this week – whether it be a project, poem, story, article, essay – something new that is not here yet. The Universe is waiting with bated breath!
Our first step is to sit and shuffle our deck - any deck is “tuned” this method, although I suspect you’ll get best results from a deck which is at the far ends of either your most favorite or least favorite decks, those you are not particularly bothered about will be less provocative and engaging. Whilst doing so, think of all the times in your life when you have been creative, imaginative and playful. Then take the top 10 cards from the deck and throw them to the floor or table, face-up! Spread them out a little – they should be slightly scattered.
Illustration: Garden Paths Cards
Turn the rest of the deck upside-down to reveal the base card (in the case above, the STAR) and place that somewhere suitable to act as a “Garden Gate” into the spread. Then we simply go for a Tarot walk to discern the plan between the various cards. You can choose any route at all, starting from the “Gate” card and meandering through the other cards as you wish. Sketch out the route you take, and pause when you feel you have exited the garden out another card. In the example route below from the garden spread above, I walked from the STAR “gate”, to the Empress, the 2 of Wands, 5 of Pentacles and then exited with the MAGICAN.
Illustration: Garden Path Cards Marked with Route Number these routes (it is best to have at least 3 connections) and write down the connecting cards. In this example: 1: Star – Empress 2: Empress – 2 Wands 3: 2 Wands – 5 Pentacles 4: 5 Pentacles – Magician
Now write a brief impression of the nature of the route between each pair of connecting cards, against each numbered path. This should take into account everything you know about the cards, or merely the pictures. You can use Kabbalistic or Numerological information, intuition, Astrological correspondences, keywords … anything.
So, for example, I might write: 1: Falling from the heavens. Sky to Earth. The drop. 2: Son sets sail, leaving home. 3: Hard times from hopeful beginnings. 4: A mentor teaches those who come inside. Choices. Repeat this path-walking to discover a number of connecting paths in the structure of the garden. See which cards always seem to determine the same meaning to their connecting paths, and which cards suddenly appear to mean very different things when connecting with different cards. See - more importantly - what themes emerge in common across any or all of the paths chosen in the same garden. Here is a student example, using the Dragon Tarot.
1st Path: The Straight path right across the middle of the garden: - Empress (the gate) to the Hanged Dragon - Hanged Dragon - Knight of Coins - Knight of Coins - Four of Swords - Four of Swords - Six of Coins (Leaving the Garden) Setting out encouraged and nourished, meeting with the first obstacle, which is a riddle
Having solved the riddle, the goal and the path become clear and straight-forward. Pursuing the way with vigour, determination and clarity, taking a deserved rest. Making a well-considered decision and going onto the gate out of the garden, where the “treasure” is gained. The Knight is the one who is taking this path. But he first has to find himself (his identity, his gold and his path) through the riddle of the Hanged Dragon. The solving of the riddle involves considerable hardship, probably even a sacrifice (of quite another kind than the Knight would be accustomed to, for example it is not his knighttypical task to slay the dragon). The main stations of this path from Hanged Dragon to Four of Swords fell into a stair-like pattern, which very well shows the steady progress towards his goal (the treasure - a more mature identity and/or control over new resources) The numerical value of the cards together is 20. This relates this path to Judgment. The Knight has to heed a call (solve the riddle) to open an avenue which ultimately leads to a new life/a new level of consciousness/a more integrated Self. 2nd Path: Circle around the complete garden (far side): - Empress to Four of Cups - Four of Cups to Chariot - Chariot to Four of Swords - Four of Swords to Blasted Tower - Blasted Tower to Five of Cups
- Five of Cups to Two of Coins - Two of Coins to Queen of Coins (leaving the garden) This path is taken by one of the Empress’ children (baby dragons): Setting out well-trained in care and compassion by your Empress-Mother, you cannot refuse the dragon who asks for help in feeding his/her young. Having fulfilled this work, the dragon makes good on his/her word and takes you up on a ride to unbelievable new vistas. But all good things have to end and you find yourself at a place of rest. You have to leave, though, because there is a sudden fire in a tower nearby and you have to go and see if you can be of help there. On coming to the Blasted Tower you are hurt by falling stones, but you meet your dragon again, who rapidly explains that he had to dismantle this evil structure by force and fire. Together you flee the scene across the water. With the help of the dragon you are healed in an enchanted forest. When you are recovered you are invited by the Queen of Coins, the guardian of the enchanted forest. She reminds of of your Mother, the Empress, and she gifts you with a golden egg to help you survive in the wider world to which you have to pass now through the Gate leading away from the Garden.
The cards add up to XI - Justice: The works done out of compassion, though they seemed a deviation or hold-up at the time, brought ultimately the reward of (inner) peace, healing and strength. Both paths such have the numerical value of 2, which relates them to the High Priestess, which symbolizes the “enchanted garden” of a closed-off otherworld and the secret which opens its doors.
Conclusion Exercises in making connections can prove to unlock creative thinking but also practice us in connection-making during readings. Whilst we make such connections, we might also sense emergent patterns, which we will explore as we progress through this gated spread. This particular garden spread is a useful change from fixed meaning spreads. There are many ways of learning pattern recognition, narrative, the oracular voice and more and these are more fully explored in Tarosophy, the book.
Garden of Creation: Gate 2 Stepping Stones
Illustration: Stepping Stones. This is the second gate of our Garden of Creation experience, and is called “Stepping Stones”. Here we will take a more linear path through our garden, using the types of cards as stepping stones to take us from one element of a creation to another. This is most suitable for creating a novel, so have fun!
The Stepping Stones 1. Split your deck into three piles containing the 22 Majors in one, the 56 Minors in another and the 16 Court Cards in the third. Shuffle each deck and lay them face ‐ down. Select cards from the appropriate pile as indicated below to create the cards for your story. 2. The first card, choose from the Court Card pile. This is the Hero(ine), and depicts his ordinary life. What sort of character is he (or she) and what sort of life does he lead?
3. The next card is a Major card and is the call to adventure. What changes in this person’s life to start them on their journey? 4. The next card is a Minor card and is the nature of their refusal to go on this journey, engage with this event or opportunity. What do they do? How do they respond? 5. The next card, a Court Card (or you can select a Major Card) shows their Mentor. Who or What encourages them, teaches them, provokes them to change, and how? 6. The next card, a Minor, shows the first threshold that must be crossed, to enter a different world. 7. The next three cards (choose from any pile) indicates the tests, allies and enemies they encounter in this new situation. 8. The next card, a Major, shows the next threshold and the nature of the inmost cave – the secret heart of this story, a revelation, where they encounter the ordeal (select a Minor or Major card) and gain the reward (select a Minor or Major card). 9. They then take the road back to their starting ‐ point (choose a Minor card) and cross a third threshold experiencing a transformation or resurrection. Finally, they return with a boon or elixir, a philosopher’s stone and gift to bring to their previous situation. This is indicated by the final card, a Major. This sequence is based on the mythic journey, or hero’s journey described by Joseph Campbell and recast in contemporary style for authors, playwrights and screenwriters in Christopher Vogler’s The Writers Journey.
Creating Your Story
You may wish to refer back to your notes from the garden plan and see if the “thematic elements” which arose from your connecting the cards in that spread can provide an underpinning for your story in “stepping stones”. This is one of the many ways in which Gated Spreads are not like other spreads – they are specifically designed in reverse from a final destination, so that each gate feeds into another, and just doing one in the middle will not be as effective as meeting the gates challenges in sequence. In this sense, of course, each spread and gated spread sequence is a journey! Here is an example from the notes of a student using the unusual deck, the Tarot of the Silicon Dawn. My first card is the Progeny (Page) of the Void. She just wants to get the hell out of there. It's no place to live - it's nowhere at all. Life is bleak and dark, with nothing to look forward to. The only possible option is escape. (Or, to quote Beavis and Butthead, "this sucks. Change it!") Next is the Fool (the wintery one): The Fool doesn't know where she's going, but anything is better than staying here. The only thing to do is to strike off for the unknown! Will she realize she has those wings? The dark shadows of the cliff she's on suggest the darkness of the void.
Resistance: 6 of Cups: Not sure what to make of this; I could say the resistance is about being comfortable in the familiar but so far the familiar has not looked especially comfortable. But the unknown can be scary... Maybe cups = emotions/feelings that perhaps it isn't so bad? Perhaps fear of going wild after finally leaving the void behind? None of my interpretations are terribly satisfactory, because there is really nothing keeping the her in the void, except perhaps perception. P of Wands: This is all about springing forth into the natural world, birthing one's self, coming to LIFE! Having come from out of nowhere, thriving and blossoming, like a sprout pushing up through the soil. As a helper, since they are both Progeny it could be another young adventurer - someone who knows about the natural world, how to forage for food etc, and who offers her encouragement and advice. Besties. But perhaps someone who can't come along on the journey - she is rooted where she is. The blackness of space doesn't bother her as she is strong and vibrant and her energy comes from within. 6 of Swords: The hacker card. Best get ready! Gear must be gathered and prepped! You don't want to go out into the world unprepared. Here's where you could put in a montage if this were a movie. ;-) Tests, allies, enemies: Empress, 0 of Void, P of Cups, 5 of Cups:
I'm having a hard time seeing the Empress as a test. Perhaps the test is that our hero must become her own Empress, but she doesn't know how. That's the point of this journey, to go from nothingness to lush embodiment. But from the beginning, it seems unachievable - an impossible quest. She looms so far above! Is she wearing a mask? Can our hero even see her goal? 0 of Void shows a white butterfly fluttering across the blackness. Drawing unexpected strength from where she came from - using her knowledge of the void to help herself escape it. Progeny of Cups - another ally. She knows her way around out there, and she is warm and welcoming. Buddy sequence in a film! 5 of Cups - another challenge. Don't get carried away! Hang on if you are going to fly! Or perhaps the P of Cups wasn't as friendly as she appeared. In any case, her attempt to help has had unanticipated consequences, and our hero once more travels on her own. Fortitude (aka Strength). Our hero will have to find her way through a strange place, guarded by a lion and a six armed goddess who is also holding up the roof. Definitely a threshold! But unlike the Empress, where she loomed over us, we're on the same plane with this card.
The ordeal: Ace of Cups. A pregnant mermaid with two sets of breasts and a boa. I'm going to go all old-school here and say that the ordeal will have to do with getting in touch with her emotional side and not just being a rootless adventurer. And also this ties back in with the 6C as "resistance" in that she knew her journey would inevitably bring her here and she didn't want to have to deal with it, even though she had to get out of the void. In the void, you feel nothing. Beyond it, there is a risk of feeling too much. The reward: The Hermit. Having found the fortitude necessary to face her own inner emotions, she is now comfortable within herself and has no need of assistance from anyone else. Her inner light glows as she continues her adventure, on her own terms. The road back: 8 of Wands. Going underground. Unaffected by storms outside, planning and orchestrating the next step. Returning to the void but in her own way, on her own terms. Prepared and ready; strong. Final card: The Magician. Our hero is now fully conversant in the ways of the underworld and the overworld. The void might not be so dark if you have a candle (or your own light).
Conclusion We can utilize the cards in specific ways to creative dramatic narratives. These are seen in multiple aspects, where the Majors are archetypal forces at play, the Minors the events in everyday life manifesting those forces and acting as teachers, and the Court Cards personalities embodying these archetypal energies in mixed characters.
Whilst practicing creating these stories in this manner, you are also unconsciously learning (“installed”) a new sense of how these cards represent these elements in a spread for a divination. You may find your ability to read cards progressively increasing and deepening as you practice these gates. There is a universal story pattern which is the “Mono-myth” and all our lives partake of this mythic structure which is revealed in stories and any creative act. You may find that your garden plan and stepping stones already reveal a lot about your own story.
Garden of Creation: Gate 3 Talking Fountain
Illustration. The Talking Fountain. This is the third gate of our Garden of Creation experience, and is called “The Talking Fountain”. You’ll find this part of the journey in our garden somewhat different again from the stepping stones and the plan, as it is even more freeform. In this gate, we start to build some dialogue, rather than connection and narrative, with the cards themselves. So find your favorite or most mystifying deck, and prepare to find its voice.
The Talking Fountain Take your deck and shuffle it. Turn it face-down. Ask one of the following questions (or your own variation if one comes to mind):
1. What sort of story is my life? 2. What kind of magic are you? 3. When the Universe Talks, What is its Tale? 4. What will the world or people grow into? 5. What is being created? These all represent different aspects of “dialogue” which occurs when we read Tarot, perform an astrological consultation or other divination. We have multiple dialogues – conversations – with our deck, our own response, the client, sometimes divine sources and sometimes the symbols and associations of the deck. These questions are based on each aspect of dialogue – 1, You; 2, Tarot; 3, Universe; 4, Others; 5, Creation. Now turn up the first card. Imagine that all these five aspects are answering the one question you have chosen, through the card, you, the Universe, etc. Hear what the card answers – actually hear it as dialogue. So I might have asked, “What is being created” and the first card is the Knight of Coins in my Golden Deck by Kat Black. I might hear, “A single world is being created, slowly, over immense periods of time. My horse is Matter and the muzzled dog is Time. We seek slowly. I hold aloft the staff of spirit, of ascent, but it is carried along by creation itself …” Now ask another question, or enter into dialogue with the deck in response to this first card, by making your own statement, question or interruption.
I might say, “Well, that’s all very interesting, but what about God?” Then pick the next card. I pick the 5 of Wands. Hear what it has to tell you … “God is chaos and confusion, the constant turmoil of life, building to an unknown plan. The cockerel crows for the sun, but time moves on swiftly and nothing is ever complete.” And continue the dialogue – “Ahah? So you are saying there is no plan?” 10 of Swords: “Everything has been fixed and fated. The dog of time comes to chew on the corpse of matter. You cannot escape what is being created out of yourself.” “Oh, well that sounds bleak –“ 8 of Cups: “It is. In the ruins of your own plans you can only hope to pass through unscathed and not get trapped by distractions. Only by movement can you avoid noticing the darkness.” And so on. Have a good old talk with your Tarot – hopefully not as morose or as stern a voice as the Golden Deck gave me on this occasion! If you wish, share your conversation with others on the forum, in brief.
There are many ways to engage with Tarot, but in each we find ourselves in dialogue between multiple aspects. Learning to listen to Tarot as well as see the symbols is an important part of developing our relationship to our own inner voice and oracular talent.
Garden of Creation: Gate 4 Labyrinth
Illustration. The Labyrinth. This is the fourth and final gate of our Garden of Creation experience, and is called “The Labyrinth”. You’ll find this part of the journey in our garden somewhat different again from the previous fountain, stepping stones, and the plan, as it is a far more spiritual and deep exercise. You will see, however, that it draws upon each of the previous gates – you have been practicing and preparing for this final gate in each of those exercises. In this gate, we apply the lesser-known technique of lectio divina, or ‘spirit reading’ to the Tarot to create our own secret story. This technique is centuries old, used within the Christian tradition, and gained a place in contemplative practice following its promotion by Saint Benedict in the 6th Century.
We will combine this technique’s 4 steps with our previous gates and the Tarot in reaching a conclusion of the “Garden of Creation” experience.
The Labyrinth of You The lectio divina has four stages, usually applied to reading scripture, but here we apply to reading Tarot and through that, the Universe of ourself. Take your deck and shuffle it, asking the question: “What is my secret story – the true narrative of my soul, and the creation I am?” Take out the top ten cards, as we did with the plan. Lay them out in any pattern. Read them as your own life story, not in sequence, but as they fork out and connect together in whatever patterns arise. Allow them to suggest to you (as you learnt in the Talking Fountain exercise) what they are telling you in dialogue, and do not question. This is lectio, reading. Take time to find out a few more meanings of the cards from any reference materials you have to hand, make notes as if in study of a novel.
Your Life Pathways
Now contemplate the connections between the cards, the hidden links of the labyrinth. This is the meditatio. Allow your eye to roam over your entire life plan laid out in the cards until you find yourself gravitating to any particular point – usually between a “constellation” of cards. This may not be in the centre of your garden labyrinth, but you will know it when you find it – you may have even sensed it as soon as the cards were laid out in the original pattern.
Illustration. The Labyrinth. Allow your inner spirit to respond to the walking of the labyrinth. If you know any trance techniques, apply them – burn incense or play music whilst you perform this. We would recommend an hour for this part of the practice – don’t rush it, it is your life. Allow yourself to write on these connections and where the centre is found in some poetic or pleasing manner. You may choose to write in a spiral or unusual script.
Entering into Sacred Dialogue
Illustration. Further into the Labyrinth. We now take a profound step in our Tarot work. Take a moment – and this step can follow after a day break from the previous step – and gaze upon your labyrinth cards whilst beginning to go over every painful memory and hurt, embarrassment and regret you have experienced. As you do, and the old feelings arise, offer them into the cards as they are set in place before you. Begin to enter into dialogue (as you learnt in the Talking Fountain) with the cards as a whole – as a divine tool of dialogue with Universe – and allow them to offer healing words in response to your troubles. This is oratio, a consecration prayer. Use the connections you have discovered to contextualize these events in your life, as learning, as constructive paths of the labyrinth, with its secret centre – yourself – gently open and revealed within.
The Labyrinth Complete Whilst the garden paths fork in an endless labyrinth, we are our own centre when discovered in the heart of the narrative we weave. In the next few days following this experience, do not return to the cards but rather observe your life in their revealed wisdom – this is the final stage of contemplatio in the technique.
Experience the living divine wisdom of the Tarot – what we term Tarosophy, to look into the deeper patterns and structures of Universe which we are merely the arising images – as is the Tarot.
Conclusion The gates in this particular spread were constructed to generate the necessary practices and attitudes to engage in the final practice of lectio divina. This is a deep practice and rarely explored in Tarot, so you may be interested in pursuing this practice in your Tarot work and beyond. Your life is a Garden of Forking Paths only whilst you believe in Time and experience it in a linear fashion – Tarot offers a tool to transcend this state and is one of the more profound utilizations of Tarot beyond its common usage.
Conclusion “The beauty of the Hero’s Journey model is that it not only describes a pattern in myth and in fairy tales, but it’s also an accurate map of the territory one must travel to become a writer, or for that matter, a human being”. Christopher Vogler, p. 298 We trust during this week-long taster experience you have been given a new angle on your Tarot, and look forward to welcoming you on our other Gated Spreads in the future. You can share your experiences in our social site, Tarot-Town, and ask questions. The site is free with membership of your national Tarot Association, with many other member benefits.
Bibliography Tarot Katz, M. Tarosophy. Chang Mai: Salamander & Sons, 2012. Katz, M. & Goodwin, T. Around the Tarot in 78 Days. Woodbury: Llewellyn, 2012. Katz, M. & Goodwin, T. Tarot Flip. Forge Press, 2012. Waite, A. E. Pictorial Key to the Tarot. London: Rider, 1974.
Writing Alexander Steele (ed.), The Gotham Writer’s Workshop Writing Fiction (London: A & C Black, 1988) Christopher Vogler, The Writers Journey (London: Pan Books, 1999) Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces (London: Paladin, 1998) Bobbi L. Parish, Create Your Own Personal Sacred Text Michael Casey, Sacred Reading: The Ancient Art of Lectio Divina
Websites & Resources If you enjoy new learning, and want many more ways to use your Tarot deck, we encourage you to explore our websites. You are also welcome to join us in your national Tarosophy Tarot Association, where as a member you will instantly receive thousands of pages of materials, and tarot video courses for every level. We look forward to seeing you soon on your Tarot journey!
Tarosophy Tarot Associations http://www.tarotassociation.net Tarot Professionals Facebook Group http://www.facebook.com/groups/tarotprofessionals Free Tarot Card Meanings & Spreads http://www.mytarotcardmeanings.com Hekademia Tarot Course http://www.tarosophyuniversity.com Tarot Town Social Network http://www.tarot-town.com Tarosophy by Marcus Katz http://www.tarosophy.com The Tarot Speakeasy Blog http://www.tarotspeakeasy.com Tarot Book Club
http://www.tarotbookclub.com The Tarot Review http://www.thetarotreview.com TarotCon International Tarot Conventions http://www.tarotconvention.com Fortune-Telling Laws http://www.fortunetellinglaws.com The Original Lenormand Deck http://www.originallenormand.com Learning Lenormand http://www.learninglenormand.com
Kindle Tarot Books & Series Check out all our other books and series for original and exciting ways in which you can use a deck of tarot cards to change your life.
Gated Spreads Series Set 1 Book 1: The Tarot Shaman (Contact Your Animal Spirit) Book 2: Gates of Valentine (Love & Relationships) Book 3: The Resurrection Engine (Change Your Life) Set 2 Book 4: Palace of the Phoenix (Alchemy) Book 5: Garden of Creation (Creativity & Inspiration) Book 6: Ghost Train (Explore Your Past) Set 3 Coming Soon – Enter the Temple of the Gods.
Tarosophy KickStart Series Volume I. Book I: Tarot Flip - Reading Tarot Straight from the Box Book II: Tarot Twist – 78 New Spreads and Methods [paperback] Book III: Tarot Inspire – Tarot for a Spiritual Life
Tarot Life Series Tarot Life: A revolutionary method to change your life in 12 Kindle pamphlets.
1. Discover Your Destiny 2. Remove The Blocks 3. Make Decisions Better 4. Enter the Flow 5. Ride the Lion 6. Connect to Service 7. Find Equality 8. Die To Your Self 9. Entering Unity 10. Becoming the Real 11. Your Keys to Freedom 12. The Depth of Divinity
Also in Print and Kindle Tarosophy: A ground-breaking book packed with original ideas.
Around the Tarot in 78 Days: The ideal beginner book, a three-month course through every card. An award-winning book, recognized by the COVR New Age Industry Award for Best Divination Book 2013.
Tarot Face to Face: Take your tarot out of the box and into life!
The Secrets of the Waite-Smith Tarot: Learn the real meanings of the world’s most popular tarot deck. [available Spring 2014]
Tarot Turn Vol. 1 - 3: A massive crowd-sourced reference guide to all 12,200 possible combinations of reversed Tarot card pairs.