August 21, 2020
Today, I was re-watching video 6 of the Holistic Tarot Companion Course by Benebell Wen. Towards the end of the video, there is a guided reading using the Oswald Wirth cross. This was the first reading I did with my new Radiant Rider-Waite deck. I did the spread using Minor and Major Arcana cards. Benebell mentions at the end of the guided reading that “the old school way” of doing this spread would have been using only the 22 cards of the Major Arcana.
I later searched for more information, and found out there is also a special way how to select the cards. In The Tarot of the Magicians p. 185 ff. (first published in Paris 1927, English translation 1985) Oswald Wirth himself gives the following instructions:
“When the fixed question is agreed upon with the diviner he then shuffles the cards composed only of the 22 arcanas, and invites the consultant to tell him the first number which comes into his head equal to or below the number 22. The number called intuitively by the consultant is used for cutting the pack, showing the number of cards which are to be taken out of the shuffled pack. The last one is put back: this is the affirmative arcana. The number which it bears in the order of the Tarot is noted; then all the cards are put back and shuffled a second time. The consultant then says another number, which is indicative, by the same procedure, of the negative arcana whose number in turn is written down. Then the reassembled pack is shuffled for a third time, the consultant states a third number which reveals the reply of the oracle. Finally a fourth and last turn is made determining the statement. The numbers of the drawn cards (which must not be confused with the numbers which occurred to the consultant) are added up. If the total equals, or is below 22 the synthesis is the Fool or the arcana to which the sum total corresponds in the numerical order of the Tarot. If the total is more than 22 then its two numbers added together indicate the synthesizing arcana (23=2+3=5) (57=5+7=12 etc). The four cards drawn and their synthesis make up the silent reply of the Tarot. When set out before the consultant, it takes the form of a cross.”
I also interviewed the deck today. I asked three questions: 1. What is your persona, what do I need to know about you? 2. What is your point of view? 3. Through which window may I best connect to your heart and soul? These are some questions Benebell suggests in one of her videos in the Holistic Tarot Companion Course.
It turns out this particular deck has a Mars persona (The Tower card). Oh, dear! ❤️ If I’m honest, I am rather positively amused than surprised. Lately, I have been contemplating much about Mars and significations related. Mars plays a key role in my birth chart, so why should I not get a tarot deck with matching energies?
In the context of my question, I felt the Tower card means brutal honesty and even shocking clarity in painting the truth before one’s eyes. The Tower is associated with destruction and sudden changes, as well as with the Ego and hubris. This could mean ripping off a false perception of oneself and one’s current situation/direction.
The deck’s point of view is symbolized by the Six of Wands card. This card means victory, success, and tribute. Together with the Tower card, I think this could mean that once one has been confronted with the shocking truth the deck is also guiding you forward on your path towards a better direction where you will succeed. Both cards, the Tower and the Six of Wands card, are associated with the fire element, which stands for the spiritual aspect of life. I feel this means the deck’s primary intention is to guide one towards a fulfilling life in awareness of Spirit.
How do I best connect to my new Radiant Rider-Waite deck? The Ten of Cups is the hint provided by the deck. This card stands for joy, felicity, and family. The rainbow in the card reminds me of the story of Noah and the flood. In Genesis 9:13-15, God speaks to Noah: “I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.”
The Ten of Cups may suggest that I understand the deck as a gift from the Divine bringing hope. Although, with a fiery persona that wants to burn away what isn’t any longer for one’s good, its heart carries hope for a better future. The suit of cups is associated with the water element, which is related to intuition. Training and giving more space to intuition is my main goal with all this study. Maybe the Ten of Cups also indicates that the deck and me will be a good team. I think it also reminds me to trust that good is coming out of this.
Have you ever interviewed a tarot deck? What did it reveal to you? Any surprises?