THE CAULDRON (XXII): A New Tarot Major by Patricia Kelly, With A Sample Reading
The idea for XXII came to me initially many years ago, after designing a one-day introductory Tarot workshop. I subsequently was told by a Tarot buddy that it can happen when studying an esoteric subject for some time that one begins to feel something might be missing. For me there seemed to be not so much something missing, as a lot of room for another card between XXI and O, if one views the Majors in a clockwise circle, starting with O. I'd also been hearing a lot about quantum field theory at the time and struggling to understand it even a little bit. So, all of this combined -- along with who knows what else -- and The Cauldron precipitated after designing that Tarot workshop.
In my ideas for The Cauldron design I've always seen an actual cauldron. (By the way, my use of the word "cauldron" is largely poetic, as opposed to alchemical in meaning as in XIV of The Thoth and The Arthurian Tarots. E.g., I often feel when gazing at the night sky that I'm peering into the cauldron of creation.) In The Taiga Tarot version below -- done in March 2007 -- you are looking down into the cauldron and seeing the wavy web or net or field that I always envision filling it. The Cauldron is that out of which everything arises, and that to which it all returns, to rise again in new forms. The wavy lines are meant to represent what underlies and connects, and is the source and goal of all creation. There's more on XXII and the meanings I've found for it after the Taiga Tarot design here:
I think of XXII as referencing what is beyond light/dark, pleasure/pain, etc., being just a process. Where dualities arise is in manifestation, and in our attempts to look at or understand or effect that process. In a way, I see The Cauldron as outside the circle of the 22 Majors, outside of time and manifestation, or rather, as my attempt to represent that which I intuit to be beyond and outside.
In readings, The Cauldron can say that the situation is very amenable right now to influence on the subtle planes -- via magic, ritual, affirmations, prayer, etc. It can also indicate that a situation can go either way, or that it's not clear yet whether it will even manifest or not. XXII can very gently whisper "patience, patience, patience," things will be clearer in time. Negatively aspected -- though I've found it rarely shows in a negative light -- it can be saying things are hanging by a thread, balanced on a razor's edge, ready to boil over, about to implode, etc. I'd say the over-riding sense I have of this card is that as unclear and uncertain as things may seem, we still can have input. But subtly and with an ear to what is being asked of us and what is trying to come through us. I.e., not just what we want, but how we fit into the much larger picture. It tends to be an encouraging card. The clay has not been shaped, the cloth not yet spun. If we quiet ourselves and act in subtle and responsive ways, a shy and delicate strand of manifestation may come to us.
The Taiga Tarot version is the only one I have done so far of this card. I will someday draw a more literal cauldron, without words (they are only for the Taiga Tarot), that I can print in appropriate size, laminate, and keep in each working deck I have. Presently, I have been making do, adding XXII to every working deck by using an end card (as comes with most decks) with the name and number printed on it in black marker. Here’s one XXII on an end card that I trimmed-to-size from the Tarot of a Moon Garden and keep in the deck I use most frequently, The Tarot of the Cat People:
Although I did not choose this end card for its art, but used it only because it was available when I needed one to make a Cauldron card, over time I've found the lush forest evokes the Cauldron for me as does the circle in the top half. :-)
As to how The Cauldron shows up in readings I do for myself? Today I asked of The Tarot of the Cat People: "What is this vague, sort of sick physical feeling I’ve had since yesterday about?" I got The Cauldron -- which is what prompted this post -- and immediately thought: "I’m betwixt and between in just about every area of my life right now. Things have 'died,' other things are preparing to 'gestate.' It would be very odd if I did not feel vaguely unsettled and queasy. It’s time to do some magic or light trance work to help smooth all these transitions impacting on me every which way, from every direction."
If you should try working with this new Major I’d so love to hear what your experience of it is.
'til next time, keep enjoying The Tarot,
[aka: Patricia Kelly]
****If you wish to copy or use any of my writing, please email me for permission (under “View my complete profile”)**** SEE ALSO: Roswila’s Dream & Poetry Realm for Tarot poetry and Roswila’s Taiga Tarot for taiga (illustrated tanka).****