Friday, June 29, 2007

ACE OF CUPS, STRENGTH & KNIGHT OF COINS REDUX in a Review of The Masonic Symbolic Tarot

I've had the Masonic Symbolic Tarot for probably 20 years and this might be only the third time I've sat with it for any length of time. But I wanted to share cards from a deck in my collection I'd not yet shared from and this deck fits that bill. I first went through all the cards and pulled those that immediately grabbed my attention. As the pips (the Ace through Ten of the Wands, Cups, Swords and Coins [Pentacles]) are non-illustrated I found them unintriguing. Except, and in a big way, the Ace of Cups:

Phew! What an intense and, at least to me, wee bit scary Ace of Cups. By the way, I actually like the snakes (snake?), it's that almost demonic hand that disturbs me. (It also resonates with a very recent dream of mine. Here's the dreamku I wrote on it: dispersed by power/radiating from my palms/demonic twister. Hm...) In a way, my response feels like the sort of fear felt at the beginning of a brand new journey we intuit will be an extremely important one. That comment might explain why I was drawn to this card, as I'm starting on a new path that will make some tremendous changes in my life if I continue along it. The intriguing thing about this deck's cups suit: both the Two of Cups and Three of Cups also have these odd hands on them, with the rest of the suit just plain suit symbols. None of the other three minor suits have anything comparable, i.e. all of the Ace through Ten of wands, swords and coins are basically plain suit symbols. I'm tempted to suggest its because the suit of cups represents intuition and it is via intuition that we grasp the deepest, highest, and most awesome awareness.

Here's the Ace of Cups in the Rider/Waite/Smith deck for comparison:

[To read my previous post on The Ace of Cups, click here.}

The deck is based on Freemasonry so that Masonic symbolism abounds in all of the cards, but especially the Majors. The Major Arcana are much more interesting than the Minors. Some being rather striking and powerful. For instance, here's The Strength card, followed by the Rider/Waite/Smith version for comparison (Click here for my previous post on Strength):

The Court cards are rather unexceptional, like the pips. Here's the Knight of Coins (Pentacles), followed by the Rider/Waite/Smith version for comparison (Click here for my previous post on the Knight of Pentacles):

BTW, as I drafted this post I realized the three cards I chose to use here can act as a three card reading: Ace of Cups = past; Strength = present; and Knight of Pentacles = future. I know what I got from this as a reading, what do you think? I'd be delighted to hear.

The accompanying booklet is not a typical Little White Book ("LWB"), as it has illustrations for the Majors, does attempt to teach a bit about Freemasony, and is somewhat larger than the ordinary LWB. But, it has very little information on the Minors and Courts, and then only in a general way. I.e., they are only addressed as categories (e.g. what water and cups are about in general but no specific information on each cup card itself). The deck is colorful with some gilding on the cards, is a good size (tall and slim), and of good card stock.

The upshot is I personally do not relate well to this deck, though as its structure is that of a traditional Tarot deck I could read with it. However, I can most definitely imagine it being "just the ticket" for a Free Mason, or someone versed in Freemasonry symbolism or interested in learning about it. It's art might also simply resonate better for others than it has for me.

I could not locate publication information for the deck in the LWB or on googling other than that it was published by Grimaud in 1987. The cover of the LWB says it is by Jean Beauchard, translated by Leon Shoolingin.

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Resource: The Masonic Symbolic Tarot on

‘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).****

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

THREE OF WANDS REDUX with a Reading, & Mini-Review of The Comparative Tarot

For today's post I decided to pull one card on a question for myself. As I've been going through some (even more than usually) intense changes I asked: What do I most need to hear at this moment in my life? Using the Comparative Tarot I got the Three of Wands:

Here's the Three of Wands in the Rider/Waite/Smith deck for comparison:

My immediate feeling on seeing the Three of Wands was relief, followed by the thought that I'm doing what I need to with my renewed focus on future plans for big changes (e.g., moving out of state). But since this deck has the Three of Wands from four different decks (upper left: Universal Tarot; upper right: The Tarot of the Sphinx; lower left: The Tarot of the Origins; and lower right: The Tarot of Marseilles) I really felt pulled to look at the Little White Book (LWB) for what it says about each.

The LWB lists a "core meaning," then meanings for each of the four versions for each card. The Three of Wands' core meaning was very supportive: "vision; achievement." While "preparation; accumulation of reserves" for the Marseilles version also resonated for me. The Universal's words of "discovery; exploration" fit the issue I asked about, as well. The meanings offered for the Sphinx version, however, held the least interest for me being more about the more business aspects of this card, though certainly things like moving an entire household will eventually involve considerable business dealings. And lastly, the Origins version meanings were quite dense for me, but the words "another reality" began to resonate once I'd looked a bit more at that version on the card. I saw a dreamer (myself, of course :-D) with her roots solidly in the richness of the dream world, in her way of seeing, this way that works for her, is natural to her. So, overall, this was a very encouraging and supportive little reading. (To see my previous post on the Three of Wands, click here.)

Mini-Review of The Comparative Tarot: I have always liked the idea of cards from four different decks being shared on one card. In the past, though, I found having to seek the various meanings for each of the four different versions for each card to be distracting (I'm only familiar with the Universal deck). Obviously, though, this time it did work for me and quite well, so I'm going to use it more often. I imagine this deck might work very well for someone wanting to explore Tarot meanings separate from readings; i.e. as a more in-depth learning tool. My only real frustration with this deck is the small size of the cards. Even one deck's card at this size can -- in some decks -- make seeing details difficult. But with four versions on a card this size, my aging eyes have quite a time catching the details. (My scanned-in version is a bit less clear than the actual card, by the way.) I hasten to add that others may not find this disturbing or problematic. Overall, this is an intriguing and challenging deck to read with, and probably a very good learning tool for experienced readers who want to deepen their knowledge of the cards.

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‘til next time, "Don't stop thinkin' about tomorrow..." and 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).****

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