The Tarot deck that I used to experience the Major Arcana was “The Tarot of the Animal Lords,” (Pietro Alligo and Angelo Gianni). I chose this deck because it features animals which allows me more in-depth readings. Also, the deck uses Rider-Waite motifs, which is helpful to me in learning the Tarot.
experience each card, I started by thinking about why each animal was featured.
Then, I thought about what the animals were doing. As I viewed each card, I observed
the landscape, season, and time of day. If there was any predominant color, I wrote
that down, as well. Whenever I felt a feeling such as being pricked with thorns
or freezing cold, I noted that too.
I learned by observing and then experiencing the cards, is that often the minor
details will merge into a whole. The various details caused me to ponder why
they are there and what their meanings are. As I reflected on each, I would receive
feelings that settled inside me. By experiencing the cards instead of just
viewing them, I intuitively came to know what each meant.
cards as I perceived them.
0. The Fool.
This card highlights a young European badger walking through a dark, snowy
forest on a winter’s day. Along with his hobo stick, he carries a puffin,
whilst a magpie sits in a tree branch watching. After laughing about how absurd
carrying a puffin around is, I then felt the cold and darkness. I became aware of
an adventure that was tempered with foreboding. The dynamics of the Fool for me
was represented by the magpie, who was wryly amused by the pair.
I. The Magician.
This card features a red fox playing “find the bean under the cup,” with an
audience of a field mouse and a scarlet tanager. Standing in a briar thicket,
he uses a giant toadstool as his table. Although I feel pricked by the briar thorns,
I cannot stop myself, since I want to play the game, too. The fox is an
illusionist and if I am not careful, I will be caught in his invention. Meanwhile,
the toadstool and the autumnal colors speak of alchemy, with the fox being the
master Magician. When I entered the briar patch, I stepped in a world of
mystery, beyond my senses.
II. The High Priestess. In
a glen of cedar trees, a cow elephant sits regally on a tree stump with an open
book, whilst sunlight bathes her head. At her feet are two striped squirrels
sitting in the yellow asters. These squirrels are taking her bits of knowledge
and “squirreling” them away. I feel that this High Priestess will keep the
mysteries, only telling them to those who will secret them away. (Matriarch
elephants hold the wisdom of their herd.) Meanwhile the curves between the
trees and those of her tusks remind me of the moon, where the secrets are often
kept. The bright sunlight tells me that if I develop the inner sight then I can
see the mysteries, which are hidden in plain sight.
III. The Empress. Sitting
on a turtle throne, a she-wolf gazes off in the distance, lost in thought.
Surrounding her are her playful pups, who are chasing the butterflies. While
the Empress sits in a field alive with flowers, a toucan sits behind her
watching the pups. Although all life is exploding around her, the Empress seems
remote and untouchable. Even though I feel safe being watched by the toucan, I
wonder about the Empress. Is she serene or merely removed? Meanwhile, the
profusion of butterflies and mallow flowers at her feet give a hint of her
IV. The Emperor.
Dressed in casual clothes, the Emperor wears a crown and rests his hands on a
sword, as a falcon perches on the hilt. Adding to this casual feeling is his
throne which is a tree stump. Ruling the African veldt, the Emperor, who is a
lion, stares directly at me with a look of authority. With his sense of easy power,
the Emperor cares not what he wears or sits on, for he is in control. Meanwhile,
the bright sun highlights his potent aura.
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