Friday, October 16, 2015

Review: Angel Tarot (Stuart R. Kaplan)

Angel Tarot: Stuart R.Kaplan
Images are clearer when opened in a new window.

A Unique Deck, the Angel Tarot Has No Angels!

By Jude

I am especially drawn to more modern decks with a Marseilles feel. The Angel Tarot hasn't been in my possession very long, but quickly it has become a favorite. It is an interesting specimen, partly due to its name. The name suggests that it should be chock full of images of winged creatures in gauzy robes, heads enveloped in nimbi; but that's not what it's about. In a sense, the deck's title is a misnomer, as it was simply given the name of the company that first published it--Japan's Angel Manufacturing Company. Oddly enough, this now out of print deck is not attributed to an author.

#AmazonADlink: Cbd Marseilles Tarot, by Yoav Ben-Dov (author's reproduction of Conver's ancient deck)

This deck has non scenic minors, but with the addition of a remarkably unique feature. Within each minor arcana image, you will find symbols of the corresponding playing card suit - clubs for wands, spades for swords, hearts for cups, and diamonds for pentacles. This a nifty bonus for tarot enthusiasts such as myself, who enjoy performing readings with regular playing cards as well as the tarot.

Angel Tarot: Stuart R.Kaplan
The images are amazing, some cards are in ways reminiscent of some of the old woodcut tarots - not strongly, but you can see where they descended from. The colors used are earthy and grounded, certainly not traditional colors for this style of deck. At first it brought to mind the 1JJ Swiss, the connection made between the two was probably just due to a similar overall energy that I feel from each, as the images and titles of the 1JJ are far different than those of this pack. A commonality beyond their energies though, is that both decks have a playing card feel to images of the lower arcana. I know I'll get flack from some for mentioning the 1JJ and this pack in the same sentence... I see it like this - yes, wine is good n'all, but sometimes you need a glass of beer, good old Kool-Aid, or even plain water. And, that one may develop a strong taste for wine, doesn't mean that Kool-Aid isn't as or more satisfying to some.

But anyway...the cardstock has a very nice feel; kind of silky. I haven't used mine much yet, but some edges show chips. This may suggest that the deck will break down fast with regular use, but maybe not either; I find that cards with deeper colored backs pretty much always show edge chips, whether they wear well or not.

Angel Tarot: Stuart R.Kaplan

The backs look much like those of the RWS, but with a heavy saturation of butterscotch coloring as the background. There was a later printing of the Angel Tarot with different backs - much fancier. That one had a deep golden background with a black and red fleur de lys design over it.

Below I am adding in a photo of the other printing; an eBay seller let me have it from a completed listing. You can see the difference in backs; I haven't seen the fronts of the other printing in person, therefore do not know whether the coloration of the images is the same in both decks. But judging from the printing I have and the eBay image, their appearance is at least remarkably close.

Angel Tarot: Stuart R.Kaplan
This deck, my friends, is a keeper, at least in my eyes; decks in my collection come and go, but I can guarantee I'll have this one until such a day as my eyes close for the last time. I found it when I first began reading with playing cards; it irritated me that there weren't enough courts to work with, I wanted something to bridge the gap, you know I wanted to read with playing cards, but with both the Page and the Knight present. Well, though this deck bridges the gap, it brought me right back to reading with tarot rather than playing cards ::::::laughs::::::; I still love it.

On a final note, I wish to point out that historically speaking, the colors used in the making of this deck would doubtlessly have many traditionalists up in arms (admittedly I'm no expert on the topic, but common sense would dictate). However, my beliefs embrace whichever traits belong to any deck that resonates with me; that means whatever colors it has are just fine.

Dated: 1980; U.S. Games has held the copyright to it since this time as well.
Distributed by: U.S. Games.
Copyright holder: U.S. Games.
Printed by: Angel Manufacturing Co., Japan.
Author: No author credited.
Titling: Atypical for Marseilles type decks, more typical of modern (RWS style) tarots.
Backs: Reversible.
Instructions: Basic LWB.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Of Kings and Constellations: Exploring Papus’ System of Celestial Courts


A Look at the Tarot Court Cards Through the Eyes of Papus, Thierens

by Race MoChridhe

Most experienced tarotists are familiar with at least one system of correspondences between the major arcana and the constellations, often on the model of Oswald Wirth or the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Less common is a tarotist well-acquainted with the system of Papus for relating the constellations of the zodiac to the court cards of the suits. As even quite proficient readers often find the court cards difficult to interpret soundly, Papus’ system deserves much more attention than it typically receives as a means to refining a court reading.

Papus himself viewed his correspondences less as a practical tool in reading and more as a proof of the validity of his account of the origins of the Tarot, which he held to be a fugitive record of the wisdom of the temple priests of ancient Egypt. To demonstrate this, he devoted a whole chapter of his most famous work, Le Tarot des Bohémiens (Fr. resource), to elaborating what he saw as the precise fit between the Tarot and the ancient Egyptian calendar, including its twelve zodiac-aligned months. Where many others started from the cards and then attempted to fit astrological meanings to them, Papus started from an astronomical phenomenon and looked for its pattern in the cards.

He found it in the courts, with the Egyptian division of the year into four seasons in the four suits. In each season, the king corresponded to the first, “active” month, the queen to the second, “passive” month, and the knight to the third, “realizing” month. Astrologers will recognize in this the arrangement of the zodiac into cardinal, fixed, and mutable signs, as well as the system of angular, succedent, and cadent houses. (Philosophers will recognize in it echoes of Hegelian dialectic.) The pages represented the “transition,” reflecting the Egyptian custom of placing an intercalary day (a day unnumbered on the calendar) in between the seasons.

While other systems of rectifying the court cards to the zodiac rely on matching suits to elements or modalities, or in some other way matching qualities held in common according to traditional interpretations, Papus’ fundamentally calendrical approach obliged him to match cards and signs in fixed order. Thus, he uniquely linked the wands to spring, so that the King of Wands corresponds with Aries, the Queen with Taurus, and the Knight with Gemini. Cups were then linked to the summer, equating the King of Cups with Cancer, the Queen with Leo, and the Knight with Virgo. Swords then linked to autumn, equating the King of Swords with Libra, the Queen with Scorpio, and the Knight with Sagittarius. This left the pentacles to link to winter, equating the King of Pentacles with Capricorn, the Queen with Aquarius, and the Knight with Pisces.

The potential uses of this system are manifold, and the reader is certainly directed to Papus’ book to explore his theoretical applications more deeply. A.E. Thierens, in his General Book of the Tarot, built on this set of correspondences in one particularly interesting way that is relatively easy to apply to readings:

"This Spiral of Evolution may be divided into at least three parts, that is, three different beginnings may be seen. There is the Divine Beginning, starting in Aries, the sign of Initiation and highest abstraction, the divine cycle being completed in Pisces, where it is handed over or 'offered' or sacrificed to the world of appearances. The cycle of the spiritual in Man begins in the fifth sign, Leo, the individual cycle being that of the Spark or the Ego, and it runs from this sign of the heart to Cancer, the sign of memories. Subsequently: a cycle of the personal being of the Ego, the cycle of the soul in Man, which we may call the personal cycle, starts from Sagittarius, the sign of thought and manifestation, and ends in Scorpio, the sign of death. (pp. 27-8)"

The reader must be referred to Thierens’ book for the full implications of his view, but in brief it may be said that Papus’ correspondences offer a useful tool for applying these cycles to readings, as it renders each of the court cards suggestive of a particular stage in the development of both the lesser, egoic self and the higher, True Self of the querent. For example, the Knight of Swords, being linked with Sagittarius where the personal cycle begins, could be taken as an indication that the querent is coming into a fuller sense of themselves on the level of ordinary personality, or has need of asserting or finding themselves on that level more fully. 

The Queen of Swords, on the other hand, might suggest that the querent is coming to a point where a transcendence or sublimation of the ego is demanded, since she represents the culmination of that spiral in Scorpio. The querent’s anxiety about such a step could be eased by pointing out that, while this marks a culmination of a personal cycle, it is still an early step within an individual cycle and the development of the higher self is associated with it. Thierens’ work expands this system to many other levels of manifestation, offering further applications depending on the nature of the query. While this could, of course, be applied to any of the more common zodiac-court mappings as well, Papus’ linear one is especially clear for tracing the transformation of the self through its various maturing stages, since these then run in order through the court cards, forming microcosmic parallels for different aspects of the self to the grander story of the Fool’s Journey.

More difficult to apply but profitable for those willing to make the effort, are the insights Papus’ system affords on traditional continental readings of the court cards as representing persons in the querent’s life. For example, traditional readings of the Queen of Wands as representing “a serious woman, a good counsellor, a mother of a family” are not readily intelligible following the most common contemporary associations of this card, but they become much more natural when viewed in light of Papus’ equation between the Queen of Wands and the sign of Taurus—the earthy, stalwart, grounded nature of which is reflected in this old description.

Papus' book has long been regarded as unusually arcane, and new students of the art of Tarot are generally warned by more experienced practitioners to shy away from it, despite the seminal influence it had on figures such as Arthur Edward Waite and Aleister Crowley. In most cases the advice is sound, while Papus’ byzantine paradigms are often too unwieldy for practical readings. More experienced readers, however, will find that he often offers an alternative perspective that, especially when paired with other paradigms, can deliver new and useful insights. As Papus’ astrological correspondences remind us, there are more things in heaven and earth than were defined by the Golden Dawn.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Pink Aventurine Healing and Metaphysical Properties

pink aventurine
Pink aventurine

Pink Aventurine - How It Can Help

The coloring of pink aventurine is supplied by the hematite and/or goethite within it. It assists us in connecting with spirit guides, and it encourages us to operate from a perspective of love for others and for ourselves. It leads us to develop appreciation for the all of who we are and for our bodies, and it connects us to the divinity inside of us. This stone will help you to determine your higher purpose, this by creating a perceivable contrast of energies between life options that are merely open to you and those that will serve you best.

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The Inner Child, Truth of Feelings

Pink aventurine is a heart chakra stone, but as well, it is the result of combining red with white, so it is also relative to the crown and root chakra centers. It draws out the qualities of tenderness, love and nurture, kindness, compassion, romance, friendship, youthfulness, the inner child, peacefulness, femininity, inner strength, and emotional balance. Additionally it helps us to identify our true feelings. Too much exposure to pink, however, leads one to be overly passive.

Disclaimer: You should consult your health and/or mental health professional before using any alternative healing methods. This article does not suggest otherwise.

Emotional Health and Meditation

In emotional health, pink aventurine can be of benefit to those suffering with grief and those experiencing the blues. Pink stones are popular among those who have trouble drawing love into their life, as they help to balance emotions in order to draw love. Pink is also a popular stone color choice among those with addictions, this as through balancing emotions within, the void that leaves us open to engaging in addictive behaviors can be healed over. Pink aventurine in meditation is beneficial to healing imbalances and blockages within the subtle body.

In Physical Health

In physical health and healing, pink aventurine targets the circulatory system, overall blood health, and the immune system; as well it  is said to slow down the effects of aging. It is good to have around during childbirth, as its loving energies will help welcome a child into this world in the best possible way.

Related Articles:
Blue Aventurine
Brown Aventurine
Green Aventurine
Orange Aventurine
Peach Aventurine
Pink Aventurine
Purple Aventurine
Red Aventurine
White Aventurine
Yellow Aventurine

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