There has been several quantum leaps in my ability of working with the Tarot. I have talked about some of them on this blog (such as hand coloring a Tarot deck); others I have not (such as initiation rituals involving specific Tarot cards).
One of the skill leaps I have not talked about yet (at least, I do not think that I have written about it yet on this blog) is the study of a card using examples from multiple decks.
About eighteen years ago, I took a Tarot class at Herbs and Arts (a Denver occult shop); the class was taught by Timothy (I have no clue what his last name is).
Part of the instructions for the Tarot class was to bring our favorite Tarot deck. Out of eight students, there were no duplicate decks. As we moved from card to card, Timothy would have us pull that card out of our decks, placing them in the center of the study circle where everyone could see them.
At some point during the class, I came to the realization that most differences in opinion about the possible meanings of a Tarot card were based on the differences between the pictures used to illustrate the cards and the parts that readers chose to focus on. (Years later, another teacher, Pat Zalewski, would point out that the pictures used in the Tarot were the most important part--otherwise we could get away with using a deck with just the astrological and kabbalist correspondences on them.)
As a result of the insights I gained during the class, I used the same teaching method ("put all the different versions on the table and study them as a set") when I took on students on my own.
I also developed the habit of not neccessarily seeing the card from the deck that I am using. Occasionally when reading the Tarot, in my mind's eye, I will see a version of the card from a different deck. It makes for an interesting time as a Tarot reader.
|A small bunch of magician cards--just a small sample of my Tarot collection.|
But there is a version that is slightly different (the censored one), where the magician is working on an erotic monster. (The monster has private parts...something that I decided to conceal...because polite people never talk about sex.) And it is from this version (and not the three versions from the Crowley deck) that I am reminded that magicians are sometimes guilty of creating their own sexual nightmares (haven't we all had that sexual partner that turned into a stalker?!) and warped realities.
Is that last possible reading true for the archetype of the magician? I will leave it to your judgment on whether or not, it fits in with the other possible meanings of the magician card. All I know is that if I am reading the Tarot and that version of the card appears in my mind's eye, I am leaning towards a nightmarish reading of the card.
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