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EPIPHANY! A New Take on the Major Arcana

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dangerdork  dangerdork is offline
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Seven Stations


Awww man...

I really enjoy designing spreads and have even posted a few here - but this one would definitely be my Magnum Opus. Too bad it can't bear my moniker.

My immediate thought was the "Three Paths" spread; but after some consideration I started leaning toward The "Seven Stations" instead. I've learned from a prominent tarot authority that these three groups have been described before, in fact as early as Papus, but she also strongly encouraged me to continue pursuing my own line of thinking and to tap it out before "coloring my thinking" by reading those other authors' thoughts.

So, in looking at my perspective, it seems that arranging the Trumps (minus the Fool) into a 7x3 grid is a fairly obvious way to begin, and categorizing these three rows as themes or spheres can become obvious upon contemplation of the groups of cards as they have fallen.

But perhaps I may still be able to offer a unique contribution with my labeling of the columns as the "Stations" of: Your Origin, Your Inspiration, Your Power, The Turning Point, Your Transformation, Your Epiphany, Your Goal.

Now, "Seven Stations" sounded vaguely familiar, (stations of the cross or something?) so I Googled that. There were 14 Stations of the Cross in Christianity - cross that off (lol no pun intended). Seven Stations has some significance with the Moon in Chinese and Japanese astrology - I'll look into that later I suppose. But, what's this? Buddha, in the seven weeks after his Enlightenment, taught of the Seven Stations of Consciousness. Sounds promising. I tracked down a text called: Mahanidana Sutta (The Great Causes Discourse) Digha Nikáya 15.

Here's an excerpt, annotated with my seven stations to see what happens:

"There are beings with diversity of body and diversity of perception, such as human beings, some devas, and some beings in the lower realms. This is the first station of consciousness. (YOUR ORIGIN)

"There are beings with diversity of body and singularity of perception, such as the devas of the Brahma hosts generated by the first [jhana]. This is the second station of consciousness. (YOUR INSPIRATION)

"There are beings with singularity of body and diversity of perception, such as the Radiant Devas. This is the third station of consciousness. (YOUR POWER)

"There are beings with singularity of body and singularity of perception, such as the Beautifully Lustrous Devas. This is the fourth station of consciousness. (THE TURNING POINT)

"There are beings who, with the complete transcending of perceptions of [physical] form, with the disappearance of perceptions of resistance, and not heeding perceptions of diversity, thinking, 'Infinite space,' arrive at the sphere of the infinitude of space. This is the fifth station of consciousness. (YOUR TRANSFORMATION)

"There are beings who, with the complete transcending of the sphere of the infinitude of space, thinking, 'Infinite consciousness,' arrive at the sphere of the infinitude of consciousness. This is the sixth station of consciousness. (YOUR EPIPHANY)

"There are beings who, with the complete transcending of the sphere of the infinitude of consciousness, thinking, 'There is nothing,' arrive at the sphere of nothingness. This is the seventh station of consciousness. (YOUR GOAL)"

***

Cool! This seems to be working out, especially the last four. I guess I need to do further reading on this "singularity" and "diversity" of body and perception to get a firmer grasp on the first four.

Tarot as an excuse to study Buddhism, gotta love it. (ETA: I see that Robert Place has Been There, Done That. Added to my reading list )

To be continued...
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dangerdork  dangerdork is offline
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Seven Stations and the Minors


OK, while playing with the whole "Seven Stations" thing, I happened to think of the Minors. Ten pips plus four courts equals fourteen cards per suit, which is divisible by....

SO, just for fun, what would happen if we laid the minors out in a similar fashion?


02 - 04 - 06 - 08 - 10 - KT - KG
01 - 03 - 05 - 07 - 09 - PG - QN


So we now have seven pairs of cards. Now, let's rotate it so we can label with the "Seven Stations:"

Your Origin: 01 / 02
Your Inspiration: 03 / 04
Your Power: 05 / 06
The Turning Point: 07 / 08
Your Transformation: 09 / 10
Your Epiphany: PG / KT
Your Goal: QN / KG


Well, right off the bat we can see that OF COURSE the 01 / 02 pair is going to work for "Origins" and it seems reasonable that King / Queen would be "Goal." Page / Knight as "Epiphany?" Well... as the first two of the Courts, in the progression wouldn' they be the ones with the fresh new perspective from the lessons of the pips? Not too great a leap. But what about the others? and does each half of the pair represent something? Masculine / Feminine? Material / Spiritual? Positive / Negative?

Why don't we plug in a suit or two and find out? I'm trying to keep an open mind here and not "force" anything. I don't want to impose my pattern on the cards and apply twisted logic or build arguments for too many bizarre correspondences - but let's just give it a whirl:


Wands:

Your Origin: 01 / 02 Spark of Passion, First Step of Endeavor
Your Inspiration: 03 / 04 Signs of Progress, Ceremony
Your Power: 05 / 06 Competitiveness, Victory
The Turning Point: 07 / 08 Defense against Adversity, Rapid Development
Your Transformation: 09 / 10 Angst of Persistence, Burden of Success
Your Epiphany: PG / KT
Your Goal: QN / KG

The Courts are left as an exercise for the student.

They seem to fit -- while not necessarily compelling, they don't refute the idea either.



Let's try Pentacles:

Your Origin: 01 / 02 Root of security / Balancing resources
Your Inspiration: 03 / 04 Diligent Professionalism / Conserving Resources
Your Power: 05 / 06 Poverty / Generosity
The Turning Point: 07 / 08 Contemplative Hiatus / Learning New Skills
Your Transformation: 09 / 10 Independence & Confidence / Material Success.
Your Epiphany: PG / KT
Your Goal: QN / KG

This seems to have some interesting correspondences - but what's this under Your Power? Poverty/Generosity make a nice little Yin/Yang, but how is that Your Power? Understanding of the polarity? Hmmmm. Need to think this over. Still, the Seven Stations method hasn't completely broken down either. Shall we continue?


Cups:

Your Origin: 01 / 02 Love, love, love, love.
Your Inspiration: 03 / 04 Celebration & Socialization / Boredom & Disillusionment
Your Power: 05 / 06 Regret / Reminiscence
The Turning Point: 07 / 08 Daydreams & Visions / New Horizons
Your Transformation: 09 / 10 A Wish Granted / Lasting Love & Friendships
Your Epiphany: PG / KT
Your Goal: QN / KG

This is again a little tricky, but I don't know if we're reaching too far yet. Your Inspiration and Your Power both contain at least somewhat "negative" cards (4 and 5), but with the pairings they have each become part of a yin/yang again. If you substitute "Motivating Factors" for "Inspiration," that one hangs pretty well for me. And the "Your Power" pair? Aren't they two different and complementary ways of contemplating the past? As a "Cups Person's" Power, what could that signify? Their ability to judge their experiences not by what was gained or who "won," but by the feelings they took away from the experience? Works for me. Again, the Seven Stations didn't necessarily hit this one out of the ball park, but it did provide some food for thought.


OK, and for the sake of completeness:

Swords:

Your Origin: 01 / 02 New Idea / Dilemma
Your Inspiration: 03 / 04 Heartbreak / Rest
Your Power: 05 / 06 Aggression / Seeking Refuge
The Turning Point: 07 / 08 Trickery / Paralysis
Your Transformation: 09 / 10 Despair / Finality
Your Epiphany: PG / KT
Your Goal: QN / KG

Well, this isn't a very cheerful Path, is it? But then again, life is full of ups and downs and obstacles, and that's what the Swords suit is about. I do see a lot of polarities in the pairs of cards, and the progression of the stations seems to add some interpretive structure...

* * *


And as I write this, I see what I should have been doing all along. I should be looking in terms of Paths, not stations! Bear with me.


01 - 03 - 05 - 07 - 09 - PG - QN
02 - 04 - 06 - 08 - 10 - KT - KG

Stations: Origin, Inspiration, Power, Turning Point, Transformation.

Wands:
Path 1: Spark of Passion, Signs of Progress, Competitiveness, Defense against Adversity, Angst of Persistence,
Path 2: First Step of Endeavor, Ceremony, Victory, Rapid Development, Burden of Success


Pents:
Path 1: Root of security, Diligent Professionalism, Poverty, Contemplative Hiatus, Independence & Confidence
Path 2: Balancing resources, Conserving Resources, Generosity, Learning New Skills, Material Success.


Cups:
Path 1: Love love, Celebration & Socialization, Regret, Daydreams & Visions, A Wish Granted
Path 2: Love love, Boredom & Disillusionment, Reminiscence, New Horizons, Lasting Love & Friendships


Swords:
Path 1: New Idea, Heartbreak, Aggression, Trickery, Despair
Path 2: Dilemma, Rest, Seeking Refuge, Paralysis, Finality


NOW we're cookin' with gas!

The ODD numbers reflected in each Suit's first Path are the masculine, "Active" energies, whereas Path 2 (the even numbers) are the feminine or "Passive" energies. I remember that much numerology. In fact, I DO think I've seen this kind of analysis done somewhere before. But add in the Stations and it may provide some extra nuance to each step of the Dual Paths for each Suit.

And as a side note, I don't remember ever really seeing a discussion of the pip progression of each suit being the "Court's Journey," just as the Majors have been described as the "Fool's Journey." Instead of being FORCED to be Signified as a Queen of Swords or a Knight of Pentacles by our birthdate or hair color or adding up some numbers derived from our name, shouldn't our character as it arises from Nature and Nurture (Our innate qualities modified by our environment?) That's why I love using the Meyers-Briggs system to identify our Court cards.

But my point is this: Maybe each of the Paths as shown above is the JOURNEY undertaken which caused someone to BECOME the Princess of Cups or the Knight of Wands, who will then mature into Kings and Queens.

Whew. Although we can expand a great deal upon many of the ideas covered in this rough outline, I think I've certainly covered a lot of territory today. Maybe there IS a book in this.

TTFN,

dangerdork
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dangerdork  dangerdork is offline
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Bueller? Bueller?


It looks like a lot of people are reading this. Any comments? Should I keep going?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dangerdork
It looks like a lot of people are reading this. Any comments? Should I keep going?
Most definitely!

Rodney
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Seafra  Seafra is offline
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a crowned path


Quote:
Originally Posted by dangerdork
But my point is this: Maybe each of the Paths as shown above is the JOURNEY undertaken which caused someone to BECOME the Princess of Cups or the Knight of Wands, who will then mature into Kings and Queens.
A few of us touched on that here: http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.php?t=84412

It is far from polished as that wasn't really the goal of the thread. Personally, haven't had time to decently digest what you've got here but am enjoying watching your process! - Sea
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If you stop now you shall face my wrath!!

*peeking under bed looking for Wrath ... know it's here someplace*
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dangerdork  dangerdork is offline
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I guess your Wrath is trembling at the terrible visage of DANGERDORK, Skydancer, to survive and rage another day. I was just fishing for some encouragement, and I'll take that as a big "yes" vote

Thanks so much for pointing me at that thread, Seafra.

Interesting in its own right, but the idea was brought up, I think someone attributed it to Crowley, that the Pages go between the Ace and the Two of each suit. Now, for my purposes, I'm going to do something a little different, but I never would have had the idea of changing the order I had stipulated without this.

So I'm seeing two parallel or complementary paths with the odd and even numbers in each suit as a progression ending in the two pairs of Page - Knight and King - Queen. Since I had brought up Active - Passive and Masculine - Feminine as possible labels, for sake of clarity lets use Princess / Prince / Queen / King. And it could be argued that using the historical context the Knight/Page pairing is still very much a Mentor / Protegé, Master / Servant, Teacher / Student relationship. Active and Passive. OK.

On another note, It seemed that the Kings and Knights kept inconveniently falling in the "even" or Feminine / Passive of the two Paths for minors as I had originally laid out. But you know what? On this one, I AM going to cheat. The Court cards DON'T have numbers ascribed to them, so I am going to declare myself free of placing them in numeric position, but rather place them in gender or "role" position: Kings and Knights on the "Active" path, Queens and Pages on the "Passive."

And now, the insight gained from Seafra's thread:

Remember in the Majors, the "Your Origin" Column was the Magician, High Priestess, and Empress, and I described them as nascent personae? "Baby Magician" etc? Well, what is a Knight of Swords but a Baby King of Swords? Let's move the Page / Knight pair to the beginning of the row. So for each suit, the layout with the above changes would look like this:

KT - A - 3 - 5 - 7 - 9 - KG
PG - 2 - 4 - 6 - 8 - 10 - QN

This now fits perfectly with the description I gave that:

Quote:
at the beginning of your path you are a Baby Magician, a Baby High Priestess, a Baby Empress, who must progress through the five stations between you and your ultimate destiny, and that destiny loops around to swallow its tail.
Now we've got a schema that reflects this perfectly in the minors! The little plot progressions for each Path as outlined in the earlier posts remain intact, but now have been shifted over a column to the right, bookended by the people cards at the beginning and end of the cycle. This reflects the symmetries we've described earlier with this schema, in a very satisfying manner. The "Turning Point," for instance, is now right in the middle. And let's look at just one suit and see if the Stations make sense in this new arrangement.

Cups, Path One:

KNIGHT, Love (ideal), Celebration / Socialization, Regret, Daydreams and Visions, A Wish Granted, KING

Your Origin: KNIGHT CUPS
Your Inspiration: (AC) Love (ideal)
Your Power: (3C) Celebration / Socialization
The Turning Point: (5C) Regret
Your Transformation: (7C) Daydreams and Visions
Your Epiphany: (9C) A Wish Granted
Your Goal: KING CUPS

Call that the "Path of the Artist" and I DARE you to tell me this isn't working. It works even better if you actually lay out the cards and have a look.

(ETA: OTOH, if you're one of those who relate ill-dignified cups to overindulgence and alcoholism, take a look at the above series from that perspective... OUCH)


Cups, Path Two:

PAGE, Love (of Partner), Boredom/Disillusionment, Reminiscence, Seeking New Horizons, Lasting Love and Friendships, QUEEN

Your Origin: PAGE CUPS
Your Inspiration: (2C) Love (of Partner)
Your Power: (4C) Boredom / Disillusionment (Questioning your emotions?)
The Turning Point: (6C) Reminiscence
Your Transformation: (8C) Seeking New Horizons
Your Epiphany: (10C) Lasting Love and Friendships
Your Goal: QUEEN CUPS

The Path of the Romantic, anyone?

Back to work for me. Thanks for the encouragement all, and enjoy.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dangerdork
So I'm seeing two parallel or complementary paths with the odd and even numbers in each suit as a progression ending in the two pairs of Page - Knight and King - Queen. Since I had brought up Active - Passive and Masculine - Feminine as possible labels, for sake of clarity lets use Princess / Prince / Queen / King. And it could be argued that using the historical context the Knight/Page pairing is still very much a Mentor / Protegé, Master / Servant, Teacher / Student relationship. Active and Passive. OK.

On another note, It seemed that the Kings and Knights kept inconveniently falling in the "even" or Feminine / Passive of the two Paths for minors as I had originally laid out. But you know what? On this one, I AM going to cheat. The Court cards DON'T have numbers ascribed to them, so I am going to declare myself free of placing them in numeric position, but rather place them in gender or "role" position: Kings and Knights on the "Active" path, Queens and Pages on the "Passive."
I need time to absorb most of what you just wrote, but wanted to point out something that you may not have thought of. While the courts don't have numbers assigned to them, they also aren't always in the order of Page, Knight, Queen and King (effectively being positions 11, 12, 13 and 14). Some of my decks have the courts ordered as King, Queen, Knight and Page, which effectively numbers them 11, 12, 13 and 14 and puts the King and Knight on the Male side of things as you want.

Rodney
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Hi Rodney:

I'm glad that you're still along for the ride and WANT to absorb my thinking-out-loud. I really want all the suggestions and feedback I can get. However, in this particular case, my instincts tell me that the way I've arranged the Courts here is absolutely the right way to do it for this system.

I hope you agree after you contemplate a bit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rwcarter
I need time to absorb most of what you just wrote, but wanted to point out something that you may not have thought of. While the courts don't have numbers assigned to them, they also aren't always in the order of Page, Knight, Queen and King (effectively being positions 11, 12, 13 and 14). Some of my decks have the courts ordered as King, Queen, Knight and Page, which effectively numbers them 11, 12, 13 and 14 and puts the King and Knight on the Male side of things as you want.

Rodney
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dangerdork  dangerdork is offline
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Can I see a quick show of hands?


How many people out there are actually looking at this system and laying cards down on the table (or floor, or grass) in front of them?

And for those of you who are, I have a couple questions:

Once you see the imagery of the cards in front of you, doesn't something seem to click into place? I really feel strongly that this system really works - am I deluding myself?

And also, is it helping you collectors build a stronger bond with decks which you may have given a once-over and then put on the shelf? I feel that the stories are shining through from some decks I'm trying the Minors paths with, in surprising and rewarding ways.

dd
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