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rwcarter 
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Question Layouts for Studying Major Arcana


What layouts are people aware of for studying the interactions between the cards of the Major Arcana?

My interest in this subject was first piqued by dangerdork's thread on what has come to be known as the Seven Stations. (You can see this thread here: http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.php?t=84592)

Basically, the cards are laid out as follows:

Seven Stations Layout
....3...6...9..12..15..18..21
0...2...5...8..11..14..17..20
....1...4...7..10..13..16..19

Each of the seven columns has a theme and each of the three rows is a path. (You can check the thread for more details.)

In looking to see how/if the the Seven Stations could be applied to decks with more than 22 Majors, I discovered something called the Chain in the book "The Complete New Tarot" by Onno and Rob Docters van Leeuwen. They are the creators of De Tarot in de Herstelde Orde, an 80 card deck that adds Jupiter (+, Truth) and Juno (-, Intuition) back into the Major Arcana. The Chain is laid out as follows:

The Chain Layout (with 24 cards)
..2...-...7...10...13...+...18...21
0...3...5...8...11...14...16..19
..1...4...6...9...12...15...17...20

They also show the progression of the layout as Juno and Jupiter are obscured by the Priest and Priestess. The final layout with Jupiter hidden behind the Priest and Juno hidden behind the Priestess becomes:

The Chain Layout (with 22 cards)
..2...5...8..11..14..17..20
0...3...6...9..12..15..18..21
..1...4...7..10..13..16..19

(As an aside, the Station designations from the Seven Stations layout can be applied to the Chain of 22 Majors. I haven't figured out (yet!) what the 8th station would be with 24 Majors.)

So, excluding the 0, the middle row of the Chain has all the same cards as the top row of the Seven Stations, but the two rows have different meanings. The top rows of both layouts deal with Spiritual issues, but they contain completely different cards!!!!!

The first thought that crossed my mind was that one of the systems must be wrong. Well, that thought lasted for a few seconds before an even greater thought occurred - it doesn't really matter HOW the cards are laid out because ALL of the Majors should be able to interact with one another and by studying those interactions I would gain invaluable knowledge of the Major Arcana.

So, of course, I couldn't stop there. In a multi-subject notebook that I used when I first started studying my first decks many years ago, I had written down two other layouts and applied them to those decks. Unfortunately I don't remember which book(s) I got them from. (If anyone recognizes them, I'd love to know where they originated.) One's a 3x7 layout and the other is a 3x9 layout:

3x7 Layout
..............0...............
1...2...3...4...5...6...7.
8...9..10..11.12.13..14
15.16.17..18.19.20..21

Cards 1-7 represent the Body and are Powers and Potencies
Cards 8-14 represent the Mind and are Laws or Agencies
Cards 15-21 represent the Spirit and are Conditions or Effects

The relationships are read down in columns as "The powers/potencies of (card) work through the laws/agencies of (card) to modify the conditions/effects of (card)."

3x9 Layout
.1...2...3...4...5...6...7...8...9
10..11.12.13.14..15.16..17.18
19..20.21.22

The cards are laid out by their numerological association (and the Fool is assigned 22 instead of 0). The associations are determined by reading down the columns to see what similarities the cards with the same reduced number have. There are 3 cards in the first four columns and two cards in the last five columns.

So I spent quite a bit of time on Sunday creating spreadsheets in Excel. I applied each of the four layouts (Seven Stations, Chain, 3x7 and 3x9) to four different types of decks - Golden Dawn/Rider Waite Smith-based decks with the "traditional" numbering of the Majors, the Mythic Tarot which renumbered some of the Majors, the Navigators Tarot of the Mystic SEA which renumbered ALL of the Majors and the Restored Tarot with its 24 Majors. Then I created spreadsheets for each of the decks and created worksheets for each of the layouts. (There's also a Minor Arcana layout for the Seven Stations, but that's not the purpose of this thread.)

In a glance, I can see how the different numbering of the Majors controls which cards interact with other cards and I can see how the different layouts change the interactions of the cards in a given deck.

I know there have to be other layouts for examining the interactions of the Majors. I actually found a couple in Mary K. Greer's Tarot series of the 80's (Tarot for Your Self, Tarot Constellations and Tarot Mirrors) that I'll have to add in to the mix. I went to those books cause I thought that might be where I got the 3x7 layout from. She has two 3x7 layouts in Tarot Mirrors, but neither of them is the one I listed above.

I know I could just as easily randomly place cards next to/above/below each other and see what their interactions are, but I'm a little too methodical (could you guess?) for that. So I would love it if people could either post layouts they know of and/or use for the purpose of studying the interactions of the Majors or point me to layouts in books (book name, author and layout name should be enough info to get me started).

Sorry for the long post, but I guess I had a lot to get off my chest....
Rodney



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Very interesting, Rodney, thanks for posting. I came up with this scheme:

00
01...02
03...04...05
06...07...08...09
10...11
12...13...14...15
16...17...18
19...20
21

It starts with the Fool, undifferentiated, apart from the rest; it progresses to the Magician and the High Priest, conscious and subconscious respectively. Next, the developmental stages - mother-figure, father-figure, integration into society - then the realms of the self, with love, work/goals, limitations and introspection. At the half-way point we have the Wheel, the fulcrum around which everything is balanced, and the force that can stop the Wheel and break out of the former, mundane cycle. Then there are the lesson cards - lessons of sacrifice, of loss, of balance and of attachment, leading up to the three revelation cards: the sudden revelation of the Tower, the beatific revelation of the Star and the unconscious revelation of the Moon. Finally, the higher-state cards, with the Sun representing enlightenment and Judgement representing absolution, and the fully integrated self, the World.



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Old 27-09-2007 Limited time only: Chat live with a Tarot reader now and get 50% off!     Top   #2
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Interesting stuff, Rodney. That's the kind of thing I like to do, too! Excel is a wonderful tool, isn't it?

Have you ever read "Tarot of the Bohemians" by Papus? It was first published in 1889 and is generally discounted (primarily because of the wild history Papus attributes to the tarot) but I've always enjoyed the first half of the book, which discusses applying the attributes of the letters of the name of God (Yod-Heh-Vau-Heh) to the cards. It's very complicated, but I liked how, in his system, cards corresponding to Yod were 'positive', Heh cards were 'negative', Vau was 'neutral' (a combination of the previous two), and the final Heh was a transition to the next set of three, or 'ternary'. He combined these 'ternaries' into 'septenaries' to cover the whole set of Majors.

I didn't get into the whole system of it, but I couldn't get the attributes he gave the four letters out of my head:

1. Yod - Active - Creator +
2. Heh - Passive - Preserver -
3. Vau - Neutral - Transformer 0
4. Heh - Passage from one series to another

He has a chart that breaks the cards down into a type of 3x7 pattern, with a fourth row for the transitional fourth card in each column.

Yod series ----1---4---7---10--13--16--19
(Postive / Creator series)

Heh series ----2---5---8---11--14--17--20
(Negative / Preservative series)

Vau series ----3---6---9---12--15--18--21
(Neuter or Transforming series / equilibrium

2nd Heh ------4---etc.-----------------Fool
Transitional series

Of course the columns then get a Yod-Heh-Vau-Heh designation, too, starting from the left with the first two columns as Yod, the second two as Heh, etc. This might be an interesting way to look at the cards in terms of a 3x7 layout: positive, negative, transforming and transition.

Anyway...lots of info just to get to this point: At the same time I was reading this I was also learning about the Tree of Life in the Kabbalah. On the Tree of Life the column of numbers on the left is called the Pillar of Severity, and, to me, that corresponded somewhat with the Yod series of Papus. The Pillar of Mercy on the right in the Tree of Life corresponded with the first Heh series of Papus, leaving the central Pillar of Balance for the Vau series. (Ignore the numbers of the sephirot on the Tree...I'm just looking at the characteristics of the pillars.) So, Papus' system placed in a Tree format looks like:

------0------
--1-------2--
------3------
--4-------5--
------6------
--7-------8--
------9------
-10------11--
-----12------
-13------14--
-----15------
-16------17--
-----18------
-19------20--
-----21------

The Pillar of Severity on the left is yin, positive, male, "creator"; the Pillar of Mercy on the right is yang, negative, female, "preserver"; the Pillar of balance in the center is neutral, "transforming". The Fool or 0 can really belong to any pillar, I suppose, but for symmetry's sake I like it in the center.

I've never really done anything with this as far as developing a spread or anything like that, but I've always thought it was an interesting way to look at the cards and compare their relationships to each other.

I hope you enjoy it! You got me thinking about these layouts again...I'll have to try some of yours with my decks!

Peace,
Melvis


Edited to Add: Very cool layout, Skysteel! It really takes the aspects of the cards themselves into account. Another one to try...

Last edited by Melvis; 27-09-2007 at 02:03.
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Old 27-09-2007 Limited time only: Chat live with a Tarot reader now and get 50% off!     Top   #3
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The new edition of the TdP has a card with a layout like leminiscate. I believe JP Thomas is going to make the details down-loadable on his site soon.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JPT
......There is also a new card (79th) showing the InfinIte Arcana diagram. This diagram forms the basis of my teaching in Japan and we also use it to explain Tarot birth/current years to clients in sessions. This layout is truly a remakable new approach to the Major Arcana. (BTW) This was not lifted from Fred Douglas...... I am such a recluse that I had never heard of him until JMD made me aware of his book 2 years after the TdP was published. The truth is I discovered this 01-10 11 12-21 formation while stretching a rubber band! In a flash moment......I saw the rubber band as a flexible model of the universe.......then when I flipped my hands in opposite directions it created an infinity symbol which I interpreted as the act of making choices as an individual >> without breaking the circle/whole. Basically.....everything originates from the Zero and returns to the Zero. Also interesting is the The cards that are positioned on the corners (5-6) & (16-17) giving new insights to their meanings. .....
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Tarot de Paris Majors Study.jpg (48.5 KB, 45 views)

Last edited by Alta; 27-09-2007 at 04:35.
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Skysteel, I LOVE that layout and can't wait to see how it applies to the other three types of decks - partially reordered majors (Mythic), completely reordered majors (Navigators) and more than 22 majors (Restored).

Melvis, thanks for the pointer to the Tarot of the Bohemians. I've had the book for a few years. Glanced through it when I first got it and it promptly went onto the bookshelf to not be looked at again until earlier this year when I found a more complete explanation of Etteilla's Great Figure of Destiny spread. I'll have to look up his assignment of YHVH to the Majors. And I also love your application of Papus' YHVH to the three pillars of the ToL. I'll have to do the same thing with the other three types of decks and see what I find out.

And Marion, the TdP is already on its way to me, so I'll be able to see what you pointed out in a few short days.

Of course my schedule's gonna be crazy enough for the next few days that I'll be lucky to squeeze some time in on Thursday and then probably not again most likely until next Monday.

edited post to correct what info I found in Papus book.



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Last edited by rwcarter; 27-09-2007 at 14:19. Reason: Correcting error about Papus book
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I like the Rings of Eternal Return layout from Alfred Douglas' book "The Tarot".
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Quote:
Originally Posted by northsea
I like the Rings of Eternal Return layout from Alfred Douglas' book "The Tarot".
northsea,

That's one book (out of 300+) that I don't have in my library. Would it be possible for you to do a quick synopsis of the layout? I tried goggling it, but didn't have any luck.

Rodney



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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marion
The new edition of the TdP has a card with a layout like leminiscate. I believe JP Thomas is going to make the details down-loadable on his site soon.
Marion,

He touches on this in the book to the first edition and provides a very basic version of the image you attached to your message. He says,

"In this tarot, the twenty-two cards of the Major Arcana start with the number 0 (The Source) and end with the number 21 (XXI - The Universe). As numeric constants, 0 and 22 are formless and represent one whole system - shades of the same potential. In this illustration, the numbers are grouped as two cycles of ten: 01 through 10, and 12-21. The number 11 (XI - Presence) is the Nexus point, the meeting place, which produces a self-perpetuating pattern: 01-10-11-12-21 = 0 (22)

"The 'One' Cycle (1-10; Initiation - The Sphinx) is the contraction phase, the yin, the in-breath. It brings the 'Ones' together in anticipation of their meeting in the Nexus as the number 11 (XI - Presence). The 'Two' Cycle (12-21; The Question - The Universe) is the expansion phase, the yang, the out-breath, and it brings the 'Twos' together in anticipation of their meeting as 22. It is then apparent that these two cycles flow into and out of the number 11, the Nexus point, and in so doing they generate the quintessential symbol, the Logos. Seeing the significance of the 11 (XI - Presence) and the 0/22 (0 - The Source) is crucial to understanding this tarot."

The above is from pages 24-25 of the Tarot de Paris book by J. Philip Thomas.

That's deep and I'm gonna have to think on that for awhile.

Rodney



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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwcarter
northsea,

That's one book (out of 300+) that I don't have in my library. Would it be possible for you to do a quick synopsis of the layout? I tried goggling it, but didn't have any luck.

Rodney
It's another lemniscate layout, starting with the Fool, lay cards out in sequence, Magician, High Priestess, and so on, looping around in the shape of infinity so that the final card World lays on top of the Wheel of Fortune in the center point of intersection.

When you match the complementary pairs up, each pair adds to twenty. Fool + Judgment, Magician + Sun, etc. , except the two mandalas that meet at the center.

I don't think Alfred Douglas calls it the Rings of Eternal Return, but Godwin in his book "The Holy Grail", p.236.

According to fellow aeclectic member, Lelandra, Barbara Walker also discusses this layout which Lelandra categorizes as 'Tableaux XIII'.

Lelandra's discussion of tarot layouts is a great resource. It includes the basic framework of the recently-discussed "Seven Stations" layout. I had forgotten a few weeks ago that it's listed by LeLandra as 'Tableaux II' and is noted as being discussed in Mary Greer's "Tarot For Your Self", though I haven't read that book in five years and can't remember it from there either.

Lelandra's 'Major Arcana Tableaux' :
http://www.lelandra.com/tarotbook/tableaux.htm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by northsea
It's another lemniscate layout, starting with the Fool, lay cards out in sequence, Magician, High Priestess, and so on, looping around in the shape of infinity so that the final card World lays on top of the Wheel of Fortune in the center point of intersection.

When you match the complementary pairs up, each pair adds to twenty. Fool + Judgment, Magician + Sun, etc. , except the two mandalas that meet at the center.

I don't think Alfred Douglas calls it the Rings of Eternal Return, but Godwin in his book "The Holy Grail", p.236.
Thanks for that description. Guess I know now why I couldn't find anything on Google under Douglas Rings of Eternal Return.

Quote:
Originally Posted by northsea
According to fellow aeclectic member, Lelandra, Barbara Walker also discusses this layout which Lelandra categorizes as 'Tableaux XIII'.

Lelandra's discussion of tarot layouts is a great resource. It includes the basic framework of the recently-discussed "Seven Stations" layout. I had forgotten a few weeks ago that it's listed by LeLandra as 'Tableaux II' and is noted as being discussed in Mary Greer's "Tarot For Your Self", though I haven't read that book in five years and can't remember it from there either.

Lelandra's 'Major Arcana Tableaux' :
http://www.lelandra.com/tarotbook/tableaux.htm
Lelandra is the BOMB! I looked through that and pulled out a couple of the books she references, but I printed that out and will have to examine it in closer detail when a) I have more time and b) I'm not so tired (I worked a trade show this weekend, so with bedtime only a couple of hours away, I'm like, what weekend?)

Thanks northsea!

Rodney



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