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northsea  northsea is offline
Join Date: 02 Nov 2001
Location: usa, west of the rockies
Posts: 1,117

Originally Posted by dangerdork
This is where you should get out your cards and lay them down:

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

As you can see, the Fool is left floating off to the side, and we now have three rows of cards. The middle row has my cluster of Strength - Justice - Temperance, with BONUS Angel the Star. Wow! these 3 rows seem to really be groups that work together.

For those who STILL haven't laid the cards out, the three rows we have now grouped the cards into consist of:

Magician - Emperor - Chariot - Wheel of Fortune - Death - Tower - Sun
High Priestess - Hierophant - Strength - Justice - Temperance - Star - Judgment
Empress - Lovers - Hermit - Hanged Man - Devil - Moon - World

If these three groups have been described anywhere in the literature in the way I'm about to discuss, please let me know; because I really think I'm onto something.

I call them the Three Paths.

Seeing Judgment, Hierophant and HP all in the same line suggested a religious theme. I thought of the two major forces in the world during the origins of Tarot - Church and State - and rows 1 and 2 seemed to really gel.

Row One people follow the lead of the King, the Emperor - they follow the State; and Row Two people likewise are motivated by the Church (The Hierophant). So the Path of The Citizen vs. the Path of the Congregant. Then what about Row 3? The key is in the second column. A "Row 1 person" is driven by the Emperor (State), a Row 2 person by the Church (Hierophant), so a row 3 person is driven by... The Lovers? YES! For what do the Lovers represent but Choice... FREE WILL! Row 3 is the Path of the Individualist.

Here are some other possible descriptions of the 3 rows I've come up with, all loosely associated:

The Soldier / The Priest / The Rebel
Ego / Superego / Id
Dionysian / Apollonian / Hermetic
Body / Mind / Spirit
Social / Moral / Personal

So, basically I see the first row as a person defined by the EVENTS in their lives: The Chariot establishing balance and progress in the material world; Wheel of Fortune as sudden turn of events or circumstances in the material world, Death and the Tower again as EVENTS the seeker along this path inevitably encounters, and the Sun as their ultimate KNOWLEDGE, their version of enlightenment.

The second path? again, beyond the Hierophant, where the Seeker in Row one was defined and formed by EVENTS, is defined and formed by Virtues or QUALITIES OF CHARACTER. Strength, Justice, Temperance, Star, are all in perfect sync... and the final card of the row? JUDGMENT? Well, just as the Seeker in Row 1 sought knowledge and enlightenment as the result of the real-world experiences, so the Row 2 Seeker will ultimately be rewarded with eternal salvation at Judgment. Their ultimate goal is to become worthy of heaven. And as a side note, I LOVE how the placement of Strength / Justice in different decks has virtually no effect on this overall scheme.

And now the third row... the Individualist, the Rebel, the Id, Hermetic knowledge. Here is the Dark Side, the most difficult path to survive. Rather than listening to the Emperor or Hierophant, the Seeker has chosen to find his own way, learn his own truths, work out the Answers for himself. And when you look at it that way, it's the path most fraught with danger - ALL the Dark Night of The Soul cards lie along this path. The Hermit - he seeks his truths alone; The Hanged Man - I always focus on the "seeing the world in new ways" aspects, but as Campbell reminds us, this is also about social ostracism. Again with the Devil, the Devil I always see in this card is the one in the mirror... your "personal demons."

and next up... the MOON! Man, this 3-rows perspective is tight! For although we have not dropped the word yet, surely this Row 3 is the Path of the MYSTIC. And what self-respecting Mystic would be complete without the subconscious, the hidden, the unknown? And just as this path is most fraught with danger - so its reward is the most fulfilling and complete - The World. Seekers 1 and 2 desire Knowledge and Salvation, respectively, but this path leads to Closure, Fulfillment, Completion. Worldliness.
I've seen 3x7 tarot templates by various tarot authors, but don't recall this specific layout that brings the virtues together on the central row, nor recall any other discussion of these three paths connected to 3x7 layout except in general terms of body/mind/spirit... so I think you're on to something here! My personal choice for Prudence is the High Priestess, so that fits right in with your template.

Regarding the associations though, it seems that Apollo (and the mind) was connected to the Ego and Dionysus (and the body) to the Id by various thinkers including Nietzche. Maybe Soldier/Priest/Rebel, Apollonian/Hermetic/Dionysian + Mind/Spirit/Body would align with traditional associations.

Also, the Fool was traditionally placed between Judgment and the World, so if the Fool is placed in the 21 position as the ultimate Dionysian goal, the World may be placed off to the side, encompassing all three levels.

And Faith, Hope and Love/Charity could be represented by the Hierophant, the Star and Judgment, or the World (placed to Judgment's right), to have all 7 virtues on the middle row (laying them out left to right for each of three rows).
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