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Eeviee  Eeviee is offline
Join Date: 20 Jun 2012
Location: NY, USA
Posts: 439

In the As Above Major Arcana, Barbara Moore has re-named most of the traditional titles, but managed to stick with a RWS format. -That is, 22 Cards numbered 0 - 21, with her equivalents to Strength as VIII and Justice as XI.

In the LWB provided with As Above, Moore lists the Majors in the traditional format, giving the numerical value, traditional title, and her title:

0 - The Fool - The Summerlands
I - The Magician - The Elements
II - The High Priestess - Wisdom
III - The Empress - The Goddess
IV - The Emperor - The God
V - The Hierophant - The Book of Shadows
VI - The Lovers - Beltane
VII - The Chariot - Transformation
VIII - Strength - Spellcasting
IX - The Hermit - The Path
X - The Wheel - The Wheel of the Year
XI - Justice - Mabon
XII - The Hanged Man - The Circle
XIII - Death - Yule
XIV - Temperance - Ostara
XV - The Devil - Lammas
XVI - The Tower - Omens
XVII - The Stars - Imbolc
XVIII - The Moon - Samhain
XIX - The Sun - Litha
XX - Judgement - Initiation
XXI - The World - The World

Overall, I'm surprised and shocked how well Moore's themes mesh with the traditional titles and card meanings. They fit so well together, that I'm baffled no one has managed to come up with it before! Truely, this is THE Pagan/Wiccan deck for me! I can see so many uses for it besides the standard divination purposes based off just the Major Arcana alone! The Goddess and God cards could be used for meditation and contact with the divine. The Sabbats cards would make lovely alter decorations for these special times of the year!

I've decided to add some notes to @Eyebright's summaries of the Major Arcana from my personal views and, in the case of the Second Group, my Grimoire (kind of like a Book of Shadows, with the exception that it does not include my personal experiences; just information). -I've done this because I've seen some people say that a good knowledge of Paganism or Wicca may be a prerequisite for using the Book of Shadows: As Above deck. Being Pagan/Wiccan, I thought I would add a little insight to the Major Arcana's re-namings and the Pagan and Wiccan themes throughout, for those not too familiar with Paganism and Wicca. I hope that this will impart some wisdom for those wishing to work with the As Above Tarot who may not have this background.

Notes on Moore's Groupings:

Group 1 - The World is placed first, as it is a standard Pagan/Wiccan belief that everything in the World is interconnected, and has within the spark of the Divine. This card is not re-named from the standard RWS decks, and does not deviate much in meaning or symbolism.

The Goddess (The Empress) comes before The God (The Emperor), just like in the standard Tarot order, because in some Pagan/Wiccan traditions, more emphasis is put on The Goddess and/or hold the belief that The Goddess came first; creating her son and eventual lover/consort The God.

The Elements (The Magician - both contain the standard Witches/Magicians tools and the 4 Elements) are placed next, as they are sometimes believed to be created from The Goddess and The God. The 4 Elements of Earth (the Pentacle), Air (the athame/blade/sword), Fire (the wand), and Water (the chalice/cup) are the aspects of The Goddess and The God themselves. The Goddess rules over Earth and Water, The God rules over Fire and Air.

Last comes The Summerlands, where many Pagans/Wiccans believe it is that we go after we physically die and where we come from before we are born into this World. It's almost the equivalent to the Christians' Heaven. Instead of remaining here, Pagans/Wiccans hold the belief that The Summerlands are a place of rest and contemplation of our previously lived life/lives. It is from The Summerlands we all come from, and where we must all return to before being born again (as most Pagans/Wiccans believe in some form of reincarnation). The Summerlands takes the place of The Fool, which in some Esoteric beliefs link The Fool to the concept before creation.

Group 2 - The Wheel of the Year comes first to remind us that the calendar is not viewed by Pagans/Wiccans as a linear device. Many Pagans/Wiccans believe (and new sciences support the old belief) that Time is not linear, but cyclical. All of Nature (including time) is a cycle. The Wheel of the Year ties in elements from the Agricultural Year (concerning planting and harvesting) and the Astronomical Calendar which concerns the tides and seasons along with the position of Earth to The Sun (The God) and The Moon (The Goddess). The Wheel of the Year takes the place of the standard Wheel of Fortune.

Next come the Sabbats, the standard Pagan and Wiccan holidays. The word comes from the Greek word "Sabatu" which means "to rest" (McCoy). This may confuse outsiders, as the Sabbats are truly celebrations. The "rest" comes from the belief that no magick (or work) should be done on the day of the Sabbat. This is like the old Christian belief that no work should be done on Sundays; that they are reserved for worship. There are two types of Sabbats:
1. Greater or Major Sabbats, also known as Fire Festivals, that occur at the cross-quarters of the year (mid-points between the Solstices and Equinoxes) - These are Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane, and Litha.
2. Lesser Sabbats, which occur at the quarters of the year, falling on an Equinox or Solstice. These are no less important than the Greater Sabbats, but were celebrated later in time when astrology had been developed.
*Please note that any dates given are true to the Northern Hemisphere, as those in the Southern Hemisphere celebrate the Sabbats on different dates to correspond with the Sun's position of the Earth (which effectively marks the passage of time and the Seasons).

Samhain (common pronunciations: "sow-wen" or "sah-VEEN") comes next, as @Eyebright mentions is the Witches New Year, it is also the Celtic New Year. It is celebrated from October 31st to November 1st. It is the original celebration of the muggle Halloween; also known as Hallows, All Hallows Eve, November Eve. Themes for the Sabbat include Death and Rebirth. Representing the traditional card of The Moon, as the Moon waxes and wanes. This Sabbat is the start of the Dark Half of the Year. It is also the final Harvest Festival, before Winter comes.

Yule is the Sabbat celebrated on the Winter Solstice which usually falls between December 20th and 23rd for the Northern Hemisphere. This is the shortest day of the year. Yule is linked to the traditional Death card, as everything has it's ends and cycles. Somethings die only for something else to be reborn. Yule is liked to the Christian celebration of Christmas.

Imbolc (pronounced "im-bolk") is usually celebrated on February 1st or 2nd. It is also known as Brigid's Eve/Day, Candlemas, or Oimelc. The theme for this celebration is rebirth of the Sun and welcoming in the Spring. This Sabbat is linked to the modern Groundhog Day and the traditional card The Star. As The Star indicates hope, Imbolc indicates the return of growth.

Ostara is the celebration of the Spring or Vernal Equinox (usually occuring March 20th - 23rd for N. Hemisphere). On this day, the length of light and night are equal. This is a celebration of balance, fertility and new beginnings. This Sabbat is linked to the Christian Easter. Ostara takes the place of the traditional card Temperance, both which deal with the concept of balance.

Beltane is celebrated from April 30th - May 1st. This celebration marks the start of the Light Half of the Year. It is also commonly known as May Eve/Day, or Walpurgis. Beltane's theme is that of all types of love and union, effectively taking the place of The Lovers card in the traditional Tarot.

Litha, also known as Midsummer, is the celebration of the Summer Solstice. Occurring between June 20th and 23rd; it is the longest day of the year. On this day the Sun remains in the sky for the longest period of time throughout the year, it is an appropriate card to take the place of the traditional card The Sun. This Sabbat is sometimes linked with the Christians' St. John's Day.

Lammas is also known as Lugnassad ("loo-nus-uh"), The Early or First Harvest, or the Feast of Bread. It is celebrated on either August 1st or 2nd (NH). This Sabbat is one of the celebrations of the bounties and abundance of the Earth and Harvest. Linked to the traditional card of The Devil, it can be seen as consumption to the point of excess.

Finally, we have Mabon which occurs on the Autumn Equinox (usually occuring between the 20th and 23rd of September for the N. Hemisphere). Mabon is also known as the Second Harvest, Harvest Home, or simply the Harvest Festival. The theme is of Thanks, as some call it the Pagan Thanksgiving. Mabon is linked to the traditional card of Justice, as justice is a theme of give and take. The Earth has given us the Harvest, and from Mabon on, She shall take the growth away, becoming barren until Spring.

Group 3 - The Path comes first, linked to The Hermit, as it is a belief of some Pagan and Wiccan groups that the spiritual journey is a very personal thing. It is common for Pagans and Wiccans to believe that each person's path to Divinity is a highly personal and individual thing. Each person should craft their own Path based on their beliefs and experiences, not taking the words or experiences of others as law, but as building blocks on the road to spirituality.

Spellcasting takes the place of the traditional Strength card, as the practice of magick requires the knowledge and direction of one's true will. A spell is not just some words/candles/stones/herbs thrown together to 'get what you want'. A spell is created by identifying a need or deep (spiritual) desire which you then find correspondences with in the objects around you (ie. poetry/verse/'spell'/colours/herbs/stones, etc.) that hold deep meaning that resonates with your desired outcome. You must know what you want, know how to 'get it' (which means doing any mundane 'leg work'), and believe that it is meant to be yours. When a person crafts a spell, they should have already considered, and be actively pursuing, anything that they can do in the 'Real World' to help manifest their spellwork (as the Christian saying goes: "God helps those who help themselves"). A person who casts a spell should have thoroughly thought through their work to make sure that what they want to achieve is truly best for them and the others around them (why many witches/magicians will not cast love spells for specific people, or work vindictive magicks). Spellcasting/Strength requires personal reflection, positive action, and deep understanding of the world around you.

The Book of Shadows takes the place of the traditional card The Hierophant. A Book of Shadows is a book/journal that many Pagans and Wiccans create which holds their beliefs, practices, and any information that may help them along their paths. The Hierophant of the traditional decks is the spiritual leader who holds the keys to wisdom, and encourages those on their spiritual journeys, providing blessings and insights. As Paganism and Wicca are not Book Religions, and sometimes lack a traditional hierarchy; the Book of Shadows serves as a Pagan/Wiccan's personal spiritual leader on their very individualistic path.

Transformation is linked to The Chariot of traditional decks. The traditional Chariot is very driven; it knows what it wants and is willing to take the necessary action to get it. The Transformation is the acknowledgement and acceptance of the Pagan/Wiccan spirituality, which encourages each person to take control of their life and to act in accordance with their will. Overcoming obstacles and taking charge is all a part of the Transformation.

Omens is the title for the traditional card of The Tower. Omens can be considered as "signs". As The Tower is a card of deep and sudden change; the Omen card is what actively points out and brings to light that change.

The Circle takes the place of the traditional card The Hanged Man. In Paganism and Wicca, the Circle is a place of protection and power. It is commonly referred to as a place that is beyond the standards of "space and time". It is within the Circle that invocations are said, prayers are made, magicks are worked. Like The Hanged Man, The Circle represents a different perspective, a higher knowledge.

Initiation is the re-naming of the standard Judgement. I find this re-naming very exciting, as it links the Esoteric belief that Tarot is a 'Path of Initiation' that one must take to be enlightened directly to Tarot! An Initiation is what a person must undergo in order to be either accepted into a formal ranking Coven/Group/Circle or the point and/or ritual where a person dedicates themselves to the path of Paganism/Wicca. Like the card of Judgement, the Initiation is all about answering to your inner (spiritual) calling.

Finally, we have Wisdom which is the re-naming for The High Priestess card. This is not a hard stretch to make, as one of the many definitions of the High Priestess card is Wisdom. There is a difference between knowledge and wisdom; knowledge is pure fact, while wisdom is what occurs when one knows how to handle knowledge and act accordingly. The High Priestess card holds the knowledge upon a scroll, but she's not telling. You must have the wisdom to uncover the knowledge for yourself, linking the Pagan/Wiccan concept of walking your own spiritual path to a deeper understanding of life, gathering your own Wisdom.

Yes, this is a lot. There is so much here to explore! I tried to limit myself to basic concepts and facts here... as there is a lot of ground to cover here!
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