Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tarot Suits and their origins

Tarot Suits refers to the 4 different minor arcana cards of the Tarot. The wands, the cups, the swords and the pentacles. In the poker cards which we are commonly used in casinos, the 4 suits are Clubs (wands), Hearts (cups), Spades (swords) and Diamond (pentacles). There are several origins from which the minor arcana's symbols stem roots from. I will only discuss the ones which are common. This is from the Arthurian legends (grail) and the Celtic myths.

The wands, Symbols of fire. A torch lit, the art of creativity, passions, when god in genesis started. the first word was "Let there be light! and there was light." Since ancient times, the torch or fire has brought forward life and improved the human condition.

In the Grail myths, the Wand refers to the "holy lance" of Longinus, the roman soldier who said to have pierced Christ's side as He hung from the cross.

In the Celtic myths, it refers to the spear of Lug. Lug was a supremely versatile god known to all as the "many skilled". Legend goes that when he arrived in the celtic lands wishing to join the Tuatha de Danaan, he was questioned by the guard to state his craft. Lug Stated that he was a carpenter. but was countered as the Tuatha De Dannan had a carpenter already. He then added that he was a smith. Be was retorted that they had a smith too. Lug then stated that he was not only a carpenter, and a smith, but also a warrior, harpist, historian, poet, sorcerer, hero and a great many occupations. Each post he mentioned was filled. In the end Lug asked. "Is there anyone of the great assembly who possesses all the vocations mentioned?" the guard said no and he was triumphantly admitted to join the Tuatha De Danann.

Cups, bearer of life, water. with water there is emotions. Patience and compassions are key.
In the Grail legends, Cups refers to the Holy Grail the cup used by Jesus at the last supper.
In the Celtic Myths, the cup refers to the cauldron of Dagda, the all father. It could never be emptied and no one is left with his hunger unsatisfied. The Dagda was known as the nourisher of all his people and his inexhaustible cauldron was even able to bring the dead back to life.

Swords, logic, untempered justice. swiftness of actions without compassion. sharp and bright.
Air the element which seeks out the inescapable truths which could not hide.
In the grail legend it is King David's sword of spirit refered to in the old testament. It also is Excalibur of King Aruthur.
In celtic Legends it is the sword of Nuada, king of the tuatha. It is so powerful that it could smythe any enemy once it is drawn. No weapon could stand against it.

Pentacle. Material wealth. Physical body, empowerment of great strength.
Earth the element where all plants grow from.....
In the grail legends it is the plate which the last supper was eaten.
In the celtic legend it refers to the fal stone. this stone was said to cry out loud when sat upon by the rightful king of ireland.
To conclude Both celtic myths and grail legends embody the same powers and symbolism of Tarot suits in their own stories. To the users of tarot it is a guide and it adds flavour when you do a reading for your querants to tell stories..... in a way the reader of tarot is a story teller as well as a diviner.... and all people no matter great or small needs little stories to fill their mudane lives.....
Happy reading and sharing.

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