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Tarot Hermeneutics

Exploring How We Create Meaning with Tarot

Tarot: Science & Art

Tarot: Science & Art

Saturday, July 15th, 2006

Tarot as a tool of divination is in a unique period of its development. With new tarot decks being produced, several dozen each year, most tend to follow the general tarot tradition of 22 trumps, 16 courts, and 40 pips of the four suits, so they will be readily adapted by tarotists.  There are also decks that diverge greatly from that pattern for reasons of either the symbolic integrity of the system being applied or because of the artist’s own particular vision of what the cards could do if not bound to the traditional pattern.
Over time I went to deal with aspects of the aesthetics of tarot cards as they come across my path.  I tend to take a middle road between reading the cards as suggested by the cards’ create tours and also allowing the image is to evoke my own personal associative processes of meaning.  Taken together, I think this is a fair compromise with what is possible.
All those cards are plenty confusing. A friend of mine once years ago wrote a book about Science and its Mirror Image. Complexity it seems is the heart of divination systems. Unlike science, that attempts to simplify and clarify, by experiment by control; divination systems multiply associations endlessly. (I will develop this theme somewhat further)  Tarot is an art. Those different card systems taken as a whole are just different dances. When you learn to dance you concentrate on the order of steps. Eventually, knowing the steps you can master the dances, but many dances require new combinations of steps. We do it because it is fun though at the beginning it seems hard not to constantly fall down. 


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