WHAT WE WERE THINKING

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WHY WE DID, WHAT WE DID

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the Magna Veritas Tarot
(a work in progress as I discover it)

by Bolt Cutter


We have received numerous questions about the Magna Veritas deck and the previous Oblivion decks. This page is to hopefully, answer some questions and explain our interpretations of the Tarot imagery. The various components of the cards were created by members of the studio, edited and compiled by me and my creative partner, Viktor Slutskeya. This deck could be considered a collaborative effort, and as such, there are different interpretations to traditional card representations. We used the RWS deck as a starting point, with a few twists thrown in, as well as some personal iconography (which will have to remain our dirty little secrets). This was more of a mode of self-expression, than a commercial endeavor.

For us, the Tarot is a series of poetic stanzas, combined to create an epic saga. Each card is a poem, an open ended intellectual, emotional journey. Each of us color this poem with our own experiences and feelings every time we view the cards. That is why there are no hard and fast meanings, why the same card can mean something different with every reading. It is a poem, subject to time, ambiguity and interpretation. These are attributes common to all works of artistic endeavor. And that is what makes them powerful. Our vision of the cards may not correspond to your vision and that is good, if it did, we would have just another deck of playing cards, flavorless and without soul, passing through us with no effect. Hopefully when you use these cards, you will be affected in some way, on some level, and perhaps they will assist in opening up a different way of seeing.

bulletGeneral Information

The format was chosen by our test group as being narrow enough for smaller feminine hands to handle, large enough that they would not be dwarfed by larger masculine hands, yet different enough to be unique.

The upper corners of the majors contain 22 Hebrew letters & 22 astrological symbols depicting the 22 'Paths of the Tree of Life' from the Kabbalah.(1)(14)(15)

The Court cards and aces depict the appropriate I Ching symbology associated with their attributes.(2)

The Eye of Horus, symbol of divine power and protection. Associated with Ra, the Sun God,(16) It also appears in Buddhism, where Buddha is also regularly referred to as the "Eye of the World". An important symbol in Masonic symbology, representing the all-seeing eye of God.(17)(18)

The nudity is reserved primarily for the Majors, as we view them as 'Elemental", forces of nature. The only exceptions are the two of wands, & eight of swords. The illustrations were so stunning we had to use them. (Forgive our indulgence).

We chose to include the older name of card #8, because it is so primal, to deny it, is to deny an important part of ourselves. The imagery, while sensual, is not overtly sexual. Both Lust and Strength are in repose, watching the sun come up across the Savannah. There is sexual tension, the female astride the male Lion, but that is part of us, we put that into the card.

The Pages are intentionally gender ambiguous, they are depicted as either effeminate males, or slightly masculine females, your choice.

The Knights are warriors, and as such, follow a martial creed. The ribbons on their cards proclaim their mottos, which reflect their character. (A-D)

Roses appear throughout the deck, either red or white, the traditional meanings apply.(7)

MAJOR ARCANA

bulletthe Fool

Our intrepid traveler rides his unicycle, he wants to get to his destination in a hurry. No walking for him! That is soooo pedestrian! He is anxious, excited to get started. He is packed and ready for anything, come fair weather or foul. But, he is an adventurous innocent, blind to the hazards and pitfalls that await him as he gets dangerously close to the yawning precipice.

bullet the Magician

He is an enigma wrapped in a conundrum, solitary, powerful, mysterious. Wards, incantations & prayers adorn his simple robes, hinting at portents & prophecy. He is the only card that is depicted with the namesakes of all four suits. Wisdom, power, intelligence, & love shine from his shrouded eyes. He knows, and will reveal the Truth, but you have to ask the right questions. He's a riddle-master, he understands that growth and strength are nurtured by overcoming obstacles, seasoned with a sense of wonder.

bullet the Emperor

He sits upon an elaborate gilded throne, as befitting his station. Carved heads of Aries sit at his shoulders, surveying his domain in all directions. His rich royal purple robes and three tiered crown announce to all that he is anointed by God. Indeed the creator watches over him.(6) He is ancient, with the wisdom of years. He holds the unified cosmos(3) in his right hand, and the scepter of divine authority in his left.(4)(5) There is no doubt who rules the Major Arcana.

bullet the Hierophant

The first of the Archetypes.

The Hierophant sits on his dais, right hand raised in benediction, we are his supplicants. In his left, he holds the Staff of Righteousness. He is backed by twin pillars that support the Book of Truth, (open to reveal its secrets) & the Light of Enlightenment, burning brightly, a beacon. His gaze is steady, confident. He is the Captain at the helm of our spiritual ship.


bullet the Lovers

Robed in the aether, they are as God made them. Innocent, raw, untested. Love takes wing above them. Though' their islands are cut off from the rest of the world and separated by tides, they are united. Wrapped in the benevolent arms of grace.



bullet the Chariot

This is the vessel of our physical journey, and we could not ask for a better pilot. He is armed and armored, ready to defend his charges. He is a warrior with a steady hand and resolute heart. It takes a purity of purpose to command and control the sphinxes that power this engine of war. His banner flutters overhead bearing a symbol of Love to let all know his intent, but make no mistake, the fearsome eagle adorning the chariot is a warning. He is clear in his purpose, to get us where we need to go. He will broker no interference.

bulletthe Star

The Star shines like her namesake, her skin, hair, eyes all golden. She radiates light. She stands, poised, a creature of the firmament, her head in the constellation of Aquarius. One toe in the water, one on the Earth. She is a triumvirate, bringing three of the elements into play.
She is the giver of Hope, a healer, and the bearer of the Water of Life.

bulletthe Moon

A shooting star(19) passes through the heavens, across the face of the Moon, signaling portents and prophecy.



bulletJudgment

It is the end of Time. The Omega. The last battle of the Apocalypse has been won. The bones of the fallen and the countless generations that came before, cover the decimated field. There are no cries of anguish, for no one yet lives. Silence blankets the field. Israfil (8)(9),  the shining Angel of Death, glides through the smoke that wafts from the carrion ridden ground of Armageddon. His mien is passive, detached. His is the only light that pierces the murky gloom. Raising his golden horn to his lips, he sounds a single mighty blast that echoes throughout eternity. He sounds the call to Judgment. It is time for atonement. Are we ready?

bulletthe Jester

A Joker, a wild card, he is a fool that goes the wrong way. A contrary, a misnomer, a "Happy Squirrel" if you will, to be used as you see fit.



MINOR ARCANA

bulletAce of Wands

Energy. Like a supernova or latent & inexorable as the tides. It flows and eddies, unseen, untamed.



bulletSix of Wands

The conqueror returns to much fanfare. But he does not rejoice, his heart is heavy. He is victorious, but at a cost. He has carried the field, but lost part of himself in the conflict. He bears the laurel wreath(10) high, hoping to cleanse his spirit.(11) He knows that though the throng sings his praises, it is fleeting. There will be other battles.


bulletEight of Wands

An explosion of energy. A Whirlwind. A lightning strike. Swift, powerful, but short lived. Harness this power and channel it to give it meaning.



bulletNine of Wands

It seems he has been toiling an eternity under a remorseless sun, scratching out an existence. Day after day he gives himself up to the knowledge that hopelessness and defeat lurk behind the next sunrise. But he also knows he is strong enough in body and spirit to endure and overcome.

bulletAce of Swords

It is unrealized potential. Wrapped in purifying flame. The potential to perform great feats,(12) or to do great harm. It is swift retribution (G) and swift destruction.



bulletFour of Swords

Sleeping or Dead. Either way, peace and rest have finally come.




bulletSix of Swords

The Ship sails from the raging tempest into the uncharted waters of a new dawn. Hope shines from her billowing sail. The symmetrical ranks of swords, provide a new sense of balance after the tumultuous assault. Intellect and intuition combine, riding the waves, united in purpose.


bulletTen of Pentacles

A seed has been planted, and thrived. The boughs of Abrahams' great oak(13) spread up and out, heavily laden with the wealth (both material & spiritual) that you have amassed. Having used all you need, you now leave a legacy for the generations who come after, a living monument. (H)


Bibliography

  • (1) Heaven on Earth; facts behind Faith by Sid Jefferies, http://www.factsbehindfaith.com/default.aspx?intContentID=36
  • (2) Tarot of Ceremonial Magic; A Pictorial Synthesis of Three Great Pillars of Magic; Lon Milo Duquette,Copyright 1995 by Lon Milo Duquette
  • (3) Encyclopedia Britannica; http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/431082/orb
  • (4) the Free Online Dictionary; http://www.thefreedictionary.com/scepter
  • (5) Tour Egypt; http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/reg.htm
  • (6) the Dictionary of Symbolism; Cultural Icons and the Meanings Behind Them; Hans    Biederman,translated by James Hulbert,Copyright 1992 by Facts on File, pg.122
  • (7) the Dictionary of Symbolism; Cultural Icons and the Meanings Behind Them; Hans Biederman,translated by James Hulbert,Copyright 1992 by Facts on File, pgs. 289-291
  • (8) the Dictionary of Symbolism; Cultural Icons and the Meanings Behind Them; Hans Biederman,translated by James Hulbert,Copyright 1992 by Facts on File, pg. 91
  • (9) Naqshbandi: the Sufi Way; http://naqshbandi.org/library/angels/angels_27.html
  • (10) the Dictionary of Symbolism; Cultural Icons and the Meanings Behind Them; Hans Biederman,translated by James Hulbert,Copyright 1992 by Facts on File, pgs. 389-390
  • (11) the Dictionary of Symbolism; Cultural Icons and the Meanings Behind Them; Hans Biederman,translated by James Hulbert,Copyright 1992 by Facts on File, pg. 202
  • (12) Lu-tung-pin: Taoist Immortal; http://www.uwec.edu/beachea/Lu_Tung_Pin.html
  • (13) the Dictionary of Symbolism; Cultural Icons and the Meanings Behind Them; Hans Biederman,translated by James Hulbert,Copyright 1992 by Facts on File, pg. 351-352
  • (14) the Kabbalah Center; http://www.kabbalah.com/?gclid=CNa13Nq9uJ8CFRednAody3RE0g
  • (15) Kabbalah; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kabbalah
  • (16) Ra; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ra
  • (17) Eye of Providence; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eye_of_Providence
  • (18) The all-seeing eye; http://www.freemasonry.bcy.ca/symbolism/eye.html

Appendix

  • (A) Knight of cups; "diligo victum totus adversum" Love conquers all adversity
  • (B) Knight of Wands; "rideo risi risum iam, vox laxus" Laugh Now, Cry Later
  • (C) Knight of Swords; "Diabolus Causidicus" the Devils Advocate
  • (D) Knight of Pentacles; "silentium est nostrum iustus remuneror" Perfection is our just reward
  • (E) Wheel of Fortune; "Fortunis" Fortune
  • (F) Death; "Memento Mori" Remember Death,
          "mors ultima linea rerum" death is the line that marks the end of all
  • (G) Ace of Wands; "Battle Hymn of the Republic" ...terrible swift sword.
  • (H) A money Tree/ the Tree of Life

" Be indulgent when you compare us to those who were the perfection of order, we who look for adventure everywhere. We are not your enemies. We want to bring you vast and strange domains, where mystery in flower spreads out for those who would pluck it...Pity us who fight always at the boundaries of infinity and the future. Pity us our errors...pity us our sins."

- APPOLINAIRE -

 

 



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