By Judy Jennings © Copyright 2012
Our study today will examine the major arcana divided into three smaller sets of seven cards, and includes an exercise designed to promote intuitive understanding. These three sets correspond to different aspects of the human life. The sets are as follows:
The World Of Divine Qualities
The Material World
Stages Of Enlightenment
Think of the following exercise as a window into the three worlds of the major arcana.
THREE WORLDS EXERCISE:
Arrange major arcana numbered 1-21 into numerical order. For this exercise, set aside The Fool, numbered 0. For now, think of the Fool as unlimited possibility, and we’ll return to that later.
Lay out the cards in three horizontal rows. The top row contains cards 1-7. Underneath that, place cards 8-14. The bottom row is made up of cards 15-21.
Take a few minutes to look them over. Any study of Tarot must include subjective observation, so it’s best to start practicing that right away. What do you notice? Just relax and let your mind ease into it. There are no wrong answers to this question. Here are a few pointers:
◦ Try this exercise for the first time before reading the rest of this article.
◦ Look for similarities between cards.
◦ Notice the way each card expresses a quality that is opposite from the card before it.
◦ Consider both vertical and horizontal rows.
◦ Repeat this exercise frequently.
Layout For Exercise #1:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
THE THREE WORLDS OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE
The three rows in Three Worlds Exercise symbolize three different realms that are presented in the major arcana. These are all aspects that relate directly to the human experience. An understanding of what these worlds represent and how they interact with each other is an important key to deciphering the map for a Meaningful life that the Tarot lays out for us.
The first realm, including cards 1-7, is known as the World of the Divine. In these seven cards are found qualities of an enlightened mind, such as the desire for a connection with Higher Power. Some other attributes found in this set are the ability to set healthy boundaries, a harmonious relationship between the conscious and subconscious minds, and the possibility for every person to create something in this lifetime that is greater than the self. As you learn the meanings of the individual trumps, you’ll discover much more about this set.
The next seven cards are a set of instructions on bringing the qualities of the first group into our everyday lives. Take another look at the top two rows of cards in the above exercise. Now consider the cards in pairs, with the one on top partnering with the card directly underneath. This creates an alliance between The Magician and Strength, for example. In this way, our map points specifically to the paths of compassion and self-discipline to most positively incorporate the powers found in The Magician. Contemplation of these partnerships is one of the most dynamic things you can do to increase your understanding of the Tarot.
The final set actually includes two important threads. First, each of these seven cards represents a different stage of spiritual enlightenment. Additionally, this group is symbolic of circumstances that can take place around a person.
Examination of these three realms is an excellent starting point for the novice, and serves as a rewarding exercise for the adept as well. As you work with this exercise, keep in mind that the ultimate purpose is to stimulate your intuition, rather than your logic.