There are 21, or sometimes 22, cards in the Major Arcana suit. What does it mean that they represent the “Greater Mysteries”? Of course, it means A LOT. It is said that these cards represent the inevitable journey a human takes here while on planet Earth. Each card is something that WILL happen to us, and there is no escape. I like this idea, and it is well described in Elisabeth Haich’s, Wisdom of Tarot. The only problem with it is that it rarely happens in order. So there in the 21 or 22 cards, we have a perfect story unfold all jumbled up by the mess of being human.
And, why do I keep saying 21 or 22 cards? Well, it depends on your perspective about The Fool, that scrappy fella who is walking off a cliff. Most people include that card in the Major Arcana suit, and either read the “0” as the beginning or end of the Major Arcana. However, I feel that The Fool is a card without a suit to call home. My reasons have to do with playing decks. The decks we play with 56, or 57 (!) cards. Somehow the Knights and the Major Arcana cards were taken out of those decks. Only The Fool, renamed “The Joker” remained. That fact gave me a new perspective about how to view the role of The Fool that I’ll write about later.
A screenwriting teacher I enjoy, John Truby, teaches a class for writing a play or script based on the 22-steps of a story and uses Tarot to expand understanding of those building blocks. So you can think of the Greater Mysteries as building blocks for life, or for a particular journey. We can’t stop them from happening. They simply will each unfold in our lives at some time or other. Our best way to approach this inevitability is to consider how we would prefer to respond, or how we once embarrassingly acted when they happened. The more time we invest in understanding these cards, the smoother surprises go and the stronger our choices will be.
In Kosmic Egg Tarot the Major Arcana will be represented by the most iconic people and images that I can think of from my lifetime. I was born 24 August 1964, and thus JFK’s assassination will not be part of this suit, even though it certainly informed my life in many ways. For those who have lived longer, and for those who will feel like this is a long time ago, my purpose is really this simple. The first Tarot deck we know about, the Visconti Tarot, reveals a world vision that was current to its time. I want to wonder what kind of characters symbolize the meanings behind the cards today. I hope, of course, it will be classic too, but Tarot is a study that involves the currency of now more than any other study. These years are my current life and in the scope of human affairs that seems pretty present and alive.