I spent some time last night looking at my Tarot deck and the book that goes with it. I really really like this deck, (I lost my deck when I lost my game bag with books, dice, etc. in it, but luckily I had a second copy of the same deck.) The deck is The Witches Tarot.
The four suits are already well known for how they integrate with elements, and states of existence/awareness…
Pentacles – Earth – Physical
Cups – Water – Emotional
Wands – Air – Mental
Swords – Fire – Spiritual
The states/modes of existence/awareness (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual) are echoed in part of Stephen Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
The four basic human needs are:
Physical: fitness, health, food, shelter
Emotional/Social: love, companionship, intimacy, affection.
Mental: learning, creative expression
Spiritual: service, transcending oneself
In other words: To live, to love, to learn, and to leave a legacy.
Now. The next question I have begun to ponder is this. Can the four suits/elements also map to the four unique human faculties:
The four unique human faculties are:
Self-examination: self-awareness, observation
Vision: imagination, creativity, visualization
Conscience: self-guidance, connection to wisdom
Willpower: capacity to act out our vision
I have thought about this quite a bit, not in the context of the Tarot but that certainly lends it another dimension. Here is what I have found.
Our physical needs and physical modes of expression aren’t really unique to humans. We need air, water, food and shelter. None of the four faculties are physical, really. Emotional kind of ties in with Vision, and Creativity (especially given that Cups and Water are the sign of emotion, but also of creativity. Conscience and Willpower are both sort of intellectual, and sort of emotional and spiritual as well. A one-to-one correspondence doesn’t become clear.
What if the four human faculties aren’t mapped to each mode, but are instead connections between two modes? Consider the following.
Creative Vision is the movement from physical mode to emotional mode. We imagine and visualize something we want to create.
Willpower is the movement from emotional mode to intellectual mode. We exert power over our own condition by thinking and deciding, rather than reacting without thinking.
Conscience is the movement from intellectual mode to spiritual mode. We seek to improve the human condition, not just our own personal condition. We teach and enable others.
That leaves self examination? Could self examination and observation be the thing that takes us from the spiritual mode back to the physical (or the triumph of the physical over the spiritual?
I was starting to visualize the whole circle as a four-way ro-sham-bo (rock/paper/scissors) where each element triumphs over one and is defeated by another. The last link is kind of shaky though. Does observation and self-examination really act to get our head out of the clouds and force us to pay attention to the physical once again? Hmm. Plausible, but not immediately intuitive.
I know that personal growth is a spiral, though. We have a cycle where we think, decide, act, and observe the consequences. Or put another way, we dream, plan, act, and evaluate.