Sunday, September 20, 2015

Card of the Second Harvest (Tarot Blog Hop)

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Hi everyone! I am Mad Uncle Morgan. And welcome to another edition of the Tarot Blog Hop.

My regular readers will note that this is the second blog hop that I have done this month; the first one being the Tarot Jam blog hop. For those doing the hop, there is a chance that you just came from the Denver Tarot Convention blog, which is actually a guest post that I did about a Tarot field trip during the June 2015 convention (I was assigned the task of taking a photo for the Tower card).

As always if there are breaks in the hop chain, you can always go to the Master List to correct your course.

The idea for this hop comes from our wrangler's experience of creating a Maninni Tarot deck ("maninni" is Italian for "many little hands"). Instead of trying to create a whole maninni deck, we are focusing on what Tarot card is best suited to represent Mabon, the second harvest and the Autumnal Equinox.

Now, for those people in Golden Dawn, or who study its Tarot system (Book T), there is no question which cards are assigned to Mabon....or is there? If we were only looking at the Wiccan holidays from a Northern Hemisphere position, we would have clear cut answers. The problem is that the Southern Hemisphere is (sort-of) dealing with Ostara as we have Mabon in the Northern Hemisphere. (I say "sort of" because my understanding of the seasons is that they are not the polar opposite of ours; seasons are unique to their location. For instance, Egypt has three seasons, not four that Europe and America has. Therefore, the Wiccan Sabbats as created inside Traditional British Wicca are not a good fit for much of the globe.)
Golden Dawn Tarot system applied to the Wiccan Sabbats
I first became aware of this problem when I started to design the Rite of the Magical Images of the Wiccan Sabbats (now available on Amazon). Initially, I considered using the Tarot as the basis of the magical images for the Sabbats. (A magical image is an image that is used to connect with the energies of a divine or astrological force, for the purposes of divination, mediation, and magic.) I also considered using the traditional images of the zodiac degrees that the Sabbats fell upon.

It was the Southern Hemisphere problem that convinced me that this was the wrong solution to use. (When I was involved in the Sanctuary of Maat, several of the students that I was proctoring were living in Australia and New Zealand--thanks to them, I became acutely aware of the fact that the Southern Hemisphere and its seasons complicated things that were considered cut and dried in the Northern Hemisphere. Today, though the Sanctuary of Mau, I still deal with Golden Dawn students in the Southern Hemisphere---therefore, I tilt at the Southern Hemisphere problem still on occasion.)

My solution to the problem was to treat the Wiccan Wheel of the Year and its eight Sabbats as symbols of a mystery tradition, and not as solid fixed points in time. Basically, I came to the conclusion that the Wiccan Wheel of the Year was an artifical creation, and part of a modern myth cycle designed for modern pagans. Once that decision was made, I could divorce the holidays from the zodiac wheel. This also meant that the Tarot was unsuited to the new system that I was creating.

In my script of the Rite of the Magical Images of the Wiccan Sabbats, I described the magical image of Mabon as "A man wrapped in ivy and grape vines standing in front of a standing stone. He holds a horn stuffed with grapes and corn, and he makes the sign of silence." Since that initial version, I have made a couple of chances in the magical image for Mabon.

Mabon as a Tarot card/ magical image
I have modified the image so that the figure is no longer using the sign of silence. The figure is now standing in a vat (barrel) full of fruit and grains. The horn that the figure is holding now also includes grain.

My use of the magical image is representative of issues where one is in the middle of an income cycle. One has already recieved profits and income is at the half-way mark, but one still have some profits and income that has not been recieved yet. It is also representative of taking resources and converting them into something else, like turning grains and fruits into alcohol; or taking raw clay and chemicals to produce pottery.

If I was to replace an existing Tarot card with this image, I probably would put it in the place of the Three of Cups. Or maybe the King of Cups. But I am most likely to use this image, and the other seven Sabbat images, as part of a "side deck"---cards that can replace or be added to another deck. Or maybe as part of an oracle deck. Honestly, I am not sure yet. And we are in the days of print-on-demand Tarot and Oracle decks--there is nothing saying that we are stuck using the only traditional seventy-eight cards.

So that is where my current development of this particular image is at. Thanks for reading, and please consider reading some of the other posts in this edition of the Tarot Blog Hop.

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thecrazyangmoandhisangrywife said...

Colour it in! Colour it in! I am so excited now.

Karen said...

It would be good to see a side-deck.

Olivia Peters said...

I love reading about your process, and the decisions/realizations you made as you worked.

Inner Whispers said...

An interesting card/image, and I really enjoyed your thoughts on why the sabbats are not universally applicable :)