The Olympian gods in Homer’s universe are a family like any other. It has Zeus, the all powerful father that cannot be defied, at least not outright, but he can be deceived; it has Hera, the jealous and watchful wife who is a master of the political game and is very familiar with intrigue; and sons and daughters who each vie for their parent’s attention and approval while pursuing their own, individual interests.
Gods and Humans
These gods play their part in the poem, in close contact with the human beings. For Homer, gods are very much alike to humans in appearance, speech and passions – even in motives and actions. In the poem the gods can sometimes be seen to fight in the actual war itself. However, the big difference between gods and humans is they cannot die. The gods are timeless, they are the same today as they were at the start of time. They cannot learn by suffering and mistakes; and there is no realisation of their limitations. This is completely different to the human characters of the poem. Both Achilles and Helen of Troy come to understand how their own godlike passions result in the suffering and the deaths of others. They learned from experience and suffering. This is a realisation that the gods can never have.
What the gods are now is what they always were and always will be. This is in contrast to the humans they fight along side. The contrast being, humans pay the ultimate price, total death of the personality. For the timeless gods, their personality can never die, nor can they ever learn or change. They are the same at the end of the Iliad as they are at the start. Experience cannot alter their personalities.
The gods do not discuss things with each other. Instead, anyone be it god or man, that is opposed to their Will, are seen as obstacles and as such, they are obstacles to be overcome, not by gentle persuasion, but rather, by force of Will, deception and intrigue. Unable to see past their own timeless personality and motive, they cannot feel pity or understand the consequences of their actions.
The reason the gods and the Tarot are similar is because they both represent and are the personification of all those mysterious forces that intervene in human life – earthquakes, plagues, love, adrenaline and so on.
Let’s now turn our attention to the Tarot to see how this helps us understand it better.
Think of the complete godlike self-absorption that this card represents. The Emperor is completely unable to consider the world outside his own high regard, his own godlike self-esteem. Every human being that’s in his kingdom is simply a personification of himself. He is unable to free himself out of his own immortal motive and see the uniqueness of the ‘other’. Tarot cards, much like the gods they represent, are not subject to change, they are what they have always been right now and in the present; a completely selfish and self-interested passion to the outcome of their desire. For example, when the Emperor clashes with the Moon, like the Olympian gods, there is no rational discussion. They both see each other as obstacles to the ‘others’ intent and as such, unable to see beyond their own godlike self-projection; they will use deception and force, often violent to drive forward their objective. On the other hand, they can just as easily work together if they share a common goal.
In terms of those Martial gods, the Emperor is felt when you find the courage to assert yourself in a scary situation; he is there when you feel adrenaline before the action, and he is there when we need to impose laws and restrictions.
The gods, like Tarot cards, represent forces of nature. On the whole, these forces do not change. It does not matter what deck you use, in the majority of cases they represent the same timeless force. The same total self-absorption of purpose.
When an unexplainable event happens to us, we can describe it as either chance, the will of the gods, a random and unfortunate sequence of events, God or even Fate. It doesn’t matter whether you describe it as the intervention of Homer’s gods or the random events of chance, they are each as metaphysical a concept as each other; an explanation of the unexplainable.
For Tarot readings to work, the Tarot deck must be able to represent those mysterious and powerful forces that so often intervene in a humans life, what ever those forces are, and they are often without pity or concern for the consequences of their actions. When conducting a Tarot reading, remember, that these cards represent forces, often unexplainable, violent and self-absorbed; meaning they are impartial to the effects they have. They are timeless forces, that cannot learn from experience and so, depending on the circumstance, they either benefit the client, or create obstacles for the client.
On a plus note, given the timeless nature of the cards, it makes it easier for us to learn how to divine with them.
Can a Tarot deck accurately represent these mysterious forces?