My background in Tarot is heavily influenced by the Golden Dawn, specifically, the attributions they use.
About a week ago, I was speaking to a friend of mine, and we started talking about how certain cards within the Golden Dawn system are associated with areas of the globe. I’m going to quote Lon Milo DuQuette, who explains this association better than I can:
Together with the four Princesses, the Aces rule quadrants of the heavens around the North Pole of the Earth. The meridian line intersects Giza and the elements rule in IHVH order going Eastward as follows: Wands covering Asia, Cups the area of the Pacific, Swords the Americas, and Disks Europe and Africa.
I should point out that the Princesses can be thought of as Pages depending on which deck you use.
Anyway, we started talking about whether or not other Tarot cards could be associated with locations around the globe, and if so, what would they be?
This is what we decided to do
We both grabbed the Thoth Tarot. We dealt the cards out one at a time and said the first location that flashed into our minds.
It was great fun … even although a lot of our free associating involved things other than locations.
What are the benefits?
I noticed the benefits as soon as I started working. I felt more connected with the Tarot, I gave more insightful readings, and I had a lot of fun doing it. It’s a bit early to say whether or not there are any objective long term benefits, however, it can’t hurt, and I’m fairly convinced that using the Tarot in this way ( along with other practices of a similar nature ) gradually improves or sharpens reader style and builds upon any foundations the Tarot reader may already have in place.
What Locations are we talking about?
The aim that my friend and I had was to be as specific as possible. We wanted to focus on geographical locations initially, but after a while, we started to incorporate familiar shops, iconic settings and so on. If we said something vague (like a shopping center), we tried to describe what the outside of the building would be! Basically, we wanted to be as specific as possible.
I thought I’d include some examples to give you all an idea of what I’m talking about. I’ve split them up into sections – Majors, Minors and Court cards. Enjoy!
The Major & Minor arcana
- Hierophant: The Theatre.
- The Devil: Ghost Ship.
- The Tower: The Leaning Tower of Pisa
- The Moon: Barrow, Alaska, the northernmost city in the world! Once a year during the winter, the sun disappears for 30 days. I made this connection after watching the film 30 days and nights.
- The Empress: A garden centre.
- The Art or Temperance card: A Kitchen.
- Death: A night club; a Cemetery.
- The Ace of Wands: Tibet
- The Ace of Swords: A music concert (for some reason, I thought of Queen).
- 7 of Disks: I saw an image of the Conquistadores as they moved over difficult terrain in South America.
- 6 of Wands: A Shrine.
- 8 of Swords: A Castle.
- 9 of Disks: Hollywood Boulevard.
- 10 of Swords: Petra.
The Court cards
- The Princess (or Page) of Cups: A sea food restaurant.
- The Knight of Swords: The Grand National.
- Queen of Swords: Statue of Liberty.
- Queen of Disks: A Desert.
- The Princess of Wands: A Temple.
- The Princess of Swords: A Temple that’s located in the Mountains.
I challenge everyone to grab their favorite Tarot deck and get to work.
- Start by dealing out one card at a time.
- Say the first location that flashes into your mind – Greenland, Tibet, Coffee shop, Kitchen etc.
- Keep going until you’ve done it for all 78 cards.
- Relax, and allow the connections you’ve made to filter into your repertoire of associations.
- Repeat the process again when you feel energized.
- Record the information in a Tarot Journal.
This is basically an adaption of the free association exercise, which is something you could incorporate into your practice sessions. If you’re looking for something a bit more challenging, you could always try the Tarot location challenge with more than one card.
I’d love to hear how everyone gets on with this, especially any cool and creative interpretation