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Evolving the Anieth Tarot Deck


I have been fascinated by Tarot cards every since I first stole a peek at my mother's deck when I was a child. My father had this mysterious book called Dune and my mother had Tarot decks. I vividly recall desiring to be old enough to enter these worlds and understand them. I started my analysis of the Tarot some time later and pretty much decided that much of what was out there was confused and muddled. The whole deck seemed to me to be a record of certain development paths. When I came upon the Four-Fold way of Magic, the Tarot confirmed that the paths of the lower arcana were to be mapped onto the psychologial/spiritual paths noticed by Campbell and others doing research into pre-Christian Europe.

Hero When I looked at story motifs and read Campbell's book on the hero's journey, I realized that the deck also represented the four stories. I will go into them briefly here, but I've written three books about these story myths. The hero's journey explained by Campbell, is not a complete motif but a truncated motif. The short tale is extremely popular in movie writing, and follows a plot similar to the first Star Wars with Luke Skywalker leaving his home. The complete cycle is very much like the life story of Anakin Skywalker. In the West, we hear a great deal about the hero's journey, not realizing that the hero always turns into the oppressor after the hero wins the princess, inherits the kingdom and becomes king. He then starts to accumulate bad mana, enemies, and become more and more tabu until he is wholely evil, and oppresses his own people whom he should be protecting. He is redemed by his own death and is reborn as the son. This is the form of religion among Christians and is an ancient, ancient motif that survived into the Classical Age. It is a familiar tale, popular and considered by some to be the only story from which all others are derived.

The match to the hero's journey is the bride's journey. Her story is popular also in a truncated version as in the Cinderella tale. She makes her path out of the ordinary world and into the magical world where she meets her prince. The other half of the tale is also very popular, but in the form of a horror tale, usually about vampires. The entire story shows the bride going to her holy wedding after being helped to win her prince with animal helpers and a fairy godmother, and after she marries, becoming obsessed with power and eternal youth to the point where she may devour her own young in order to keep herself at the point of becoming queen. After she is finally killed or horribly punished she becomes the holy mother who has compassion for all because she has been all.

complete spiral And finally, the mirror story or the partner story to the trickster story of the witch or talent's journey. This story shows up in bits and pieces mixed in with bride stories, but is not a bride story. The talent goes into service to a mentor to learn to dominate the "god-given" power within, sometimes in the priesthood, but more often as an artist, craftsman, or student of some skill. In the story, the witch leaves the magical world, usually on a time constraint. She must do something to save the world or give it some of her talent before she "burns" up. This story is mostly illustrated in fiction as a cautionary tale of some extraordinarily talented person who is "magical" but an alcoholic or drug addict or suicidal in another form. In the longer version, the witch is imprisoned in the dark kingdom and succeeds in destroying it through her power, and maybe the world as well. She ends up as a star, shining in the darkness out of the end of destruction.

In this illustration, you can see the complete spiral and figure eight of the four stories rising up or falling down and the points where the story lines meet. For a fuller description of all of this, I directed you to the articles on plot and writing and story motifs. I use these four stories in my own work. How do these stories end up matching up with the Tarot?

I began by trying to untangle Graves's work in his book on the ogham and the secret names of god entitled, The White Goddess. Rather than try to do too much fretting over the tree alphabet and which trees matched, in this exercise, I merely tried to match up the letters with the classical alphabet. Crowley also sensed this and tried to match up the major arcana with the Hebrew alphabet for a kabbala connection. Here is my result:


It is not entirely in order but I tried to make it close enough that you can see what Crowley and I discovered and my match to the Gaelic tree alphabet on the right of the Greek. I then tried to put it in alphabetical order.


You may notice my phonetic notes to try to untangle some of the letters. This was the only way I could "match" up the alphabets. In the sounds of Gaelic, many of the consonants change when next to other letters. A "t" might sound more like a "ch" or a "d" like a "j" sound. The letter "r" can sound like a "d" or a "t". Alphabets are not precise! They represent grammar more often that the accurate sound. English doesn't make much attempt to represent sounds accruately with spelling, but pretends that the sound changes don't exist at all. The vowels often take on a glide or a doubling to compensate for a consonant change. "glide" is pronounced "gly-eed" because of the slender "d" sound at the end of the word, for instance. So all of this is approximiate, but good enough for our needs as you shall see.


I then tried various groupings according to the ogham "flights" of trees, four groups of five, and came up with this final arrangement, dumping the flights of ogham for the sake of grouping the cards on the points that you see in the above spirals.


The stories seemed to interact with the major arcana of the Tarot extremely well, too well to ignore despite the order of the alphabets. Again, I go more into this in another article. With this model, I realized that my Earth "players" of the game of the Invasion of Anieth could number twenty-two and be represented by each card of the major arcana. This left my Anieth characters to be represented by the other cards. I have not finished the cards, by any means, but you can go to the player page and read some about the players and see their cards.

I took a look at the minor arcana. It was already four paths. They were already assigned a number of attributes by many different people. This was my own interpretation.


I first assigned the categories that I knew from my reading and study. I then added in other categories that seemed to fit. Again, I am playing around with the categories and assigning other "four-fold" maps to fit into those categories. I am sure that we can force fit some of these categories differently. Play with it yourself, for part of the fun of the cards is growing your own intuition about them. After some time, this was what I came up with for interpretation:


I tried to neutralize the words and make them more abstract. With a bit of play and some slight modification, I came up with some interpretations which you can see in the following two screen shots.



© 2014, A.R. Stone