Tarot grammar: another form of storytelling
If there is something that differentiates humans from other species that inhabit this planet, it is our capacity for abstraction, to imagine and create concepts and stories that did not exist before.
We humans love to be told stories. Every corner of the planet has its own mythology full of beings and fantastic tales that help us to a better understand the world harking back to ancestral times. In each of these cultures there was always, and in some still exists, a sacred storyteller: an individual that is the gatekeeper to the knowledge of a culture, responsible for passing it on to future generations.
In the Pacific, in Kiribati they have the unimane (old men), the chosen few who can tell the legends and myths of the country. In the Caribbean, they have the babalao: a priest who has the capacity to know the past, the present and the future thanks to the reading of the 256 signs of Ifa.
In all cultures, there have been and continue to be systems that, like any other language, have their own rules that allow meaning to be given to the elements that compose them.
Tarot works in the same way and its rules can be learned. However, as Pepe tells us, knowing the meaning of the cards is not the only thing necessary to make a good reading. You need other qualities like psychology and empathy to also be able to master it.
There are many different tarot beams, but the most common is composed of 78 cards. The first thing you need to learn in order to read the cards is that there are two types: 22 Major Arcana and 56 Minor Arcana.
The archetypes of the Major Arcana represent life and the stages and experiences we go through. They are thought to be the story of the life of a person starting with youth, represented by El Loco, and the end of our lives re-represented by El Mundo.
The Minor Arcana describes the people, events, feelings and circumstances that we encounter throughout our "Crazy" personal journey. Representing events that are within the control of the individual and indicating how to do something.
The Minor Arcana resembles the traditional game decks. They are formed of four sticks, and each of them is associated with one of the elements: Bastos (Fire), Cups (Water), Pentacles (Earth) and Swords (Air). There are also Queens, Kings and Knights in each suit besides Sotas.
The combinations between these two groups of cards and a precise reading form the stories that the tarotist will tell about the past, present and future of those believers who want to have an extra guide when navigating their lives. Answers about topics that interest us all and that have been formed as the necessary pillars for a perfect life balance: health, money and love.
If you have never visited a tarotist and you’re curious about it, here you have the third episode of our third DOCCO: three times three - third time’s the charm? We hope you enjoy our auspicious episode!