Descensus Averni Day 3: Tarot

Descensus Averni Day 3: Tarot August 8, 2011

I drew a 5-card Tarot spread on the first night of this ritual, using the Vertigo Tarot.  I only use the major arcana and I cast them in a five card cross pattern: the left arm is the past, the center is the present, and the right art is the future.  The top arm represents the macrocosm (the gods) and the bottom arm represents the microcosm (mortals).  I also don’t use all the traditional interpretations for the tarot.  My interpretations are based on the view of the major arcana as a cosmograph.

This was the spread I drew:



Right: WHEEL


Bottom: FOOL

Rather than drawing a new spread, I laid out the same cards the following evenings and meditated on the meaning of the same arrangement.

The Tower, which is being destroyed by a bold of lightning, resembles the Tower of Babel, and symbolizes the destruction of ego, or at least the ego guilty of the hubris of aspiring to immortality (athanasia).

The Wheel symbolizes change, the cycle of rebirth, palingenesis.

The High Priestess is the mediator (mediatrix) of the mysteries of heterodoxy.  She mediates the transition from one form of ego functioning to another: athanasia to palingenesis.

The Fool is the dancer on the Wheel of Fortune.  He stands on the edge of the Abyss ready to fall off.  He is the Hero on the path of the mysteries.

Strength, in the Vertigo Tarot, is a female figure holding apart the jaws of a beast.  The jaws may represent the Scylla and Charybdis of ego inflation and ego annihilation.  She holds open the space were the Hero (the Fool) may descend into the Underworld of the unconscious.

The High Priestess is the mediatrix of this descent as well.

It seems to me that this spread is a cosmograph of my own journey, my own search for transformation, from one kind of ego functioning to another.  This transformation is accomplished by a descensus averni, which is mediated by heterodox rituals and a feminine divine.

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