The Four Threes

One of my favorite cards from El Gran Tarot Esoterico, The 3 of Cups, came up in my personal reading this morning, so I pulled out all the three’s for comparison.    In the Picard system of Minors threes would be the effects of Binah and the Empress in our everyday lives. The 3 of Cups seems like such a positive card for Spring.   With feasting and three open receptive soul-cups, one can easily place the Rider-Waite interpretation here and it would work very well.   A closer examination suggests all of Esoterico’s the threes speak of emergence or suppression.   The Cups show us an egg, with the symbol of the sun which is also the center of the Pythagorean TETRAKTYS – the simplest point and beginning of all things.   The fertilized egg, nurtured in a triangular nest of three cups, will eventually take on a life of its own. The 3 of Scepters harness the power of Mercury flanked by two young shoots of hazel.  According to the website Tree Lore, “Hazel is The Tree of Immortal Wisdom has applications in magic done for manifestation, spirit contact, protection, prosperity, divination-dowsing, dreams, wisdom-knowledge, marriage, fertility, intelligence, inspiration.” Wisdom and fertility certainly relate to Binah and the Empress.    The dog seems to indicate a taming of the fiery impulse, the trained companion that leads us forward. Maritxu Guler inverted Picard’s original design for the 3 of Swords to create a downward facing water triangle skewering a fish.  The swords represent intense emotions that plummet and pin free will to the floor of the subconscious mind.  Of all cards, this is the strongest indicator of being in trapped or imprisoned.  Depending on what other cards appear in a reading, this could be the work of outside forces. If we read the progression of threes as a venture moving from Scepters forward, the Swords indicate those obstacles that make us want to turn belly up.  The beauty of this card is in its reversal, where the fish is finally free swim and explore the waters of the subconscious/psychic mind.   The 4 of Coins gets us back to the theme of emergence.  The two planted coins bare the symbols of Capricorn and Taurus.  The seeds of hard work that began with the scepters and cups have taken root .  The venture indicated by Mercury’s caduceus in the 3 of Scepters has been fully realized in the above-ground coin baring […]


This morning I decided to find out about this being that was detected in my  reading on Monday night, so I put to use my being spread: Shuffle the deck concentrating on your being. Set aside the top and bottoms cards. Locate The Devil or the Empress, whichever comes first.   The two cards around the Empress are the seeds of the being; the two cards around the Devil are what the seeds have grown into.   Find the other card and take note of the distance between to indicate how much history you have with this being.  If the Devil is located first, the growth and entanglement with the being is stronger.   The Empress coming first indicates a readiness to see this being in simplest form.    Go back the the top and bottom cards you first pulled. The top card is advice how to engage w/ being.  The bottom card is how to disengage. So I found AKER (aka The Devil) first, which means I’m a bit more entangled with this being than I thought. The seeds of this being have grown into precisely nothing as shown in the 2 OF COINS.   The moon, ever changing emotional state and psychic power, plays a big part here.   THE CONSULTANT (magician) reversed shows  the universe imprinted on the chakras of the archetypal man: Adam Kadmon. The moon is the root chakra or Yesod on the tree of life.  I went to a psychic fair a few years ago where this woman in black pointed to my groin and said I have darkness lingering in that area.  I, of course, was offended — but now it’s beginning to make sense.  This being is preventing growth and opening of this channel.  There are 11 cards between Aker and The Empress, indicating a short history with this being. The two cards around the Empress show the seeds of this being beginning with the seductive ACE OF COINS, with voluptuous roots.   Coins represent groundedness, so perhaps this being began with the promise of feeling grounded and safe.  Death inspires change, but also fear of change.  This being began with a choice between radical change or playing it safe.     Now back to those first two cards, how to engage and disengage. The 7 CUPS (air) are in a state of emptying, they are not receptive or vulnerable to outside […]

THE EMPRESS AS DEVIL (and vice versa)

In 1978, tarot was a cultural obsession with several hundred variations in print, but when Maritxu Guller was asked to design El Gran Tarot Esoterico at 70 years of age, she wasn’t interested in reinvention so much as aligning it with a lifetime of experience in the field.  Maritxu is relatively unknown in these parts, but a quick Google search with translation assistance revealed her celebrity in Spain where she was master and mentor of all sorts of occult practices until her death in 1993.   Martixu seems to have based her designs for the major arcana on Oswald Wirth’s system with one major departure rippling throughout — the supreme presence of the all powerful goddess.  The most tantalizing change in El Gran Tarot Esoterico is the treatment of the Empress and the Devil.   In Oswald Wirth’s designs both have wings, but that’s where any similarity ends. Maritxu’s Empress and “Devil” are both seated feminine figures with wings swapped. The Devil has been changed to Aker, Egyptian god of the horizon and the revolving door to the underworld.  The two lions at the Empress’s feet are the symbol for Aker.   All this shared and swapped imagery suggests the Empress and Aker are actually the same person seen in the light of the natural world and the underworld — just as the pyramid is depicted on the Empress’s shield.  As above, so below. In the scheme of the Major Arcana, we first encounter the Empress, associated with Mars rather than the usual Venus.  She is nurturer, teacher, installer of rules and administrator of punishment while the Emperor/father is off working or gaining some sort of spiritual guidance at church.  Maritxu’s Empress is the archetype for the mother who transforms from angel to devil the instant she begins to enforce her rules.  The card’s reversal could indicate a severe abuse of this power. Twelve cards (3×4) come between the Empress and Aker indicating a very long journey before we can start to reconcile the seeds of frustration and resentment that began in childhood.   Aker is divided from the church but bares the hand gestures normally given to the male Heirophant/Pope.   To this day women are still actively banned from these roles in the Roman Catholic church probably because they represent true power. After all, the female body is the source of all human creation – even Jesus needed a female to be born into human form.  And […]