Apologies for the long delay between posts, a number of things, including a vacation to New Orleans, have taken up my time lately but I'm back again with a new reading for you all!
One of the most fascinating things for me about the Tarot is how it's so broadly archetypal that many concepts can be fit in to its framework, leading to some truly divergent decks. While in most of these cases it lies more in simply fitting images to cards, some of the most fascinating involve interpreting the tarot in light of a wholly separate system of thought. For this week's reading we'll work with one of those decks. This time around I thought it appropriate to use the New Orleans Voodoo Tarot, a fascinating and beautiful deck co-created by a friend of mine who is extremely knowledgeable on the topic. The deck takes an atypical approach assigning the spirits (Loa, Orisha, or Nkisi) of several African Diasporic traditions to the cards. I'll endeavour to expound on these for each card, and how they relate to the card, within the limits of my own knowledge of the topic.
Note: the following interpretations derive from the meanings assigned to this particular deck, coloured by what knowledge I have of the traditions derived from books, conversations with practitioners, and personal experience, and also from my own understanding of the tarot of course.
First card- universe/big picture- Justice - in this deck, Secret Societies, representing the stories of how some practitioners band together in to groups with their own codes and laws that the enforce among themselves and the communities that they live in. This Justice is an impersonal force, more in service to cause and effect and karma.
Second- point of view- Wheel- The Market in this deck, a small world unto itself, filled with action and motion, this interpretation touches on the Wheel's themes of motion, cycles, and abundance.
Third- the meeting point of the first two- Three of Swords- Ghede, loa of death in this deck, fitting given how this card typically represents negative emotions like pain and heartbreak. Ghede could represent the cause of these states, or release from them. Given the previous two cards and this card's position as the meeting of the two, I lean towards it representing release
Fourth- active influences- Queen of Wands- Mambo (priestess) of the Petro tradition, in this interpretation channeling pure energy of the libido, in the Freudian sense, channeling it by sublimation in to creative energy. Possible ties to the manic energy of the Wheel/Market?
Fifth- passive influence-.Five of Swords- Ogoun Feray (Loa of war as master of iron and the forge), appropriate as this card typically represents conflict, with the victor and the rightness of the victory dependent on context. In this case Ogoun can also represent conflict as a force of purification. I'm getting a sense of breaking out of old patterns and cycles and releasing new energy from this reading so far.
Sixth- current, where things are going or can be directed- Two of Wands Nan Nan Boklu- in this case, the herbalist Loa is shown blowing creative fire in to people's heads to empower them, once again returning to the them of energy in this spread. The current favours this too.
Seventh- comment on the spread- Queen of Cups- another Mambo, this time of the Congo traditions. This mambo represents deep intuition, looking in to the reflective surface of the waters to seek visions and inspiration. Seeking the spark of inspiration to channel one's newly released energies towards?
Eighth- Will, or its means of manifestation- Four of Wands- Agwe la Flambeau- the Loa of the seas. In the image on this card, we see a boat traveling over lava, bearing new knowledge from the depths to bring change. This connects to the more standard interpretation of the card as celebrating the end of the old and the beginning of the new, again touching on themes represented throughout this reading..
Ninth- Desire, or its means of manifestation- Seven of Wands- Erzulie Freda, Loa of love and beauty. This manifestation of Erzulie dreams of perfection, tying in with the traditional interpretation of this card representing honing of one's abilities and self mastery. Note that this card depicts Erzulie looking in to a mirror, reminiscent of the seventh card in this spread. This touches on multiple themes in this spread including the first card.
Tenth- meeting of eighth and ninth- Nine of Pentacles- Yemaya, Orisha of the seas- nurturing, protection, birth and the origin of life. Sync with her rhythms and flow and her power will be behind you.
Key card-Lovers- the Marasa, the twins who are the first children and the first of the dead, honoured first in ritual, representing the duality of human and divine, partaking of both yet being neither. Union of two polarities brings a third containing the potential of both.