What the Tarot Is by Christine Star Mountain


Part Two of an article on Tarot by the late Astrologer, Christine Star Mountain.


The Tarot is a system of formalized teaching based on archetypal imagery and symbols.  The Tarot, as it is used today, was researched by various students of the occult in the latter part of the 19th Century by the initiates of the mystery schools of that time such as The Order of the Golden Dawn.  A.E. Waite, along with artist Pamela Coleman-Smith created the most well known deck of recent times that is the basis of most decks used today–The Rider-Waite Tarot.  The Tarot teaching of that time was specifically developed for the spiritual seeker who desired a formalized and practical understanding of the sou’s journey here on the earth plane.

The Tarot represented a divine path that the individual could use for guidance.  The chronological order of the Tarot’s Major Arcana represents the various states of the soul’s return to source.  Used as a meditative technique, the Tarot reveals hidden or occult truths.  These truths act as guideposts for and gateways into other dimensions and are symbolically represented on the Major Arcana cards.  The 22 major arcana cards, including card 0, The Fool, describe in picture format this sacred journey.  The understanding of these keys open the doors to the sacred gateways and allow us entrance into still further spiritual realms.  The 22 Major Arcana co-respond to the Qabballa or paths on the Tree of Life. still studied today in esoteric Judaism and various western and eastern esoteric traditions.

“Know Thyself” is one of the axioms written above the ancient temples of learning.  Tarot is both an ancient and contemporary tool with which we learn not only about ourselves and our spiritual path but the “mechanics of the universe” as well.  Modern Tarot has developed parallel to the process of human evolution.  Often referred to as steps to individuation or self individualized psychological growth developed by the late psychiatrist and protege of Freud, Carl Jung, The Tarot and other occult tools were studied and researched by Jung and his theories and conclusions contributed to the development of Jungian Psychology.

Tarot symbolism has changed and continually recreates itself shown by the enormous explosion of unique decks inspired by so many talented artists and students of the Tarot over the last 30+ years.  The human mind can grasp and understand so many new concepts and possibilities today.  We stand on the threshold of mind boggling breakthroughs of human development and cosmic awareness.  We, much like the Fool card, stand with awesome reverence in anticipation of the evolutionary breakthroughs that loom before us.  We, knowing that the precipice before us leads us into unknown and uncharted territory, are being offered a revolutionary “step into the unknown” (The Fool).  We are being presented with a new awareness in human consciousness referred to as “transpersonal consciousness”.

As in the late 19th Century with is later we too are in yet another spiritual renaissance. More than 100 years later we too are invited to participate in yet another spiritual renaissance.  The Tarot decks created during this spiritual emergence can, as in ancient times, offer us insight as to our own individual role in this awesome revolutionary process.  We are taking a quantum leap in human awareness and through the study of the sacred tarot we have the guidance of The Teachers of Wisdom to light our path as symbolized in the Hermit card.

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We are witnessing the emergence of the sacred spiritual growth of Gaia, our Mother.


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