Comparing the Medicine
Wheel and Tarot Suits
Almost every spiritual belief system has some kind of symbolic reference to sacred stations. What I mean by 'sacred stations' is this: Specific aspects of the universal structure that represent endless significance. These segments of significance are multi-layered in symbolism.
Oy, I just re-read all that, and it sounds confusing. In a way it is, because the meaning of these powerful stations offer endless insight. Maybe an example would explain better. Take the Native American medicine wheel. Each quarter of the wheel is a station, and each represents a powerful force.
Take the stations of direction: North, south, east and west. Sure, they may seem like simple navigational references, but each direction also holds tons of deeper meaning. North for example vibrates with the element of air. Air carries a unique spirit, or energy.
Every direction and element carries personality and messages. Within each station's spirit and personality lies powerful understanding into the scaffolding of the universe.
This is why I dig symbolism so much. When I'm encountered with something so vast and baffling, it helps to glom on a symbolic meaning. Take North/Air again - the spirit of air is about communication. It's also symbolic of clarity. The North/Air station carries a symbolic color too: White. As we can guess, white is symbolic of cleansing, purity, transparency, etc.
All the stations have multiple levels of symbolic associations. These distinct attributes aren't unique to Native Americans. The four directions, elements, etc. have long been honored in various representations by various belief systems. I rather think the medicine wheel is one of the most effective models for the powers of the universe. As such, I thought it would be a gas to marry the wheel with the Tarot suits.
You see, the Tarot suit is its own representation of sacred stations. It has four distinct sections. Each section carries big meaning - just like each quarter in the medicine wheel does. It occurred to me that Tarot suits are very much like the Native medicine wheel. The comparisons between the four suits and the four quarters of the wheel are astonishingly compatible. See for yourself. Check out the wheel diagram, the Tarot suit chart and accompanying station explanations. I think you'll agree, the similarities are undeniable.
So what's the purpose of weaving the Native wheel together with the Tarot suits? Well, doing so brought me new insight into the far-reaching influences of the Tarot. Comparing wheel and suits also solidified underscoring forces in the universe, offering bigtime understanding.
Comparing medicine wheel and Tarot suits is also a great way to enhance our readings. For example, a spread with a whole bunch of cups in it represents a message far deeper than the surface meaning of those cards. What if we associated all those cups cards with wheel's direction, which would be south? In reading the explanation below, we see the spirits of the south are associated with family, roots, bloodlines, emotion and continuity of life. That's a hefty dose of knowledge - far greater than surface card meanings.
In short, meshing the medicine wheel and Tarot suits is another technique to enhance and enrich our understanding of Tarot, life and the universe.
I hope you enjoy these associations between two ancient and sacred systems of wisdom. I further hope these connections enhance your personal development as well as your work with the Tarot.
More Correspondences of the Tarot Suits
|A.K.A.:||Discs, Coins||Rods, Staves||Chalices, Goblets||Blades, Athame's|
Tarot suit images shown in the above chart are from the Morgan-Greer deck (lovely, aren't they?). Permission for image use granted by US Games, Inc.
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