Tarot of Cosmic Consciousness is a new exquisitly painted Tarot deck of 78 cards and extensively illustrated book by Barbara Bruch. This deck is an exploration of the symbolic relationships of Tarot to Astrology, the Qabbalah and Sacred Geometry. It is meant to inspire the seeker to create one's self-directed spiritual path.
To understand the symbolism of the Knight
cards in Tarot, we need to take a quick look at who the knights were in
history. Let’s start with the knights on horseback during the Middle Ages in
Europe. Who were they? What did they do and why are they still included in most
Tarot decks? During Medieval times, in the Feudal hierarchy, knights pledged
fealty to a lord, a prince, or a king (1200–1700). There were Green, White, Red
and Black knights, trained in chivalry and warfare. They defended their Lord’s kingdoms,
lands, and villages, often engaging the enemy. They were skilled in
horsemanship (jousting) and
the use of weaponry of the time (swords, spears, lances, clubs, catapults and armor).
Sometimes they were rewarded for their bravery and courage with parcels of land
or useful goods, and/or money.
We know about them mostly from stories of
the Christian Crusades, which began around 1096. The Knights Hospitaller and
Knights Templar and similar orders were sent by various Popes to liberate the
Holy Land, and Jerusalem in particular, from the grip of Seljuk Turks who took
over that land in 1055. Some knights were offered rewards in the form of
“indulgences,” by having all their sins automatically forgiven because of their
service to the church.
In literature, we hear about King Arthur
and the mythical “Knights of the Round Table,” with Galahad and Perceval seeking
the Holy Grail, Christ’s cup. (And that’s a whole other story). Joseph Campbell
delineates a reality check of
Cervantes novel about the imagination of the errant knight, “Don Quixote,” as a
satire on chivalry: “Reality carried Quixote, that is to say, who carried the
adventure in his head. Adventures are impossible and yet Don Quixote brings
them to pass.” (The
Masks of God, Creative Mythology, p. 294).
Because of an inflated ego and wild imagination, including encroaching madness,
Quixote couldn’t see the unreality of his beliefs, especially about the windmills
he was speeding his horse to take down. He thought they were giants that he
must vanquish. As Sancho says, “What giants?” Campbell quotes Ortega, “…there
are men who decide not to be satisfied with reality.” (p. 605)
Prince of Cups TOCC
What is it that lures young men
(occasionally, a woman) to go off to war? Some say it is the sense of
adventure, risk-taking; the urge to become a hero; to defend a country or
kingdom, or to conquer new lands. What are the stakes for going to war? Land
grabs, defense of territory, settling angry disputes in an attempt to establish
power and control over others property, to defend religious beliefs, and to set
up new states or kingdoms. Maybe it was like that during the crusades.
But what is it they don’t tell you about
going off to war today?
There has been over 250
major wars since Biblical times, each one more perilous and deadly than the one
before, and hundreds of lesser wars over the centuries. In the aftermath of WWI
and WWII, the threat of war has become a horrific nightmare, and in some war
rooms, leaders contemplate the possibility of the end of the world (via Atom
Bomb/ Hydrogen Bomb). The Second World War reached an appalling new dimension. Over
60,000,000 people were killed, including civilians and soldiers, with over
6,000,000 Jews, and others, murdered outright in Germany’s gory gas chambers.
What glory and honor was there in dropping
one bomb on a city from one plane and obliterating everything and everyone in
it in 1945 in a few seconds (killing over 200,000 people of Hiroshima and
Nagasaki, Japan). Miles of land and air were poisoned with nuclear radiation.
Warfare on this scale has changed our attitude about war. Some of us remember
the Cuban Missile Crisis scare when people were building bomb shelters in their
basements and stocking them with food supplies. More of us remember the huge
“Peace Marches” and “Flower Power” during the Viet Nam War, demanding the end
to drafting more men to fight. Today, more than ever, we need a reality check!
knights signify when they come up in a reading?
The reason Knights, or
Princes are included in the Tarot is obvious. War is not over. Knights
symbolize the brave charge to action: the courage to take risks, to sacrifice
one’s life for a “cause;” to fight for what you believe; to train in tactics of
warfare and focus on defeating the enemy, real or imagined.
Here are some thoughts
based on Gail Fairfield’s “Choice Centered Tarot,” (Red Wheel-Reiser)
Knight of Wands: maintaining your identity, knowing who you are and how to present yourself
dynamically to the world
Knight of Cups: Paying attention to your feelings and intuition and acting on them,
while expressing how you feel to other
Knight of Swords: taking action on well thought-out strategies and plans, while
separating the real from the unreal; truth from the lies.
Knight of Coins/Pentacles: focusing on hard work; establishing security;
concentrating on solving the everyday difficulties of living this life and
taking the appropriate steps to achieve your goals.