Tarot - Robert von Heeren

Expert for the Rider-Waite-Deck and the psychologically oriented handling of it

Robert von Heeren with Rider-Waite-TarotcardsThe historical beginnings of the tarot card game date back to about the 14th century. Around the exact origins and backgrounds some legends entwine. There is little really certain knowledge about it. But the story behind it is better known and can be read in the Tarot article of Wikipedia. The representations of the trump cards, the so-called great arcana (from "secret") have often differed depending on the origin and originator and changed over time. The "real" original tarot does not exist. The only thing that is clear is that it has enjoyed great popularity for centuries as an instrument for divination, not only among gypsies (a cliché) but also in broad social circles.

The tarot is considered the forerunner of today's playing cards. The total of 78 cards are divided into three groups: the 22 major arcana (main trumps), 40 minor arcana (secondary trumps) and 16 court (or face) cards (royal cards), which immediately follow the minor arcana. Of these, for example, the Fool has become the Joker and the Cups have become the Heart cards. The king has remained, the queen has become the dame (or lady), the page (or bellhop) has become the jack. The knight was been dropped.

The Tarot has received a significant renewal and deepening by the American author, scholar, esotericist, secret teacher, Kabbalist, lodge brother and Tarot researcher Arthur Edward Waite. His "Rider-Waite Tarot", published in 1910 and designed by Anglo-American painter Pamela Colman-Smith, brought many new contents into play. For example, he gave the number cards scenic situation descriptions that were relatively new until then. Waite thus made it clear that the Tarot is more than a simple card game: it is a philosophical-mystical treatise on human development stations, paths and stations of our evolution. The predominant use of the Tarot as a divination instrument in card reading was more a secondary matter for Waite. With this design he explicitly wanted to create a corrected Tarot, because he saw fragments of an old secret doctrine in the Tarot cards and wanted to restore them with his Tarot deck.

In esotericism, the Tarot is also considered a book of life and a symbol of the "hero's journey". To this day, the Rider Tarot is the most widespread and popular tarot deck in the world. Although there are now hundreds of alternative tarot decks, some of which focus more on either artistic or content transformation. But in Arthur Edward Waite's and Pamela Colman-Smith's tarot lies the (art nouveau) charm of simplicity and superficially visual accessibility. And hardly any other Tarot deck addresses our psyche so intensively and profoundly. This is why, in my opinion, the Rider Tarot is especially suited for psychological reflection on our lives, e.g. in divination or simply in visual meditation. It addresses archetypal contents in a unique way.

My occupation with the Tarot began in the early 80s: I learned about the deeper symbolism of the Rider-Waite-Tarot through the three-volume "School of the Tarot" by Hans-Dieter-Leuenberger (also by him personally in seminars). Since then I have of course dealt with many interpretations and interpretations of various Tarot specialists. However, my own research to this day has focused primarily on the relationship of the Rider Tarot to Jewish Kabbalistic mysticism and astrology. Waite, for example, in his The Pictorial Key: To the Original Rider Waite Tarot, has given clear indications that he has intensively studied the relationship of Tarot and Kabbalah (he wrote a book about it, by the way), - and to a subordinate extent, astrology. In his tarot cards astrological and kabbalistic symbols appear again and again: e.g. the tree of life in II. The High Priestess, X. the Pentacle/Coins or Venus in III. Ruler. I am convinced that Waite's concept and "blueprint" for the entire Rider Tarot is largely based on Kabbalah. This is the only way to explain certain and partly puzzling interventions of Waite in the Tarot: for example, he interchanged Justice (VIII) with Power (XI) for Kabbalistic reasons. Also the scenes of the 40 number cards are closely connected with the ten cabbalistic spheres or sephira: one tree of life per element.

Waite has revealed little about his tarot concept. He gives in his above mentioned book only in some places (partly intentionally cryptic) references to cabbalistic references. His reticence, however, has not only to do with the then customary vows of silence of the Hermetic Order. He was - like many esotericists, by the way - of the opinion that one cannot simply superficially read up on the deeper backgrounds of the Tarot, but must work it out oneself in intensive study - in order to tread the path of the adept.

The encounter with Hans-Dieter Leuenberger more than three decades ago has brought me on this path. To this day, I am fascinated by the rich and elaborate symbolism and imagery of the Rider-Waite Tarot. I am especially interested in Waite's philosophical-mystical-esoteric content and background.

Tarot lessons for beginners and advanced:

You would like to understand the symbolic language of the Rider-Waite-Tarot or deepen your corresponding knowledge? I offer you well-founded, descriptive and individual lessons (individually or in small groups). Depending on how much time you can invest per month, you will have learned the basics of Rider-Waite-Tarot and modern psychologically oriented divination (card reading) in about a year. No previous knowledge is necessary. The curriculum includes, for example:

For beginners:

Special courses:

Special requests possible after consultation. Schedule flexible, but please be as regular as possible. Face-to-face and/or online classes. For questions and for an individual offer please contact us by phone or e-mail: see imprint and contact. Currently there are still places available! But I have only limited capacities.

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