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Saturday, 8 June 2013

Circle of stones

Haindl Tarot, Lotus 2002
This week's deck is the very serious and earthy Thoth-based Haindl Tarot  (Haindl, Lotus, 2002). I have the large-size German edition, which I have trimmed of borders and titles and handwritten either Haindl's revised titles or a Golden Dawn/Thoth title on the card.  Haindl created the minor arcana from existing artwork, choosing a detail from one of his earlier paintings, and simply painting the relevant number of pips on top. Each card is marked with an i-ching symbol, which I ignore entirely as I know nothing about the system and have no interest in it. I understand from those in the know that his use of them is idiosyncratic, anyway. The suits are wands, cups, swords and stones (instead of coins/pentacles). The majors and courts were painted specifically for the deck. Majors follow the usual pattern; the courts are Son, Daughter, Father, Mother. I've labelled mine in the more traditional manner of Prince, Princess, Queen, King (using the word 'King' where Crowley uses 'Knight').

Thoth Tarot, Crowley-Harris
Today's card is the 6 of Stones, or 6 of Coins. We see six stones or boulders in a cave of some type. There is water on the cave floor, and a natural path leading to an opening that is filled with daylight. The six stones are arranged around this opening. Looking closer, the top three stones are in a triangle shape, and the bottom three stones are in an upside-down triangle shape. This has a distinct 'as above, so below' feel to it.  In the Thoth Tarot, the 6 of Disks has its pips arranged in a hexagram, too, from the centre of which glows the light of the rosy cross. So it is obvious here that Haindl has taken the original Thoth card and reinterpreted it in earthy imagery, rather than the stark, cold lines of the Crowley-Harris Thoth. It's more or less the same card, though.

image source
Rachel Pollack points out that the two triangles also form the top of the Tree of Life. The centre of the Tree of Life is sometimes called the Abyss, because there appears to be no sephira there. Actually there is, though it's often missing from diagrams or represented by a broken line: Daath. In the Six of Stones, the spot where Daath would be is represented by the glowing light of the cave door. The suggestion in the card, then,  is that the source of wisdom does not have to be separate from the material world. You can enjoy your earthly life and still achieve divine enlightenment. Or as Pollack puts it, 'We can find the true source of meaning within the happiness of daily life.'

In a reading, I would likely interpret this card to mean 'material success', just like it says on the tin, but would also see it as a reminder that success in life can be used to learn deeper lessons, even spiritual ones. The most important one probably being that the little moments of happiness in the day to day are the true keys to understanding our link to the divine. The pleasures of this world can be a gateway to divine connection, an idea which is clearly represented in this card image.


  1. Wow, you might almost get me liking the Haindl at this rate :) Beautiful explanation/exploration of the card!