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Saturday, 28 September 2013

A creed outworn

Roots of Asia Tarot, AGM 2001
This week I'll be blogging with the Roots of Asia Tarot by Amnart Klanprachar and Thaworn Boonyawan (AGMuller, 2001). The deck is now out of print and hard to find, but when I bought it, it was cheap. In fact, shortly after I bought my deck (a few years ago), I saw absolute heaps of them in a bargain bin in a bookshop in Glastonbury, going for £5 each. If I had been a clever clogs, I'd have bought several of them and later made my fortune. Ah, not really.

I was always rather fond of this deck, but deeply disliked the green borders, so one day I impetuously cut the tops and sides off, was appalled at the result, and, ashamed of myself, put the deck in the box and let it languish in the back of my collection. There were plenty of other decks to play with. Recently I nearly sold it; only someone's reticence to use Paypal kept it in my collection. It was when I was preparing it for packaging to be sent that I got to looking at it again. Since it didn't sell, it will remain with me now for a while longer. In fact, I believe I will keep this one. I have to admit, the artwork doesn't do much for me, and even now the strong chemical smell of the AGMuller decks is still clinging about it -- but the LWB is really rather phenomenal. Each card takes the opportunity to teach important lessons in Buddhist thought.

For example, let's look at today's card. In the Rider Waite Smith tradition, the 8 of Cups is often looked upon as making a break from old patterns of thinking or feeling, or actually setting off on a new path, leaving behind outworn habits or literal people and places. The Thoth Tarot calls the 8 of Cups 'Indolence', and suggests it represents the point at which we feel we can't endure our current situation anymore, and begin to feel the need to leave the 'bogs of numbness'  -- so more or less the same meaning. (People seem to think that RWS and Thoth are radically different from one another, but they are both derived from Golden Dawn, and the two paths nearly always converge! But I digress...) The Roots of Asia 8 of Cups is also about change, but approaches from a different angle still:
'Eight of Cups: Awareness of Change and Impermanence. As nature has the motion and changes of the seasons of the year, so too our lives hold various changes and times. We wish to hold on to those seasons of happiness and run away from those seasons of anxiety. Our goal is to learn how to move freely within and between the seasons that continue to come to us. The eight seasons of our lives are: time of accomplishment, time of loss, time of dignity and fame, time of obscurity, time of being blamed, time of being praised, time of happiness, and time of pain. Divinatory key: Searching for insight. Introspection.'
So we see the Roots of Asia Tarot teaching us gentle lessons about change. You don't change from path A to path B and that's that. Things come back around. It's natural. It's to be expected. It's to be accepted. To me, the best thing about this deck is its LWB, and whenever I've used the deck, I've happily referred to the LWB for its lessons in mindfulness and its gentle tone.

Looking at the card image, we see someone in contemplation, the creatures of the sea and the cups and the flowing water reminding us of the water element represented by the Cups suit. The LWB of Roots of Asia Tarot expands on this and explains that the Cups suit represents the 'emotional pathway', where we seek to open our minds to let go of old beliefs, and make way for new learning for the attainment of supreme wisdom and development of trust, generosity, stillness and self-reflection.

What outworn belief can I let go of today?


6 comments:

  1. I rather like these cards. they are very stylized and the blue colors are stunning. But tastes differ :D.
    The Lwb is very zen. That is why Iike the Osho zen tarot. It also has that mindful feeling

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    1. I prefer Roots of Asia to Osho Zen, but yes, I know what you mean. The cards are okay, just not my favourites. I find the art style somewhat muddy.

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  2. I have to say, these do look much nicer without the borders :) Hmm, I never even looked at the LWB, clearly I should have. Maybe I'll pull this one out some time this winter... :)

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    1. Do you think so? I thought they were awfully skinny, but I've owned a few LS decks since then and it doesn't bother me so much now. You should pull it out and have a look at it. :)

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  3. Actually, I'm really loving this card and connecting with it today. I just found it very beautiful and striking, but yeah the green as a border would detract from the image for me.

    I like the message of moving in and out of seasons and back around to them as opposed to leaving something behind forever. So often I beat myself up for finding myself, once again, in a season of stasis when I thought I had grown beyond feeling this way. I like being reminded that it's normal and not a permanent state. I can accept it as a season of my life and that's it. Not a reason for self-blame.

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    1. Precisely! :) We are beyond these seasons of our mundane lives. We can observe them dispassionately, realizing that we are more than these seasons, and that realization can lead to a deep peace.

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