The Sacred India Tarot by Rohit Arya & Jane Adams was published last year, and is available on Amazon, or from the publisher, Yogi Impressions.
We often refer to it as “Sita” – the Sacred India Tarot Arcana. Sita was the wife of Rama in the great epic.
Pictures of “The Sacred India Tarot deck”:
The box, the deck (82 cards) and the book (350 pages). To the traditional 78 cards or Arcana, are added 4 “grace” cards – Ganesha, Mother Kali, World Shakti and Blessings of Babaji.
The cradle in the main box, with the 82 cards inside.
The inner cradle opens out of the box, to reveal the Blessings of Babaji, the Spirit guide of the deck – ancient as the rivers are, from the Himalayas. So it becomes a travelling altar, to place anywhere for a quiet moment.
Here is a recent reading or reflection – a “present-moment” one during a meditation, showing its past and future resonances to the left and right. I do this by cutting the deck 3 times X 3 times, placing the centre pile on top. After the third time, I turn the upper cards over – the centre one being the present. On this day, it is 6 of Pentacles/the Buddha’s enlightenment touching earth; the pile to the left is the past – Page of Wands/the Ashwins extend help; and to the right is “future tense” – 4 of Pentacles/Prince Gautama leaves home at night, on muffled hooves, to fulfill his destiny. Interpretation subtly and privately aligns to the pressures of the day, and often suggests a commonsense guidance, to deal with things – such as, in this one: touch earth-base, stay true, don’t get carried away.
The Sri Chakra Yantra, on the backs of all the cards, is an “energy-instrument” to centre the present … or indeed, the Presence. See my earlier blog in this series’ archive, on “How to Draw the Sri Chakra Yantra.”
Rohit Arya’s 350 page book with the deck, presents with great clarity India’s ancient mythological and esoteric matrix – the Sanatana Dharma – together with insights on Yoga, Meditation and many pages of practical guidance on using the deck. Each card has its in-depth interpretation, history and mythology; with its psychological application to the modern world. The archetypes are timeless. Rohit has an unusual and remarkable gift to truly bridge the east and west – the Vedic culture with Jungian insight. From the watershed, or source, all continents and cultures flow. The word is “integration” and it is timeless. The deck is a reminder, within India’s current technological skill and vitality, of her immense spiritual landscape; and not to neglect the informed understanding. The stories, epics and imagery it contains, nourish the inner and outer life, and help us realise our goals and face our problems in any medium or relationship. The subconscious responds to images – to the language in pictures. This, the Rishis knew. The Rishis were the Vedic sages of the elder Saraswathi Indus Arya culture. They were family men; they sat with trees, and heard the Cosmic law, its quanta, phenomena and orbitings within themselves. Sanskrit is their hieroglyphic language – a script of living pictures. A Rishi is a river. The Himalayan rivers are rishis – the Rishi Ganga flows in a deep, dark gorge, from the almost impenetrable Nanda Devi sanctuary. In the ancient world, the Rishis conversed freely with the other great river culture – Egypt; for wisdom is of the root. The lotus becomes in the west, the lily and the rose. The sun rises as a lotus and sets as a rose. Tarot – an anagram of the Law – may have derived from the blending of the two cultures.
In his book, Rohit writes – concerning the Cards of Spiritual Transformation:
“While designing the structure of The Sacred India Tarot, it was surprising (but no longer is) to note how naturally the gods and myths of Indian culture fitted into the original Tarot structure. This highlighted the universality of the Tarot spiritual system, and led to a deeper insight about its personages. They are what we call Devas or Devatas in India. The word deva (feminine, devi) literally means ‘shining one’. They are embodiments of light – the physical symbol of spiritual energy. The Fool, the Magician, the Empress, the Queen of Wands, to take four representative examples, are not just archetypal energies manifest in forms comprehensible to the medieval European mind; they are independent and Protean entities in themselves. This is the nature of devatas and the Tarot. This realisation was vindicated when reading David Frawley’s theory of Devata Yoga.
“Frawley holds that worship of the ‘gods’ is in fact a method of uniting with the Divine. All such methods of union are Yogas; the word ‘yoga‘ itself means ‘to yoke’ – man to the Divine. The devatas are specific aspects of Consciousness that surface in spiritual experience. They are energies of the universe; Divine principles within Omnipresent Consciousness. Elements of nature are symbolically represented with visages and voices, attributes and functions that can communicate intelligibly to humans, and we call them ‘gods’. They are a path to access higher reality within our own consciousness. However, the best aspect of engaging with the devas/Tarot personages, is to take on their qualities; to awaken within oneself their pragmatic counsel on living a productive life.
“The ‘shining ones’ awaken the healing powers of the mind and body. They enable you to access the depths of the mind and emotions, resulting in ever-increasing awareness, and sharper mental faculties.
“The simple point here is, that the Tarot is a European Yoga, a system to access the Divine energies, to enable you to reach the higher planes of consciousness in organic stages of inner growth.
“… … the inherent structure of the Major Arcana proved to be much more harmonious with yogic experience than was hitherto suspected. The last segment of Major Arcana cards, particularly those numbered from 15 to 21, are a precis of the workings of the Kundalini power from the initial stages of initiation to full enlightenment. Following the text of these cards in sequence will explain the process in detail … … As always, the Tarot proved to be wiser and more capable of surprises than one’s expectations.”
For further study, Rohit’s articles earlier this year, in his blog http://aryayogi.wordpress.com are illuminating, experiential and profound. You may also find there, our ongoing series of illustrated posts on how we created the deck, working together by trans-oceanic email. The project took about 9 years to complete. The structure, the exchanged images and the life-energies around the creation of each card, are of great interest, in the construction of the deck, and in the whole project.
Finally, here is a random “throw” of some of the Sacred India Tarot Arcana …
There are, in this deck, no “inverse-card” readings. In the dvara (the teaching), Light and Shadow are inherent in any turning “tao” of Life and the paths we may be prompted to follow. Rohit’s ideal was to represent pictorially in the deck, elements of all the spiritual cultures.
My adventure invites fellow travellers. I am a poet, an artist and a seer. I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.
This blog is a vehicle to promote my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books) – along with many other creations in house.
I write, illustrate, design and print my books. Watch this space.