Sacred India Tarot Arrows – Transition


Sacred India Tarot - Pages of Arrows - Version 2

In some ways, my process with the Arrows, in my inner and outer life, is the deepest yet. The Arrows are of “confrontation” and its passage into peace.

Sacred India Tarot 10 of Arrows - Version 2

Touching on the 10 of swords is nadir – I feel that resonance the collapse of the seed and civilization, for the new growth and transmission.   King Bheeshma dies – he gives his Arrow of knowledge and wisdom to the young Yudishtara.  Rock bottom: from the old as it dies, is planted the new.   It is in the martial art movement, an empty leg with the fullness of the ground flowing into it.   In my painting of 10 of Swords, the old King dying on the Arrows along his spinal chakras, uplifts his nobility into the compassion of the new King’s listening face.

In the Sacred India Tarot facebook page yesterday, Rohit mentioned:
In traditional Tarot this is rock bottom, but in yoga that is also understood as the beginning of a new cycle.
Bheeshma failed, but the knowledge and wisdom he accumulated was passed on so that Yudhistara could succeed. Hence the personal failure did not count as much as the societal gain in the end…”


The Fool in the Tarot, is known in our Sacred India Tarot deck as “the wild card”.  This is because the archetype comes through the primordial Wild Hunter, the divine Rudra, fore-runner of Siva.

Every innocent Fool – or Wild Hunter –  embarks upon an adventure!   Each soul who embarks upon an adventure is a Fool!   The Fool is the entire Tarot – the space between the lines.   Pretty soon, the Fool meets the Magician and the (subconscious feminine) Priestess, who contains him, and reveals in succession, Empress, Emperor, and Hierophant;  his sense of proportion returns.

This was the unpublished version of Rudra - the Fool or creative principle of the deck

This was the unpublished version of Rudra – the Fool or overall creative principle of the deck

The Fool begins the journey in an exciting mist.   As the sun rises and gains strength, the landscape and its mountain peaks and chief features, appear.   Human are we, everlastingly.

But I want to reflect on the 10 of Swords as I am passing through.   The nadir (at any point) is reached when a situation overwhelms me.  I lose my vital force and die.   Dying, I wait latent for the daffodils to appear.

Psychologically, the 10 of Swords carries remorse and new intention.   We all get it repeatedly in our lives.  This Key is hard, but it is a good one.   When we are overwhelmed, we are obscured and off balance.  But the “overwhelming factor” is self-correcting in the Tao.  When Yang is saturated, when it is filled, it converts to Yin, and vice versa.  This movement ever oscillates and stretches, concludes and opens.   I am the pebble which is rolled in the river bed.

Truth is the blank, the empty room’s passing;  be still and honour it, this morning.

So:  the feeling this morning.  Stasis, empty room, and sorrow.  Not about anything particular.  Sorrow is an essential part of the mix;  like rain in the sky.   Sorrow is awareness, and this feels good and right.  It breathes its own pulse.   It is love which is object-free;   it is the soft talk of the stream that flows on the mountain.   I give my sorrow time and space.  It cleanses, after each “overwhelming” or flood of the Fishes in Tao.   It makes slow Ch’i movements with a candle flame.   Nurture the rich field of sorrow, the empty fullness – the Fool in sacred space.  Alone in the oscillation, is life.  The Swords which move it, are the discipline of the Work:  the dance form.   This is what I love.


Sorrow is a form of the Sword.   I found, to illustrate the “Han” part of my previous post, this photo online of two Tao gentlemen on a sea-beach:  one of them just tossed the other lightly upside down, and he cartwheels – they wear flowing white jackets and black flapping trousers, they make a Tao symbol.  They are not doing the Sword form, but the Sword form is based on the flow around Tan t’ien in the belly.

What is Sword Form?   What is the Tao chi?   What is citta (sanskrit)?  It is total concentration on Life – just as a woman in utmost labour is concentrated.   It is a difficult art to get it right;  but keep practicing with this Sword – and “no blame” as those Oriental gentlemen would say (whenever it obsesses a bit).

Centrifugal Yang through Yin - sketched from "The Trigrams of Han" by Steve Moore

Centrifugal Yang through Yin – the “destruction cycle’ sketched from “The Trigrams of Han” by Steve Moore.  Fire melts metal which cuts wood which uses earth which drinks water … which puts out fire.


In Kabbalah practice are very high ideals when the “concentration” surges.   Pleasure-seeking Yesod child in due course pulls it down to the consumer level, where it breaks up – and clings to the bits of wet bread, and weeps with being abandoned, and the job yet again, to get out of the fix.

But the beautiful balance – being Empty for the Full – always returns.   Each time there is a little more learning.   There is wood to cut and water to gather, as before.

And returning to the space:  as De Ruiter would say – let it be tenderly obvious and obscure.  The values of life are in the illumined empty-full:  the attendance on the tendency … the fluid point between those gentlemen on the beach:  between the waves.  We are all of a waveband.

yin yang peach


Rohit and I are students of Jung.  To some extent, Jung seems to have directed our project, The Sacred India Tarot, which bridges the spiritual traditions and their archetypes, for he crops up in my journal over the years, whenever it became intense.

At about this point in our Archive, the Suit of Arrows changes its tone.  The battle is complete, with the Ten of Arrows;  a new realm opens, as the instinct to make war transforms to “martial art”.  Intuitively, the Swords/Arrows change to Rods or Wands – the coming Suit of Staves.  The Wand or Stave is actually the Caduceus, serpent twined – the authority by which Moses struck water from the rock.

In the seminal Red Book, Jung’s journey with Elijah and Salome continues:

jung as hermit

jung as hermit

Footnote: “Now I learn that Mary is the mother, the innocent and love-receiving, and not pleasure who bears the seed of evil in her heated and seductive manner.  If Salome’s evil pleasure is my sister, then I must be a thinking saint, and my intellect has met with a sad fate. …  Salome as Elijah’s daughter, is an offspring of thought, and not the principle itself, which Mary the innocent virgin mother, now appears as.”

And:  “The image of the cool starry night and of the vast sky opens up my eye to the infinity of the inner world, which I as a desirous man feel is still too cold.  I cannot pull the stars down to myself, but only watch them.  Therefore my imperious desire feels that world is nightly and cold.”

He refers to abstract perception, and to the refining of his desire.  For most of us, the refinement does not nourish us, until we are willing to wait upon it in our empty-full.   Then it becomes a nectar waterfall.  It is the fulfilment of humanity’s higher Self – everything else is starvation, really.   Our origin is this element.

Jung's painting of himself with Elijah and Salome in the Red Book

Jung’s painting of himself with Elijah and Salome in the Red Book

The chapter in the Red Book titled “Resolution” witnesses a struggle between doubt and desire:  the prophet bids him desist from climbing the high ridge of a rock which separates day and night.   To the right of the rock is a black serpent, to the left, a white one.   (Goodness, those Oriental gentlemen again !)  They pounce and wrestle terribly.


“The black serpent seems to be stronger, the white serpent draws back.  Great billows of dust rise from the place of struggle.  But then I see: the black serpent pulls itself back again.  The front part of its body has become white.  Both serpents curl about themselves, the one in light, the other in darkness.”

He thinks it over, and asks Elijah – “Should it mean that the power of the good light will become so great that even the darkness that resists it will be illumined by it?”  For answer, Elijah takes him to the high place and stands upon the altar Stone:  “This is the temple of the sun.  This place is a vessel that collects the light of the sun.”

Then the prophet climbs down, becoming smaller and smaller until he is Mime the dwarf in the Ring Cycle.  Mime shows Jung the wellsprings of the deep.  “The collected light becomes water and flows in many springs from the summit into the valleys of the earth.” He dives into a dark crevice, and Jung follows him, hearing the rippling of a spring.  “Here,” says Mime “ are my wells, whoever drinks from them becomes wise.”

But Jung is scared, and he goes outside his house and walks up and down in his yard, in the full bright air of his interior vision, the cave.   Before the vision of the snakes, he had a block, and couldn’t descend:  his normal procedure would not descend.   He realised he had a conflict in himself about going down, and it took the imaginative form of two dark principles fighting each other, the serpents.

Caduceus on the tree of life.  The lower figure was drawn with both hands simultaneously, exercising both sides of the brain - without leaving the paper.

Caduceus on the tree of life. The lower figure was drawn with both hands simultaneously, exercising both sides of the brain – without leaving the paper.

In The Ring cycle, Mime the master craftsman, brought up Siegfried in the cave, to kill the dragon giant Fafner who stole the ring.  Siegried slays Fafner with Mime’s INVINCIBLE SWORD, gets the ring(?) and kills Mime who had intended to kill him.

It sounds like the transfer of the power in the 10 of Swords, in Mahabharath.  All mythologies bear the human tale.  It includes precognition and betrayals.  In Jung’s journey, the dwarf Mime represented the allure of the ‘clever’ intellect, untempered by the laws of love.

In the 10 of Swords, the old King’s “overwhelming” transforms to Consciousness, as the blades enter his awakened Kundalini spine:  the feeling is no longer pain.   It yields.   Knowledge happens when tension against it drops.  The snakes enter me.  I enter the snakes.  We flower, as the room is opened. 

I now discover, the Royals – Page, Knight, Queen and King of Arrows – are all of a piece with these perceptions.


The Pages move together in alert reconciliation.  They are Archers, but the truce between them is a Sword.  This card recalls the 2 of Arrows, where the young Bheeshma in training to become a warrior, fights with his teacher.

Hanuman the monkey god, crossing the sea to jewelled Lanka to help Rama rescue Sita – (in the Suit of Wands/Staves) – carries a rosebud and displays great mental and intellectual energy.   He is of a par with the agile chessboard Knight’s lateral thinking, where everyone else travels in straight lines.  He is our wonderful servant;  but let him not become the dark dwarf Mime.  The dwarves in the underworld play the market with cunning, but do not release their treasure.

Queen Draupadi is a wild dark huntress, like Diana in the west – a formidable encounter for any unprepared male.  Note the snake around the sinuous tree.  The publishers of the deck requested she wear pantaloons, respecting the conventions in contemporary Indian art;  but here is the original drawing.

The King of Arrows is Garuda, who was half an eagle.  His human face is a double eagle, as in alchemy.  The eagle’s vision flies as high as the serpent travels deep.  Advised by the Lightning god, Indra, Garuda is a great ruler.   He balances Planet Earth lightly on a feather, raises his arrow like the Queen of Justice in the west, and contains his ojas.
Before him, the Caducean pair of serpents rest on the ground, entwined.

We will discuss these cards more fully in the next SITA posts.





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 also 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). Watch this space.

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All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012-2014. May not be used for commercial purposes. May be used and shared for non-commercial means with credit to Jane Adams and a link to the web address

13 thoughts on “Sacred India Tarot Arrows – Transition

  1. The photo of T’ai Chi Ch’uan in not correct. In the photo we can see 2 man doing Aikido. There many correlation with T’ai Chi (for example Chi is the same word of Ki in japanese) but they are two martial arts very different. I’m following the way of aikido 🙂

  2. Thank you for the comment and clarifying. The photo of aikido is taken from a t’ai chi ch’uan website, as you see, and can visit, in the caption – you might like to comment there also. Of course there are differences in the two martial arts in practice – as expressed in two very different cultures – but the main principle they follow, is what interests me. Best wishes on your Aikido path, and thanks again.

  3. “But the beautiful balance – being Empty for the Full – always returns. Each time there is a little more learning. There is wood to cut and water to gather, as before.” There are so many ways to follow the Path and always more work to do. Thank you for this deep look into this Way of Knowing and Living. Beautiful artwork. Very resonant with my own feelings. I love all your colors! Thank you for a wonderful post Jane.

  4. Thank you so much for your inspiring posts ~ the Sacred India Tarot has spoken to me so deeply and filled a niche in me that was vacant for some time ~ hence my love for Tarot declined over the last several years. The Haindl deck was my go to deck in the 90’s, but as time moved on, it slowly was not the deck for me any more. What the connections and intuitive glimpses that were unverified were not being answered by any deck. When the Sacred India came out, the moment I looked throughout the images, I realized a sudden …” finally.” Rohit’s amazing book and now the discovery of the blog where you …”connect the dots,” has been such a blessing … thank you for sharing and continuing to do so…. It serves to help those of us who have read between the lines and saw within Tarot a bigger structure, one that perhaps is unlimited …. as we just needed someone to say, yes the messages are true. Thank you

  5. Dear Lance, thank you for this. I too find the Sacred India an astonishing psychological tool, for reading between the lines. I wonder if you have come across the Builders of the Adytum deck? ( They have a beautiful fresh deck based on Ryder-Waite, but which you colour yourself, and they do a correspondence course on the profound connections within Tarot. With love and best wishes on your path, Jane

    • You have any views on Waite switching the Strength card to 11th place and Justice to 8th(swapping both of them), for supposedly astrological significance ? Many Marseilles’ users consider it a mistake since they view each of the numbers in the 4 suites to be correspondent to the Major Arcanum(Eg. Aces are aspects of the Magician, Twos of High Priestess..and so on, while paires of x+10 eg Magician(1) and Justice(11) , are pairs). I ask this also because in SITA, the original Marseilles numbering has been used(Strength is at 11) which gladdens me, whereas most modern decks being based on Waite, put Strength on 8.

      Secondly, since Tens in all suites seem to be connected to Completion(in Rohit’s explanations as well as others), why does it have to be connected to sorrow ? One devotee of the Marseilles deck considered the sad depictions on 5 of Pentacles(which for many, is just “change”, which can be positive or negative), and 10 of arrows(which is just a “completion” of a cycle, which, eg. can mean retirement in someone’s case) in Waite deck to be a snapshot of a particular kind of “change” or a “completion” and not the full range of it. I know there is a light and shadow side to the cards, but for some cards like this, it seems they are shadowy on the whole, with “light” being the light-on-the-horizon.

      • I would also point out: Your whole SITA artwork is online, on your blog and on pinterest. It’s extremely vulnerable to copyright infringement,
        I myself downloaded the art(2 or 3 pictures did not have the card description at the bottom, but I know what they are), for a rough webapp I built for tarot reading, where I have some other non copyrighted decks. I do not intend to develop it enough for commercial use though. I basically need the art in a soft copy because I need to use tarot on my phone, iPad etc. But I have ordered the deck because I feel that one must never take something for free (unless the creator intends it), especially from an artist. That is how society prospers, when everyone plays his part in the World Yajna.
        However, with this modus operandi, there will be plenty of unscrupulous ones out there.

  6. Pingback: The Yew Wand | Journal with Gene Keys

  7. Hi Arpan, thank you for your concern and integrity. I am well aware of this, and thought carefully many times about the sharing online that I do. Each time I was guided to the conclusion that on balance it is best to continue to transmit the work. The publisher raised no objection as the SITA art work brings many more people to purchase the deck. I receive regular requests for permission to reproduce images non-commercially as you have done. Obviously there are infringements of this in the world as it is. I do not see how these can be prevented even with the complex process of enforcing. I contact the persons involved when I am made aware of them. It is with their Karma whether or not they might profit from it – I doubt if they do. I agree with what you say about the world Yajna.

    I didn’t reply to you yet about the Tarot 8 and 11. I have to say I did not read Waite’s rationale for switching them over. I have reached a non-dogmatic position that this pair of Tarots gets interchanged according to cultural and historical emphasis and the immense changes in human experience over the last century or so. I am happy with Justice and Strength being either 8 or 11 in the nuance of the individual deck. Rohit Arya in the Sacred India Tarot used the original Marseilles (8 as Justice) and that works fine, as does the Waite (8 as Strength) in the Builders of the Adytum deck which I use.

    The astrological significance is related to the 22 Hebrew letters and their Zodiac signs. Waite probably built on the work of Eliphas Levi who created a new deck at the end of the 19th century. Tarot Seven is related to Cancer, Eight to Leo and 9 to Virgo and so on. The actual Hebrew letters for Cancer, Leo and Virgo are 8, 9 and 10, the apparent discrepancy is because the newer deck begins with 0, the Fool – which is 21 in the Marseilles deck. It is best to stay with what you resonate and are comfortable with, in the map. I’m very glad you so appreciate the SITA. I worked extensively with both versions but now use 8 as Leo, Soul Strength. I like 11 as Justice (Libra) because the scales reflect the 1 and 1 after 10. I am a “visual thinker”.

    Yes the 10s which are completion also depict catastrophe and sorrow in the suits. I think this is a left over from when the Tarot was traditionally more heavily polarised to light and shadow and reversal than it is today. The Keys are tools for us to see for ourselves the way to freedom and whatever “obstructs” it. The Tarot like everything else, is in ferment now, an evolving process upon the basic laws (keyboard) which do not change. For me seeing as a Kabbalist, the 10 is where the “suit” comes to earth and manifestation. This brings or materialises residual stuff to deal with! In this way the 10 purifies, in preparation for the four Royal cards which represent four worlds: material, formation, creation and the Divine.

    5 of Pents – “change” – for many, change is sadness, disorientation and loss. The Tarots mirror our archetypal projections. Our work with Tarot places responsibility within ourselves rather than with “experts”. We have liberty to find out through the way our life is lived.

    Thank you for your interest – and enjoy the Sacred India Tarot deck! Rohit’s book with it is excellent.

    • Re how to prevent infringement: Only thing that artists(including photographers) resort to is- watermarking the demo images, leaving them clear enough to be appreciated but undesirable for use. However, I guess, regarding this particular work, such watermarking might feel distasteful. I agree with the publisher’s business logic though.

      For the rest: More than informative, it was “relieving”. I was quite frustrated with the utter confidence with which various interpreters give mutually contradictory views. The liberal “intuitive: ones inevitably turn out to be believers in Unity of the garbage bin where everything is acceptable and piled up together, instead of Unity of Earth and Heaven where everything is accepted and yet is at its proper place and requires thus requires great knowledge for organization. What you say is a validation of what I was inclined to believe: One need not fix oneself in anyone’s interpretation, nor in the most evident meaning of the card. If one is sure of one’s sincerity, one can dare to follow one’s own inner intimations.

      Thanks a lot!

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