Sacred India Tarot Archive – Creation of 9 and 10 of Staves/Wands

Sita 10 of staves detail

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aikido

Glancing through this series, I am reminded how the suit of Staves or Wands develops the astral weaponry of the suit of Swords/Arrows into a martial art, or dance form.  This seemed fairly straightforward in the early cards of this suit, but by the time I reach Nine and Ten, it feels like too much is manifesting all at once on the earthly plane;  a bundle of imagined responsibility, almost a shut-down.
Never have I felt less creative.

Let the bundle go and lighten up!  Rohit’s interpretative notes suggest this also, as do the original Rider-Waite illustrations I worked from.

The wands are miniature trees.  Take just one, and look up it;  dance with it …

looking up the oak

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NINE OF STAVES – from Rohit’s Notes, 2003

“Suspicion about Sita in Ayodhya ensures her banishment;  One of the meanings of this card is Authority and the burdens thereof.  Rama had assumed Kingship and did such a great job that it is still regarded as India’s golden age.  However, his sense of responsibility to public opinion caused him to banish Sita when slander had reached impossible levels. The king’s wife, like Caesar’s, had to be above suspicion.  What ought to be shown is Rama in all the splendour of his kingship having to take a decision to banish his wife, and never spending a happy moment since.  Sita need not even be present in the card;  this is Rama’s agony.”

poppy

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From Rohit Arya’s Book with the Deck

“Rama ruled over Ayodhya in a manner which has become synonymous in India with the Perfect Age; the rule of Rama is still invoked as an ideal to aspire towards.  Poverty was non-existent, and the people so content that Rama would wait every day at court for a person seeking justice!  In Rama the ancient dream – if a perfect king was found, the society would mirror his stature – found fulfilment.

“Yet there was one unhappy soul in this sea of contentment, and that was Rama.  For the old rumours about Sita and her virtue had begun again …  A perturbed Rama, for whom family reputation and the respect kings gained by example was paramount, gave in to public opinion.  He told Laxmana to abandon Sita in the forest near the ashram of Valmiki, so that she would be taken care of.  She was pregnant at the time, so Rama has been denounced ever since for being heartless.

Rider Waite 9 of Wands

Rider Waite 9 of Wands

“This tale is part of the Uttara Kanda of the Valmiki Ramayana, a segment long held by scholars to be spurious.  Nevertheless, the banishment of Sita has captured the imagination, and while it may not be true it is a (psychological) reality.  I also wanted one card to reflect the now traditional Rider-Waite imagery in Tarot, and when I read this sentence I could not resist it:  ‘Rama picked up a staff used during the yagna and, while leaning upon it, gave vent to his grief.’

“Interpretating the card:  Caution owing to vulnerability – face unjust criticism boldly.  Period of developing self awareness. The card of unsought and unwanted promotions and responsibilites;  wisdom and strength gained at great cost – inner resoluteness increases. Controlling oneself from misuse of power- realisation that one’s path is always going to be lonely.  Vigilant and alert attitude required.

“Shadow:  remembering past slights and fearing the future and that this new responsibility will turn out badly.  Being kicked upstairs.  Putting others first to the point of exhaustion. Feeling of, but not actual stagnation.  Tendency to retreat within, self absorbed, loner.  Old habits die hard.  Deferring to society’s norms.

“Are you fed up or exhausted with the current situation?  Why?
What can you do about it?”

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Sacred India Tarot, 9 of Staves - Rama's agony and suspicion of Sita

Sacred India Tarot, 9 of Staves – Rama’s agony and suspicion of Sita

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Jane’s Notes – 2015

In the Rider Waite deck, the Wands sprout small green shoots.  I could have included these in the above painting, but for some reason I left them bare.  Implicit in the rod or wand is its fertile potential.  Discover an undistracted sphere of authority or focus – then act on it.

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Lord Siva on his Tao

Lord Siva on his Tao

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Why is Sita’s banishment as Rohit says above, a “psychological reality”?

Perhaps one meaning is when our thoughts and grand ideas about things become brittle. When we trust, we walk on the water of life.  But when we think or listen to what ‘others’ say, we get heavy and sink.

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TEN OF STAVES – Rohit’s Notes, 2003

“Sita returns to earth’s womb, Rama is left alone.  The ten of wands has always a sense of oppression associated with it.  The card is liable to be complex as the brooding isolation that Rama feels is intensified here.  The earth has opened up to recover Sita, as she was unable to bear yet another demand for proof of innocence.  Rama has one more trauma to bear;  previously his wife was banished but alive in the forest, now he did not even have that straw to cling to.

“This event occurs at a great fire sacrifice, a Yagnya, so the positioning of the wands should not be too problematic.”

new year fire

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From Rohit’s book with the Deck, 2011

“The Earth receives Sita – Now Rama and his judgemental subjects are in trouble.  The king has to perform yagnas – Vedic fire sacrifices – as a vital part of his intermediary between the gods and humans.  By law, a ruler could not officiate at yagnas without his wife being present;  it rendered the whole ritual futile.  Rama however, had famously sworn to have only one wife. In a polygamous society, this was breathtaking and a new paradigm of ethical behaviour, rapidly emulated by an impressed world.

rider waite ten of wands

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“The fidelity that saw the citizens bask in the supremacy of their king, has now become a problem for the maintenance of the social fabric.  The very foundation of ritha – cosmic harmony  – rests upon the kings of the earth performing yagnas.  Here is Rama, supreme amongst men, unable to hold yagnas.  Sita is still alive, and Rama will never have any other spouse.  She is also still banished.  It is an intolerable impasse.  The self satisfied littleness of mind in Ayodhya has made them the laughing stock of the world – a society with no yagnas!

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“A desperate compromise is sought.  If Sita would agree to just one more ordeal by fire to prove her chastity … A distraught Sita, never doubting Rama’s unswerving love, nevertheless has had enough.  She calls upon Bhumidevi Gaia – the Earth Goddess who is her mother – to rescue her from this unceasing torment.  The earth swallows her while the very gods are appalled, witness to Rama’s utter desolation.

“In a reading:  Overwhelmed – too much of everything;  superabundance of talents, which have become burdensome.  Next set of challenges after success.  Drop some things, lighten the load … Period of intense concentration and focus cannot be maintained for long.  Loneliness at the top, but it is the top.

“Shadow: Oppression and taking on too much – terrible deadline pressures, and too eager to please.  Misuse of power, making unreasonable demands.   You cannot do so much. Accept it.  Let go of some things, delegate others, and forget the impossible and implausible.”

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Sacred India Tarot Ten of Staves - The earth receives Sita

Sacred India Tarot Ten of Staves – The earth receives Sita

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Jane’s Notes – 22 October 2003

Finished the Rama picture.  It is not being done according to the “maestro tempo”, but to the whim of my personal unfolding.  Each month or so, the India Tarot moves forward a jot or jolt, and from time to time produces a picture which is about my own discoveries.

In this one, Rama’s grief has sunk underworld with the fay and loyal Sita whom he unjustly suspected. She arises through his bones, watery, into the Fire of the Yagna Sacrifice – and from that same fire is sprouted the man in an orange sky of flame upon a violet crystal landscape.  She ascends through the sacrifice, and he grieves, he feels.  The bundle of ten red Wands crosses behind his upper spine and weighs upon his heart;  this is humanity having to learn by experience.  It is also the irrepressible arising of the dew, the spring waters, as the heart connection transfigures – the white around Rama and on the Wands.  The membrane between Rama and Sita is a turgid dark green, signifying impurities and jealousy in the desire nature.  But you can see that the pure waters are impacting up his lower spine by osmosis.

The earth in fact has opened like a lake, and She – like the lady of Shalott – rests within it.  The man looks elsewhere, he is speared and crossed through with his individuation, but has not yet glimpsed beyond his own container.

In the previous card, the Nine of Wands, he stands on guard with self righteous dignity, wearing a purple mantle;  this violet colour is now the rocky landscape in which he sits semi-naked.

For the Sacred India Tarot, their interpretation of the Wands is the Intellect.  In the Nine – I am now following the classic Rider-Waite designs – he grasps one of the Wands of a fence, to use it as a spear.  In the Ten, this one becomes the burden of the entire Ten which he believes he carries.

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Tree of Life with three Gunas, showing vedanta and western traditions

Tree of Life with three Gunas, showing vedanta and western traditions

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Kabbalistically, Ten of Wands is Malkuth of the suit – the nitty gritty reality – just as Nine of Wands is Yesod, the self image or cloak.  In fact, with the possible exception of Three of Wands (Ravanna rejecting wise counsel) for Binah/Understanding, all the Wands I have drawn work well in the ten Sefiroth of the Tree – about which I thought not at all, in the doing.  So ten are done – a whole Tree.  The Court cards are the four worlds, and will begin with the Page of Wands as the Ashwin solar twins – the divine healers.

On the other hand there are multiple levels to see in this Ten of Wands painting, for turning to “Stage 12 in Alchemy, Multiplication” I see that the upright and stationary wands in the Nine all have this transformative and incendiary potential into the orange sky light of the Ten.  So the Ten contains a great release potential.

woodlamp

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Correspondence/Feedback;  Rohit, December 2003

“The Nine of wands is remarkable, we have broken out of the cliche of Rama always with a bow.  This is what he must have really looked like, the power and authority he radiates is terrific.

“The Ten is also unusual and creative in conveying so many layers of story at one time.  There is Rama in the kingly posture that conveys his burden of kingship and responsibilities, the arrows that mark his nature and form rays around him in his role as a solar deity;  there is the lost Sita, sinking into the ground beneath him – that action cost him his moral footing though ethically it was an impeccable decision.  It is one of the most psychologically complex and layered cards Jane has done.”

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Sagittarian inscape

Sagittarian inscape

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altar 2

For other Sacred India Tarot posts, look under Recent Posts, Search, or Archive of All Posts in the title bar.

Rohit Arya

Rohit Arya is an Author, Yogi and Polymath. He has written the first book on Vaastu to be published in the West, {translated into five languages} the first book on tarot to be published in India, co-authored a book on fire sacrifice, and is the creator of The Sacred India Tarot {82 card deck and book}. He has also written A Gathering of Gods. He is  a corporate trainer, a mythologist and vibrant speaker as well as an arts critic and cultural commentator. Rohit is also a Lineage Master in the Eight Spiritual Breaths system of Yoga. 

Earlier posts about the deck, including the first 15 Major Arcana archives are in http://aryayogi.wordpress.com   – (look in his Archives May 2012 and June 2012.) The deck is copyrighted (c) 2011 to the publishers, Yogi Impressions Books pvt, and available also on Amazon and internationally.

 

 

 

 

Jane Adams

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.

All original art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012. 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 https://janeadamsart.wordpress.com/

Sacred India Tarot Archive – Creation of Seven and Eight of Wands

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Continuing this series on the Sacred India Tarot published by Yogi Impressions in November 2011.

The suit of Wands or Staves contain the soul of Agni, the sacred fire – where more so than in these two cards of destiny?

Their story is:  in the Seven of Staves, Sita the distrusted bride immerses herself in the flame which is purity itself;  in the Eight, she is liberated with her beloved as the Karmic bonds are released.  Who among us has not felt scorched with self doubt and then seen the skies open as life becomes simple again?

As Rohit has pointed out, the eight of each suit is an ‘end of Karma card’.  Then the seven of each suit portrays a matter of doubt:  a threshold through which the Dharma moves.  If I look through the four suits, each “seven” portrays an inward gesture or vulnerability to purify, and each ‘eight’ clears the slate.  I was not aware of this when I painted them.  It was Rohit’s work to perceive the archetypes and their speech, and to email to me, brief suggestions or pointers.  When I received these, the primary images took over and flowed, surprising both of us many a time. The deck has an elder Vedic soul. It is contacted and released through creative concentration. Thus the deck provides us with an astute psychological mirror.

Sequentially in the story, Sita tested herself through the flame after her safe return with Rama to India – but in the Mahabharatha as in other great epics, time is not linear but visionary.  Hearing bad council, Rama would suspect her of enforced infidelity with Ravana the King of Asuras he had rescued her from, and they suffered a second isolation from each other while this was sorted out.  Psychologically a man’s union with his inner beloved can be as fickle as the sea – especially when he believes he should stand alone. In the female psyche, this is mirrored.  In all of us the male and female interact – animus and anima – and set up mutual obstacles.

cycle of change tao

The suit of Wands/Staves denotes the play of sacred weapons;  the higher transformation of war games into the martial arts.

The tragedy implicit in the Seventh card, is the old, old story:  the woman is targeted.  Many of us bear this redemptive burden down the centuries.  Is it any wonder when we feel inexplicably tired?

SITA visual reference for 7 of wands 2

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Rohit’s Notes to Jane, 2003
“Card Seven is Sita Agni Parikasha – courage – she asks for it.

“It should be easy enough to show the fire ordeal she goes through to prove her innocence as seven logs of burning wood from which she emerges, held up by Agni lord of fire.  The 3 illustrations given should be of some help.  This is a dynamic and dramatic card, as everyone except Rama was appalled at what was happening.”

SITA visual reference for 7 of wands

Visual reference for Seven of Wands/Staves

From Rohit’s Book with the Deck
“Sita’s Trial by Fire.  Sita has been rescued.  In the ensuing celebrations over this fact, as well as Ravana’s death, one awful unspoken question hovers raptor-like over the minds of all.  Did Ravana forcibly molest her or did he not?  …  Rama knows there will never be any end to insinuation, slander and malice if this is not tackled expeditiously.  So he harrows Sita by giving voice to the collective suspicion – ‘Ravana could never have been so self-controlled.’

“Sita is outraged and furious.  In popular Indian imagination, Sita is all that is meek, timid and subservient to a husband.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The Sita of Valmiki’s Ramayana is a fire-brand intellectual, outspoken and fearless, and she is not going to tolerate sniggering speculation about her virtue.  She upbraids Rama for daring to speak so – the fault if any is in the abductor, not the woman.

Visual reference - Ravana king of Asuras abducts Sita

Visual reference – Ravana king of Asuras abducts Sita

“Provoked beyond endurance, Sita orders Laxmana to arrange a funeral pyre for her, as a life without dignity is worthless.  As the appalled audience watches this awe inspiring act of courage – a living Sita seated amidst flames – the gods intervene.  Agni god of fire rises from the flames with an unscathed Sita, and remonstrates with Rama for his conduct.  Rama wryly admits he manipulated matters thus, so that a public and miraculous vindication of Sita would silence all loose talk forever.  The issue is resolved – for now.

“Interpretation of the card:  Courage, decisive battle, defiance and reliance on the self.  Inner resources and resilience.  Do not back away.  Inner battles especially over ethical issues and temptation – perseverance through adversity:  taking responsibility.  Refusal to be intimidated or manipulated into restrictive roles.  Able to say ‘No’ without guilt.  

“Shadow – this can also be the card of the excuse maker – fatigue and fear of loss – giving in to others’ wishes – neglected talent.  Fear of failure or of being thought incompetent.   What do you really need to take a stand about, or what are you shirking from?  Are your values important, or ‘being liked’?   Clean up any clutter at home.”

Sacred India Tarot - Seven of Staves/Wands - Sita through the fire

Sacred India Tarot – Seven of Staves/Wands – Sita through the fire

Jane’s Notes:

Behind Sita, Agni the deity of the sacred fire seems to breathe on her gently like a bellows – to raise the power of the pure and liberating flame within her:  to open her wings of prana in the chrysalis.  In the next card she is the Shakti:  she flies.

In alchemical traditions, the transformative agent is the secret fire with the breath:  the cooking:  the warmth of the hen’s breast to hatch the egg.

I feel this suit thematically signifies woman’s truth and male doubt when he does not listen. We are both masculine and feminine. The creative combat of intuitive wisdom and the rational mind is played out daily within our psyche.

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Rohit’s Feedback – “The Seven – Sita in the flames with Agni – This is a superb card, mystical and melancholic, and the Agni is a very unusual interpretation of the god of fire. Perhaps the outlines of the seven wands need to be slightly stronger but in all other aspects it is beautiful. Most seven of wands are all about a huffing and puffing macho sort of courage, but this is courage with dignity and grace. Sita is absolutely wonderful.”

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Rohit did not send me a visual reference for the Pushpaka-Vimana, though he mentioned a ‘sculptural panel’, and that it is a conscious vehicle. Here is a link to an article about the vimanas or devic chariots that cut through time and space.

pushpakavimana

The above article on https://ancientaliens.wordpress.com/2010/11/12/vimanas is fascinating, reminding me of dreams I had in which I built a flying machine whose “engine” was fuelled by balance and intention. The archetype is deep within us, and in “His Dark Materials” Philip Pullman describes an Intention Craft which rises vertically, descends, hovers and travels laterally as thought – a remarkable depiction of the body of light in the western occult tradition.

vimana flyingobjects26_051

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Correspondence 2003 – Jane to Gautam (publisher) and Rohit (author)
(for Card 9 and the court cards, see next SITA posts)

“Dear Gautam – I do not understand your picture references for Cards 8 and 9.  8 should be the Vimana flight home to Ayodhya, and 9 should be Rama’s agony at banishing Sita; but the pictures you gave are of Sita being abducted and Jatayu fighting Rama, both marked 8.  Please clarify.  

“For the court cards, which documents are the photos of yourself and Rohit attached to?  I do not have the Skanda document you refer to, or the photos! Regards, Jane.”

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“Dear Jane, please find below, comments of Rohit:  ‘We do not have the exact visual reference for either of these cards, as neither in painting nor sculpture have the two incidents been clearly depicted.  The two pictures marked 8 have been provided to convey the impression of flight.  They are just triggers for the events to be depicted in card 8, they do not illustrate.   

‘For card number 9, there is no reference as such, as the event is both touchy and controversial in India and avoided by artists.  Please tell Jane she has free rein to depict it in any manner she chooses.’

“I will send our pictures via email.  Warm regards, Gautam.”

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Rohit’s Notes 22 September 2003 – Eight of Wands/Staves
“The Pushpaka-Vimana flight back home to Ayodhya (representing swiftness) – The Pushpaka Vimana was supposed to be composed of flowers or flower-bedecked, in blooms that would never fade.  It was an airplane of sorts, and there is a bewildering paragraph in the Valmiki Ramayana where Sita asks Rama why the stars are visible from the vimama, even though it is day.

“The answer given is that at such elevation the light of the sun fails, and we see the stars which are always present in the sky!  What we perhaps need is a feeling of flying over the ocean, or alternatively we could show the vimana flying over Ayohdhya which too is a spectacular city.  I like the touch in the sculptural panel of showing the vimana as an embodied form;  according to the texts, the vimana had consciousness and was a genuine personality in its own right.  The eight wands could perhaps be poles on the vimana like some sort of flying pavilion?

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Sacred India Tarot eight of wands, Vimaha flight

Sacred India Tarot eight of Wands – Vimana flight, Rama and Sita

This image also depicts the power of the Mantric vehicle:  the way sound travels through all dimensions.  See my earlier posts on Ganapati Muni’s Guru Mantra Bhashya – “Om Vacadhbuve Namaha“.

This link (below) is not strictly speaking related to the content of this post;  it arises intuitively because I began this week to learn the Gayatri and other mantras and to chant them at odd times during the day – in the street, on the bus, or wherever.   Wonderfully, they clear the weather!  The science of mantra fascinates me, and so does the warm and ancient Vedic vibration.   My Indian roots are deep.

All powers seek the one who does not slip out from the state of wisdom. They come naturally for the Jnani is omnipotent , whether he shows the powers openly, impelled by momentum of karma, or imperceptibly but surely by his very presence.

Source: Sri Ramana Gita by Ganapati Muni

Om Vacadbhuve Namah
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya’

With the energy in this Karma-clearing card, 8 of Staves, I see the principle not only in mantra and sound and healing, but in the quality of relationships and what we try to communicate to one another.

From Journal, September 2003 – “I began Eight of Wands yesterday.  I have not drawn an oriental vehicle, but a living Being, an outlined gandharva or angel, in whose lap Sita and Rama are transported across the sea to their home.  I realised while on this, that what is happening in the world today, is the same as in the Ramayana or the Bhagavad Gita.  A vast mythological archetype is in action, destroying the father of lies again.  Be gold, go bold, and seize and receive this actual perception.  It trembles truth.”

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Rohit’s Feedback 10 December 2003 – “The Eight is the most original interpretation of the pushpaka I have yet seen.  It conveys that Hanuman carrying Rama subtext as well as showing the swift flight back home.”

sun yantra

sun yantra

From Rohit’s Book with the Deck:

“… The trip from Lanka in the time left, is feasible only by Pushpak Vimara, a flying craft seized by Rama from Kubera, god of wealth.  This machine was a curious mixture of science and magic, having human form as well as being a wood and metal craft capable of expanding infinitely, with aisles and window seats!  Its fuel was kept in vats on flight, and was an amalgam of wine, honey, mercury and herbal concoctions – a veritable environmentalist’s dream!

“The aerial route described in the Ramayana is similar to the now defunct Colombo to Allahabad air service.  It took nine hours to make the trip to Ayodhya, so the speed was quite good if not spectacular … Ancient Indians were fabulous astronomers, and there is nothing peculiar in Rama’s knowledge when he answers Sita that at such heights the rays of the sun do not penetrate and veil the stars, therefore they are visible in the daylight – but the sheer incongruity of such a perspective in the midst of Wordsworthian lyricism is striking. The swift, even giddy atmosphere such a flight would generate, was what the poet captured.

“In a reading – … Things happen sooner than planned for or anticipated, but that is for the best … ideas and work tumble out – increase in vital forces – spiritual breakthroughs and out of body experiences;  transcendence of limitations.  All Eights are end-of-karma cards, so it also means giving up unproductive and unprofitable activities.  

“Or: (shadow) act in haste and repent at leisure, especially when it comes to marriage.  Future shock and disproportionate reaction to events – a station wagon trying to be a Ferrari.  Pay careful attention to all documents, agreements etc, as the hasty nature of the energy may cause serious blunders or omissions.

“The insight of the card: You have abundant energy.  Now set some clear goals and focus this drive to achieving them, before it fritters away in interesting distractions.

photo by giorgos tsamakdas

photo by giorgos tsamakdas

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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.

aquariel link

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 https://janeadamsart.wordpress.com/

Sacred India Tarot Archive – the Suit of Staves – Ace

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The Sacred India Tarot bridges Indian yoga and mythology with western esoteric schools.

Tarot key 1 - the Magus - belongs here, to open a new Suit - the Suit of Wands.  His is the Intelligence of Transparency.  With the Wand in his right, he conducts the divine current.  His left hand indicates the garden.  In front of him are the tools for the Work.

Tarot key 1 – the Magus – belongs here, to open a new Suit – the Suit of Wands. His is the Intelligence of Transparency. With the Wand in his right, he conducts the divine current. His left hand indicates the garden. In front of him are the tools for the Work.

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SITA Sacred India Tarot 8 staves

Jane’s Notes – More than a decade has passed since Rohit and I worked on this suit.  Reviewing it, I see the essence of the Wands – the Staves in Indian mythology – as a warrior’s dance.  The action is martial but it moves with grace – for instance the wonderful episode which carries Rama and Sita across the sea to freedom and the homeland:  an End-of Karma card, as with the Eights in the other three Suits.

There is also the gesture of the multi-dimensional Ashwin Twins, children of the Sun – as they reach a long hand to the struggling mariner in the high seas.   We created a rare depiction of this stupendous and health giving deity.

SITA Sacred India Tarot Ashwins page of Staves -

We began to touch upon the martial art as a dance form, towards the end of the Suit of Arrows in this Archive (See Archive of all Posts, or use the Search button).  Returning through the Wands/Staves, the form and its focus matures, giving Rama the power to pierce the formidable Ravannah King of Demons.

There is an old Buddhist teaching:  the well placed stone.  Not how many stones you throw – but which one, and where it lands – in conversation and in dance, as well as in battle:  the Art of Life, the great middle way.

In the Indian sense, these pebbles are lingum, the Sign.

lingum

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Rohit’s Notes (2003)

“I have selected for this Suit of Wands, the Yuddha Kanda – the section of the Ramayana dealing with the battle to recover Sita from captivity in Lanka and its aftermath from the Ramayana.  We cannot deliver the whole epic in one Suit, but we can distil some essence from this archetypal chapter.  A Gnostic book I read says that, as well as their more traditional meaning as the Fire Suit, the Wands represent the air and the intellect, just as we suppose the Swords to do.  So we get multiple layers of meaning here.

“The Ramayana and Mahabharatha are not just India’s epics;  they are the national epics also of Java, Bali, Indonesia, Cambodia and Thailand.  I would like to show by hinting at those costume styles, that Indian mythology like the Tarot, transcends local contexts and has universal relevance.  The Balinese look is spectacular, as this illustration shows.

“I like the tunic clad bearded Ravana;  it shows a sense of virile power instead of being grossly ugly and repulsive as most representations of Ravana are.  Perhaps the demons should be shown in this style all through?”

sundarakanda-chapter10

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Rohit’s Notes (2003): The story goes:  Rama in alliance with Sugriva king of the monkeys, and with Hanuman’s assistance, attacks Lanka where his wife Sita is held captive by the King of the Demons, Ravana.  Rama slays Ravana and rescues Sita who then undergoes an ordeal of fire in order to clear herself of the suspicion of infidelity.  At a later stage, Rama becomes imperilled by doubt, loses his trust in the feminine and banishes her to the forest where she meets the sage Valmiki.  Valmiki is the traditional author of the Ramayana and its seer.  In the forest, Sita gives birth to Rama’s two sons, but after having to again protest her innocence, asks to be received by the earth, which swallows her up.

Sita and the Earth

“Like Krishna in the Suit of Arrows, Rama is an avatar of Vishnu the Sustainer.  The poem is immensely popular in India, setting prototypes of a harmonious and just kingdom, conjugal love, filial and fraternal love.  Everything is designed for harmony which after being disrupted is at last regained.”

Jane’s Notes:
Significantly, this story is a multi-level parable.  For instance, Rama attains the ideal of wise government and conjugal happiness, but “loses” the plot when he drops to a lower level of the mind and its advisors.  The prototypes are self-sustaining, eternally.  They bide their time while the human reascends to their timeless horizon.  The woman, received into the earth, is the earth’s wisdom which births us.  All ideas which battle to the contrary, are time drawn out in fantasy.  This suit of Staves depicts some of the psychological uplifts and downdraughts between the Worlds.

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Rohit’s Notes – “Ace of Staves – Building the Stone Bridge over the Sea to Lanka – representing creative endeavour”

“We need to have a scene of frantic activity with a bridge of stone receding into the horizon over the sea, monkeys clambering about helping in the construction, and so on.  Rama, Laxmana and Hanuman can be shown supervising the operation.  This is not very popular as a scene in art, so we have only this vague reference to offer.  Please feel free to use your imagination.

SITA staves visual reference stone bridge

“The scene of Sagara the ocean offering to help Rama may also be used as a reference.  The Single wand could be a fiery flaming arrow that Rama holds and threatens to release into the ocean to dry it up, so that the building of the bridge is not hampered.  Perhaps it would be best to combine Sagara before Rama and bridge-building as one composite scene.  The bow held in Rama’s hand in the sculpture panel does look remarkably like a wand anyway!”

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Jane’s Notes – An observation:  The immense labour in building up a causeway of stones in the sea, to access the higher dharma dimension.  This is our human way, committed to our real relationships as well to sadhana and all creative endeavours – the sweat of our brow, the fruit of our lives.   Interestingly when Rama returns with Sita, they are borne effortlessly by the dimension attained through Ravana’s defeat !  (See 8 of Staves, pictured above.)

The initial work itself reminds me of this painting:

Rubicon 63 - Building a Jetty 1986:  the beginning of the process, with all its friends and backers and a salutary shipwreck nearby!

Rubicon 63 – Building a Jetty 1986: the beginning of the process, with all its friends and backers and a salutary shipwreck nearby.  This was about relationships, the ache and hunger of the soul for connection.  The island the jetty is being built from looks like a mushroom cloud, but was based on the Alet headland near St Malo in Brittany.

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Rohit’s Notes – from the Book with the Deck
“The impossible is suddenly prosaic reality:  a bridge has been built upon the ocean.  The demon king Ravana was secure in his island fortress of Lanka – the city of gold bounded by the impassable sea.  Ravana who has kept the kidnapped Sita wife of Rama prisoner in Lanka, is shockingly confronted with the unbelievable news and unthinkable consequences.

“… The Ace of Staves sears away the illusions and delusions dear to the heart;  it forces a creative and ultimately more integral response to the challenge of life.  If one persists in the old ways, the consequences are swift and harsh as one of Rama’s weapons.  This colossal feat was accomplished with the help of his great brother Laxmana and his simian-like Vanara allies – magical creatures of equal, if not greater accomplishment than humans … Such unorthodox brilliance in the swift use of resources, the sheer chutzpah of conception and execution, is typical of the Staves energy…   The Staves are only apparently disruptive, and integrate the churned situation at a higher level of consciousness. 

“In a reading:  Situations unfold at bewildering speed.  Vision and visionaries:  energy, fiery and swift;  resiliance and enduring courage, stimulating thinkers.   Shadow:  low creative energy, or misapplication – frustration and delays, over-commitment at all levels, sexual imbroglios.  There is no need to take on the world.  Are you running away with yourself and your enthusiasm?  Conversely, what is the strangest, weirdest thing you could do to get this done?

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Here is the finished card:

Sacred India Tarot - the Ace of Staves

Sacred India Tarot – the Ace of Staves

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Correspondence – Rohit to Jane
“Ace of Wands – There is nothing significant I would like to change in this card as it has a very unusual other worldly element to it.  Supernatural events are manifestly taking place as we look.  The monkey in the picture can be safely regarded as Sugriva or any one of the innumerable simian hordes who supported Rama.  When portraying Hanuman he should be white in colour as he was an albino monkey, very handsome and muscular with warrior’s helm and holding a mace or even hammer. (See Sacred India Tarot, Knight of Arrows in this series.) The hammer might be a strange choice but I have actually seen pictures of him holding one, and it would be a refreshing change to the normal depiction of Hanuman.

“A very small point that did not occur to me until I saw it.  Rama is shown with Vaishantha forehead markings, in acknowledgement of his being an avatar Vishnu, but he was personally a devotee of Siva, having in fact just established the famous Rameshwaram Siva temple by the Ocean before the events of this card.  It would make a good point about tolerance and the peculiar Hindu genius to meld and assimilate, if Rama was shown with Shaiva markings on the forehead.  I never thought about this point as I did not anticipate any such depiction, but now that it has emerged, it will significantly deepen the spiritual and cultural aspects of the suit.  In all other respects, the card is perfect.”

Shaivite Tilak Hindu Shiva Devotee

Unfortunately I do not seem to have taken this on board for the finished card;  all the better to mention the detail here.

Shaivite-M

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For other Sacred India Tarot posts, look under Recent Posts, Search,
or Archive of All Posts in the title bar.

Rohit Arya
Rohit Arya is an Author, Yogi and Polymath. He has written the first book on Vaastu to be published in the West, {translated into five languages} the first book on tarot to be published in India, co-authored a book on fire sacrifice, and is the creator of The Sacred India Tarot {82 card deck and book}. He has also written A Gathering of Gods. He is a corporate trainer, a mythologist and vibrant speaker as well as an arts critic and cultural commentator. Rohit is also a Lineage Master in the Eight Spiritual Breaths system of Yoga.
Earlier posts about the deck, including the first 15 Major Arcana archives are in http://aryayogi.wordpress.com The deck is copyrighted (c) 2011 to the publishers, Yogi Impressions Books pvt, and available also on Amazon and internationally.

Jane Adams
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).

All original 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 https://janeadamsart.wordpress.com/

A SITA Oracle

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SITA stands for the Sacred India Tarot Arcana.  Sita was the wife of Lord Rama, whose story The Ramayana is told in the deck’s Suit of Staves or Rods.   He rescued her from the demon Ravannah, but then for a time lost faith in her – the Shakti power – until she came through fire unscathed.   In the Indian pantheon, Rama is Divine.  But through the Sacred India Tarot, he reveals also the psychology and conundrums of the seeking soul.

These two cards are called “Sita’s Trial by Fire” and “The Earth Receives Sita”.

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My readings occur spontaneously, when there is a sense of connecting.  They give me a personal reflection, which turns transpersonal, as it deepens to illustrate a koan, a Principle, or broadening of the landscape.   See below.

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Companions of the Light!

The deep quiet through this house, the distant rattle of a train.   To live in the deep quiet is/would be magical, and get everything done;  touching base is communion.   Perhaps things only get done in the deep quiet.   The housework indeed has to wait for it.   Get into the boat.  It is a coracle like a walnut shell half, and it has comfy red cushions.   It bounces merrily along the seas.   Coracle is an oracle.   What does SITA say today?   Let the air in, shuffle it, let all her pictures slip among and refresh each other.   Then cut three times three, face down, and turn over the top card in the centre.  (The left pile is Past, the right pile is Future.)

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The card backs carry the Sri Chakra Yantra, to centre the present.

Present tense: Queen Rati, wife of Kama, the god of desire!   Sweet she-spine among the blue lotuses, flexi-friend, lightly raises kundalini and bow – the kundalini uncoiling from its sleep around her, is the arrow.   She has wavy long black hair and a sweet full bud.   The long lotus stems, the snake and her spine/posture all bend and undulate in the rosy waters, field of grass.   Supple integration.

Past?  King Pradyumna of Lotuses – Cups.    (Rati is the Queen!)   A sensuous tantra sage by the waters, the trees and the Himalayas at his back;  his hands hold the blue lotuses in mudra at his navel and heart chakras.   His crown and golden aura are lotus, with organic vesica seeds and filaments.   He wears a lotus garland too.   Verily, a Flower King –  his expression peaceful, blue, inwardly retires, self sufficiently.

The oracle reflects faithfully the moment’s flavour as a little birth.

Future?  Nine of Staves (rods).   Now he is lonely and defensive, resting while he makes a fence, but alert and rather tired.  The Himalayas and the forest are in the background, but in front of them are the eight red rods he has put in place to defend his position, and the ninth one which he holds to fill the gap;  it is himself.  He wears a gorgeous purple cloak and elegant gold armour, and unsuitable flipflops.  He is dignified, stern and watchful.  He has anxieties and concerns.  He is a watchman, guarding property and worrying about Other People.   He’s put in the vertical staves for his fence/forest, but hasn’t woven in any horizontals yet.

(This is a fascinating image, as last week I built along the back of a garden, a stout fence from woven timber cuttings in the woods.)

As Ten of Staves depicts Rama’s burial of the feminine, Nine of Staves is an offended masculinity which thinks it is self sufficient, leading to a brooding separateness.   The Nine of any suit is its Yesod or persona in the Tree of Life’s Foundation.   In today’s oracle, Nine of Staves is turned towards the happy Queen and King of Lotuses.   He has to guard their sport, make garden fences, plant trees, change passwords, make security.

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The Q and K of Lotuses are my coracle or log in the waters;  the Rama 9 of Staves must guard them – administration and locks.  Number 9, Yesod, Foundation (in Kabbalah), is a local type of filter.

In Rohit Arya’s book, his “shadow” interpretation of 9 of Staves is an accurate portrait of my own uncertainties and type of overwork.  In both Light and Shadow, the issue is responsibility, vigilance and caution – possibly the undertaking of a new task, sobered by past inexperiences.   Holding the 9th rod, as myself, ready for planting, I feel often hemmed in, used up, limited, catching sight of the Lotus pussycats, my charges.

Rohit writes:  “(Yet) … the King of Lotuses has to go very much to the dark before the Shadow side takes hold.  The name Pradyumna means ‘conquers all foes’, so it gives some indication of his stature and prowess.  He suffered the fate of all great men with even greater parents – an admiring obscurity.  It does not seem to have disturbed him at all.  Kama would have been shooting arrows in all quarters in frustration at being denied the limelight.”

King Pradhumna is Kama the god of Desire, reborn from the Sivaic ashes;  (in the mythology, Lord Siva incinerated Kama for his impudence) – so he is Phoenix, cleansed, dispassionate and appears a little complacent.

The balance of these three archetypes inspires my confidence.

Queen Rati’s key quality is “able to make emotional connections with people at a non-verbal level”.   Also I notice how in Rohit’s essay, and my drawing, Rati raises and sublimates the erotic instinct, she raises up the snake with her right arm;  this gesture is one of great strength, pulling up against the downdraught;  the male triad through the feminine triad, as I know well in my life, opens to clarity.   Her left arm – subconscious – plays the bow with teasing ease.   Power.

Rama’s soldierly tension derives some sustenance and ease, in contemplating Pradyumna by his peaceful brook – the soft horizon flow of life.   The creative Rama has to stop and do this, otherwise he gets too wrapped up in himself.   He is also rather vain.

Pradyumna and Rati are not bothered with vanity, because they are entirely unseparate from their luscious and beauteous element.   They are carefree.  They enjoy their marriage.

I also perceive:   the observer and the observed.   As J Krishnamurti used to say, the observer IS the observed.   It is our paradox to stop and look and be.   The Tao moves in and out of being;  in quantum physics, a particle is a wave – Heisenberg’s position or motion principle at play.  Consciousness is not other than the phenomenon observed;   and the moving in and out through this, is Beauty.

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A  Greek Nymph:  JA 1957

The Sacred India Tarot images are (c) copyright to Yogi Impressions Books, 2011

For more information, visit The Sacred India Tarot (Yogi Impressions) website or facebook

and http://aryayogi.wordpress.com

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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.