Sacred India Tarot Archive – Two of Staves/Wands

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The Flowering staff - detail

In this Tarot series we are still transitioning from the Swords which administer Karma, to the Wands which deliver justice.

A wand, staff or stave is a connecting instrument.  It signifies authority and the power of a completed circuit.  The wand symbolises creative force and investiture:  less a weapon than a fiery transmission.  The ancient Egyptians called theirs the ankh – a staff of life. Inheriting their wisdom, Moses hit the rock releasing the water of life, with a rod he had mastered in its earlier form as a snake.  It became the Arc of Covenant – for humankind and the Holy One.

The Tarot’s suit of Wands generates a flow of current – related to the serpentine helix of our DNA:

DNA helix

When a battle is waged, instruments are required, which are more than mere weapons. They come from within us and they come from between the worlds.  The Two of Wands in Tarot are in relationship – a bridging of realms.  It took an epic force – assisted by the simian intellect – to build a stone bridge from southern India to Sri Lanka, to rescue Rama’s bride Sita from her captivity under Ravana, king of demons.

It takes that same strength for us to evolve beyond the labels:  to affirm in the light of last week’s events – “I am human”.   My good friend pointed out, that more than “je suis Charlie” in Paris, “je suis Humaine”. The profound power of one simple truth through the networks can change the world.  The revolutionary baton is, “I am human.”

Humanness is our amnesty, a meditation of the depth, the breadth and the height.  Keep saying “I am human” – look deep within, and look around – it is contagious.  That forgotten collective memory could disorient and disable a killer cell, if more and more of us have it.   We can try.   I am human.

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Sacred India Tarot visual ref 2 of staves

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Rohit Arya’s Notes – 2003

“This event is difficult to conceptualise, as there is really no artistic depiction of it.  What we need is a feel of a seashore, the stone bridge receding into the horizon, a gorgeous spectacular sky-scraping ancient city of Lanka dominating the landscape, and the tents of the invading army, with the monkeys all over the place. Perhaps we could have Rama, Sugriva (the monkey king), Hanuman and Laxmana on a little hillock surveying the City.

“Lanka can be made as bizarre and fanatastical as you please, there is no version of Lanka which will not be true, for it was an illusion built city, actually created by a Danava called Maya for his powers of captivating, lllusionary architecture.  He was the equal of Vishwakarma, architect of the gods, and in reality built the more famous structures!

“The illustration is very poor, and we certainly don’t want Lanka to look like that, but some of the themes are contained in it.  The two Wands could be placed one each in Lanka and the hillock illuminating the scene.”

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Masters - Mary Gaia

Here is the Ramayana epic now, from Rohit’s book with the deck:

“Lanka is besieged.  An unending horde of Vanaras is eagerly awaiting the chance to lock horns with rakshasas (demons) who, for the first time in their life, are diffident about combat.  They have been jolted by this inconceivable invasion and, up in the sky their dread nemesis Hanuman (see Knight of Arrows) keeps a menacing vigil.  The last time they confronted him, he burnt the golden city to cinders and ash, so belligerence is not an option.  The golden city was then magically rebuilt by the sorcerer Mai Danava, father-in-law of Ravana, and a greater craftsman than Vishvakarma, architect of the gods.

“Rama has sent word that peace can be obtained by the simple expedient of returning Sita to him.  Their own karma brought them to a stage where they cannot accept this, though they desperately want to.  They are the rakshasha race, conquerors of the three worlds, and to surrender a prize is to lose face irrevocably.  Like well entrenched comfortable Mafiosi, controlling territory on violent reputation alone, their bluff has been called.

King Ravana

King Ravana, the many-headed

 

“This card is called Dominion, but the person normally does not attain the heights of success it promises, or loses it in being too grasping.  Returning Sita would save their kingdom but unravel their reputation and power;  fighting Rama and Hanuman is suicide.

“Stuck!  If they fight, they lose their fantastical comfortable life.  If they don’t, they are finished as a ruling power.  Ruin beckons them in either eventuality, and the rakshashas glumly realise, long before Rama does, that their days of power and glory are over.

A Rakshasha or demon

A Rakshasha or demon

Interpretation:

“Reassess your position – moral and ethical choices … Many options exist, though you may not see them.  Patience is needed.  Interaction with an overwhelming personality. Don’t take the lead of spiritual mentors or leaders, blindly … Too much reliance upon supposed ‘strong’ figures, and falling for pseudo-spiritual flim-flam … Lack of discipline is compounded by greed. Use of will power to overcome stagnant situations.  A little extra patience is required – don’t spoil it now by getting greedy. Self reliance is your best option.”

SITA Sacred India Tarot ace of Staves - Rama detail

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Here is the finished card:

Sacred India Tarot Two of Staves/Wands - the Crossing into Lanka

Sacred India Tarot Two of Staves/Wands – the Crossing into Lanka

My Lanka fell rather short of Rohit’s vision, but presents a walled and besieged citadel. The expression in Hanuman’s eyes and face carries the nuances of this encounter, both sides.

I am concluding this post with my invocation of “The Flowering Staff” – a Tree of Life within a tower of Alchemy.

Malkuth (physical body or root) is an almond blossom;  Yesod (personal, foundation) is the nut;  Tifareth (heart and soul) a Rosy Cross, and Daat (collective unconscious) is an opening pine cone – the pineal chakra or third eye.  The staff uniting the worlds is both wand and sword, expressing higher and lower frequencies simultaneously.  A dove flies toward Kether the One Light.

“I am human”.

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The Flowering Staff

The Flowering Staff 2002

Trinosofia altar, bird, torch 2 - Version 2

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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.

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Jane

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/