In researching the Arthurian Tarot before I purchased it, the only information I had come across was that the deck existed. As my original post indicates, this blog was to serve as the jumping-off point for putting together material for a book similar to the companion for Crowley’s Thoth Tarot. Irony of irony and cruel twists of fate, only after purchasing the stand-alone deck did I discover that a companion book already exists. In a crueler twist, it appears the book is only available as part of a book/deck kit. I am still mulling over whether or not to purchase the kit and just have a spare deck of Arthurian cards lying around, and am still looking for a copy of the book by itself. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be anything I have been able to find. Until I make my decision regarding the book, I will content myself with daily meditations on the cards and the companion material that was supplied with the deck.
To that end, for now, this blog will serve as a hosting space for my meditations on each of the cards. I intend to do a daily mediation on each of the cards in the Major Powers (as the Matthews call the Major Arcana) utilizing the supplied meditations and information from the Arthurian mythos. Once I am in possession of the official companion, I will expand upon these meditations.
Our first card is The Seeker, the 0 Trump, analogous to the Fool.
The description provided by Caitlin and John Matthews says “In a wasted landscape, the Seeker, who is every person, sets out on a quest, taking the rainbow path, impelled by the song of the Birds of Rhiannon, who enables him to follow his vision. When the world is laid to waste and people yearn for healing, seekers heed the call to find solutions. their quests open up possibilities.” This is reinforced by their “Oracle” definition:
“The world is darkening about me. The feet of dancers are stilled; the voices of singers are silent. Someone must find the soul of the land once more. I travel to restore what has been lost. Oh, blackbirds, may your singing be my guide as I step upon the rainbow road of dreams!”
The upright and reversed meanings are fairly standard for a Rider-Waite deck:
(U) Childlike trust. Divine discontent. Protection. The folly to be wise. Optimism. Adventure. Spontaneity. Youthful energy.
(R) Foolhardiness. Limitations of ignorance. Reactionism.
To anyone who is familiar with this deck, the first two descriptions are apt for the imagery of the card. A youth steps of a cliff looking forward, a strong oak behind him, above a rainy and desolate landscape while blackbirds circle above him. The darker aspects of the card are omnipresent whether the card is upright or reversed. But the standard divination of the card borrowed from the Rider-Waite tradition doesn’t seem to mesh with the card, its description, or its imagery. The card is far more urgent than a standard Rider-Waite Fool and seems less dependent on the providence of God or the Gods, and invokes a much broader sense of agency. He is elevated above the ruined landscape upon a rainbow, implying faith in heaven and divine providence, yes, but the oak stands behind him blocking the way back. He is spurred on by the blackbirds, knowing he is venturing into the the unknown. The Seeker requires more than faith and trust to embark on such a journey.
The card is easy to read as new beginnings, but its deeper meaning suggests that of destiny and the sacred quest. All people are on their own quests, so all people are Seekers. The three blackbirds are the voice of destiny urging them on, and the oak is the strength of determination that gives them the resolve to overcome obstacles. When the Seeker represents challenges and other negative aspects of the journey, it is indicative then of poor planning, and so the reversed meanings are rather apt. But when the Seeker is positively aligned, it is more about the journey and the movement forward, the steps we take next to get to our goals, the middle part of the quest. The Seeker starts the tarot off already on his journey. Whatever lies behind, just like on our own quests, is already behind us. So the beginning is never really the beginning, but just a point upon the line that is our lives. The Seeker is reunited with Trump XXI, The Flowering of Logres, in which the desolate landscape of the former is rejuvenated with new life. The Seeker’s quest may have come to completion in this later card, but the life and the wheel of the Seeker is ever-turning, never ending.