In the monthly column Artist’s Advice divination authors and deck designers give their reading tips, divination techniques or unique essays to share their expertise and showcase a new release. This issue:
The Art of Memory | Tabula Mundi Colores Arcus | MM Meleen.
A memory technique called the “Method of Loci” or the “Memory Palace” is a mnemonic system known to the ancient Greeks and Romans, often used to quickly recall information. Sometimes this method is referred to as the “Journey Method” as one takes a mental stroll through imagined locations. This is similar to astral travel, and is reminiscent of the technique used to create the Tabula Mundi Tarot whose images illustrating the Fool’s Journey materialized first in the mind through a meditative process.
Rooms of the Palace
This article will show how the Tabula Mundi Tarot is in effect a palace of memory, where related cards share visual symbols and repeating leitmotifs. Where this technique is usually associated with an actual physical location recreated in the mind, Tarot is structured, like architecture, and thus serves as an equivalent framework. One can start with any card as an entry point into the structure and follow the attributions linking related cards, much as one room leads to another.
Tabula Mundi Tarot utilizes a Thoth based structure. The Thoth structure itself is based on the tarot attributions of the Golden Dawn, with a few modifications. In essence it is the same Golden Dawn structure as used in the WCS deck, and so the same astrological and planetary attributions apply to many decks. The Majors have 3 cards assigned to a primary element, 7 cards assigned to a classical planet , and 12 cards assigned to an astrological sign.
Decans & Courts
Each of the 36 minors 2-10 correspond to an astrological decan, which is a ten degree division of the 360 degrees of the zodiac encompassing the 12 astrology signs. Each sign is divided into three 10 degree segments, and each of these decans has a planetary ruler. Therefore each minor can be traced back to two Majors: that of its astrological sign and that of the planet ruling the decan.
Similarly, the court cards of Knight, Queen, and Prince each correspond to three minors. Two minors of their primary sign show aspects of their more visible personality, while the shadow minor of the preceding sign is likely to be a hidden aspect that may only be apparent under stressful conditions. What about the Princess cards? These correspond to the Pages; but they have important differences that have to be explored in another article. For this space, it suffices to say that they are linked primarily to the Aces – but also to an entire quadrant of the zodiac!
|Outside the Castle
Decan Expansion Pack Tabula Mundi Colores Arcus
As an addition to your tarot palace, Tabula Mundi now has a 14 card expansion pack available that includes the 12 ‘secret’ zodiacal decan cards referenced in Book M: Liber Mundi. These zodiacal cards geometrically combine images from the three minors of each sign into one card. These extra cards can be used as significators of a person or situation based on qualities of the sign, as oracle cards, as a perpetual calendar, for timing issues, or for study alongside the related cards.
[Select the Expansion Pack with your purchase of Tabula Mundi Colores Arcus]
Every card in tarot is linked to many others as they share certain attributions of element, sign, planet, and color scales. Knowing these relationships will greatly enhance your readings or study, as it opens up many rooms in the memory palace as you recall the associations between them. These relationships apply not just to the Tabula Mundi Tarot, but to all Golden Dawn based tarot decks like Thoth and WCS.
The difference with Tabula Mundi Colores Arcus is that these interlocking associations are made visible through the emblems that repeat in related cards. Your eyes see the symbolic representation of an important element of the Major card illustrated in the Minor, or repeated again in a court card. So, the mnemonic trigger is pulled, taking you on an astral journey of intuitive card relationships.
An example to show how it’s done. As you can see, the Queen of Disks has repeated elements of images from three related minors. The hourglass and mountain symbols link her to the Two of Disks, showing her function of harnessing the forces of change in order to climb. The alchemical symbols on the disk in her lap link her to the Three of Disks, illustrating how she uses the resources at her disposal, working to build something of value. The hammer and pick in her crest tie her to her shadow, the Ten of Wands, showing the risk of becoming overbearing in her ambitions if unbalanced.
“When you see a minor – you are also seeing two Majors. When you see a Court, you are seeing even more.”
We can drill down on any minor card. The Two of Disks has assignment to the first decan of Capricorn, which is ruled by Jupiter. This makes the related Majors The Devil for Capricorn, and Wheel of Fortune for Jupiter. The hourglass, and I-Ching like steps of the DNA, are motifs of the Devil, a Child of the Forces of Time and a Lord of the Gates of Matter. The Wheel of Fortune churns the sands of the hourglass. Indeed the Two of Disks shows how fluctuating forces – while seemingly unstable – are actually the beginnings of the earth element’s growth. The expansion of Jupiter and the turning of the Wheel, combined with the contraction of Saturn and the passage of time, power the engines of change. Taking this back to our Queen of Disks, she has the ambition and strong force of Capricorn and uses it to expand her Fortune.
Deconstruct the cards
We can deconstruct each of the other minor cards of the Queen as well, and see how the Three of Disks is also the Devil, but with the Tower for Mars. Or we see how the Ten of Wands brings in Art (Temperance) for Sagittarius and the Universe for Saturn. When you see a minor – you are also seeing two Majors. When you see a Court, you are seeing even more. If you meet the Queen of Disks in the palace of memory, you are seeing The Devil and Art. But influenced by Fortune, the Tower, and the Universe via the Two and Three of Disks and the Ten of Wands.
Often multiple related cards show up in a single spread, weaving together a narrative as your eyes take in the repeated symbols. The palace is large, with many rich rooms. You can draw the curtains or open them, enter the rooms or leave them, all as needed or intuitively appropriate in your readings as you use the Method of Loci.
M.M. Meleen is a developer, illustrator, editor, and author of esoteric tarots and books. She is known for the Rosetta Tarot and Book of Seshet (2011/2017), the Tabula Mundi Tarot Major Arcana editions, and the Tabula Mundi Nox et Lux with its companion Book M: Liber Mundi. (All of which can be found on this website). Tabula Mundi Colores Arcus came out in 2016, but its Decan Expansion pack was recently released. Meleen promised me: new work is in progress and coming soon.
–Buy your Tabula Mundi Colores Arcus and expansion pack at MM Meleens own printing studio.
–Buy the companion for Tabula Mundi. A review of Liber M is also available on these pages.
-The Queen’s Sword has reviewed the black & white edition Nox et Lux of the Tabula Mundi Tarot (OOP) already. A shorter review of the Colores Arcus, the colored variety, will follow in a later stadium.