The Little Book of Secrets
Can you guess what I am???
I am an esoteric treasure chest disguised as an ordinary household object, slipping with the greatest of ease through epochs of time.
I am underneath your very own nose, and indeed, between your very own fingertips.
I transcend the borders of nationality, language and beliefs, too invisible and too insidious to fall prey to those who would control the dissemination of real knowledge.
Have you guessed me yet?
Easily accessed in lavish royal chambers, homes of the poor, the cell of the jailed and the office of the warden, can you guess what I am?
Indeed, divine knowledge is merciful and cannot be shut out. There is truth for the asking – our human right, and have you guessed me yet???
I am the deck of playing cards.
A simple book of paper, pages unbound; absent of words yet intriguingly symbolic: unassuming. Let us step closer and direct our gaze for a moment at this demure muse, this seeming wallflower compared to its’ more flashy city cousin, the tarot.
Let’s begin with the basics. The deck itself has 52 cards… a random number perhaps… or is it?
Is the Mayan 52-year cycle random? Are the 52 weeks in the year merely happenstance?
Well, of course, stranger coincidences exist, so let us venture further. We can instead direct our attention to the four suits. Hmmm… 4 suits within a 52-card deck… that would have no correlation to the 4 seasons within the 52-week year. Or would it?
Throughout human history, countless cultures have divided the earth and heavens into 4. Even our modern earth is divided into four hemispheres, four cardinal directions. To the Maya, the world was conceived as a great square, with four directions, four gods, and four bearers of the year, subdividing the sacred round of 52 into quadrants.
Our little deck is becoming less demure. And the secrets have just begun to unfold.
13 cards (Ace through King) within each of the 4 suits… well that would have no relation to the fact that there are 13 weeks in each of the 4 seasons. Of course not! After all, it is only a deck of playing cards! And 13 is a primary dividing factor in the count of days to the Mayan as well. But you knew that little tid-bit was coming!
If you count all numbers within a suit, adding Aces as one, two’s as two, etc… and Jacks as 11, Queens as 12, and Kings as 13… what do you get? The answer is 91: the number of days in a season. Add all the numbers in a deck and you get 364, the number of days in the old fixed lunar calendar, also known as the Celtic Tree Calendar (see http://www.projectpluto.com/calendar.htm - a great little calendar site).
So now the country cousin is looking radiant, isn’t she?
There is no known game that uses a calendar, so what exactly is going on?? Why put a calendar in a deck of cards?
If you think about it, a calendar is made for charting events yet to come. It is a map of the future. And what is divination, but the art of mapping the future. And now our little book of 52 is nothing but overtly esoteric. And if we are candid we can now voice our growing, indeed undeniable, suspicion that whoever created the playing cards did so for the purpose of preserving a workable model of natural harmonics, relevant to our earth and those who inhabit it.
Within it are worlds of correspondences, simply awaiting our focused attention to crack it wide open.
Now if you dare to irreparably shatter any and all previous conceptions of the playing cards as a simple means of parlour titillation, consider the following: by the colors (the ancient and highly symbolic archetypal trinity of black, red, and white), the suits (corresponding not only to the four seasons and directions but also the four elements and densities), and numbers (1 through 9 as the numerological roots representing the essential human progression of experience and 10 through 13 representing four higher orders and complexities), the deck offers a near unparalleled model of symphonic beauty, intricacy, and possibility - all within the framework of a practical working calendar, blowing wide open the door on card reading possibilities.
This deck is nothing less than Sleeping Beauty herself. After a long and deep slumber, it is time for knowledge held safe in the sarcophagal chamber to cycle once again to the surface of our collective human awareness. Indeed, all manner of sacred teachings are rising to the surface at this critical moment to align our minds and our being with the greater order, secrets laid open as delicate organisms gasping but briefly in the burning light of day.
This last part I add with some hesitation, although no expose on this topic would be complete without it.
Historians in search of the real truth about playing cards have substantiated the existence of a 52-card deck nearly identical to what we use today at least as far back as 1377 A.D.* This is nearly a century before the well documented emergence of Tarot, an altered version of the original deck to accommodate the Italian card game of the same name. By this addition, critical correspondences were obscured from view.
The fact that Tarot eventually became the forerunner for mystic application over playing cards is like manufactured perfumes gaining popularity over essential flower oils for beauty of scent and effectiveness. I know this statement will raise the hairs on many a head.
I have always defended Tarot in the sense that the reader is the primary instrument of divination, not the leaves in the tea cup, the stones on the ground, or the variety of cards on the table. It is the vision of the reader that which is the necessary ingredient. That said…
I believe that to turn away from or even in extreme cases to squash or attack either one of these valid methods for divination is a step backwards in our necessary evolution. Let us allow these two cousins their beloved followers, side by side, both recognized, at long last.
* In 1377, the 52-card deck is first described in a manuscript written by the German monk, Johannes of Basel. With a few minor changes, this deck, described in wide detail, is nearly identical to what we find in modern American playing cards.