Thursday, February 04, 2010

Masonic Tarot Decks

Tarot cards are a rich mine of symbolism, and while not specifically Masonic in nature, they nonetheless contain much that is applicable to the Craft. There are two particular versions of the Tarot however which are explicitly Masonic.

The first of these is “Le Tarot Maçonnique” by Jean Beauchard. Brother Beauchard is a member of the Grand Lodge of France. Since the GLDF practices the European version of the Scottish Rite, the symbolism of his Tarot deck is based primarily upon this system. As you can see from his version of the High Priestess, the cards are vividly colored and drawn in a very unique style. While some of the cards may veer slightly from the traditional Tarot symbolism, they contain a great deal of material for the contemplative Mason. Each card is like a mini tracing board, and the Masonic and Tarot symbolism combine to form a powerful set of imagery to aid in the Masonic initiatory process. This deck is somewhat difficult and expensive to find as it is currently out of print, however it can be ordered from overseas here.

The second Masonic Tarot deck is known as "The Square and Compasses Tarot" and was designed by W. Bro. PC Brown. His deck is based on the Emulation workings, including the Holy Royal Arch and Mark Master degrees. According to W. Bro. Brown, this deck was designed to reflect the earliest Tarot decks as well as enhance the Masonic symbolism inherent in them. While simpler artistically than “Le Tarot Maçonnique”, this version has its own elegance and is no less symbolic and thought-provoking. In fact, American Masons may find this deck slightly easier to work with, as the symbolism contained in it is closer to the version of the Craft that we practice here. Despite this, any Mason can learn a great deal by meditating upon this deck. The Square and Compasses Tarot doesn't seem to be widely available here in the United States, but it can be ordered from England here.

In and of itself, the Tarot is a powerful tool and worthy of deep study. When it is combined with Masonic symbolism this power is only enhanced. I would highly recommend both Masonic Tarot decks to the contemplative and curious Brother. By studying and meditating upon them, a Brother can make great strides in his Masonic journey, helping him to obtain ever greater amounts of that Light we all seek.

So mote it be!